PSE TAC Elite Crossbow Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight


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150 lbs.17-1/4"405 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
26-1/4"41-1/2" / 9 lbs.
- PSE Customer Support very quick to resolve problems
- Powerful and hard-hitting, with 155 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy
- AR-15 stock and trigger

- Very large and heavy
- No quiver
- Can only use PSE TAC Arrows
- Poor quality control leads to many reports of problems
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

Hi, and welcome to our review of the PSE TAC Elite. The PSE TAC Elite combines the best of both worlds: AR-15 style shooting in a tactical crossbow. Each package delivered by PSE includes the following items:

  • The PSE TAC Elite Crossbow
  • Assembly hardware
  • 3-9×42 multi-reticle scope
  • Bipod
  • Three PSE TAC Arrows
  • TAC Case
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Warranty Card

How Hard is the PSE TAC Elite to Assemble?

The owner’s manual for the PSE TAC Elite provides very clear directions for how to assemble your crossbow. Make sure to follow the directions, and assembly will be a breeze. Because of the way the AR-15 stock and trigger are designed, it is important to note that you must have the hammer of the AR-15 in the cocked position to install the crossbow barrel.

Once the prod, stock and barrel are assembled, you just have to mount the scope and you’re ready to rock and roll. It took me about 30 minutes to have my PSE TAC Elite ready for the archery range.

Accuracy And Power

The included scope was almost sighted in right out of the box, requiring just a bit of fine tuning before I was seeing ½” groupings from 25 yards. Once I was done sighting in the scope, I started backing up to see just how accurate this monster of a crossbow was.

From 35 yards, I was still shooting ½” groupings. At 45 yards, I was able to hit 1” groupings consistently, and experienced the same from 50 yards. At 60 and 75 yards, my groupings were about 1-1/2” to 2”, so I’d say this crossbow is quite accurate and deadly.

Even though the draw weight of the PSE TAC Elite is only 150 lbs., the long power stroke allows the crossbow to deliver arrows at a blistering 405 fps. They hit the target with 155 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, which drove the arrows completely through my target block and 3/4 of the way into my backstop. This monster is a powerful crossbow.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The PSE TAC Elite

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 Like the PSE TAC Elite?

With its 155 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy, the PSE TAC Elite delivers enough killing force to take out any legal game in North America. Its blackout design is terrific for ground blind hunting as well as deer stand hunting, and the AR-15 stock makes it an easy transition from the AR-15 rifle to the crossbow.

However, the TAC Elite has a couple of drawbacks for hunters. The first and most obvious is the size and weight of the crossbow. At 9 pounds, this is easily the heaviest crossbow I’ve ever carried into the woods, and the long length of the crossbow makes it a bit unwieldy in the bush. You also need to use a shooting rest and the included bipod, which makes for an interesting setup in field conditions.

The second problem is the lack of a quiver. Why PSE neglected to include a quiver with the TAC Elite befuddles me, except that PSE is known more for their compound bows than their crossbows, and they’ve struggled a bit in the past with making well-designed crossbow packages.

Once you work out the kinks, though, this crossbow is a killing machine. When I used the PSE TAC Elite in the field, I was able to take down a bull moose with a shot that went clean through the moose’s body and came out the other side with enough force to bury the arrow in the hard-packed snow and dirt. The moose barely managed to stagger off 25 yards before he dropped to the ground, dead.

Cocking The PSE TAC Elite

The PSE TAC Elite includes an integrated hand cranking cocking mechanism that works flawlessly every time. The 150 lb. draw weight is light enough that you could cock the crossbow by hand, but there is no point in that, because the cocking mechanism works quickly and effectively.

The Crossbow Scope

The PSE TAC Elite comes with a 3-9×42 multi-reticle crossbow scope. The scope sights in easily, and holds true even while bumping around in the back of a pickup truck over rough terrain. The optics are quite good on the scope, and targets are very crisp and clear when you are getting set up to take your shot.

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

Bolts For The TAC Elite

The PSE TAC Elite comes with 3 PSE TAC arrows, and PSE recommends using only those arrows. This recommendation stems from the size of the power stroke and the size of the arrows—I’ve never before seen a crossbow take arrows as long as this bow requires (26-1/4” arrows).

The included arrows are 425 grain with broad heads, and are pretty decent arrows. They are sturdy enough to handle the power of the bow, and I found them quite efficient at dispatching game in the forest.

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

Safety and Design

The PSE TAC Elite has a decent enough design, but has one critical flaw: the pull loop on the main string has a tendency to stretch out. When that happens, it will jam up the anti dry-fire mechanism, meaning you cannot fire the crossbow. This happened to me out in the field as I was setting up to take down an elk, and I was very disappointed that I couldn’t get in the shot. It would have been an easy kill, and some great meat on the table. PSE took care of the issue promptly, but they weren’t able to provide me with the elk meat I would have gotten if the problem hadn’t cropped up!


The PSE TAC Elite is covered by a 5-year limited warranty, and PSE’s technical and customer support folks are top notch. I’ve found them to be very quick to resolve problems, and have heard reports of them even repairing crossbows damaged by dry firing for hundreds of dollars less than a bow technician would normally charge.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading my review of the PSE TAC Elite crossbow. This is a great conversation piece, but it is not really the best crossbow for in the woods, unless you’re the size of John Bunyan. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

1 Comment

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  1. I wonder if they decided against the quiver because they would stick out past the limbs, making it easy to come into contact with brush or other obstructions… I would think that when cocked the bow would be small axle to axle, now toss on 20″ or 22″ bolts and they are going to be sticking way out past the axle’s… I have seen this problem with a few other bows they have a 18″ axle width and sport 22″ bolts, this was why I got a hip quiver for my BCXTreme.

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