LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
When I was a green bowhunter I thought that the primary purpose of that “tube-like” mechanism protruding from the front of my bow (stabilizer) was to add a little weight. And while that thought may have held some truth to it, it wasn’t long until it changed. Later, as stabilizers began to evolve and improve I held the notion that their primary purpose was to squash post-shot noise and vibration. Again, while that was an accurate assumption, technology has a way of making you look at things in a different way if you just give it some time. That’s pretty much how I felt as I started taking a closer look at KTech Designs and the many options of American made stabilizers that they offer. Once again, my thoughts about what a stabilizer could or couldn’t do had changed.
If your idea of a stabilizer is “dead weight” on the front of your bow then you might want to reevaluate your thoughts.
However, with so many great products in their lineup I was reluctant to just test one and be done with it. After all, I think the readers of Bowhunting.com deserve to hear more than that. In fact, I think they expect it. So, in this first of a two-part series I will breakdown 3 KTECH items which include a stabilizer, a side bar and a string stop unit. All of which are poised to make you a more accurate shooter and a deadlier bowhunter….which is exactly why you’re here.
New for 2014 is the KTech MX series stabilizer which incorporates Limbsaver vibration-reduction Technology.
MK Series Side Bar
New for 2014 is the MK Series Side Bar. The MK9-SB Side Bar that I tested is 100 percent CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum using aerospace specs and offers a truly custom experience thanks to its patent pending 9-point interlocking feature. This “interlocking” feature sounded a little mundane to me until I took a closer look at how the adjustability really worked. Loosening the Allen head at the face of the side bar knuckle revealed more adjustability settings than I could count…literally! And while the 9-point interlocking feature assured me that once set the unit was not going to move, it was the overall level of customizing positions that caught my eye.
A closer look at the adjustability setting within the MK9 Side Bar knuckle reveals just how much effort went into making this accessory as customizable as possible.
While the first adjustment screw changes the vertical position of the side bar, the second allows you to move the side bar and its attached weights on a horizontal plane. This allows the shooter to either place the weight closer to the riser or further away from it. That’s important when trying to balance out the weight of a heavy sight and a quiver full of arrows. And speaking of weight, the MK9 Side Bar comes with 3 weighted disks that attach to the rear portion of the side bar. Shooters can choose to employ all three disks or any other number of them that they wish. The weighted disks simply screw on and off with the simple turn of the wrist. In addition, the bar and locking mechanisms are very lightweight; meaning, that when weight is added it is concentrated at the very end of the side bar; where you need it most.
Additional features on the MK9-SB include a built-in quick disconnect that is simple and easy to operate and removable weighted “disks” on the rear portion.
The MK9 Side Bar did an excellent job at balancing out my Mathews Creed XS. I’m fond of outfitting my bow with a long stabilizer and bow sight and the downside to that is I tend to get a lot of weight out “in front” of my bow riser. The MK9 was more than capable of adding some weight behind the riser and “opposite” my sight and quiver system which allowed me to hold much steadier at full draw; improving the overall accuracy and feel of my bow.
Tech Series Tech12 Stabilizer
As I stated earlier, after a lengthy conversation with KTech owner Kerry Verran at this year’s ATA show in Nashville, my eyes were really opened up to what a stabilizer was capable of doing with regard to making me shoot better at the range and in the field. For me, the Tech12 was all about one word….balance. Not only did it do an excellent job of halting noise and vibration, it did so with less weight added to my set up; which seemed to balance out my particular bow much better than I expected. The natural byproduct to that was a tighter arrow group down range.
After installing the Tech12 stabilizer to my Creed XS I shot this round of arrows from 30 yards in the wind and snow. What was more impressive to me was the fact that I hadn’t shot this bow since Christmas.
The Tech Series of stabilizers come in a variety of sizes; ranging from 2 inches all the way up to 12 inches. Each stabilizer is 100 percent machined from 6061 T6 aluminum and utilize the same vibration and noise cancelling technologies found in the Mathews Harmonic Stabilizers and Harmonic Dampers. Each stabilizer port is also machined with 3 groves which allows for custom damper configurations. This means that the Tech Series of stabilizers are highly tunable which is something rarely seen in the stabilizer market and what I like most about this (and all) KTech products. Bowhunters are natural “tinkerers” and this stabilizer allows you to do just that.
The Tech12 comes with the same cutouts found on your favorite Mathews bow. Not only does the design make it structurally strong, but it matches the overall aesthetics of the Mathews riser perfectly; deadly and good looking.
Shooters can choose between the Standard Harmonic Stabilizer, the Harmonic Stabilizer Lite, or the original Harmonic Damper. Anyone familiar with Mathews understands just how effective this technology is. In fact, it has been copied in other non-archery related fields. But for bowhunters, mixing and matching various weights and seeing how they react with your bow set up is not only fun but it can be rewarding; in the form of tighter arrow groups and increased confidence. That’s exactly what I found to be the case after installing and shooting the K12 to my Mathews Creed XS. In addition, I like the idea that the K12 didn’t add a lot of unwanted weight to my bow rig. Instead, it gives me the option as to where and how much weight I want added to the unit….all without sacrificing performance.
KSB String Stop
A lot of bow manufacturers offer bows equipped with a string stop; a simple rod with some sort of rubber “bumper” on the end that stops post-shot string vibration and thus overall noise. However, the KSB String Stop gives shooters the option of adding a little something more to their set up.
At first glance shooters will notice the same rubber string stop mechanism found on other string stops. However, it would be hard to overlook the Mathews Harmonic Stabilizer technology that has been added to the unit. This serves two major purposes. First, it helps kill vibration and noise and second, it gives shooters the option to add a little more weight behind the bow grip. This is a perfect example of how KTech products not only do the job they are designed to do, but also offer shooters more versatility than most other products on the market. While the string stop does its job, the front portion of the unit can be manipulated with heavier or lighter Harmonic Stabilizers for a custom feel and ultimately a better shooting bow.
While the KSB String Stop is effective at halting string and bow vibration, it also influences the overall feel of the bow thanks to the accompanying Mathews technology.
For me, I chose to use the standard Harmonic Stabilizer over the Stabilizer Lite. As I alluded to earlier, adding a little more weight behind the bow grip actually made the bow sit more upright in my hand; increasing accuracy further. In addition to the KSB String Stop, KTech also offers a model that incorporates a side bar. This feature allows you to enjoy the features of the string stop and also counter balance the weight of your bow sight and quiver all in a single unit. Not only that, you also have the option to move the weight to any number of positions. And, if all you really want is the benefits of the Harmonic Stabilizer, KTech offers the KSB1 which simply connects to your existing string stop carbon rod.
The side bar on the KSB “Side Bar” String Stop can be moved forward or backward and the weights can be removed, placed by themselves or stacked on one another for a custom feel.
Out of the box my Mathews Creed was deadly accurate. (Read full review here…. https://www.bowhunting.com/blog/2014/1/8/mathews-creed-xs-bow-review/) But like all serious bowhunters I’m never fully satisfied with my performance and thus I’m always looking for the slightest edge I can get. The KTech products discussed here have definitely taken my current bow setup to a higher level. The benefits were immediate and easy to prove by simply looking at the tightly stacked wad of arrows resting down range. Shooting like that only builds confidence to almost bulletproof proportions and definitely adds to the chances that game tags will be punched once the season opens. Visit www.ktechdesigns.com for more info.
Next time I will discuss the aptly named Infinity Stabilizer and the Intrepid Series Stabilizer. Two more KTech units that are sure to do what they were designed to do plus a little more…….