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Bow Review: Mathews Prima

A compact yet powerful bow designed for women and short-draw bowhunters.

Bow Review: Mathews Prima

Mathews’ Prima is powered by the company’s Crosscentric Cam, with IBO speeds of up to 321 fps with a 27.5-inch draw length.

If you are a female archery hunter, or a bowhunter with a shorter draw length, Mathews has designed a brand-new bow just for you — the Prima!

After a successful run of the popular Avail women’s bow, the company has stepped up its game even further with this bow. The Engage Grip is designed to enhance accuracy and comfort, while the Center Guard Cable-Containment System brings optimized cam timing and additional vane clearance. The new Nano 740 Damper settles the Prima and quiets the shot for a better shooting experience. Other components and technologies include the QAD Integrate Rest mount, Crosscentric Cams, Gordon Composites split limbs and more.

Bridged Riser

Mathews builds the Prima on a forged/machined aluminum riser that uses a reflex configuration to enhance performance. Bridging, which refers to the multiple cross cutouts that pass through the riser in the direction of the shooting plane, increases strength and stiffness. The riser is notably long compared to the overall length of the bow, since company testing has pointed to the riser length, not axle-to-axle length, as most critical to creating stability. A machined dovetail on the back side of the riser is designed to accept and anchor QAD’s Integrate arrow rest line.

New for 2021 is the Centerguard Cable-Containment System. Rather than come straight off the riser, this system is mounted at an angle from a position above the rest mount and places the rollers directly in line with the rest-mounting hole located at the center of the bow. This causes the cables to come off the top and bottom cams at equal angles, allowing the mod-based cable stops to hit the cables simultaneously for perfect timing with added vane clearance.

The Engage Grip is designed to reduce torque and position the shooter’s hand consistently — regardless of size — for increased accuracy. The one-piece version is made of a molded rubber-like material, features a textured rear surface, offers ample thumb clearance and is designed to produce a neutral wrist position; optional side plates offer a thinner grip.

Vector Advantage

Mathews’ unique Crosscentric Cam features Advanced Vectoring System (AVS) Technology. Two circular discs mounted offset to the axle are forced to rotate non-concentrically, thereby shifting the force vector front to back. Energy is stored on the front side while letoff is increased on the back end. Modules, which are individually designed to maximize performance at a specific draw length, are available in draw lengths from 21.5-27.5 inches.

Mathews Tophat shim system and Zero-T (zero tolerance) axles allow for custom cam position tuning. The IBO speed with the 27.5-inch draw length and 60-pound draw weight is advertised at 321 fps, and the bow’s letoff is 80 percent.

Taming the Shot

Several features and technologies work to tame the Prima’s shot. First is the past-parallel position of the pre-stressed split limbs at full draw. Known advantages of this type of limb configuration include reduced shock, vibration and noise.

A riser-mounted string stop uses a soft rubber material to quickly dampen string oscillation at the shot, while the all-new Nano 740, which is calibrated and tuned for the specific harmonics of the Prima, greatly reduces vibration and noise.

The lower and forward position of the Nano is based on Mathews’ testing that showed maximizing the distance of their Harmonic Stabilizer from the grip in all three axes gave them the best results.


The Mathews Prima may be touted as a top-end rig for women, but I would gladly take it on my hunts and am confident it would get the job done.

The test bow had only a tiny “bump” in the handle at the shot with no detectable vibration, and it was very quiet. The grip is narrow, comfortable and functional, allowing me to consistently repeat my hand position.


The Prima is by no means an afterthought — it incorporates most of the technologies found on Mathews’ other flagship bows. The only difference is that they are simply resized to accommodate women and short-draw archers.

The Specs

  • Manufacturer: Mathews Archery, 608-269-2728;
  • Model: Prima
  • Riser: Machined aluminum, bridged, reflex
  • Grip: Engage Grip
  • Limbs: Past parallel, split
  • Draw Weights: 40, 50 and 60 pounds peak
  • Cam System: Crosscentric
  • Letoff: 80 percent (advertised); 78.2 percent (as tested)
  • Draw Lengths: 21.5-27.5 inches, in half-inch increments, modular
  • String: Zebra Trophy, BCY 452X, 55 inches
  • Cables (x2): Zebra Trophy, BCY 452X, 35.625 inches
  • Brace Height: 5.5 inches
  • Axle-to-Axle Length: 30 inches
  • Weight: 3.93 pounds (advertised); 3.9 pounds (as tested)
  • Finish: Realtree Edge (shown) plus seven additional camo and solid options
  • Advertised IBO Speeds: 321 fps (27.5-inch draw length)
  • MSRP: $1,099
  • Comments: Top-end design and performance.

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