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Sims vibration laboratories.

I'd dare say that most entrepreneurs in the outdoor sports industry could fall neatly into a couple of categories. The first one includes those who are seeking "a better way," find it, then build a company around their ideas. The second is composed of those seeking a way to combine an established business with their passion for hunting. Steve Sims would qualify for both. He took an established business, combined it with an idea and his passion for hunting and started a revolution.


A vibration engineer, Sims developed NAVCOM (Noise and Vibration Control Material) in 1984 after over 18 months of testing. He initially applied his rubber-like material into audio equipment. "We started with high-end audio and recording studio development," he said, but soon expanded into consumer electronics, then sports.

His first sports venture was the Sting Stop system, designed to reduce vibration in aluminum Louisville Slugger baseball and softball bats. "By 1993 we were doing between 800,000 to a million bats with Slugger, and by last year it was up to between five and eight million. Sims expanded to tennis rackets in 1995, then golf clubs in 1996."

But his real passion was (and still is) bowhunting. "I've been an avid archer for as long as I can remember," he says. "I killed my first bull elk at (age) 14 with a Bear recurve."

His next inspiration came in 1998. "I was talking with my brother, Gary, and thought, wouldn't it be great if we could somehow incorporate our profession into the sport we love so much. So we took the baseball and tennis racket technology and brought it into archery."

The first attempts involved literally attaching bat parts to bow limbs. It worked well enough that they refined the product specifically for a bow. Those first prototype LimbSavers reduced limb vibration by as much as 65-percent and cut shot noise by roughly twelve decibels. It was time to go to market.

Sims introduced his flagship LimbSavers at the 1999 AMO (now ATA) show. It was a risk. As with anything radically new and different, folks were skeptical. But Sims' new product had a couple distinct advantages. First, it worked as claimed. Second, it addressed a problem that, to that point, had been largely unaddressed.

It was an overnight success with 14 years of research, testing and application behind it. Introducing his technology to the archery world forever changed the industry, and launched a revolution against noise and vibration.

Next Phase

Hot on the heels of his initial success, Sims was quick to expand his NAVCOM technology into things like String Leeches, cable guard dampeners and then stabilizers, in the latter case beginning with a straight stabilizer and ultimately expanding to a modular system. Meanwhile, LimbSaver also expanded their technology into firearms in the form of recoil pads and more recently, a barrel de-resonator. Sims had placed his company at the forefront of one of the strongest trends in the archery industry--noise and vibration dampening.


Anyone who jumps to the front of any aspect in the archery industry sets them self up as a target and LimbSaver was no exception. The incredible popularity of their technology was too tempting for counterfeiters to resist. "There are some people who respect intellectual properties and some who don't," said Sims. "It's just not worth going after all these people because of the way the laws are written. So we took the money we were spending enforcing patents and dumped it into trademarking and new product development instead." Sims was already looking toward the future, and expanding and diversifying his company.


They took a big step toward expanding their archery product line this year with the introduction of the Prism Elite bow sight. The key feature is a prism light trap that captures ambient light from any angle within a 360-degree circle and transmits directly to the fiber optic sight pins, intensifying the natural light in the process.


The sight also features a dual adjustment system. First, the multiple axis adjustment sight features second and third axis adjustment that are not only simple to use, but seriously overbuilt. Second, you can upgrade your standard prism by adding a new single-plane adjustable pin system that moves within the mized sight housing and can be used in conjunction with the five standard fixed points for longer range shots.


No Sims product would be complete without the NAVCOM material, which in this case is incorporated at specific nodal points to eliminate noise and vibration on the sight, which is often one of the noisiest accessories on a bow.

They also introduced a new LimbSaver Fall-A-Way Arrow Rest with a revolutionary design. A built-in adjustable stop for the launching arm allows the arm to neatly rest on the dampening pad provided, or stop it just above the riser for a floating rest arm. It's also engineered with a balanced twin-bearing system to operate smoothly and quietly. Finally, two attachment points for the cord mount ensure you will have the adjustments you need to mount to the buss cable or slide.

Sometimes the neatest products are the most simple. Imagine if you could apply vibration and noise dampening to anything you wanted, like your tree stand, bow holder or any of the myriad accessories that could clink or clank at the most inopportune times. Sims not only imagined it, but also invented a solution. It's called Silent Armor and it is, quite simply, quick-drying spray-on rubberized sound-deadening, material. In addition to noise dampening, it also doubles as an excellent rust prevention sealant.


Sims is quick to point out that much of the credit for his company's past success and anticipated future success should go to those around him. "We've put together an outstanding team including engineers, designers, drafts people; Scott Eastman does an excellent job in sales, as does Alan Lotton in marketing," says Sims. "We're poised now," he goes on to say. "I assembled this group with vision. We're looking to become a full-fledged archery company."

What's Next? If you want to be a full-fledged archery company, you've got to have a bow, and LimbSavers' is on the way. The details were still under wraps as this was going to press but it's due out this very month. Without giving away too much, Sims did intimate it would "change the archery industry and archery technology forever." He's already done that once; so it's not hard to believe he can do it again.

Summing it all up Sims observed, "It comes right down to our slogan: Products that work. It's not a gimmick. We came into the field with scientifically proven products and a vast knowledge of vibration engineering to create stuff that is real. The slogan actually came from our customers. We kept hearing it from them over and over." If the shoe fits ...

For more info on Sims' products contact: Sims Vibration Laboratory, Dept. PB, 301 W. Business Park Loop, Shelton, WA 98584; (877) 257-2761;


NAVCOM (Noise and Vibration Control Material) is a rubber-like viscoelastic material developed by Steve Sims in 1984 after over 18 months of testing. It was initially applied to the audio, consumer electronics, aerospace and automotive industries, subsequently used in athletic equipment and ultimately incorporated into archery and firearms.
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Title Annotation:BowBusiness
Author:Humphrey, Bob
Publication:Petersen's Bowhunting
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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