After an extended period in development and production, the long-awaited Barnett RAZR was released this spring. The RAZR has often (and prematurely) been compared to Barnett’s Ghost 385. In fact, though all the crossbows in the CarbonLite series share the CarbonLite Risers, and many have several other design feature in common with the RAZR, such as shoot-through risers, Barnett’s Anti Dry Fire mechanism, the CROSSWIRE string and cable system, the Pass-Through Foregrip, and the 7/8-inch Picatinny Rail, the RAZR is unique in some new key features.

Thanks in part to its reverse-cam design, the RAZR boasts Barnett’s longest power stroke at 16 inches, despite its short 35-inch length. Another important new feature is the integration of titanium plates into the stock to make the RAZR both lighter and more rigid than its predecessors. (The stock itself represents the industry’s first full carbon stock.) The adjustable butt pad (pulls out in quarter-inch increments) is yet another new feature. A foregrip storage compartment provides room for the provided extra string and cable set, in addition to other small accessories.

An unusual Retractable Underarm Support swings down from the buttstock to more or less hook under the shooter’s arm (the right arm, in the case of a right-handed shooter), providing additional support when shooting off-hand. String suppressors, too, are unique to the RAZR, as is the built-in quiver design.

Barnett touts the RAZR’s 3.5-pound trigger as the lightest and crispest trigger it has offered to date. If all that isn’t enough, an integrated skinning knife locks into the stock and can be removed for skinning when the hunt is concluded.

In terms of specs and performance, the RAZR is Barnett’s lightest and most compact crossbow in the CarbonLite series at a featherweight 6.5 pounds. It’s a very compact crossbow, too, though the Ghost 385 beats it in length by .75 inch. At 400 fps it’s not Barnett’s fastest crossbow—the Ghost 410 takes top honors in that category—but 400 fps puts it in the speed bow category by any standard, and the RAZR is certainly a contender for world’s best in terms of its mass weight-to-power ratio.

The package comes standard with a premium illuminated Cross scope, the previously mentioned quiver, which holds three arrows, three 22-inch, 400-grain Headhunter Arrows, and a rope cocking device. (An optional crank-style cocking device may be purchased as an accessory.) Fit and finish is commensurate with the overall quality of the RAZR, and with red-and-black contrasting strings and cables, this carbon-colored crossbow is one you’ll be eager to slide out of the case.

Assembly

The RAZR is packaged in a way that facilitates easy assembly, with all the components separated and labeled and all necessary tools provided. Instructions are adequate. The riser and limb assembly, which slides easily onto the stock and shooting rail, is secured by a bolt. The quiver mounting bracket is affixed to the underside of the stock with two bolts. The scope came mounted on the model tested and was properly aligned with sufficient eye relief. The only problem encountered was in installing the skinning knife; the sheath is on the underside of the buttstock and swings open to accommodate the knife. In the model tested, the sheath was difficult to open. However, this may be something that loosens up and becomes easier with use.

Shooting The Bow/General Observations

Weight is not the most important factor in a crossbow, but all else being equal, a crossbow as light as the RAZR is fun to shoot. Balance is arguably more important than weight, but the lighter the crossbow, the less important balance becomes. In any case the RAZR is both lightweight and well balanced. The length of the butt pad can be adjusted in quarter-inch increments over a range of several inches. I found that the RAZR fit me best with the stock fully extended. (I’m 6 feet tall.) The Cross scope features illuminated circles that assist in estimating range. Illumination is variable for different lighting conditions and can be switched easily from red to green. Adjustment for sighting in is easily done using only the fingers, and the adjustments are very precise.

The cocking rope works well, though I found it to be several inches longer than optimum for me, which increases the perceived pull weight somewhat. I also noted that the safety mechanism slides into the off position with little resistance, which made me inclined to check it frequently. (No doubt a good idea with any crossbow.)

The Retractable Underarm Support is an interesting feature. It swings in and out easily. I shot with and without this device in position and have not decided which way I prefer to shoot. It does take a little weight off the forearm when shooting. If left in the open position, it can get in the way when it’s time to shoulder the crossbow, but most shooters would probably not use it in that fashion.

Despite the slight difficulty I had in opening the knife sheath, the knife is a nice feature. It’s reasonably good steel with a sharp edge. It has a gut hook as well as a broadhead removal tool. It’s a great back-up if a primary hunting knife is lost or forgotten, or for use when the primary knife’s edge is dulled by multiple skinning jobs.

Shooting the bow is pleasant. The light weight contributes to that, but the trigger is smooth and crisp. There is little in the way of recoil or vibration (virtually none), and this is a surprisingly quiet crossbow given its low weight. Its speed and accuracy will no doubt enable a lot of shooters to extend their effective range. Any hunter can appreciate the RAZR’s light weight, compact size, accuracy, and speed, but in particular those hunters who enjoy spot-and-stalk hunting and therefore spend a lot of time carrying their crossbow, and who for the same reason expect to often shoot off-hand, will find that the RAZR compares favorably to any crossbow in production.

Specs:

Axle-To-Axle Width: 21.5 inches

Weight: 6.5 pounds

Kinetic Energy: 142 ft. lbs.*

Speed: 400 fps

Draw Weight: 185 pounds

Power Stroke: 16 inches

*With supplied 22-inch bolts

Objective Tests:

Bolt Weight Speed @ Launch Speed @ 20 Yards K.E. @ Launch K.E. @ 20 Yards Sound Level
 400 grains**
384 fps  355 fps 131 ft. lbs. 111.9 ft. lbs.
93.3 dBA
450 grains 372 fps  345 fps 138.3 ft. lbs. 118.9 ft. lbs. 92.9 dBA

** Barnett advises against shooting bolts lighter than 400 grains, so we refrained from testing with our standard 390-grain bolts.