A little over a year ago, I heard rumblings that Matt McPherson and his engineers at Mission Crossbows were working on a revolutionary new crossbow design that would raise the bar for the entire industry. 

As CEO and chief engineer of Mathews and Mission Archery, McPherson has been responsible for a lot of the innovations in bow design over the last 25-plus years, so I was anxiously awaiting the results. In October, my wait ended when Mission Crossbows unveiled the SUB-1, and I was not disappointed.

 This crossbow does what its name implies, delivering sub-1-inch groups at 100 yards, and with less noise and recoil than any crossbow I’ve ever shot. The Mission SUB-1 shoots an arrow using what their engineers call “controlled acceleration.” There is literally no thump or recoil at the shot. Also, the arrow leaves the flight deck in a smooth, controlled manner, with less flexing and loss of energy leading to better consistency. Everything about the Mission SUB-1’s design revolves around delivering supreme accuracy.

Total accuracy begins with a perfect foundation

The SUB-1’s foundation is a CNC-machined aluminum I-beam. This is extremely rigid and durable, providing a precision flight deck to launch arrows from, thereby eliminating any vertical nock travel. It is joined to a CNC machined aluminum stock which insures a tight fit, reducing noise while further enhancing accuracy. The stock’s fore grip and AR style pistol grip are both over molded for an ergonomic/sure grip. The rear stock is fully adjustable with a wide range of length of pull, and also features an adjustable cheek comb with 1.25 inches of height adjustment. 

The Mission SUB-1 utilizes short, wide limbs borrowed from Mathews’ proven vertical bow technology. These shorter, wider limbs are very rigid, distributing stress better and providing more torsional stability for greater consistency. These are attached to the riser with Mission’s adjustable limb retention system, allowing the shooter to customize the draw weight of their SUB-1 to fit their individual needs. The SUB-1 does not require the use of a foot stirrup, using the back of the riser as a foot rest. This serves to reduce noise, while at the same time increasing power stroke and therefore arrow speed. For those who want a more traditional design, foot stirrups are available as an accessory.

The SUB-1 is powered by the Sync X Cam System, which eliminates any possibility of horizontal nock travel while providing 80 percent let off for easy cocking. This cam system delivers up to 350 fps of arrow speed, yet is as quiet as, or quieter than, many vertical compound bows. The Zebra string and cables are served for a majority of their length, requiring a minimum amount of maintenance. The cams have sealed bearings, eliminating the need to oil or lubricate them. The SUB-1 comes with a standard rope cocking aid, and because of its high let off, cocks very easily — but it will also accept Mission Crossbow’s RSD crank cocking device. 

A new benchmark in trigger design

At the heart of the Mission Crossbows SUB-1 lies the revolutionary Benchmark Fire Control System that was over two years in development. This system features a two-stage, match-grade trigger that utilizes a fully contained rolling sear set at only 3.4 pounds. This is honestly the best trigger I’ve ever felt on any crossbow. It also features the Easy-Load bolt retention arm, which allows for easy loading while applying optimal downward pressure on the arrow. It is topped with a rigid 7075 aluminum scope rail to eliminate flex and further enhance accuracy. 

Perhaps the best feature of both the Benchmark Fire Control System and the entire SUB-1 is its one of a kind de-cocking button. This allows the shooter to safely and almost effortlessly de-cock the crossbow.

The Mission SUB-1 is a totally new crossbow design, and is the most accurate crossbow I’ve ever shot. It is compact at only 30.25 inces long, 13.8 inches wide uncocked, and 10.7 inches wide when cocked. It weighs 7.5 pounds, has a 200-pound draw weight and a 13.75-inch power stroke, sending arrows downrange at a respectable 350 fps. Its 80 percent let off makes it a pleasure to both cock and de-cock, as well. The SUB-1 is available in both black and Under Armour Ridge Reaper forest camo. Like all Mathews/Mission products, it features their unparalleled lifetime warranty with some of the best customer service in the entire industry. As soon as I shot one I ordered my own, and I recommend you stop into your local Mission Crossbows retailer and shoot one when you have time. I guarantee you’ll be glad you did. 

A one-of-a-kind feature:

Anyone who has ever hunted with a crossbow knows how annoying it is to have to unload their crossbow by shooting it after the hunt. Over my many years in the archery industry, I’ve seen countless arrows destroyed during this process, and several injuries caused by unwise attempts to bypass the trigger to avoid having to shoot the crossbow. The SUB-1 has a button that allows the user to SAFELY unload the crossbow without firing it, using only the cocking aid. There are many things I love about my new SUB-1, but this is my favorite feature of all.