Bowtech introduced its Stryker crossbow line nearly a decade ago. It produced a couple of top-end model crossbows, including the Solution LS and then Offspring. But as more companies and crossbows entered the market, Bowtech realized it needed to go beyond the Solution LS and Offspring. The Katana Series was introduced in 2015, and expanded in 2016 with the Katana 360.

The Katana is a 155-pound draw, 6.5-pound crossbow that measures 35 inches long by 23.25 inches cam to cam (19.25 inches when cocked), and features a compact 13-inch powerstroke that delivers blazing 385 fps speeds. It’s worth noting that the lighter version, the Katana 360, manages to reach 360 fps with only a 150-pound draw. Perhaps the Katana’s most identifiable feature is its large, skeletonized, polymer stock. Soft rubber panels are embedded in the grip and forend to give the crossbow a secure, supple feel. The buttstock is heavily skeletonized to reduce weight and its plastic comb is ambidextrous; it can be swapped via two small screws. The Katana also includes rigid safety wings above the forend guard against finger injuries.

Atop the polymer frame rides the Katana’s fire-control system, barrel and riser. The Katana’s light switch-style safety resides at the back of the receiver which has two advantages: one, the shooter can easily see and touch the safety’s position, and two, it’s naturally ambidextrous. Perhaps most notable about this crossbow’s safety is that it’s positive, tactile to the touch, and absolutely quiet.

Bowtech went above and beyond with its innovative uncocking ability. Stryker’s engineers let you uncock the Katana after disengaging its anti-dryfire device even after removing the arrow. Shooters disengage the anti-dryfire device by way of a spring-loaded lever on the back of the receiver (just above safety). To uncock the Katana, or the Katana 360, remove the arrow, attach the rope cocker, and pull it up with one hand to remove string tension on the trigger mechanism. Then use your other hand to pull the trigger. That causes the string to slide down to the anti-dryfire device, where it stays until you again pull up on the rope cocker to relieve string tension from the anti-dryfire device. Then, using your trigger hand, push on the uncocking mechanism while you ride the string down with your other arm. Atop the receiver is a metal bridge-type apparatus that houses the “Guardian” anti-dryfire device within, and a Picatinny rail on top for scope mounting. The bridge also contains the uncocking device beneath it.

The Katana’s barrel is made of precision-machined aluminum that boosts the unit’s tremendous accuracy. I shot 30-yard groups of 1.20 inches. A robust, machined-aluminum riser fastens onto the frame with two large bolts from beneath, rather than using one that screws down from the end like on most crossbows which increases the rigidity of the Katana’s riser and limb system.

The chronograph recorded an average speed of 385 fps. In fact, it’s so fast that when shooting it, I couldn’t see the arrow until it struck the target with 113 foot-pounds of deer-crushing whack. What’s miraculous, however, is that Stryker accomplishes this speed with a modest powerstroke. The Katana 360’s incredible speed and similar draw weight is an even greater testament to this. The Katana series is remarkably easy to cock with its pull rope. For those who need more leverage, a ratcheting C2 crank device—made by Stryker’s sister company Excalibur—dovetails onto the Katana’s stock. The Katana and Katana 360 are top-end crossbows that perform with the market’s best. They’re ambidextrous, easily cocked and powerful enough to take any big-game animal out to long ranges.

To learn more, please visit Stryker Crossbow’s Website.