Right out of the package Bear Archery’s new FISIX FFL crossbow looks different than most hunting crossbows presently on the market, with its unique sand color and forward-facing limbs. On further investigation it also has more useful bells and whistles than any other crossbow that I have ever seen. It’s as if Bear heard the call from hunters who want more for their money in a basic crossbow package and the FISIX FFL definitely delivers.
To begin, the FISIX is shipped fully assembled except for the quiver (two screws and you’re done), scope (two mount screws) and the unique GAFFSTEP offset stirrup, which requires two more screws.
I had the scope and stirrup mounted in about 5 minutes. The quiver took a tad longer simply because no Allen wrench was provided, which meant I had to rifle through my tool box for a moment to find the proper tool for the job. Within minutes the FISIX was up and ready to shoot.
Following my own advice I sat down and read the FISIX owner’s manual from start to finish (always recommended) and this is where I began to discover the crossbow’s long list of exciting features, starting with the adjustable trigger. Most crossbow triggers are set at about 3½ pounds, but that’s just an industry standard. The FISIX trigger can be set from about 1½ pounds (rather light for hunting purposes) to nearly 6 pounds (too stout). I set mine at 3 pounds just because I’ve been shooting for over 50 years and that’s what seems “normal” to me. The exciting part is that now there is a crossbow that has a solid, dependable adjustable trigger so anyone from a 10-year-old to a 90-year-old can set the trigger at a pull weight that works for them.
Also unique in the FISIX is that the crossbow may be cocked with the safety set at Fire or Safe — no need to ensure that the safety is set at Fire as is the case with most other crossbows. Of course, either way it’s the shooter’s responsibility to be certain that once cocked the safety switch is on Safe until it’s time to shoot.
More great features include two underside Picatinny rails where the quiver and other accessories may be mounted. This allows hunters to attach lights, cameras, bipods and assorted other goodies to the underside of the crossbow for night hunting, long-range shooting and other options.
I was especially happy to see that the top Picatinny rail is 8 inches long, which is 2 or 3 inches longer than most other crossbow scope mounting rails. Now hunters with long arms and necks can position the scope well forward on the rail for a much more comfortable line of sight.
But wait, there’s more! The FISIX includes an adjustable foregrip (for those long-armed shooters) and an adjustable stock that adds some serious length — over 3 additional inches with a fast-action under-lever that locks the stock solidly in place. Between the top Picatinny rail and the adjustable stock, shooters have an adjustment range of nearly 10 inches overall. Shooters who have their own favorite AR buttstock can easily replace the standard stock by pulling on the under-lever pin and sliding the buttstock off the buffer tube.
And there’s still more! For additional comfort, the initial-issue buttstock includes an adjustable cheek piece. This requires some work with a Phillips-head screwdriver but requires only a few seconds to make the necessary adjustments.
All of this plus adjustable trigger and foregrip make the FISIX one of the most innovative and user-friendly crossbows out there.
Specifications are similar to most other crossbows with a power stroke of 17½ inches, axle-to-axle width of 15.1 inches, overall length of 36.7 inches and an average arrow speed of 375 fps. This last is interesting because the FISIX is designed for use with 22-inch arrows and yet has a draw weight of only 135 pounds, 40 to 50 pounds less than many other crossbows.
If the FISIX has an Achilles Heel it is its overall weight, a hefty 9.9 pounds without the scope. In the world of crossbows the FISIX is a beast in that regard, making it an unlikely choice for still-hunting, stalking or other “carry your crossbow” applications. One might think that such a heavy unit would include a sling as part of the basic package, but such was not the case with my test crossbow — a perennial complaint on my end.
With all that said, the FISIX is short enough to fit inside most ground blinds — with room to spare — and is easily handled in portable and ladder-type tree stands from any position.
Because the crossbow is nearly 4 pounds heavier than most of its competitors, buyers should consider purchasing a bipod or similar rest for hunting purposes.
The FISIX FFL obviously contains some innovative features but the fun continues with its unusual 1.5-5×32 Trophy Ridge XV525IR multi-reticle illuminated scope. Designed specifically for crossbow use, the variable-power scope offers red and green illumination and reticle options out to 90 yards, which is well beyond the practical use of any hunter but may find some value on the target range.
One final “wow” feature of the FISIX: The scope allows for adjustments in arrow speeds! Once the crossbow is sighted in at the standard 20-yard distance, the scope may be calibrated for other distances by simply dialing in the speed selector on the scope. I don’t normally trust such “all distances included” adjustments and end up shooting for verification anyway, but the Trophy Ridge was right on the money out to 50 yards with no additional adjustments on my part. The scope does work as designed, but if you are going to bet your hunting trip on it I would recommend sighting in at 20, 30 and 40 yards just to make sure.
For additional proof I took the FISIX out to the range and found it to be dead-on at all distances once I had it sighted in at 20 yards. I lubed the rail after every 20 shots as the owner’s manual suggests and had no trouble cocking, loading or shooting the crossbow.
The roving range turned out to be more of a challenge simply because the FISIX weighs in at over 10 pounds, which is quite a bit of weight to squeeze into a 36.7-inch package. Taking my own advice I used a sling for carrying and, when necessary, a bipod for shooting at 30- and 40-yard targets, and had no trouble making killing shots from every angle. The FISIX was easy to cock using the supplied cocking sled and exceptionally accurate at typical hunting distances. I did fire a few shots at 90 yards just to test the scope’s capabilities. I’d say that with practice I could probably hit a big whitetail at that distance but, of course, would never attempt to do so with a live animal.
I found nothing to complain about with the FISIX, but a sling would be a useful accessory to include with this package and an Allen wrench for the quiver base would have kept me out of the basement for a few minutes, but otherwise this crossbow is as modern, innovative and hunter-friendly as they come.
MSRP for the Bear Archery FISIX FFL package (crossbow in sand or RealTree Xtra Green, scope, cocking sled, three arrows and quiver) is $999.