PSE Sidewinder XB Review (In-Field) – Compound Crossbow

ModelDraw WeightStrokeVelocitySuggested Arrow LengthCrossbow Length / Weight
PSE Sidewinder XB

PSE Sidewinder XB

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155 lbs.14.25"345 FPS

How to sight a crossbow?
20"35" / 6 lbs. 7 ozs.
- Easy to cock
- Quiet
- Can Manually Decock
- First Stryker to Accept a Crank

- No Auto Safety
Small Game Hunting?yes2
Deer, Elk Hunting?yes2
Moose, Bear Hunting?yes2
Target Shooting?yes2
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Also Recommended:Best PSE Crossbows

PSE Sidewinder XB Package Contents

  • The PSE Sidewinder XB is offered as a basic kit. The one that we tested had:
  • A multi-reticle 4X32 mm scope
  • Four 20” arrows with 100-grain field points
  • A six-arrow detachable quiver

Like the rest of the Viper line (PSE Sidewinder and PSE Rattler), one item that was missing that we would like to have had included is a rope-cocking aid. These aren’t too expensive and would be one accessory we would strongly recommend.

First Impressions: Design, Safety, Comfort and Accuracy

PSE Sidewinder XBWhen you first look at the Sidewinder XB, you can tell this is a crossbow that is primarily designed for the shooter that wants a hunting crossbow but doesn’t want to spend too much. It uses a similar stock and barrel as the PSE Rattler and Copperhead, but with a slightly longer power stroke. The stock has a film-dipped camo finish and also an anodized machined aluminum barrel. Like the other Vipers, the Sidewinder XB also has the fully rubber-dipped foot stirrup which helps stifle a small amount of the sound and vibration.

It is nice that the Sidewinder has an ambidextrous auto safety, but keep in mind there is no anti-dry-fire system. Like the Rattler and Copperhead, there are no flanges above the fore grip to keep the shooters off-hand fingers and thumb from getting into the string path. You can, however, move the forward grip back and forth to find the most comfortable position for the shooter’s forward hand.

Kinetic Energy of the PSE Sidewinder XB

The PSE Sidewinder XB combines a moderate draw weight with a 12.5” power stroke to shoot arrows in the 350-grain range at about 310 fps. These means your arrows are leaving the muzzle with around 72 ft. lbs. of energy. This should be plenty for almost anything, although I wouldn’t feel safe hunting grizzly-sized game due to lack of room for error.

Use our arrow ballistics calculator for more valuable information.

Ballistic Data For The PSE Sidewinder XB

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 with the PSE Sidewinder XB

The Sidewinder XB is a fairly basic crossbow that is going to allow you to take a deer without having to break the $400 mark. At 8 lbs. of weight, it isn’t the lightest crossbow out there, but it also isn’t the heaviest. It is a tad long so don’t plan on using it if you hunt in rather confined quarters. We really wouldn’t recommend shots farther than 40 yards, and even then, get a lot of range time to know how your Sidewinder shoots.

How Quiet is the Sidewinder XB

PSE Sidewinder XB2The PSE Sidewinder XB is not a very quiet crossbow, even with the coated foot stirrup. If you are going to hunt with this crossbow, get some string silencers as well as limb and stock dampeners. Make sure you don’t forget to add a couple of dampeners to the stirrup as that is where a lot of vibration is concentrated during the shot.

Cocking the PSE Sidewinder XB

The Sidewinder XB is isn’t too hard to cock given the modest draw weight. Even so, we wouldn’t recommend cocking this by hand…get a rope cocker to save your fingers!

Quality of the Optics

The Sidewinder XB comes with a scope about what we would expect for the price range. The multi-reticle 4 X 32 mm scope does a good enough job of letting you shoot at multiple ranges, but you really need to practice with your hunting configuration to ensure you know at what range your reticles are actually set for.

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

What Arrows to use with the Sidewinder XB

PSE Sidewinder XB3Like the rest of the Viper crossbows, the 20” arrows that come with the Sidewinder XB are good to practice with and familiarize yourself with the crossbow, but might not be the best choice for hunting. We found them to get a little wild at longer ranges but you should try them for yourself to determine if they will work for you. They come with the crossbow so you don’t have anything to lose by practicing with them!

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

Overall Thoughts

The PSE Sidewinder XB is the most powerful of the Viper line. It shares many of the basic attributes, both positive and negative with them. We like the auto safety but miss the anti-dry-fire. We like the forward grip adjustability but miss the safety flanges.

This is a crossbow that will serve you well as long as you recognize its limitations, both in performance and safety. All in all, it is a decent hunting crossbow for the money, but you should really take a close look to see if it might be worth a few dollars more to evaluate a few other crossbows that offer additional safety features. 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. Hello. I have the crossbow you presented above but the rope burst. Where can I buy a rope and how much does it cost? Thanks

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