Crossbow Review: BearX Impact

The BearX Impact is a great-performing crossbow with loads of value.

Crossbow Review: BearX Impact

The author found the Impact to be attractively styled, compact and well-balanced.

With 90 years in business, Bear Archery’s roots run deep. In fact, it’s one of the archery industry’s oldest brands. Despite Bear’s time-honored existence as a manufacturer of traditional and compound bows, it more recently rode in on the crossbow wave in 2016 wearing the BearX Crossbows earmark. Today, BearX offers various full-size crossbow models ranging in price from $299.99 to $799.99. It also has two crossbow pistols. If I’ve done my homework, the brand is positioned to merge quality and performance with prices that most crossbow hunters can afford.

For the first time, I had the opportunity to test and evaluate a BearX crossbow. At the top of BearX’s lineup is the edgy and tactical Impact, which is the model I’ll be covering in this report. There are dozens of crossbows on the market, but here are some reasons why the Impact makes a fine choice for your customers, especially for the money.

BearX Impact
BearX Impact

Test Crossbow Specs

  • Make/Model: BearX Impact
  • Available Finishes: Veil Stoke, Truetimber Strata
  • Mass Weight: 9.1 pounds (accessorized, including scope, quiver and bolts)
  • Overall Width: 12 1/16 inches (un-cocked); 8 1/8 inches (cocked)
  • Overall Length: 29 inches
  • Draw Weight: 185 pounds
  • Power Stroke: 15.5 inches
  • Bolt Length and Weight: 20 inches; 370 grains including 100-grain field point
  • Manufacturer Listed Velocity: 420 fps
  • Actual Velocity: 397 fps (found with Caldwell Ballistic Precision chronograph and 382-grain TrueX bolt)
  • Manufacturer Listed Trigger Pull: Not Listed
  • Cocking Device: BearX EZ Crossbow Silent Crank
  • Scope: BearX Speed Comp Scope
  • MSRP: $799.99
  • Contact: 

First Impressions

Many crossbow shoppers put a high value on what comes with the crossbow they’re interested in buying; the accessories can make or break a sale. The Impact package doesn’t disappoint. Included are the BearX Speed Comp Scope featuring aiming circles from 20-100 yards, a four-arrow quiver, three TrueX 20-inch bolts with practice points, a shoulder sling, Silent Crank Cocking Device and rail lube that doubles as string wax. 

The Speed Comp Scope is awesome. Simply set the magnification to correspond with the velocity, then sight in at 20 yards. Now, move back and test out the other yardage circles. You might have to give the windage a click or two to fine tune the scope. The scope also features red/green illumination ideal for low-light conditions. Flip-open scope caps complete the ensemble.  

I will say that the quiver is a little bit flimsy. While an adjustable plastic support bridge stiffens the rods near the hood, there is no support at the bottom of the rods other than the rubber arrow gripper. That allows the quiver to flex, making it a little bit difficult to insert or remove arrows. It serves its purpose, but I’d like to see more support toward the bottom of the rods to alleviate flexing.

The included TrueX 20-inch bolts are straight and fly like darts. They seem very durable, too. While comparing the grain-weight consistency across all three bolts on a Last Chance Archery grain scale, two were right at 382 grains, while the third weighed 377 grains. BearX rates these bolts at 370 grains, so either there is a discrepancy between Bear’s scale and mine, or perhaps each batch varies a bit from the last. In any case, the additional 12 grains make little difference.

The Silent Crank Cocking Device makes the Impact easy enough for virtually anyone to cock.
The Silent Crank Cocking Device makes the Impact easy enough for virtually anyone to cock.

The detached Silent Crank Cocking Device works well. However, the little plastic thumb tab used to lock and unlock the crank continually fell off the metal post, which isn’t a big deal because a dab of super glue would fix it. The crank is super quiet and fairly user-friendly, but I could see where it would be a bit cumbersome to carry afield, especially while hunting from a treestand or saddle setup. Reloading will also take more time and movement being that the crank isn’t integrated. But, again, it works.

Fit and Feel

The Impact’s tactical profile is attractive, short and compact — it’s ideal for most hunters to handle and shoot. The cheekpiece also makes a positive cheek weld easy to achieve, allowing the shooter to quickly acquire a target through the Speed Comp Scope, which is essential in fast-paced hunting situations. The Picatinny rail provides a rainbow of eye-relief adjustability, so regardless of the shooter’s stature, the scope can be positioned just right.

The pistol grip is carefully contoured for comfort and provides good control of the crossbow while carrying, aiming and shooting. The Impact’s skeletonized design is also extremely well-balanced, even when accessorized. It doesn’t feel bulky or awkward. Plus, it’s ideal for tight hunting ambushes with a cocked width of merely 8 1/8 inches and 29-inch overall length.

The flip-down foot pedal is better for large boot sizes than conventional foot stirrups, and it doubles as a bipod when shooting from a bench or blind window sill.
The flip-down foot pedal is better for large boot sizes than conventional foot stirrups, and it doubles as a bipod when shooting from a bench or blind window sill.

I really like the flip-down foot pedal, which is designed to support the crossbow as it’s being cocked. Many crossbows are outfitted with conventional foot stirrups, and while I have little trouble inserting my footwear into them, hunters with larger boot sizes often struggle with most of those designs. So, this is a win for BearX. The foot pedal folds up tight when it isn’t needed. When heading downrange to pull arrows from a target, the Impact can be set on the ground and supported perfectly by the foot pedal, pistol grip and stock butt. Perhaps best of all, the foot pedal can be used as a bipod while shooting from a bench or box blind window sill, so long as the limbs are clear of obstructions.

The safety works just fine, but it is positioned a good 10 inches behind the trigger. I know I could get used to it, but it is a little difficult to find unless I pull my eye away from the scope so that I can see it. It’s not positioned very conveniently. It’s also fairly loud, even when I support one side with my index finger and the other with my thumb. The main point of a safety is, well, safety, and this one certainly checks that box perfectly despite its subtle shortcomings.

The Impact is ideal for tight hunting setups. Its cocked width is merely 8 1/8 inches.
The Impact is ideal for tight hunting setups. Its cocked width is merely 8 1/8 inches.

On the Range

While shooting the Impact, I noticed that the trigger is very comfortably positioned. The downside is that it has a lot of travel. My husband said that it reminds him of a two-stage rifle trigger, so maybe BearX was going for that. If not, then there’s just a lot of travel. I’m able to focus diligently and squeeze through until the shot breaks, but I’d be thrilled to see a no-travel trigger that breaks cleanly at 3 pounds or so. Such a trigger makes it easier to deliver a quicker and more accurate hit. If you squeeze through the Impact’s trigger until the shot surprises you, it will shoot well. If you pull or punch the trigger with any force, the reticle has more time to move before the shot breaks, which can affect accuracy, especially at longer ranges. 

The Impact is one of the quieter crossbows I’ve tested, which reduces shot anticipation and also makes it stealthier in hunting situations. The limbs are extremely parallel, which helps with that, but the Impact is also outfitted with rubber string stops designed to squelch bowstring noise and vibrations to deliver a smooth and quiet shot.

The aptly-named Impact hits hard. BearX lists the velocity at 420 fps. I’ve found that most crossbows don’t live up to their listed velocities, so I wasn’t alarmed that the Impact’s velocity was 397 fps as measured by a Caldwell Ballistic Precision chronograph. Let’s be honest, though, that most vertical bow setups in the 260-fps range are incredibly deadly, so 397 fps is plenty of smoke for all types of hunting, especially considering the 133.72 foot pounds of energy this rig produces.

As I said earlier, the Speed Comp has aiming points from 20 to 100 yards. Between my husband and I, we shot it out to 70 yards and found the aiming circles to be accurate. Shortly after sighting in, he shot a nice three-shot group from 70 yards from the standing position with the Impact propped on a Primos TriggerStick. Two bolts were in the 10-ring and one in the 12-ring of our Rinehart Big Jim 3-D target. Most hunters have no business shooting deer at 70 yards, but this crossbow is accurate enough in skilled hands to deliver an accurate hit at that range and beyond.

How about that for a 70-yard group on the first day of testing?
How about that for a 70-yard group on the first day of testing?

Final Thoughts

While the Impact has a few minor negative points, it is quiet, comfortable, well-balanced, attractively styled and deadly accurate to long distances. If it retailed for $1,500, that would be one thing, but for $799.99, I believe your customers will consider their money well spent when they take home their new Impact.

In-the-field photos by Darron and Becca McDougal


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