Bow Review: PSE Carbon Air Stealth SE
August 23, 2019
One of the world’s leading bow manufacturers, PSE continues to forge ahead in the carbon-riser arena. For 2019, it’s expanding the Carbon Air line to include the SE, which is optimized for shorter draw lengths.
The Carbon Air Stealth SE is loaded with innovative features such as PSE’s True Carbon Technology riser, Flex Rod cable-containment system with RollerGlide, a Vibracheck-tipped string stop and Vibracheck limb dampeners. Its Small Evolve Cam uses a quad-track design to reduce cam lean and generate advertised IBO speeds of 332-340 fps with a 29 ½-inch draw length.
PSE’s Carbon Air Stealth SE is unique in its construction — more specifically, its riser’s carbon construction. It employs a monocoque-design (think of an egg) that allows PSE to optimize fiber alignment to enhance strength and flex in a single, continuous structural shell that possesses both tensile and compressive abilities. In addition, carbon lacks thermal conductivity, giving the bow a warmer feel on cold days.
The Stealth SE’s grip is built into the handle and has no secondary components. Carbon isn’t suitable for drilling/tapping, so a series of barrel nuts and inserts replace the typical accessory interfaces.
PSE fills the Stealth SE’s hollow riser shell with proprietary Structural Rigid Acoustic Core (S-RAC material) Technology. S-RAC is designed to dampen vibration and noise at the bow’s core, resulting in less shock, vibration and noise at the shot.
Rounding out the riser package is the Flex Rod cable-containment system, a Vibracheck-tipped Backstop string suppressor and a metal stabilizer-mounting insert. The Flex Rod uses PSE’s FRS Torque Reduction System, which is highly adjustable for clearance and tuning and is designed to reduce torque during the draw and shooting cycles. It can be outfitted with PSE’s new friction-eliminating RollerGlide or a traditional cable slide.
The Stealth SE sports a version of PSE’s popular Evolve Cam System (ECS) optimized for shorter draw lengths — the Small Evolve Cam. The ECS uses a Dual Cam Quad Track design that forces the cams to work together, as the cables anchor cam-to-cam. By locking the action of the cams together, the system automatically compensates for small changes that would normally cause issues with traditional dual-cam designs.
The system’s versatility comes via its two base module styles: HL (comfort) and LL (target), both of which rotate to allow for draw lengths of 24-29 ½ inches in half-inch increments. Each module also has a built-in, adjustable draw stop offering three letoffs — 80, 85 and 90 percent for the HL and 65, 70 and 75 for the LL. The HL module comes standard (set at 90 percent letoff), while the LL module is optional.
Wedged & Loaded
The Stealth SE’s riser and limb interface is managed by PSE’s Wedgelock Speed Pocket. This closed-end pocket provides positive pressure to lock the limbs into place for consistent, precise alignment. The Wedgelock, made of machined aluminum (black anodized), pivots during the weight-adjustment process to maintain alignment.
The bow’s 984 Series split limbs are made of Gordon Composites material and available in 40-, 50-, 60- or 70-pound peak draw weights. The limbs are highly preloaded, and the titanium limb and pocket hardware reduces overall weight. A hydrographic process is used to finish the limbs in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country or KUIU Verde camo, or in black.
At the Range
The first thing archers will likely notice about the Stealth SE is its weight — more accurately, its lack thereof. The bow’s draw cycle, while aggressive, was consistent, with no abrupt changes. A sharp jump and lasting, low-level vibration were felt in the grip at the shot but were noticeably diminished with the use of a quality stabilizer. The grip is somewhat deep front-to-back. At full draw, the bow holds solidly on target, with very little movement during follow-through.