The first arrow I ever fired at a game animal was powered by a Mathews bow — the Outback, to be precise — and since that life-changing moment I’ve been a fan of Mathews Archery.

A manufacturer always on the leading-edge of vertical bow design, Mathews has once again, amazingly, raised the bar for 2018. Its TRIAX is truly an engineering marvel. The test bow arrived cloaked in Optifade Subalpine, and the thick, sturdy platform, split-limbs and attached Crossscentric Cams screamed Mathews. Void of any blemishes or off-the-factory-line scratches, this bow was very pleasing to the eye.

As has been my experience with each and every Mathews bow I’ve ever put in a press, the TRIAX was a breeze to work on, and after attaching and timing the QAD HDX rest, I had the bow paper-tuned after just two shots.

Typically, I touch on noise and vibration later on in these initial impression reports, but for this one, it needs to be the highlight. This is, to date, the quietest and most vibration-free bow I’ve ever shot. I credit this to years of Mathews innovation — constantly designing, tweaking and tinkering — and new-for-2018 3D Damping Technology. According to Mathews, 3D Damping utilizes the newly Enhanced Harmonic Stabilizer to virtually eliminate post-shot vibration around all three axes stemming from the point of contact. By lengthening the distance of the EHS in all three directions from the grip, vibration is eliminated immediately after the shot.

I don’t claim to be a mad bow scientist capable of understanding each and every new technology. I’m a bowhunter, plain and simple, and this bow is totally hushed and dead in the hand at the shot. I will leave the why and how this is possible up to the engineers. I just know form a bowhunter’s standpoint it will be much appreciated.

My TRIAX, with its 6-inch brace height, was delivered at a 28½-inch draw length and set at a peak draw weight of 70 pounds. Firing 414-grain 5MM Easton Full Metal Jacket arrows, the setup produced a consistent 313 fps speed rating and hit with 90.4 foot pounds of kinetic energy. Yep, enough to hunt virtually any big game animal on the planet.

Tipping the scale at 4.4 pounds, the TRIAX was not too light but not too heavy, and my first impression of the bow was that, at the draw, it felt a tad top heavy. That impression quickly faded with each shot, and after the bow’s smooth transition into its 75 percent letoff (85 percent letoff available), it settled nicely and felt incredibly balanced.

We already touched on how quiet and vibration-free the TRIAX is, but after I moved out of the garage and onto the range, the bow seemed even more hushed. Accuracy both close and far was easily attainable, and after I set up my brand-new Spot-Hogg Hooter Shooter (now to be used in all online bow testing), the TRIAX produced a dime-sized three-arrow group at 60 yards. I credit much of the bow’s accuracy to the Crosscentric Cams, but the stable platform and wider limbs also play a part in the bow’s tack-driving accuracy.  Mathews has no doubt built its legacy on accuracy, and the TRIAX will only add to that reputation.

At only 28 inches from axle to axle, the TRIAX proved surprisingly steady at full draw, and it will surely be cheered by those who seek adventure deep in the western mountains. Of course, its shortness will also appeal to the whitetail crowd and those who spend time in cramped turkey blinds.

The Mathews TRIAX is available in Optifade Subalpine, Optifade Elevated II, Ridge Reaper Barren, Ridge Reaper Forest, Lost Camo XD, Stone and Black finishes. In addition, you can build your own custom TRIAX by visiting www.mathewsinc.com.

Bow Specs:

Draw Length: 24½ to 30½ inches

Draw Weight: 50, 60 and 70 pounds

Brace Height: 6 inches

Speed: 343 FPS

Axle-To-Axle Length: 28 inches

Mass Weight: 4.4 pounds

MSRP: $1,099