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My curiosity about TenPoint’s new Defender CLS immediately went off the scale the moment I laid eyes on it at the 2009 SHOT Show. My first thoughts were: this looks a lot like my TenPoint Phantom CLS, minus the camo pattern on the riser and barrel. When I read the specs on this new crossbow, I knew I had to have one. My test sample arrived at home base not to long after I had finished unpacking my bags after returning home from the SHOT Show. I eagerly opened the box, and began to assemble the crossbow.  It was still early enough in the day to take it out for a test run. I quickly laid down a layer of string wax and rail lube, grabbed my chronograph and headed outside to the test range.

After only five shots, I had it placing every shot in a two inch circle at 20 yards. I moved my target out to 30, then 40 yards with the same results, placing nearly every arrow in three inch circle at those distances. These were all off-hand shots, and I’m sure my groups would have been even tighter if I had used some sort of rest. The Defender will accept the optional “Steady Eddy” mono pod, which greatly aids in steadying your shots, both from the sitting and standing positions.

I set up my chronograph to see what it would do compared to my Phantom CLS. The Defender advertises a 175 pound draw weight, while the Phantom comes in at 185 pounds. I used the arrows that came with the Defender which are TenPoints 2219 aluminum arrows measuring 20 inches in length, with 4 inch vanes. I did use one 20/64ths carbon arrow just to see what the difference would be between carbon and aluminum.

As you can see from the attached chart, the difference between arrow, and point type is next to nothing. I used three different types of broad heads, and one field tip, all weighing 100 grains each. I’m convinced that I could shoot every make of 100 grain field tip and broad head on the market, and come up with the same test results shown here. The point is, don’t waste a lot of money thinking one type of broad head will give you considerably faster speed. We’re talking about moving weight here, and it takes a certain amount of energy to move that weight every time you shoot. Broad head design may give you a penetration advantage, but that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself. TenPoint advertises 330 FPS with 101.5 foot pounds of kinetic energy, and as you can see from the chart, it easily surpasses those claims, and shoots within 2 foot pounds of kenetic energy of the Phantom CLS. No hype here – TenPoint Crossbows will do what they say they will do with a little more to boot.

The new Defender is an innovative design between the TenPoint Series CLS bow technology and 6 Point Series stock technology. It’s fore-grip is the same one you’ll see on TenPoint’s GT Mag, GT Flex, and Pro Slider cross bows and are very effective at keeping your fingers away from the barrel. The Defender package includes TenPoint’s 3X Pro View Scope, 7/8” dove tail mount, Deluxe 4 arrow HX Quiver with instant detach lever lock assembly, Six-pack of TenPoint aluminum arrows with practice points, TenPoint wedgie rentention spring silencer, TenPoint Staff Shooter Field Cap, and, Owners Instructional DVD with 18 exciting over the shoulder hunts.

Defender Crossbow Author's son, Keith with his first crossbow kill.

My son had shot my Phantom last year, and decided that he would like to try crossbow hunting this year. He came over to the range one day just before bow season opened here, and I instructed him in the safe operation of crossbow hunting. He shot the Defender five times at 25 yards, putting all five shots in a three inch circle. Bow season came in two days later, and on his fifth shot, he harvested the nice 8 pointer you see in the photo. He took the buck at 27 yards using a Rage 3 blade. The buck only traveled 15 yards before piling up. The arrow was recovered just beyond where the buck had been standing and had buried into hard ground about 6 inches deep after passing completely through the buck. How’s that for kinetic energy!

The Defender CLS package with ACU Draw retails for $1,099.00. It can also be purchased in the Defender/Mag combo (crossbow only) for $1,299.00. The combo comes with the addition of a set of recurve limbs. So, if you’re looking for premium shooting  performance at an affordable price, look no further than TenPoints Defender CLS Cross Bow. Special thanks to Barb Terry, Customer Relations & Training at Ten Point Cross Bows.

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