I asked Derek Phillips, Mathews' well-known 3-D shooter and field staff manager, for his thoughts on why bowhunters are so fond of this short bow. "The MQ-32 was the best-selling bow at Mathews last year," he said. "It's getting its fame because it is surprisingly accurate for its size. In the past, short bows have focused on speed, and the forgiveness wasn't there. Those bows also had a lot of recoil and were uncomfortable to shoot. Bowhunters came to associate short with critical. When Matt McPherson decided to build a short bow he wanted one that was also extremely forgiving. That's why bowhunters love this bow-it offers portability without drawbacks."
With its short riser and limbs, the MQ-32 is not only portable, it's one of the lightest on the market, weighing only 3 1/4 pounds. With its short length, the MQ-32 can be counted on to make the most of tight quarters.
Short Bow Stability
Since the MQ-32 was released more than a year ago, I've gotten a lot of feedback from archers who have been using it. I have yet to find one that said he was less accurate with this short bow than with his longer bow. How can such a short bow be so stable and accurate? Again, I asked Phillips.
"Stability comes from several factors," Derek said. "The 8 1/2-inch brace height is definitely part of the reason, but there's more. The limbs flex up and down instead of backward and forward to give the bow more stability during the shot. The perimeter-weighted cam also decreases recoil to make for a more solid platform."
With its 8 1/2-inch brace height, the MQ-32 has the potential to be one of the most forgiving hunting bows on the market. The arrow is off the string sooner on the forward stroke, giving you less opportunity to destroy the shot.
Each Sraightline MaxCam used for the MQ-32 was painstakingly designed to ensure level nock travel and even tiller measurements. With these 10 unique cams the bow achieves draw lengths from 24 inches all the way up to 30 inches--quite impressive considering its short length. McPherson chose to produce a separate cam for each draw length rather than try to use modules. In so doing he was able to optimize each cam for performance, tiller and nock travel.
The StraightLine MaxCam is a perimeter-weighted cam that offers two benefits. First, according to McPherson, independent testing has shown that bows with his perimeter-weighted single-cams are approximately three feet per second faster than when shot with the weight discs removed. Second, the perimeter weight moves backward on release to counteract the movement of the limbs to provide a very shock-free release.
Despite the MQ-32's high brace height, it still produces a surprisingly fast 305 feet per second advertised IBO speed with 70 percent effective letoff.
When I shot the bow, I was particularly impressed with two things: The bow was extremely steady in my hand all the way to the end of the follow-through, and the bow was extremely quiet. Accuracy was just fine out to my normal hunting range.
Mathews Archery makes two of the best quivers on the market. Its one-piece detachable model is light with a precision-machined aluminum frame. The two-piece quiver is even lighter and also features machined aluminum attachment brackets. Either quiver is an excellent complement to the lightweight MQ-32.
The Mathews Micro Rest is available in either zero or one-inch overdraws and is solid although it is micro-adjustable for both elevation and windage.
Derek Phillips said the MQ-32 is surprisingly accurate. That's an understatement. It is almost shocking how solid and stable this short bow feels through the shot. It wouldn't be the most copied bow of 1999 or the bestseller at one of the hottest companies in the industry if it were all hype and no substance. The MQ-32 is no gimmick, and it could very well be the future of archery.
Model: Mathews MQ-32
Draw weights: 40, 50, 60, 70 pounds peak
Draw lengths: 24 to 30 inches, 27 1/2-, 28 1/2- and 29 1/2-inch draw lengths also, with no adjustments
Mass weight: 3 1/4 pounds
Letoff: 70 percent effective, 80 percent effective optional
Grip: One-piece wood with 7/8-inch throat.
Brace height: 8 1/2 inches
Axle-to-axle length: 32 inches
Finish: Trebark II
Advertised IBO speed: 305 fps with 70 percent effective letoff cam Suggested retail price: $599
Comments: Solid performance and maximum forgiveness from the bow that started the trend toward ultra-short compounds. The limb design and perimeter-weighted cam make it rock-solid during the shot.
The UPSHOT GRAFTSMANSHIP GRIP ERGONOMICS FINISH DRAW CYCLE RECOIL Precision One of the Film -dipped Smooth with Surprisingly machined riser best camo was moderate solid and limb pack- perfect valley through the ets, no flaws shot GRAFTSMANSHIP SHOT NOISE Precision Very quiet machined riser and limb pack- ets, no flaws TOTAL Rock-solid