Looking for great value in a crossbow? Check out the Killer Instinct KI-350 Crossbow.
Killer Instinct is relatively new when it comes to crossbows. Their first entry into the market was in 2014 with the KI-350 and KI-365. Now, in 2015 they have released their fastest and best crossbow to date, the Killer Instinct Machine. The Machine features breathtaking speeds of up to 385 feet per second and it is the only crossbow on the market that comes from the factory with a TriggerTech trigger. But some people simply don’t have the means to plop down $800 for a Machine.
If you’re planning on hunting Midwest whitetails, the KI-350 (NOW the Ripper 415 HERE) is plenty fast and just under $400. More manufacturers than ever before are focusing on inexpensive crossbows. The PSE Fang($299) has taken the market by storm. In fact, it is hard to find one in stock sometimes. But for $100 more, you’re getting a much higher quality crossbow.
The KI-350 offers a fully machined aluminum flight rail. As far as I know, there is no other crossbow at this price level with a fully machined rail. What does that mean? To make a fully machined rail, a manufacturer starts with a bar of aluminum and using a high tech computerized machine called a CNC to create the rail. This eliminates imperfections associated with molded and pressed rails and drastically increases accuracy. In fact, in a recent article I wrote for Crossbow Magazine the Killer Instinct KI-350 was the most accurate crossbow under $500 among six models from the leading manufacturers. I was able to shoot 1.4” three arrow groups at 30 yards off a bench rest using the included arrows. When I stepped up to a Black Eagle Executioner arrow the groups tightened to 1.1”. This is pretty close to unheard of when it comes to shooting budget priced crossbows. But the KI-350 is built more like a higher quality crossbow.
The other big advantage the KI-350 includes is an illuminated scope. No other crossbow includes an illuminated scope at this price. The scope is unbranded but most people spending $400 on a crossbow will find this scope more than adequate. If you’re a scope snob, you may want to upgrade but most people who are finicky about scopes, will probably be spending much more than $400 on their crossbow package. The illumination allows the user to light up the reticles with either green or red. This helps you pick up the reticles easier in low light conditions.
The KI-350 is advertised at 350 feet per second but we have chronographed most of them at around 335 feet per second using the included arrows. It’s not a big surprise as most crossbows shoot slightly below their advertised speed. This crossbow is also advertised at 6.5 pounds. Again, most manufacturers get their advertised weight with no accessories or scope on the crossbow. Most crossbows I’ve weighed with everything on them including scope, arrows, and quiver tend to weigh about two pounds more than advertised and the KI-350 is no different. I weighed the bow at 8.4 pounds. Considering the scope and machined rail, that is a pretty reasonable weight.
The KI-350 also has an excellent trigger. Killer Instinct advertises it as a four pound trigger and I actually found it to be much better. Over ten shots it registered a 3.4 pound pull 7 times with one reading of 3.5 pounds and two readings of 3.2 pounds. There are crossbows priced over $1,000 with triggers that won’t touch the trigger in the KI-350.
I’ve mentioned all of the things that make the KI-350 shoot like a high end crossbow. At $399 it is as accurate and fast as many crossbows costing hundreds of dollars more. The one downside to this crossbow is sound and vibration. The KI-350 isn’t a quiet crossbow. Many vertical compound bow archers use a term known as “dead in the hand” to describe a bow with no vibration at the time of the shot. The KI-350 is not dead in the hand. Killer Instinct has added string suppressors to alleviate some of this and they do help.
Killer Instinct offers a lifetime warranty and this crossbow is a great value. Is it perfect? No, but there are no perfect crossbows especially at this price. But if you’re looking for high end accuracy and performance and don’t mind giving up a little sound, the Killer Instinct KI-350 crossbow is the perfect crossbow for you.