Crossbow Review: Mission SUB-1 XR

Crossbow Review: Mission SUB-1 XR

Since inception, test specialist Chad Smith and I have been impressed with the crossbows Mission has brought to market. Great quality and performance in simple, efficient packages — not surprising, considering that Mathews and Matt McPherson are behind the company. Case in point: the SUB-1 XR.

This addition to the SUB-1 line measures only 9.1 inches axle- to-axle when cocked; launches a 350-grain bolt at an advertised 410 fps; comes standard with a three-pound, two-stage trigger; features an increased limb/cup platform width; sports added cutouts to the Back Out System (B.O.S.) to easily check limb-bolt position; and more. Much more.

Putting the “Bow” in Crossbow

The XR’s integrated Riser Step (RS) Tread design eliminates the need for a protruding foot stirrup by using a ribbed section inside the riser to secure the rig during the cocking process. This results in a shorter overall length and much easier draw, as it puts the total draw cycle in your power range rather than on overextended arms. A cocking rope is included with all Mission crossbows; an optional RSD crank cocking aid is also available. A bubble level is attached to the top of the riser for improved accuracy.

Like the popular Mathews NO-CAM, the Mission Sync XR Cam, with its concentric string payout and offset cable action, generates excellent speeds while maintaining perfect synchronization for optimal nock travel. By forcing both cams to work together through shared and direct cable anchoring, the SUB-1 XR automatically adjusts for small changes in the system’s string, cables and position. The 80 percent letoff system permits easy cocking and de-cocking and is said to control the acceleration of the bolt, which allows for faster bolt stabilization and, in turn, tighter groups.


CNC-machined, full-control limb pockets align the XR’s split limbs to its riser. Mission’s B.O.S. uses extra-long limb bolts to allow for string/cable changes, as well as draw-weight changes from 150-250 pounds. The limbs measure 10.25 inches long, are made from Gordon Composites material and are compact and wide to produce greater torsional rigidity and evenly distributed stress and energy.


Triggering Accuracy

The SUB-1 XR’s trigger box is packed with technology, beginning with a two-stage, match-grade trigger featuring a fully contained roller sear to offer a super-crisp pull advertised at three pounds. All components of the trigger are precision machined and fitted, while the two-stage action lets the shooter position the trigger with the first pull and then fire the bolt with an extra pull.


A trigger safety automatically engages during the XR’s cocking cycle, and a bolt detector prevents the rig from being dry fired. Mission’s Benchmark Fire Control System is designed to easily and quickly de-cock the XR with the push of a button and relaxing of the cocking rope. The Easy-Load Bolt Retention Arm applies consistent pressure to the bolt, holding it securely in place.

Custom Fit

Mission outfits the XR with an adjustable buttstock and cheekpiece wrapped with rubber over-mold for comfort. The former has three positions that change the length of pull in quarter-inch increments (15, 15.25 and 15.5 inches), while the latter uses two rods secured by setscrews for 1.25 inches of adjustment.

Mission’s open-format, machined-aluminum rail connects the bow to the stock, forearm and trigger box. The bottom of the rail houses a machined-aluminum stock frame with a built-in trigger guard and provides a mounting structure for the injection-molded, composite foregrip and pistol grip. Safety “wings” are molded into the foregrip.


What’s in the Box?

A cocking rope, soft case and level are included with the XR. For $199.99 more, you can upgrade to the Pro Kit: Hawke XB-1 1.5-5x32 SR etched-reticle, variable-speed, two-color illuminated scope with match-grade rings; three 19-inch Mission bolts with nocks; 3-bolt quiver and rail lube.

At the Range

The Mission SUB-1 XR balanced and maneuvered well with its short overall length and cocked width. Cocking the XR, with its 80 percent letoff and RS Tread riser, was easy, as was de-cocking it with the de-cocking mechanism. The adjustable buttstock and cheekpiece helped with accuracy. In short, the XR is an excellent performer and fun to shoot.

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