Collapse bottom bar
Bow Reviews

Martin Onza 3 Bow Review

by Jon E. Silks   |  July 21st, 2011 7

Martin’s Onza 3 sports an eye-catching bridged riser, distinctive string damper, clever cable containment system and Vibration Escape Modules that look like the intakes on a jet engine. Nitro Cams power the Onza 3 to good speeds, and the Roto Cup effectively serves as the critical interface between limbs and riser.

Martin Archery is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. That is a tremendous accomplishment considering the number of bow makers that have come and gone in that time. The company has has been a very positive influence on bowhunting through its innnovative designs (more than 25 patents) and support of the archery community.

For 2011, Martin brings back a bridged riser design from the early 80s on the Onza 3. Also featured is the Torque Reducing Cable Guard (TRG), Quick-Lock Stabilizer Mount, String Oscillation Suppressor (SOS), HammerHead string and cables, VEM Vibration Vortex and Nitro Cams.

Distinctive Features
With a bridged format, Martin is going back to a design it brought out in the early 80s. Bridging creates strength and stiffness through a wider and more stable footprint. A component I particularly like on the Onza riser is the Quick-Lock Stabilizer Mount — both front and back. Your tightly secured stabilizer can be removed from the bow with a few quick turns of the threads, which loosens the entire fixture and allows it to slide out of the open receiver.

Two of these technologies share the same carbon-rod mounting system — the SOS and TRG. Martin situates the SOS so it contacts the string near its midpoint using a soft rubber module that is suspended by two posts in a U-shaped fixture. With this setup, the module is permitted to move within the fixture as it reacts to the string. After absorbing the first blow, the SOS module flows with increasing resistance to quickly reduce string oscillation. According to Martin, having the SOS near the midpoint of the string reduces vibration up to five times faster than systems that catch the string low on the bow.

Martin’s TRG cable-containment system has two angled slots that allow the cables to move freely toward the centerline of the bow as it is drawn and then back out again  upon release. This movement eases tension, reduces torque and minimizes cam lean.

Seated within each end of the riser, Martin’s Vibration Escape Modules (VEM.) consist of an aluminum, bullet-shaped component suspended in the middle of a soft polymer body. During the shot, the solid bullet moves within the soft module counteracting vibration. VEM material is also used for Martin’s Hunter Arrow Shelf, which prevents noise if your arrow falls off the rest.

Combo Cams
The Onza 3’s Nitro Cams do an excellent job of combining speed, adjustability and smooth draw cycle. A clearly marked rotating module is easily adjusted to draw lengths from 27 1⁄2-30 1⁄2 inches, in half-inch increments. Fine-tuning is available through an adjustable draw stop on the bottom cam, which customizes the feel of the back wall/valley and slightly changes draw length. Martin advertises 80 percent letoff, with downward adjustability.

Functionally, the cables in this system are tied directly to the opposite cam to create a self-correcting mechanism. Structurally, Nitro Cams ride on stainless steel axles and sealed ball bearings and are CNC machined with three tracks to handle the cables. Cams are black anodized.

Precision and Power
The Onza 3 has a set of solid, 13-inch PowerTough limbs made with Gordon glass. Limbs are offered in 50-, 60- and 70-pound peak — each with 15 pounds of downward adjustment. Martin designed the 2011 limbs to reach beyond parallel at full draw. A proprietary coating is added to the limbs for increased toughness and durability.

The critical limb-to-riser interface is handled with the company’s Roto Cup limb alignment system, which uses a minimal amount of material to gain a maximum return in terms of control. For 2011, Martin tightened the Roto Cup tolerances for even more precision.

In addition to a bull’s-eye killing aim and rock-solid balance, the Onza 3 has a draw cycle to be proud of. In testing, a quality stabilizer and set of simple string silencers placed near the cams effectively tamed shot vibration and noise. This bow will get the job done in the field.


  • Shanita Stallsworth

    I am impressed with this writer’s content. This content is engaging, thought-provoking and motivational. There are many unique ideas shared in this article that I can relate to and understand.

  • Jeff W

    I have a Onza 3 I purchased this year. I was really looking at Hoyt, PSE, and Bear bows, I picked the Martin up just to look at it, and shot it. I was so impressed with it and the cost at about half of these others, I couldn't believe it. I was not restricted on price fully ready to spent over $1400 on my new bow, I spent around $900, new arrows, broadheads, quiver, sight, release, and hard case. I absolutely love this bow!

  • mike

    thats the ugliest lookin hoyt ive ever seen! did get to shoot one recently, found the quality of the bow to be quite horrible. kinda felt like a toy in my hand. time for martin to throw in the towel…. sorry ted nugent

    • kasey

      Actually Martin was the first bow company to utilize the bridged riser design. Hoyt "borrowed" the design from them. Hoyt's look like Martin bows, not the other way around.

    • Tim

      Mike, I think your full of it you saw a pic of the onza in this article and you are hoyte type branded ( meaning if it is mot a hoyte its crap mentality) and not very knowledgable about who developed the bridge riser. I have had a Hoyte olympic recurve bow since 1984 they make great bows but you never held the Martin Onza 3 or you wouldn't think it feels like toy. I bet I can out shoot your best hoyte with my Martin onza any day. And aim relearning how to shoot since my right eye got damaged and am relearning how to shoot left handed.

  • Jon Myers

    I ordered the Onza 3 arrived 2 weeks before bow season opened. The disappointment started as soon as I opened the box. My new $600.00 bow, just loose in a cardboard box. That should've been clue #1. Then I start realizing that the listed features were not as listed. No "TRG" or "SOS" system. So at this point I call Martin thinking that online archery shop pulled a fast one. Nope, turns out Martin had to change the product because there new string management system was chewing through strings within just a hand full of shots. But somehow couldn't find time to update there company website of this issue. This should have been Clue #2. But for some reason I press on and take this thing to my pro-shop to get a sight installed and draw adjusted for me. As the pro-shop proceeds with adjusting the draw, he notices the bow is strung incorrectly, wow! Should've been clue#3. Now, the bow is restrung and ready for the sight to be installed, BUT wait the holes for the sight were never threaded!! Should've been clue#4. Well once again the pro-shop corrected the problem. Then the sight is installed on the bow and all I hear is "wow", the pro behind the counter informs me that the sight is so angled off to the right that the sight will never be able to compensate for it. At this point my pro-shop informs me he cant repair this problem and the bow has to be returned to Martin as it is not shootable. And yes the holes were tapped correctly and the sight was mounted flush to the riser, actually tried two different sights on the "POS". The worse part about it was the customer service from Martin. I never received any apology or any attempt of resolving the situation. The best they had was" I can maybe get one out next week". Also, the bow weighed almost a full pound over advertised weight. I bought the bow through My hats off to them, very apologetic and a full refund including return shipping. I'm now the proud new owner of a Bowtech Destroyer 350, an excellent bow. Martin, Never Again. It was a first & last time experience.

    • J-bird

      Wow, that sounds really bad. I just bought an Onza 3 on line and I haven't got my hands on it yet, so I hope your's was an isolated incident . I owned a Martin Magcat about six or seven years ago and really liked it. It was not one of their high end bows, but it shot good and seemed well made. I own a Bowtech now and I would have gone with another, but they are having limb issues right now!! A close friend and my brother both had their bowtech bows crack or shatter a limb in the last year. My brother has a Destroyer 350 and his limb shattered at full draw just two weeks ago. I hope you have better luck than he did, and I have better luck that you did!! LOL

back to top