Bow Review: Bear Archery Persist

The 90-year-old company’s latest flagship bow, the Bear Archery Persist, delivers the feature-driven performance that dedicated bowhunters demand.

Bow Review: Bear Archery Persist

The Bear Archery Persist is so stable that the sight pin virtually locks onto the bull’s-eye. After getting sighted in to 50 yards in just 15 minutes, this was the author's initial 50-yard group (left photo), and the accuracy proved to be repeatable.

I’ll never forget the moment when a doe came up from the river-bottom onto the prairie about 100 yards away. She turned my way, and I instinctively lifted my Bear Arena 30 from its hook. It was Nov. 10, 2014, and a buck was likely to be trailing her. In just a few seconds, my suspicions became reality as tall tines appeared.

The doe passed through my funnel 35 yards away, but the buck took a farther trail, putting him at 51 yards and slightly above my treestand. I drew and simultaneously mouth-grunted to pause him for my shot. When the arrow struck, he plowed into a dense thicket, making it merely 20 yards into the tangle before expiring. The monster was my first deer with a Bear bow.

Everyone Belongs at Bear

Few manufacturers do better than Bear Archery at making everyone — young, old, experienced and inexperienced — feel welcomed into the archery and bowhunting community. Peruse Bear’s bow lineup and you’ll find models for every archer and every application. Also, Bear’s partnership with The Hunting Public conveys the important message that hunting can be as simple as wearing a camo T-shirt, buying a deer tag and carrying an affordable Bear bow to the deer woods. But, there are also advanced, high-end models for those who eat, sleep and breathe bowhunting, and it’s time to welcome in the latest flagship: the Persist.

Bear Archery Persist
Bear Archery Persist

Sidebar: Test Bow Specs

  • Axle-to-Axle Length: 31 inches
  • Brace Height: 6.5 inches
  • Draw Length: 28 inches
  • Draw Weight: 73.2 pounds 
  • Let-off: 80%
  • Bow-only Weight: 5 pounds (approximately)
  • Accessorized Total Weight: 6.3 pounds (no quiver)
  • Velocity: 281 fps with 468-grain Easton 6.5mm Acu-Carbon 340 arrow; 285 fps with 456-grain CX Maxima Triad 350 arrow; 288 fps with 441-grain Victory VAP SS 350 arrow
  • Kinetic Energy: 81.97 foot-pounds (Easton); 82.16 foot-pounds (CX); 81.14 foot-pounds (Victory)
  • Test-Bow Finish: Mossy Oak Country DNA
  • MSRP: $1,249
  • Contact: 

First Impressions

It’s been 10 years since the hunt mentioned above, and the 2024 Bear Archery Persist’s abundant features would make the Arena seem somewhat obsolete. But, how the Persist compares to a 10-year-old bow doesn’t interest me. I want to know what makes it better than the 2023 Bear Execute. It took practically no time to identify the new attributes.

For starters, the riser geometry is slightly different. The intricate bridging tweaks yield a fresh appearance and likely boost rigidity. Bear has also jumped on the Picatinny bandwagon. While the option to mount accessories in the conventional manner exists, I don’t suggest it. I clamped a Trophy Ridge sight directly to the Picatinny rail on the front of the riser, as well as a Trophy Ridge rest onto the back of the riser. Eliminating conventional mounting brackets makes the accessories themselves lighter and trimmer, while allowing for a more solid connection and a better overall accessorized balance. Talk about a big win.

The Picatinny sight mount accommodates a trimmer sight by eliminating the need for a conventional sight-mounting bracket, plus it provides a more rigid connection to the bow.
The Picatinny sight mount accommodates a trimmer sight by eliminating the need for a conventional sight-mounting bracket, plus it provides a more rigid connection to the bow.

Next, I spotted the Persist’s new Silent Shelf Technology. What appears to be a polymer molding perfectly envelopes the riser shelf. If you accidentally bang an arrow against it, the resulting noise is much quieter than if your arrow contacts the riser directly. However, it isn’t as quiet as a riser rigged with moleskin or neoprene wrap. I would’ve liked to see a more rubbery substrate to truly silence arrow contact. If your customer demands a quieter riser, simply extract the three screws that attach the molding to the riser and go with an adhesive-backed moleskin instead.  

As with past designs, the string stop’s cushion halts the bowstring to decrease oscillation and mute vibrations, but Bear took it a step further with a new and innovative take. This cushion isn’t locked, per se, to the carbon rod that attaches to the riser. Instead, the metal barrel that the string cushion is attached to is lined with rubber, creating a push-to-fit connection with the carbon rod that doesn’t require a set screw. The result is extra cushioning at the shot to reduce resonation.  

Finally, Bear had treestand hunters in mind when it weaved a rope loop through the upper limb pocket. It’s designed for easy and secure tow-rope attachment. Also integrated are connection points compatible with a Bear quick-disconnect shoulder sling. To ice the cake, the included wrist sling secures directly through the riser rather than with a stabilizer. Adjust it to your liking, then secure it with a set screw located just beneath the grip. 


Proven Technologies Are Back 

High-end Bear bows include two grips. The one that came on the Persist is a bit bulgy for me, but I found the other one in the package to be slim and squared off  — it’s very comfortable and easy to grip consistently — zero complaints there. It also has a line down the center as a visual reference to the bow’s center shot, which simplifies initial arrow rest installation. 

The Persist features in-riser weight/dampener combos at key points on each end of the riser to address vibrations. Limb dampeners are also pre-installed. While the Persist isn’t the quietest and most vibration-free bow I’ve recently tested, it’s definitely not rowdy by any stretch of the imagination.

The Persist features the same fully tunable hinged roller-guard system as last year’s Execute, although the bracket that attaches to the riser looks slightly more streamlined. Make calculated adjustments by referencing the laser-etched marks to land on a perfect tune. Let’s not forget the bubble level anchored in the riser, which is called Align Lock Technology. This level provides you with a great visual aid when setting up a sight’s second- and third-axis leveling. 

Since most bowhunters love the EKO Cam System, it’s back on the Persist, providing a nice, smooth draw cycle with a slight hump as the cams roll into the valley, then ending with a solid back wall. The EKO Cam System also produces velocities comparable to high-end bows from other manufacturers. 

The fully adjustable roller guard with etched reference marks enhances tuning capabilities.
The fully adjustable roller guard with etched reference marks enhances tuning capabilities.

Performance That Bowhunters Demand

Ya’ll, I’ve never had an easier time sighting in a bow out to 50 yards. It took about 15 minutes. After getting my 50-yard pin set, I shot a beautiful three-arrow group, and that was repeatable as I continued shooting.

I found aiming stability — the product of a heavy, long riser — to be excellent. The pin just seems to lock onto the bull’s-eye, and the bow just shoots. I didn’t test it beyond 50 yards because my Trophy Ridge sight has only four pins, but after seeing what it did right off the bat at 50, I’m sure it could weld arrows together at 90 yards as my Arena 30 did.

Final Thoughts

After 90 years in the business, Bear Archery clearly understands what all types of different bowhunters want in a bow. The Persist delivers loads of stability, excellent consistency and the overall performance that your most serious customers looking for a high-end bow demand. It gives me the same confidence I had 10 years ago when I shot a big whitetail buck with the Arena 30, and I believe your customers will experience that same confidence when they make the Persist — made in the USA — their next bow.

Additional Notes

The Bear Archery Persist was set up using a Last Chance Archery EZ Green Bow Press and EZ Green Bow Vise, and the draw weight was calculated using Last Chance Archery’s Digital Bow Scale. A Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph measured the arrow velocities. Other products used were Easton’s Nock and D-Loop Pliers and Pro Hex Fold-Up Allen Set. Arrows were weighed on Last Chance Archery’s Pro Grain Scale.

In-the-field photos by Becca and Darron McDougal


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