Killer Instinct SWAT Review – Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
Killer Instinct SWAT Crossbow

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165 lbs.17.5"385 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
22"29" / 6.9 lbs.
- Super-compact at just 29 inches long and 14 inches wide axle-to-axle
2.5-pound trigger pull
- Fast, powerful, and accurate
- Most innovative design I’ve ever seen
- No frontal heaviness at all

- Not available with a camo finish
- Illuminated scope only has red reticle dots, no green
- No field tips included for arrows
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Howdy, and welcome to this review of one of the most unique crossbows ever designed. The Killer Instinct SWAT appears to be a real game-changer, hiding a 17.5-inch power stroke inside a x-bow that’s just 29 inches long. It accomplishes this by compressing the string into the barrel using Concealed String Technology (CST) compression levers. This provides almost six inches of concealed power stroke. Is this just a gimmick, or will it prove to be a must-have innovation for x-bow hunting? Let’s find out.

What Comes With This Crossbow?

When you purchase the Killer Instinct SWAT Pro Package, you get the following items:

  • The Killer Instinct SWAT crossbow itself
  • Preinstalled Deadening string and limb suppressors
  • Hawke XB30Pro 1–5x24mm illuminated x-bow scope
  • Five-bolt quiver with tactical side mount
  • Six SWAT 22-inch arrows by Black Eagle without field tips
  • Rope cocking device
  • Rail lube
  • Owner’s manual
  • Warranty card

How Difficult Is It to Assemble Your New Crossbow?

Because of it’s innovative design, the SWAT could be a bear to assemble. Mine came fully assembled, however, and all I had to do was attach the foot stirrup and mount the scope.

How Quickly Does the Scope Sight In?

The included Hawke XB30Pro scope is adjustable for x-bows with velocities from 215 to 450 FPS. Dial in 385 FPS on the scope, the SWAT’s velocity with the included arrows, and you’re ready to sight in. I had the scope zeroed in six shots. I haven’t had the x-bow long enough to really test how long the scope stays zeroed, but I know this model – it typically holds zero indefinitely.

What’s the Accuracy and Power Like?

This subcompact crossbow offers extreme speed and power, blasting arrows downrange at 385 FPS. With my 400-grain arrows, I was able to deliver 131 foot-pounds of kinetic energy with the SWAT. That’s raw power right there, friends and neighbors. It’s more power than you need to take down grizzly bears or bison, the largest and toughest game legal for hunting in North America.

As for accuracy, this x-bow is advertised as a 100-yard monster. Obviously, I had to put that to the test. From 20 yards, I was keeping tight patterns just three-quarters of an inch in diameter. Backing up to 50 yards, my groupings held true at around two inches. Encouraged, I found a 100-yard shooting range and really put the SWAT to the test. It didn’t disappoint me, and I maintained three-inch groupings from 100 yards, with the scope at maximum magnification.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The Killer Instinct SWAT

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.

Will Hunters Enjoy the KI SWAT?

This is one of the most compact compound x-bows I’ve come across, even taking into account reverse-draw technology. It’s also super lightweight. Despite the small size and weight, it packs enough of a punch to tackle the toughest game. Put all of that together with the x-bow’s accuracy, and you’ve really got a winning combination. You’ll have no problems carrying this baby into the bush, and it will maneuver in your ground blind or tree stand like nobody’s business.

The only drawback to this crossbow is the finish – right now, Killer Instinct seems intent on only offering it in matte black. Some hunters might prefer a camo finish, but that’s not looking like it’s in the cards.

How Difficult Is the SWAT to Cock?

Cocking the SWAT is different from any other x-bow right now, but it’s still pretty easy. Draw weight is 165 pounds, so you theoretically could pull it by hand. You get a rope-cocking device, though, and I strongly recommend using it for a consistent draw and an accurate shot. Before you draw the string, though, you have to extend the CST compression levers. Then, use the rope-cocking device to pull back the string. Once it’s latched into place, fold the CST levers back into place. Once that’s done, drop your arrow into the barrel (it’s free-floating), and flip the switch on the back of the buttstock to fully seat the arrow and make the anti dry-fire mechanism happy.

What’s the Included Scope Like?

The included Hawke scope is one of the best on the market. It offers 100-yard downrange accuracy, and is true to that claim. The glass-etched reticle is illuminated in red (no green, I’m afraid), and the stepless rheostate offers brightness settings that are perfect. What’s really nice is that the scope even includes markers to the sides to help you lead your game.

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

What Kind of Arrows Do I Need?

You’ll get six SWAT 22-inch arrows by Black Eagle with your crossbow. These carbon arrows are excellent quality, but they don’t include field tips. Make sure you pick up 100-grain field tips for sighting in and target practice, along with your broadheads. You want your total arrow weight to be 400-grain.

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

How’s the Safety and Design?

Safety is fantastic with this model, with an anti dry-fire mechanism that works pretty much flawlessly. The safety is a bit tight sometimes, but that’s not really a bad thing. The overmolded foregrip keeps your fingers clear of the string. This is a well-designed x-bow.

What Kind of Warranty Backs This Crossbow?

You’ll get a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner, with excellent customer service.

Killer Instinct SWAT Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading my review of the Killer Instinct SWAT crossbow. This subcompact baby is almost the perfect hunting companion. It’s small, light, powerful, and accurate. I just wish it was available in camouflage, and that the scope had green illumination.

Make sure to check today’s price on the Killer Instinct SWAT if you’re interested.


Add a Comment
  1. your review on this crossbow seems to be a very honest review my name is john cropper i am a registered deer stalker in the U.K. and i also run hunting safaris to south africa and i have recently decided to hunt with a crossbow and have had a look at several types but i favour this one as it looks good and it is accurate which is more important to me thanks again for a brilliant review

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