PSE Smoke Review – a Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
PSE Smoke Compound Crossbow

PSE Smoke Compound Crossbow

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180 lbs.14"330 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
20"36.5" to 40" / 9.15 lbs.
- Tactical blackout design
- Adjustable foregrip and stock
- Quiet, accurate, and powerful

- Scope lacking in light gathering capabilities
- Very heavy at 9.15 pounds
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best PSE Crossbows

Package Contents

Howdy, and welcome to this review of the PSE Smoke. Each package delivered by PSE includes the following items:

  • PSE Smoke Crossbow
  • 4×32 scope with four reticle lines
  • 4-bolt quiver
  • 4 Carbon arrows
  • Rope Cocking Device
  • Sling
  • Rail Lube
  • String Wax
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Warranty Card

Once you’ve unboxed the parts, it’s assembly time.

Assembling The PSE Smoke Crossbow

Assembly of the PSE Smoke is quick and easy, with very easy to follow instructions. You attach the prod to the riser, and then attach the adjustable stock and adjustable foregrip. Once that’s done, you mount your quiver and scope, and you are ready to go. The PSE Smoke features an AR-style adjustable stock, which allows you to adjust the overall length of the crossbow from 36.5” to 40”. You also get a front folding tactical grip that is adjustable to any of five positions, allowing you to customize your PSE Smoke to your preferences.

Accuracy And Power

Once I had the Smoke assembled, it was time to sight it in and test the accuracy. The scope sights in very readily, and was almost sighted in straight out of the box. I only needed to make 3 minor adjustments to windage and elevation, and the crossbow was hitting solid ½” groupings from 30 yards.

Moving out to 45 yards, I was able to maintain 1” groupings, and had 1-1/2” groupings from 50 yards. I moved out a bit more, to 70 yards, and still held the groupings to 2”. This is a nice, accurate crossbow.

The Smoke has the power to match the accuracy, delivering over 102 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The PSE Smoke

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

The blackout tactical design of the PSE Smoke makes it ideal for shooting from a blind, which is becoming more and more popular these days. The 102 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy makes the Smoke ideal for shooting any legal game in North America, and I have personally seen the Smoke take down Cape buffalo and bear.

I’ve taken the Smoke hunting a number of times, and found it to be an extremely quiet, hard-hitting crossbow. It’s filled my freezer several times over, and is sure to fill yours, too. The most amazing shot I’ve ever seen out of the Smoke was against a large bull moose. He was quartering me from my ground blind, and I carefully lined up the shot before taking it. I hit him right on target, and the arrow went clean through from 45 yards away. He ran for about 5 yards, then staggered another 10 yards before dropping to the ground.

The only problem I have with the PSE Smoke is its weight; at 9.15 pounds, it is definitely one of the heaviest crossbows I’ve carried, and you feel that weight on your back after a couple of hours.

Cocking the PSE Smoke

The draw weight on the PSE Smoke is 180 pounds, and it has a power stroke of 14”. You could draw this crossbow by hand, but why bother? PSE includes a rope cocking device, and I always recommend using them anyways because of the ease with which they allow you a smooth, consistent and even pull on the string.

Pulling the string back is easy and smooth, and the string locks securely into place, engaging the safety and anti dry fire mechanism.

The Crossbow Scope

The PSE Smoke includes a 4×32 scope with multiple reticles. It sights in easily, and holds true for months. The optics are crisp and clear, without any fogginess even on cold mornings. Unfortunately, the scope does not have good light gathering capabilities, and is next to worthless in low light conditions.

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


PSE ships the Smoke with 4 carbon bolts, which are very nice quality arrows. They flew fast and true in my target practice, and I even used them when I took the PSE Smoke out to the hunting field. They are accurate and solid, without any problems with cracking or bending.

If you decide to purchase more arrows, stick with 20” arrows at a weight of 425 grain. You’ll benefit from the blistering 330 FPS, and keep your kinetic energy above 102 ft. lbs.

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

Safety and Design

The overall design is quite nice on the PSE Smoke. It has a sleek profile, and the 5-position folding ergonomic foregrip is definitely a plus. The Smoke also features an adjustable AR-style stock, all of which combine to allow you to adjust this crossbow to fit your body precisely.

The Smoke is a bit on the heavy side, at 9.15 pounds, but its weight is very evenly balanced. This means not only that the weight helps steady the crossbow, but also that you don’t suffer the frontal heaviness that most crossbows will inflict on your aim.

The crossbow shoots quietly, and the anti dry fire mechanism works flawlessly each and every time. PSE has definitely hit a home run with this crossbow, and its fantastic tactical blackout finish make that home run a grand slam.


PSE provides a limited lifetime warranty on the PSE Smoke, as they do all of their crossbows. PSE’s customer service reps are among the best in the industry, offering fast and friendly help whenever you need it. I ran into a problem with a different PSE crossbow a while back, and found them to be very easy to work with, even paying the shipping costs to return my crossbow for repairs.

What Crossbow Case Fits the PSE Smoke?

The Carbon Express Deluxe Case at $70 for smaller scopes and the Barnett Case (Model 17083) at $53 for larger scopes are both nice choices for the PSE Smoke. A beautiful hard case choice is the SKB Hunter Series Crossbow Case, but of course it is also about 300 dollars.

PSE Smoke Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review of the PSE Smoke. This crossbow is a fantastic addition to the growing lineup of tactical black crossbows. It shoots fast, straight, and accurate every single time. It’s a bit on the heavy side, but if you don’t mind a bit of a workout when you’re hiking to your stand or blind, the Smoke is a fantastic crossbow to have at your disposal. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

1 Comment

  1. Great Crossbow, Yes it is a little heavy but I’m used to the weight being a military veteran and carrying fully loaded M4, M16A4, 249 or even worse a 240’s. Lol Scope did lack immensely to my standards but was easily solved with my Trijicon ACOG with a top mounted 5 MOA Bushnell First Strike and a few other simple modifications to the body…

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