By Daniel Allred
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You don’t call your company “Victory” unless you intend to win.
At least, that’s how the team at Victory Archery sees it. “Victory” is more than just a name, more than just a logo. It’s a mission and a mentality. It represents a desire to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace, and it represents a desire to see pro-shops and archers succeed, too.
Compared to the industry’s oldest companies, Victory Archery is fairly young. Founded in 2006, the company has spanned a great distance quickly. In a little more than a decade, it has gone from a new business to one of the definitive leaders in arrow technology and manufacturing.
The recipe behind that success is far from simple. It involves a complex mixture of the right people, the right choices and the right technology. One thing is certain, though: Victory Archery is here to win, and it’s doing exactly that.
The Carbon Arrow Experts
Victory Archery’s founding placed it into a unique position from the very beginning. You see, Victory Archery was established by a company called MSV, which specialized in carbon fiber technology. MSV created a variety of “tubular” carbon fiber products, like golf shafts and wheel spokes. Seeing the natural similarity between these products and arrow shafts, MSV began making carbon fiber arrows in 1999 for certain manufacturers in the archery industry.
Eventually, MSV decided that it could build a stand-alone company around its carbon fiber arrows, rather than just selling shafts to other manufacturers. Victory Archery was officially born, and its solid background in carbon fiber technology gave it the ability to accelerate and truly innovate the arrow market with the introduction of the new micro-diameter VAP arrow.
In 2010, Victory Archery was sold to another carbon fiber golf shaft company, called Aldila Golf Corporation. Three years later, Victory Archery was sold again, this time to Mitsubishi Chemical America, a leading name in the automotive and aerospace industries, to name just a few. As part of Mitsubishi Chemical America, Victory Archery’s access to cutting-edge technology and manufacturing processes grew exponentially.
This is only one piece of the puzzle, though. The other key factor behind the company’s success is the individuals who are actually operating Victory Archery and applying this advanced technology to the needs of archers and bowhunters.
Like all truly successful companies in the industry, Victory Archery’s staff lives and breathes archery. A prime example is industry veteran Steve Greenwood, the company’s general manager. Greenwood’s career in the archery industry can be traced back to 1980, when he started working for a company called Custom Archery Equipment, creators of the innovative X-Caliber fluted arrow. Years later, Greenwood helped establish American Arrow Company, which was ultimately purchased by Easton. From there, Greenwood entered the carbon business with a company called Blackhawk Arrows, which ended up being purchased by Gold Tip.
Long story short, Steve Greenwood has dedicated his life to archery—and more specifically—to arrows. Now, as general manager of Victory Archery, Greenwood is able to use the incredible resources of Mitsubishi Chemical America to create the next generation of arrows.
“The thing that really sets us apart is the fact that we are vertically integrated,” Steve Greenwood explained. “As part of Mitsubishi, we are the only arrow manufacturer that actually makes our own carbon fiber. We build everything from scratch, from the fiber up, and we have access to an incredible amount of carbon fiber knowledge. Mitsubishi is a leading supplier of carbon fiber worldwide. We know we are going head-to-head against the best, but our vertical integration puts us in a great position. I think we have more engineers at our disposal than most of our competitors do combined, and Mitsubishi’s whole intent is to grow this company and make it the number one player in the arrow business.”
It’s also worth noting Greenwood’s unique upbringing and relationship with hunting. English by nationality, Steve Greenwood was born and raised in India, where he grew up hunting dangerous and exotic game. When he was 16, he visited the U.S. and tried archery for the first time. These experiences inspired a life-long love for archery and hunting.
Steve Greenwood is also far from alone in this endeavor, and he credits much of the company’s success to the similar passion and determination of his team.
“Growing up in India, I got to do a lot of stuff that hunters only dream about,” Greenwood said. “I hunted dangerous game in India, Africa and other various places, so it was in my blood. The other key behind Victory Archery’s success is that my team has that same passion. Pretty much all of them grew up hunting and/or worked in an archery pro-shop. It’s not just our job. It’s our hobby and our passion. We live and breathe it 24/7. That’s really how we got to where we are today, and that’s how we’ll continue to grow.”
This core team of passionate archers includes: Jayson Bentcik, national sales manager; Nate Watts, QC manager; Devin O’Dea, marketing manager; Tod Boretto, lead engineer; Myke Santiago, technical sales & pro staff coordinator; and Michele Arias, customer service. Together, this group has a tremendous amount of archery and hunting experience, and with their access to Mitsubishi’s advanced technology, they have created some truly incredible arrow designs.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the company’s most popular and effective hunting shafts:
- The VAP: Developed by Tod Boretto in 2010, this is the breakthrough that really put Victory Archery on the map. The VAP is a ±.001-inch micro-diameter hunting shaft that’s constructed with high modulus carbon fiber. Its small diameter and durable construction maximize speed, accuracy, penetration and dependability.
- The RIP XV: One of the fastest arrows on the market, the RIP XV features a small .204-inch inner diameter, and it weighs around 6 GPI. This incredibly lightweight shaft is also constructed with high modulus carbon fiber, allowing it to reach incredible speeds, cut the wind for greater accuracy, and remain intact after hard impacts.
- The Xtorsion: This heavy-duty shaft is on the opposite end of the weight spectrum. It’s constructed with a unique design that combines stainless steel mesh with high modulus carbon fiber, and unlike aluminum/carbon arrows, they are far less prone to bending. This incredible combination of materials provides extreme levels of kinetic energy and penetration, making it a top choice among big game hunters. Like Victory’s other offerings, it’s also extremely durable and accurate.
- The VAP TKO: An embodiment of the company’s technological abilities, the VAP TKO brings a lot of great things to the table. It has an incredibly small .166-inch inner diameter for even greater speed and wind-cutting capabilities, and it incorporates the company’s exclusive MaxxKe Technology, which is an advanced 3K carbon weave that reduces torque for faster arrow recovery in flight and even greater accuracy. This unique “carbon weave technology” also provides tighter spine consistency and durability.
The company has many more designs in addition to these. In fact, Victory Archery has a specialized arrow for just about every archery pursuit out there.
“We literally make an arrow in every diameter, and we have a particular style of arrow for almost every application you can think of,” said Devin O’Dea. “We have extremely light and fast arrows like the RIP XV, and we also have our super heavy Xtorsion shaft. We have the same variety in our target shafts, whether it’s a lightweight small diameter arrow that’s great outdoors in the wind, or a large diameter indoor arrow. We have really been able to cover all the bases over the years.”
All considered, Victory Archery has proven itself as a definitive pioneer of small diameter, highly accurate carbon arrows. The company’s products are truly made by archers for archers, and each design is meticulously enhanced with technologies, features and quality control measures that ensure a fun and successful experience for end-users.
Indeed, the little details really matter to Victory Archery. Just look at the way the company approaches the spine alignment of its arrows.
“Because of the way a carbon arrow is made, there is a section of the arrow that is distinctively stiffer,” Greenwood said. “Every arrow we make goes through a pneumatic device that compresses it about 12 to 14 inches. We use this as a test to ensure that the shaft doesn’t have any defects, but we also noticed that the arrow would always bend and rotate in a way that revealed the stiffer part of its spine. Now, all of our arrows are spine aligned, meaning that stiffer section is marked during that process. It sounds like something insignificant, however I can assure you that it makes a difference. It might not be noticeable at 10 or 15 yards, but it’s definitely noticeable from 30 to 100 yards, especially with a fix-blade broadhead. We were one of the first to really focus in on spine alignment, and now some other companies are starting to pay more attention to it and follow in our footsteps.”
In addition to this spine alignment process, Victory arrows are weight matched to +/- 0.5 grains for precise shot consistency. The company also coats its arrows with a proprietary ICE nano ceramic coating, an advanced material that improves penetration and provides easy removal from targets.
Clearly, technology plays an important role in the company’s success, but there are a few other important factors at play.
A Dealer-Centric Company
Since the beginning, Victory Archery has invested a great deal of effort in helping independent pro-shops succeed. After all, many of the company’s leaders have worked in a pro-shop, and they understand the important role that archery pro-shops play in the industry.
“Our main focus has always been on the dealer network,” said Nate Watts. “We are really able to see things from their perspective, and that’s because we’ve been there. We know what the customers will be looking for, and we try to ensure that they receive top-notch stuff. We also stand behind our products, warranty them and support them every step of the way.”
Victory Archery’s approach to pro-shop-only products also helps strengthen and protect dealers.
“We go through huge efforts to make sure that our dealers have a hassle-free product they can sell, and we also make sure that consumers can’t undercut them online,” said Devin O’Dea. “All of our flagship hunting arrows are dealer-only, so that means that some of the best arrows we make can’t be bought online. We understand that the dealer truly is the lifeblood of the industry. A lot of companies say they are out there for the dealer and that they protect the dealer, but then they are selling consumer-direct on their website, completely undercutting the dealers that they say they are protecting.”
Victory Archery also spends a great deal of time and energy to enforce MAP pricing, ensuring that these pro-shop-only arrows remain exclusive to dealers.
“We invest about $20,000 a year to monitor and police MAP pricing,” said Jayson Bentcik. “We have a program that tracks our SKUs all day every day, and every morning we get a report that shows who is breaking MAP by selling on Amazon, eBay or wherever else. If someone is buying our pro-shop-only products and then selling them online, we just won’t sell to them anymore. We are constantly monitoring MAP to protect shop owners and their pricing. We take it very seriously, and I think our dealer base sees that because it has helped us gain a lot of business. We truly are here for them, and they want to invest in a product and company that helps them thrive.”
As part of Mitsubishi Chemical America, Victory Archery is also able to use its vertical integration to provide dealers with best-in-class profit margins.
“We have arguably the best margins in the industry,” said Devin O’Dea. “Because of our vertical integration with Mitsubishi, we are able to keep our cost down on raw materials. We don’t have to buy materials with a mark-up from another company, and that allows us to pass that discount down to the dealer and end consumer. They aren’t just making a 25 or 35 percent margin. They’re making a 50 or 60 percent margin in most cases. All together, we are able to offer dealers a pretty great deal. We have a full selection of high-performance arrows with excellent straightness and weight consistency. We offer a better margin. And it’s pro-shop only, so you can’t find it anywhere else.”
New Innovations on the Horizon
Another important factor of Victory Archery’s “winning-mentality” is the company’s constant drive to create new innovations.
“We are truly trying to make something new and something better every single year,” said Jayson Bentcik. “We’re not just slapping a new logo or a new label on the same old shaft and calling it the latest and greatest. We are constantly looking at new designs and new materials to create arrows that perform better, and I think people see that. They think of us as the carbon arrow experts, and they are interested and excited to see what we will come out with next.”
Victory Archery certainly didn’t disappoint for 2020. In fact, the company is unveiling some genuinely groundbreaking new arrow shafts. Key among them is the new VAP SS.
“The VAP SS is building upon the concept of the Xtorsion arrow,” said Devin O’Dea. “The Xtorsion is a really heavy shaft. The combination of stainless steel mesh infused into carbon causes it to weigh around 12 grains per inch. It’s a fantastic shaft for someone who really wants all that momentum and weight, but we knew there was a lot of demand for an equally durable arrow that is a little lighter and faster. That’s exactly what we did with the VAP SS. We managed to use a different style of stainless steel mesh, so it’s like a micro-diameter lightweight version of the Xtorsion. We are maintaining that durability and that unique combination of carbon and stainless steel, but we were able to get the GPI down, and that will allow you to really build up the FOC. It’s an absolutely bone-crushing, phenomenal arrow. When we came out with the Xtorsion, we actually had a lot of people asking for a lighter, micro-diameter version. Now, one year later, we were able to create exactly that.”
The revolutionary VAP SS will hit the market in 2020, and like Victory Archery’s other flagship hunting arrows, it will be a pro-shop-only offering. And Victory Archery didn’t stop there. The company is also unveiling the new V-TAC target series, which is sure to be a winner in the competitive scene.
“We are mainly known for our hunting arrows, so we made the decision to put more emphasis on our target line,” said Jayson Bentcik. “There are three new shafts in this series: the V-TAC 23, V-TAC 25 and V-TAC 27. They feature the same MaxxKe carbon weave technology that we use on our TKO arrows, which makes the spine tolerances super tight and provides a lot of durability. The V-TAC 27 will be a big hit for indoor shooters. It’s a heavy, thick and super forgiving shaft, and that’s exactly what indoor shooters are looking for. The V-TAC 25 is thinner and has a lower GPI, and it will be a real line-cutter for events like ASA and 3-D shoots. Then we have the V-TAC 23, which is a little thinner and lighter, and it will be a great choice for World Archery, FITA and NFAA events. And again, they all have our exclusive carbon weave technology that keeps our tolerances very precise and allows the arrow to recover quicker in flight for better accuracy. The V-TAC series is definitely going to be very popular among target shooters.”
Naturally, Victory Archery will be displaying these new designs at the 2020 ATA Trade Show. Be sure to pay the team a visit to learn more about these groundbreaking new offerings.
Victory Archery’s relatively quick rise to the top is clearly no fluke. The company has been unyielding in its mission to create truly remarkable arrows, and it’s managed to outdo itself year after year.
This is only fitting for a company with “Victory” in its name. The company’s team wants to live up to that name and be the best.
“Victory is definitely our goal,” said Nate Watts. “To be victorious, you have to constantly be learning, excelling and improving—and that’s what we do. That’s what helped us grow in leaps and bounds over the last few years.”
In the meantime, though, Victory Archery is fulfilling an even higher purpose by supporting independent archery pro-shops and safeguarding their future.
“Innovation is obviously important to us, but I would say our commitment to dealers is even more important,” said Devin O’Dea. “We really stick our neck out for pro-shops. We could easily sell more arrows if we went consumer direct online, and we get a lot of complaints for not selling online. The reason we don’t do that is because we know pro-shops are facing a lot of competition online, and there needs to be manufacturers that stick up for them. Dealers are the foundation of our business. They are our friends and family members. We care about them and want them to succeed, and at the end of the day, our innovations are just a tool to accomplish that.”