On September 10, 2012, Mission Archery unveiled the MXB-360 Crossbow after several weeks of speculation, and Internet rumors.
The MXB—short for Mission Crossbow—was designed by Matt McPherson, the Steve Jobs-like guru behind Mathews Solocam, Genesis Archery, Mission Archery, and McPherson Guitars.
Here’s what McPherson had to say about the MXB-360, and more:
AB: Did your dealers offer suggestions for the “ideal” crossbow?
McPherson: Yes. All the time. I considered everything our dealers liked and didn’t like. They wanted something lightweight, easy to cock, fast-shooting, nice-looking, built well and durable, but not crazy-noisy. And they kept saying, We know if you build one, it will be a great one. That’s good to hear.
AB: What was their No. 1 request?
McPherson: Man, just make something that doesn’t break. We heard that over and over again. A lot of crossbows have breakage problems. Our dealers told us every crossbow’s pros and cons. This one’s really fast, but … it’s really heavy, really loud, unbalanced or front-heavy. They literally helped us build the MXB Crossbow, and we think it’s better than any crossbow on the market, period. We liken it to the decathlon. The guy who wins the decathlon is considered the world’s best overall athlete. That’s the MXB. If there were a point system for crossbows—where they measure for looks, noise, lightness, balance, safety features, physical weight, and ease of pull—the MXB would win. It maybe isn’t the best in every category, but nobody has built a crossbow that is.
AB: The dealers obviously brought up the bulk, weight, and front-heavy nature of many crossbows.
McPherson: Absolutely. Our dealers wanted a lighter bow. We list ours at 6.55 pounds, which is way lighter than almost anybody out there except maybe Excalibur’s recurve crossbows. One way we achieved that was by making our rail about as thin as the extruders wanted to build. That’s kind of cool. It’s just as thick as it needs to be. We punched a lot of holes in it to create a staggered pattern, but it’s still very rigid, very strong and very, very light.
AB: Are Mission dealers obligated to buy crossbows from you?
McPherson: No. We don’t force this on anyone. The crossbow is just an additional offering they can sell or not. It’s up to them if they want to participate. We’ll learn a lot the first year, including more about our customers, where they’re from, and what their impact is.
AB: As you worked on the MXB, we heard you got excited about the project. What do you like about this bow?
McPherson: I don’t want to disparage anyone, but when I looked at some crossbows, they almost looked like a children’s toy blown up. As a guy, I don’t want something with a silly Batman look. I want it to look like something our U.S. military might use. I thought it should have a “techie” look, a cheekpiece on its stock, and look like it belongs alongside a Barrett sniper rifle. So, the MXB has all those things, and it’s light and very well-balanced.
Everyone who picks it up knows it’s much different from other crossbows. And it’s safe. When you cock it, you can’t lift the string off the rail. The stringcocker pulls the bowstring at a downward angle. And the rail is deep. If you lift your fingertips while aiming, you don’t have to worry about losing them when you shoot. Plus, it shoots much more quietly than most crossbows.
AB: Which disadvantages of crossbows did you address in the MXB?
McPherson: Most crossbows are not much more effective for hunting than compounds because they’re so loud, they have a cocking stirrup way out front, they’re front-heavy, and they can be hard to cock in a blind or treestand. When older guys switch to crossbows, they have all those challenges. But what do most companies do? They sell old guys heavy, tough-to-cock, difficult-to-hold crossbows with warnings about keeping their fingers below the rail. And they can’t shoot far because deer jump the string. And if their kids or grandkids want to try it, they can’t hold it up without a shooting stick.
We addressed those problems one by one with the MXB. We made the stirrup part of the riser. It’s a urethane bumper that rests on the ground, and you stand on it. The big thing, though, is that you can adjust the MXB’s draw weight. Who else does that? We designed a lot of firsts into this bow.
AB: Can you discuss the MXB’s cams and what you achieved with these designs?
McPherson: I designed the cams a certain way for a reason, but I can’t say why or how. Our competitors will have to copy them exactly to get what they want. But I will say our bowstring will have a longer lifespan than most strings. We’re not saying how many, but you’ll get more shots out of our crossbow’s string than most anybody else does.
AB: Why did you use split limbs on the MXB?
McPherson: Because you can store more energy in a smaller area. You don’t have any of the bulk areas like you do on solid limbs for the fork. Those areas are mostly nonfunctional, for the most part. This way you’re using the limbs’ whole length, which is important when you’re working with limited space.