Slightly more than a year ago, I heard rumblings that Matt McPherson and his engineers at Mission Crossbows were working on a revolutionary design that would set the bar higher 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 past 25 years, so I was anxiously awaiting the results. My wait ended in October when Missions unveiled the SUB-1 crossbow, and I was not disappointed.  

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

Accuracy begins with foundation 

The SUB-1’s foundation is a CNC- machined aluminum I-beam. This is extremely rigid and durable, providing a precision flight deck from which to launch arrows, thereby eliminating any vertical nock travel. It is joined to a CNC-machined aluminum stock that 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 11/4 inches of height adjustment. 

The 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. They are attached to the riser with Mission’s adjustable limb-retention system, allowing the shooter to customize the draw weight 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 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.  The 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, it cocks very easily. But, it will also accept Mission Crossbows RSD crank cocking device.  

Benchmark Trigger design

At the heart of the SUB-1 lies the revolutionary Benchmark Fire Control System that was more than two years in development. It features a two-stage, match-grade trigger that utilizes a fully contained rolling sear set at only 3.4 pounds, 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 SUB-1 crossbow.

The SUB-1 is a totally new crossbow design and is the most accurate crossbow I’ve ever shot. It is compact at only 301/4 inches long, 13.8 inches wide uncocked, 10.7 inches wide when cocked and weighs 71/2 pounds. It has a 200-pound draw weight and a 133/4-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.  It 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.

A one of a kind feature

Anyone who has ever hunted with a crossbow knows how annoying it is to have to unload one by shooting it after the hunt. Over my 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.