By Mark Kenyon

I’ve reviewed a number of arrows from Carbon Express here on Wired To Hunt over the years, and for good reason. I’ve shot Carbon Express since the day I picked up a bow at 13 years old, and they haven’t let me down yet. That said, you’d think eventually I’d run out of things to say. To a degree that might be true. You see, the basic foundation of my thoughts on Carbon Express arrows never changes. They’ve always been a tough, quality, and accurate arrow. While that’s true every year, I’m also always pleasantly surprised with some new tweak or advancement in technology with each new model.

That said, when I finally got my hands on the new Maxima RED arrows this year, I couldn’t wait to see what Carbon Express had up their sleeve. Interestingly though, I eventually realized the trick wasn’t up there sleeve, but rather in their spine…

The Key To An Accurate Arrow

“Managing how an arrow flexes in flight is the key to arrow accuracy”

So begins the product description for Carbon Expresses newest arrows, the Maxima REDs. And with this belief in mind, Carbon Express went to work to optimize this spine flex on Maxima REDs like no other arrow before it.

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Arrow flex and it’s importance is a basic foundation of archery accuracy, but many hunters aren’t necessarily aware of this. That said, lets dig in a little. Outdoor writer Bob Humphrey wrote in article featured on Wired To Hunt earlier this year about arrow flex and the “archer’s paradox”, and said this …

“Archer’s paradox refers to the phenomenon where an arrow does not travel precisely in the direction it is pointed when the bowstring is released.  At release, there is a sudden and explosive transfer of energy from the bowstring to the arrow, which causes the shaft to bend, or flex.  The relative stiffness – how much it flexes – is referred to as dynamic spine.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The shaft first bends one way, then the other, and continues to bend or oscillate as it flies, until it eventually recovers and flies straight.  The greater and more prolonged the oscillation, the less stable the flight, and the less accurate the shot.

At the front of this flying arrow shaft is a broadhead, the blades of which act like “wings,” causing it to plane.  They also exaggerate the effects of arrow flexing and oscillation in flight, which reduces accuracy and increases the time and effort required for tuning.  The quicker and more effectively you can control these factors, the more precise and accurate the shot.”

That said, it makes all the sense in the world that if you can shorten this time of oscillation in an arrow, you’ll have a more accurate shaft. That’s exactly what Carbon Express has done with the Maxima REDs.

The Red Zone

With the goal of reducing oscillation, Carbon Express created their newest arrows with something called a “red zone”. This red zone, towards the center of the arrow, is a made from a less stiff material than the ends of the arrows. This slightly more flexible material in the center allows for the flex in the arrows to be focused towards the center, rather than the ends (like most other arrows). This effectively minimizes dynamic spine and the amount that these arrows oscillate before straightening. The end result is a more accurate flight and hit!

While that is a very simplified explanation of this technology, I think you can see just how important this is. The “red zone” really is a game changer.

My Experiences

In addition the the new benefits of the “red zone”, the Maxima REDs feature all of the other features we’ve come to know and expect from Carbon Express. Those being incredibly straight and consistent shafts, tough materials, perfect nocks, and the list goes on. In an interview on, Lennie Rezmer of Carbon Express explained the importance of consistency and attention to detail in their arrows …

What people don’t realize is arrow shafts and the components (like the nock and insert) need to be perfect.  If a nock or insert isn’t perfect, an arrow won’t fly correctly. Our new LaunchPad nocks are built so each one is identical to the one on the arrow next to it. Our tolerances are very tight on our manufacturing processes, which results in a more accurate arrow.

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Maybe more important than the tech specs though are the actual results, and the results I’ve seen have lived right up to those impressive specs.

When taking the REDs out for the first time on the range I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed, and after seeing my first few groups I certainly wasn’t. As advertised, the Maxima Red arrows fly incredibly true and as long as I didn’t screw up the shot, I could count on a well placed arrow. With each new line of CX arrows I’ve seen consistency and accuracy improve, and while I hope some of that is my own natural growth as a shooter, I’m sure some of it goes back to the product as well.

Most importantly though, the RED’s performed off the range as well, as W2H team-members Ross Hausmann and Josh Hillyard both killed great bucks with their Maxima RED arrows this fall! A whole slew of does have fallen to the Maxima REDs this year as well, and I’m sure a few more will before the season is through.

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Final Thoughts

All of that said, as I’ve said year after year, Carbon Express is the arrow for me. I’ve never been disappointed with a new arrow from CX and the Maxima RED surely didn’t break that trend. With incredible consistency and new “dynamic spine” technology, the Maxima RED has continued Carbon Express’ streak of terrific, high performance arrows. When I draw back with a RED nocked on, I can feel comfortable that this arrow will give me the best possible chance of success, and that’s a good feeling to have. Given my decade plus of great performance from Carbon Express and the terrific technology used in this latest model, I can very comfortably recommend the Maxima REDs to anyone looking to purchase a new, high performance arrow.

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