Carbon Express Covert CX 1 Review – Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Carbon Express Covert CX1

Carbon Express Covert CX1

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185 lbs.14"330 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"36" / 7.5 lbs.
- Lightweight and powerful
- As accurate as a .22LR
- Adjustable fore grip

- Illumination on scope is too bright
- Screws and bolts work loose without LocTite
- Quiver bracket and quiver are cheap plastic
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best Carbon Express Crossbows

Package Contents

Howdy, and welcome to my review of the Carbon Express Covert CX-1. Each package delivered by Carbon Express includes the following items:

  • The Carbon Express Covert CX-1 Crossbow
  • 4×32 deluxe multi-reticle illuminated scope
  • Assembly hardware and tools
  • 3-arrow quiver
  • 3 Maxima Hunter 20” arrows with field tips
  • Rope cocking device
  • Rail lubricant
  • Owner’s manual
  • Warranty card

Assembling The Crossbow

cx1cI had the CX-1 out of the box and assembled within less than half an hour. All you need to do is mount the riser onto the stock, attach the foot stirrup, and then mount your quiver and scope. The most complicated part of assembling this crossbow is aligning the cable slide onto the cables, and the owner’s manual does a great job showing how to do that.

Once I had my new crossbow unboxed and assembled, it was time to do some shooting.

Accuracy And Power

The CX-1 fires off arrows at 330 fps, and delivers them to the target with 103 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. You’ll want to have a good strong target block, and prop it up against something, or you’ll have a heck of a time retrieving your arrows and your target will get knocked over by the force of impact. I noticed that the arrows would drive into the target block all the way to the vane, so I got a stronger target block to make arrow removal a bit easier.

cx1dOnce I’d sighted in the scope, which only took 3 shots, I started putting the x-bow through its paces to see how accurate it was. I was impressed that this crossbow, for its price, is much more accurate than some of my more expensive crossbows. In fact, the accuracy of the Carbon Express Covert CX-1 is on par with my .22LR rifles; from 25 yards, I could (and did) split an arrow!

From 50 yards, I was able to maintain three-quarter-inch groupings, and when I stepped back to 75 yards, I could keep a 1” grouping. Note that the included scope is designed for 20, 30, 40, and 50 yards, but I found the sweet spot on the scope for 75 yards and it worked perfectly.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The Carbon Express Covert CX 1

Your actual results will vary slightly depending on weather, and significantly with arrow weight change. See our Crossbow Ballistics Guides section for a complete understanding of how we conducted our tests and why this data matters.

Hunting: What To Expect

This crossbow is highly customizable, since you can adjust the fore grip anywhere on the full-barrel Picatinny rail to suit your own personal shooting style and adjust for bulky hunting clothing. The CX-1 is nice and narrow, as well as lightweight, so carrying it through the bush is no problem.

Since the crossbow deals out 105 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, it’s great for any legal North American prey you might be hunting. The astounding accuracy makes it as good for hunting rabbits as it is hunting Cape buffalo. I’ve personally used the CX-1 for squirrel and rabbit hunting, as well as deer and moose. This baby never lets me down, and I’ve had several freezers full of meat shot with this particular crossbow.

Cocking The Covert CX-1

With a draw weight of 185 pounds, you probably won’t want to pull the string back on this crossbow by hand. That’s okay, because CX includes a rope cocking device with the crossbow package. I always recommend using rope cocking devices, anyways, because they ensure your draw is even and consistent. The cams rotate smoothly, so your draw will be like pulling a hot knife through butter. Easy and smooth.

The Crossbow Scope

cx1bThe main weak spot with the CX-1 is the scope. During daylight hours, it is perfectly adequate for shooting, giving you a crisp, clear picture of the target. In low light conditions, though, the illumination of the reticles is too bright, even at the lowest rheostat setting, resulting in a halo around the red or green dots and some fogginess in the optics.

Other than the illumination, the scope is pretty fog proof and stays clear even in colder weather. The other problem with the scope, though, is that the bolts holding it to the rail have a tendency to work loose if you don’t put a bit of LocTite on them. I hate LocTiting scope bolts, but that was the only way to prevent the scope from coming loose and sliding down or off the rail.

See our detailed guide on how to sight-in your crossbow


Carbon Express includes 3 20” Maxima Headhunter bolts with the CX-1, and these are very high quality crossbow arrows. They shoot straight and fast, and they are durable enough to still look new even after many shots fired, and several groupings where the arrows were all touching. The only broken one of the bunch was caused by splitting an arrow with another arrow!

If you replace your arrows, stick with any 20” crossbow arrows weighted to around 425-grain. You can go even heavier, if you want; I typically hunt buffalo with at least 525 grain arrows, and the CX-1 handles them just fine.

You can also learn more about crossbow arrows and take a look at our broadhead recommendations

Safety and Design

cx1This crossbow is designed to be compact, with a bull-pup stock and a pistol grip. The trigger pull is nice, and the anti-dry fire mechanism and safety work flawlessly for every shot. The bow itself is very well made, with a bronze anodized aluminum flight rail and carbon infused limbs. It’s well balanced, with hardly any frontal heaviness.

The only weak link in the construction is the quiver and quiver bracket. Both are made of cheap plastic, which becomes very brittle in cold weather, eventually breaking. The good news is that Carbon Express covered my broken quiver under warranty, and shipped me a new one pronto.


Carbon Express covers all of their crossbows with a 5-year warranty, and their customer service representatives definitely have their A game going at all times. When I called about my broken quiver, they promptly shipped a new one out to me, and it arrived on my doorstep within two days. I can’t say enough terrific things about Carbon Express’s customer service team; they truly are the best!

What Crossbow Case Fits the Carbon Express Covert CX1?

The soft Carbon Express Deluxe Case matches with the Carbon Express Covert CX1 as long as you use a small scope. This case sells for under $70; however, it does not work well with bigger scopes. The soft Barnett Case (Model 17083) sells for $50 and works better for big scopes.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading my crossbow review of the Carbon Express CX-1. This crossbow is an excellent product at a fantastic price. It’s powerful enough for any legal North American game, and accurate enough for even the smallest quarry. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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