I always want to tell you the truth, give you the ins and outs of a particular product, and provide you with my honest opinion. So, here we go. There was a time early in my bowhunting career when I would put the shortest, lightest stabilizer on my bow. One day, I removed the short little extension and found I could shoot my horizontal rig with just as much accuracy, and it was nearly just as quiet. Since I’m all about purposeful gear, I simply shot and hunted for a number of years without a stabilizer in place. I’m not saying it was right. It’s just what I did. I found zero balance enhancement with any stabilizer shorter than 8 inches.
I got used to shooting my bow without a stabilizer. It was light and easy to tote around the backcountry, and I had yet to have a critter duck my arrow. I did notice, however, that my accuracy suffered as I stepped back on the practice range. Yes, I still managed to shoot some decent 80-, 90- and 100-yard groups, but those groups were very inconsistent, and if the wind so much as tickled the back of my neck, I struggled to keep my rig from becoming a sail.
I did some research and even went to the circus with my kids to watch the high-wire act (They use a long stabilizer, right?). I came to the conclusion that a stabilizer could be a purposeful piece of gear if it was long enough to help me balance my bow at full draw and if it added some weight to the front and rear of my rig. I discovered more weight kept me much steadier at full draw, especially when shooting at extended distances. I found purpose in a stabilizer, so back one went on my bow. This time, however, I went with a front and rear stabilizer. The rear stabilizer was run off an offset attachment. I still use this system often and love it, but I was recently introduced to another purposeful stabilizer option — the 365 Archery KnockOut Side Bar Stabilizer.
Available in lengths running from 5 to 36 inches, the KO SBS comes cloaked in Next Vista and Lost HD camo patterns or Black and is fitted with a pair of Mathews Harmonic Dampeners or Harmonic Lite Stablizers. In addition, the stabilizer comes with a pair of 2-ounce weights. Extra weights can be purchased and are a snap to add — more on this later.
My KO SBS was 14 inches long, and due to its extreme ease of adjustment (using a pair of Allen wrench screws located in the SBS attachment), I could quickly adjust and tinker to find my perfect length-to-the-front and length-to-the-back measurements. The carbon fiber bar runs flawlessly through the SBS attachment. It doesn’t squeak or hang up, and, most importantly, it doesn’t crack when tightened down.
I quickly discovered my ideal out-the-front length to be 9 inches, leaving 5 inches running out the back toward the string. As far as weight, I went with a single 2-ounce weight on the front. Weights can easily be added or removed by unscrewing the front end (the mushroomed vented end containing the Harmonic Dampener or Harmonic Lite Dampener) of the stabilizer away from the main rod. Weights are then simply threaded on or off the stabilizer’s end. Weights can also be added to the rear of the stabilizer in the same way, but I chose not to run any weight out the back.
Like every other part of the stabilizer, the SBS attachment bar offers full customization. As you tighten the SBS attachment into your bow’s stabilizer port, you can set it at a perfect 90-degree angle or offset the angle in an acute or obtuse fashion. My perfect and most comfortable position was to set the SBS bar at a 90-degree angle and then rotate it downward 12 degrees. I simply love the customization this stabilizer provides.
At the shot, the dynamic Harmonic Lite Stabilizer duo that came on my model worked in concert with the stabilizer’s vented system to thwart noise and vibration. As far as accuracy, I’m shooting sub 7-inch groups consistently out to 130 yards. This system gives me the ideal balance I’m looking for, and, at times, when I decide to practice or simply shoot with my quiver attached to my bow, the side-mount style helps counterbalance the quiver’s added weight
For more information, visit www.365archery.com.