Crossbow Review: Killer Instinct SWAT X1

The author learns that you don’t want to shoot too many bolts in a group with the Killer Instinct SWAT X1 because you’ll probably wreck them. It’s that accurate.

Crossbow Review: Killer Instinct SWAT X1

The Accutac Barrel of the Killer Instinct SWAT X1 provides safer shooting with a 360-degree enclosure, as well as better guidance and support for the bolt to inhibit oscillation and improve accuracy.

Have you ever seen a product and instantly knew that it would be a slam dunk to use, almost as if an invisible connection was happening? That’s how I felt about Killer Instinct’s SWAT X1 crossbow the moment I unboxed and assembled it. Along with a quality, tactical look, it is lightweight and compact — easy on the eyes and arms.

I felt lethal just holding it, like I could stop a charging Cape buffalo or something (OK, I’m exaggerating a bit). Seriously, though, it’s a deadly crossbow. Young, old, experienced or inexperienced, it checks all of the boxes for most hunters and hunting applications. Plus, shooting this crossbow is purely a blast.

So, if those points will interest your customers, keep reading to learn why the SWAT X1 is a solid option, especially for those deer hunters who want high-end performance at a price comparable to a high-end vertical bow.

Test Crossbow Specs

  • Make/Model: Killer Instinct SWAT X1
  • Mass Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Axle-to-Axle Width: 6.25 inches (cocked); 9.75 inches (uncocked)
  • Overall Length: 24.75 inches
  • Draw Weight: 195 pounds
  • Power Stroke: 13.25 inches
  • Bolt Length and Weight: 20 inches; 390 grains
  • Manufacturer Listed Velocity: 405 fps
  • Trigger Pull: 3 pounds
  • Cocking Device: Quik-Draw Rope Cocker and Dead Silent Crank
  • Scope: Lumix Speed Ring
  • MSRP: $1,299.99 (Elite Package)
  • Contact:


First Impressions

My first shot with the SWAT X1 floored me; it absolutely walloped the target. I don’t know about you, but I want a hard-hitting and accurate crossbow for hunting scenarios. Killer Instinct outfits the SWAT X1 with its X Cam system, which is the powerhouse behind this crossbow. A highly efficient, synchronized design featuring 50% let-off, the X Cam cocks easily while still producing lightning speed. What’s not to love about that?

I’m not against guns in the least, but their loud report and recoil aren’t really my jam. You’ll probably have customers with that same mindset; folks — especially youths and women — who want a shoulder-held hunting tool without the kick and noise. The X Cam is designed to provide a smoother, quieter shot — technology at its finest — but Killer Instinct also outfits the SWAT X1 with limb dampeners, handling sounds or vibrations right where they begin. In summary, this combination yields a powerful shot with the smoothness and silence that even gun-shy customers will appreciate.

The Dead Silent Crank makes it easy for virtually anyone to cock the ultra-powerful SWAT X1.
The Dead Silent Crank makes it easy for virtually anyone to cock the ultra-powerful SWAT X1.

Fit and Feel

Comfort and familiarity with a bow or gun are important virtues for hunting and shooting, and this crossbow has both. With its small frame and weighing only 7.2 pounds, it is easy to control and maneuver. Plus, it’s easier on the arms when carrying it or shooting free-handed.

I found the forearm grip and cheekpiece comfortable, and the pistol grip adds a tactical touch while delivering a natural, ergonomic feel. Along with those key points, the X1 also has a Zero Creep Trigger — it breaks at 3 pounds — making it easy to experience a “surprise” shot and achieve precision accuracy at distance. 

Safety is number one in my book, and Killer Instinct delivered just that with the X1. Accompanied by a finger-and-thumb guard on the rail, the X1 also has a revolutionary 360-degree enclosed Accutac Barrel. With this feature, which contains the arrow inside the barrel and the broadhead in the riser, it is safer to load and shoot. While shooting it, I certainly felt safer and more comfortable than I would have with a conventional open-barrel crossbow.   

“Good things come in little packages” — that saying rings true with the X1. When the box first arrived, I doubted there was even a crossbow inside, not to mention everything else needed for shooting and hunting. With the Elite Package, Killer Instinct includes a Lumix Speed Ring scope, three 20-inch HYPR bolts, a quiver, Compact Silent Crank, Quik-Draw Rope Cocker, limb dampeners and rail lube. For a reasonable price, customers will be able to walk right out the door with just about everything they need — less hassle for them and you. That sounds like a win-win.

I find it hard to believe that such a small crossbow can blast with such power. Whether your customers are hunting from a hard-sided box blind or a tight treestand setup, they’ll find it unbelievably easy to handle in the moment of truth. With the compact length of 24.75 inches and an incredibly narrow axle-to-axle measurement of 6.25 inches (cocked) — yes, you read that correctly — it’s tiny. In fact, it’s 40 percent smaller than its predecessor.

Due to the Accutac Barrel’s bolt support, which minimizes oscillation and speeds bolt recovery, even fixed-blade broadheads fly like a dream.
Due to the Accutac Barrel’s bolt support, which minimizes oscillation and speeds bolt recovery, even fixed-blade broadheads fly like a dream.

On the Range

My husband, Darron, helped me mount the Lumix Speed Ring scope, and then we spent some time shooting it on our cold, Wisconsin backyard range. Within just a few shots, we had it dialed at 20 yards. Then, we moved back and eventually were shooting at 50 yards. Shooting from a Primos TriggerStick tripod, I found it easy to acquire the target, aim and squeeze the trigger. And for someone with little experience shooting at longer distances, I surely didn’t struggle to put bolt after bolt in the kill zone. And, Darron was hitting quarters every time at 20 yards. We also shot a Muzzy fixed-blade head at 40 yards, which was dead on.

Why is the SWAT X1 so accurate? Well, I already mentioned the awesome trigger and the comfortable design. The Accutac Barrel is designed to defy oscillation of the crossbow bolt through added support and guidance as the bolt travels the rail and leaves the crossbow. The faster recovery produces more consistent accuracy out to long distances, even with broadheads. That feature is why the SWAT X1 really stands out in a market full of options, and it’s a definite selling point that you can use while showing to your customers.

The SWAT X1’s cushioned cheekpiece is very comfortable.
The SWAT X1’s cushioned cheekpiece is very comfortable.
Want a surprise shot? The 3-pound trigger brings it. And, the ergonomic pistol grip defines comfort and control.
Want a surprise shot? The 3-pound trigger brings it. And, the ergonomic pistol grip defines comfort and control.

Final Thoughts

I tested the SWAT X1 with the perspective of someone thinking about buying their first crossbow. I’m not Einstein when it comes to crossbows, and most of your customers aren’t, either. I see what I see, and I look at the details, especially when purchasing something. I always ask, “Does it perform as promised?” The SWAT X1, I can confidently say after testing, certainly does what its maker claims.

With all the being said, after putting my hands on the SWAT X1, I’m convinced it’s a great crossbow that will fit many needs for users, and create many memories and successful high-fives out in the woods. Add to that Killer Instinct’s Limited Consumer Lifetime Warranty, and I believe you’ll agree with me that, from every angle, the X1 indeed checks all of the boxes.


In-the-field photos by Becca and Darron McDougal


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