September 19, 2023
Mathews is an industry leader in bow manufacturing, and the company is laser focused on its goal to produce stability without compromise in its rigs.
Long, straight, rigid risers along with short, stout and stable limbs help Mathews achieve that goal, and the company continues to refine its shooting platform with new features that significantly reduce shot noise and vibration.
The 2023 Phase 4 is a prime example of that, thanks to all-new Resistance Phase Damping limbs, a dedicated mounting hole to accept the company’s all-new Bridge-Lock Stabilizers and a plethora of proven Mathews technology such as Crosscentric Cams with SwitchWeight Technology.
The Power System
Mathews outfits the Phase 4 with its popular Crosscentric Cam system that sports a circular profile on one half for a smooth drawing experience and a necessarily aggressive profile on the second half to produce the necessary power. The company’s Advanced Vectoring System (AVS) Technology employs two small discs on each cam that are mounted offset to the axle. Anchored to the ends of the harness cable, the discs rotate non-concentrically, shifting the force vector to store more energy on the front end of the draw and increase letoff on the back side. Further, Mathews’ unique SwitchWeight Technology allows the shooter to select peak draw weight in 5-pound increments through the module.
The Phase 4 is available in two models, featuring axle-to-axle lengths of 29 and 33 inches respectively. The Phase 4 29 is the subject of this review. Cam modules dictate letoffs of 80 or 85 percent and draw lengths, in half-inch increments, from 25.5-30 inches (the Phase 4 33 accommodates draw lengths from 27-31.5 inches). The Phase 4 29 has a 6-inch brace height and an advertised IBO speed rating of 340 fps.
The Phase 4 bows draw their names from Mathews’ new Resistance Phase Damping (RPD) Technology seen in the split limbs. Rather than the typical, four-piece limb set that makes up a split-limb configuration, the Phase 4 uses eight individual pieces, essentially splitting each typical limb piece into two halves and inserting a thin layer of vibration-dampening material between them. Mathews’ new RPD technology attacks vibration right at the source, leaving much less residual vibration to be managed. Mathews believes RPD shines brightest when coupled with the all-new Bridge-Lock Stabilizers (more about that in the next section). Together, they are advertised to reduce noise by 13 percent and vibration by 37 percent.
A Bridge to Integration
Mathews hit a home run last year with the introduction of the Bridge-Lock riser design for bow sights, bringing the sight dovetail bar into direct contact with, and in the center of, the riser channel. The Phase 4 is also outfitted with this feature, eliminating the need for a side-mount bracket and completely opening the outside of the riser’s sight window when coupled with the built-in Integrate dovetail arrow rest mount on the back of the riser below the shelf. This allowed Mathews to design quivers that are advertised to be 56 percent closer to the riser compared to previous versions.
For 2023, Mathews has also added a Bridge-Lock Stabilizer dovetail mounting slot on the lower portion of the Phase 4 riser. It sits immediately below the still-present standard threaded stabilizer mount. Mathews says that the direct connection between the Phase 4 riser and Bride-Lock Stabilizer significantly increases stiffness and enhances integration. Small indentations machined into the stabilizer bar in half-inch increments allow for easy, custom adjustment of stabilizer length (forward of the riser) as you slide the bar back and forth in the mounting hole. The new stabilizers also feature a stackable weight system at the front end, making customization of stabilizer weight easy, too.
While RPD limb technology knocks down much of the post-shot vibration, there is still some to be managed, and Mathews makes quick work of it with its 3D Damping Technology designed to decrease vibration in three axes from the point of the grip. The included Nano 740 Harmonic Damper is specifically designed to reduce residual vibration and noise, while its extended forward position enhances bow balance at full draw.
The Phase 4 riser package is rounded out with the Centerguard cable-containment system and Engage grip. Mathews’ Centerguard places the rollers in the center of the bow for top synchronized mod contact top and bottom and also results in better vane clearance. Mathews’ Engage Grip produces a neutral wrist position, offers comfort and, most importantly, encourages shooting consistency.
At the Range
The high level of integration between bow and accessories on the Phase 4 can actually be felt in the overall shooting experience; it absolutely makes a difference. Also notable is Mathews’ consistent high quality in materials and workmanship — year after year, it is a constant.
Even with no stabilizer at all, the Phase 4 29 performed with little feedback at the shot in terms of shock, vibration or noise. And when I added a Bridge-Lock Stabilizer to the setup, the slight detectable vibration was completely eliminated. The Engage grip was functional and allowed a consistent hand position, while the firm but consistent draw cycle dropped easily to a solid back wall that allows you to relax while aiming at full draw.
As with other Mathews flagship bows in recent years, the Phase 4 tips the scales in the mid 4-pound range of physical weight, something I’d like to see closer to 4 pounds.
- Manufacturer: Mathews Archery, 608-269-2728; mathewsinc.com
- Model: Phase 4 29
- Riser: Reflex, Extended Bridge
- Grip: Engage, molded composite
- Limbs: Resistance Phase Damping, Split
- Draw Weights: 60, 65, 70 and 75 pounds peak
- Draw Lengths: 25.5-30 inches, in half-inch increments; modular
- Cam System: Crosscentric Cam with SwitchWeight Technology
- Letoff: 80 or 85 percent, adjustable; 79.7 percent (tested)
- String: Zebra, BCY 452X, 62.625 inches
- Cables (x2): Zebra, BCY 452X, 30.0625 inches
- Brace Height: 6 inches
- Axle-to-Axle Length: 29 inches
- Weight: 4.48 pounds (advertised); 4.55 pounds (tested)
- Finish: Green Ambush (pictured) and seven other camouflage and solid-color options
- Advertised IBO Speed: 340 fps
- MSRP: $1,299
- Comments: A bow that shows Mathews' top quality and high performance through and through.
Speed & Energy
- Arrow Speed: 305 fps (375-grain arrow), 287 fps (425-grain arrow)
- Kinetic Energy: 77.5 ft./lbs. (375-grain arrow), 77.8 ft./lbs. (425-grain arrow)
- Dynamic Efficiency: 85.6% (375-grain arrow), 85.8% (425-grain arrow)
- Shot Noise: 90.2 dBA (375-grain arrow), 88.97 dBA (425-grain arrow)