SA Sports Empire Terminator Crossbow Review

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
SA Sports Empire Terminator

PSE Sports Empire Terminator

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175 lbs.11"260 FPS

Crossbow Academy: ballistics, sighting, tuning
22"26-29" / 4.5 lbs.
- Comes pre-strung
- Adjustable rear stock
- Full barrel Picatinny rail

- Included arrows are just 16” long
- Attachment hardware (screws and bolts) work loose
- Minimal, 1 year warranty
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?No3
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best SA Sports Crossbows

How Hard is the Crossbow to Assemble?

From the time I unboxed all the parts and accessories to the time I had the bow fully assembled and ready to go, no more than 20 minutes had passed. This crossbow comes pre-strung, so all you have to do is attach the adjustable rear stock, and then mount the bow assembly to the stock. Next, install the foot stirrup, and then mount the scope and quiver. All very easy to do, but make sure you double-check all of the attachment hardware to make sure it’s nice and tight—some of the screws came loose early on.

Accuracy And Power

SA Sports Empire TerminatorThe Empire Hunter isn’t the most powerful crossbow I’ve ever fired. It fires the 16” aluminum arrows at a mere 260 fps, according to my chronograph, and only deals out about 60 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy. What it lacks in power, though, it does make up in accuracy.

After sighting in the scope, I was able to maintain ½” groupings from 30 and 40 yards, and 1” groupings from 50 and 60 yards. The crossbow is definitely accurate enough to bull’s-eye with every shot, and I did just that with my groupings.

Will Hunters Enjoy the SA Sports Empire Terminator?

The SA Sports Empire Hunter is a small crossbow, and slightly underpowered. Much of this is due to the short, 11” power stroke, but the crossbow should still be powerful enough for most deer hunters. This crossbow is new for 2014, so I haven’t had it out for deer season yet, but the power and accuracy are good enough for me to feel comfortable that the crossbow will fill my freezer this winter.

Kinetic Energy of The SA Sports Empire Terminator

The next question is how much kinetic energy the SA Sports Empire Terminator is able to deliver to your target? We’ve found that 425-grain arrows fly off the rail at around 250 FPS, so the Empire Terminator is not exactly the fastest crossbow on the market. In terms of kinetic energy, you’re looking at around 60 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy at point blank range. Assuming a loss of a few percent ft. lbs. for every yard beyond point blank range, you can comfortably assume your arrows will delivery 55 ft. lbs. of kinetic energy for a 30-yard shot. This means the SA Sports Empire Terminator is suitable for small, medium, and large game, from deer to elk, black bears and wild boar, but it is not suitable for tougher game like grizzly bears or Cape buffalo.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The SA Sports Empire Terminator

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.

Cocking The Empire Terminator

The SA Sports Empire Terminator has a draw weight of 175 pounds, and comes with a rope cocking device to pull that down by about 50%. The draw is nice and smooth, and the anti-dry fire mechanism and safety engage smoothly every time.

The Crossbow Scope

SA Sports Empire Terminator3The Empire Terminator includes a 4×32 Multi-Range Scope, which sights in very quickly. Mine only required a few adjustments before it was fully sighted in, and it has held true ever since I sighted it in.

The optics are coated well, and the scope is relatively fogproof. Target sight is crisp and clear, and I look forward to seeing a deer inside the targeting reticles in the very near future.

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


SA Sports includes 2 16” aluminum arrows with the Empire Terminator, which means you’ll want to invest in more crossbow arrows early on. I used my 20” Firebolt arrows at 425 grain, and found the speed to clock in at just around 250 fps with these arrows. I’d recommend going with the Firebolt or with Carbon Express arrows at 425 grain for hunting purposes, as well as target shooting. Two arrows simply is not enough arrows for target shooting, since you have to keep going up to the target block to retrieve your arrows.

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

Safety and Design

SA Sports Empire Terminator2The Empire Terminator features an adjustable rear stock, which makes the crossbow nice for adjusting to different sizes of shooters and different shooting styles. The crossbow is fairly well constructed, but many of the attachment screws were not properly installed, and vibrated loose during sighting in. This is a manufacturer’s issue that SA Sports needs to address before too much longer, but I went ahead and tightened all of the screws and bolts myself. Once properly tightened, they stayed installed without any problems.

The anti-dry fire mechanism worked perfectly during shooting, engaging precisely when it should. The crossbow itself is a bit louder than other crossbows, but not by much.

The Empire Terminator, bear in mind, is a sub-$200 crossbow. Even so, it is feature-rich, including a full barrel Picatinny rail for mounting other accessories, and is very accurate if underpowered. For the price, it’s definitely worth the purchase—it would even be a worthy investment at twice the price.


SA Sports only provides a 1-year warranty on the Empire Terminator. Perhaps this is due to the low price of the crossbow, but Barnett’s comparable crossbows at least have the Barnett 3 year warranty. SA Sports’ web site and owner’s manual is also sorely lacking in information, without even details on what weight arrows you should shoot. Furthermore, the FAQ section of the SA Sports website has not yet been completed. It seems pretty clear that SA Sports is new to the business, and still need to get up to speed to compete in this market.

What Crossbow Case Fits the SA Sports Empire Terminator?

The SA Sports Empire Terminator is rather wide for its length. It fits wonderfully into the Carbon Express Deluxe Case which sells for under $70. If you prefer hard cases, it fits the Plano 1133-00 Manta Crossbow Case well which sells for $120.

Crossbow Review – Summary

Thanks for reading our crossbow review of the SA Sports Empire Terminator. For under $200, this is a fine crossbow that should get a deer in the back of your truck. The jury’s still out on how long the crossbow will last, though, given the already noticeable problem with screws and bolts not being properly tightened at the manufacturer. Take a look at today's price on this crossbow and check out our top 10 crossbows rankings for more.

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