Martin Jaguar Review

The following Martin Jaguar review was written by Mike Norton.


Martin JaguarDrawBow WeightBow LengthTake-downRating
Martin Jaguar

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30-55 lbs.2.82 lbs.60"Yes9/10


  • Best budget recurve bow for beginners.
  • Comfortable and easy to aim; easy tuning.
  • Quiet even with no silencers installed.


  • Nothing worth mentioning.

Package Contents

The following items are included with every new Jaguar package purchase after December 2012:

  • The Martin Jaguar riser
  • Detachable limbs
  • Arrow rest
  • Recurve bow string
  • Owner’s manual & Warranty

Arrows are not included, nor is a bow stringer – you’ll have to purchase those separately.

Assembling The Martin Jaguar

As with any take-down bow, you’ll first be attaching the limbs to the riser and tightening the bolts to keep them in place. Then it’s only a matter of using a stringer to string the bow. Avoid stringing any recurve manually (without a stringer) even if you can do it – having the string slap you in the face or eye is a very unpleasant experience.

Quality of The Grip

  • Includes a layer of thermal material to keep your bow han warm.
  • Feels really balanced in the hand, and the bow does not have a tendency to sway to the sides.
  • The grip is pretty wide, though people with exceptionally large hands may feel it’s a little lacking in size.
  • Comfortable profile with an ergonomic shape. You won’t feel the riser digging into your hand when drawing.
  • It seems to be moisture-resistant, which is a huge plus in hot weather.

Overall: excellent grip, though people with huge hands might feel a little discomfort.

Quality of The Riser

  • Made from both magnesium and aluminum, which makes it light-weight but also more durable than old-school wooden risers.
  • The large size of the riser makes it absorb residual energy easier, hence reducing vibration. No hand torque during release (assuming a proper grip).
  • CPC arrow shelf is wide and easy to shoot from even by beginners. Haven’t had any arrow clearance issues despite minimal tuning.
  • A plastic arrow rest is included with the package, which works fine but can wear out pretty quickly. If you like shooting with an arrow rest, better get an extra one in addition to the Jaguar, as you’ll probably be disappointed with the rest Martin will send you.

The camo finish and the Jaguar logo on the riser look awesome.

Overall: doesn’t get any better than this for this price.

Quality of The Limbs

  • Made from laminated wood and fiberglass, just like most of Martin’s recurve bows.
  • The glue holding the layers was applied pretty evenly and I haven’t experienced any issues with separation so far.
  • There were a few very tiny “humps” underneath the outer laminate layer, which had no effect on performance. I was worried the humps would get worse with time, but after over 2 years of use things are still working great with no signs of further deterioration.
  • As with any take-down recurve bow, the limbs on the Jaguar can be removed from the riser for easier transportation and storage. The bolts attaching the limbs to the pocket are heavy-duty and hold the construction together firmly. There’s even no need for periodically tightening the bolts.

Quality of The String

  • Make sure to wax the string very often to get the most out of it.
  • Expect the string to last for at least 8000 to 10000 arrows.
  • Get a bow stringer and always remove the string from the limbs once you’re done shooting.
  • The string is fast, with an average number of strands (maybe 10? not really sure).
  • If the string makes too much noise when shooting, make sure you’ve properly tuned the bow. If it’s still too loud, buy some rubber silencers and put them on the string.
  • Feel free to use FastFlight Flemish strings (with as many as 16 strands) with the Martin Jaguar – they work great!

Overall: a solid string which compliments the design of the Jaguar well.

How Accurate is The Martin Jaguar To Shoot?

  • Very low vibration levels and the absence of grip torque enable the arrow to fly exactly where you intended for it to go.
  • Comfort is very important for accuracy, as it’s hard to focus on the target when you are distracted by pain in your bow hand. Since the Jaguar has a very comfortable grip (see above), you’ll have an easier time hitting the bulls-eye.
  • The riser and limbs make the bow very easy to tune, hence allowing you shoot with consistency.
  • Depending on how much draw weight you get (the higher, the more acurate the bow – as long as you can handle the draw weight), you’ll find 40-50 yard targets to be well within your range.

Overall: amazingly accurate even in the hands of an inexperienced shooter.

Arrows For The Martin Jaguar

Picking the right arrows for a recurve bow will require knowledge of two things:

  1. Your draw length
  2. The draw weight of the bow you intend to buy

It’s impossible to recommend arrows in a ‘vacuum’ without having the above information at minimum. As such, the best way for figuring out what arrows to use with the Martin Jaguar is reading our quick arrow selection guide. Keep in mind that as you gain experience, you’ll want to experiment with different types of arrows to find ones that perfectly suit your shooting style.

Does The Martin Jaguar Accept Accesories

Most take-down recurves will accept accessories, and the Jaguar is luckily not an exception. It’s factory-drilled and threaded, so you can install different accessories, such as:

  • A recurve bow pin sight
  • An arrow quiver
  • A stabilizer

Is The Jaguar Suitable For Beginners?

Just like the Martin Saber, the Jaguar is a perfect beginner recurve:

  • Extremely affordable.
  • Simple to tune and very low-maintenance for a recurve bow.
  • Take-down construction makes it easy to transport, store, and to change draw weight when required.
  • Easy to aim and is “forgiving” of beginner’s form mistakes. No wrist slap issues even with somewhat incorret elbow rotation.
  • Since it accepts accessories, you can always get an extra sight and/or stabilizer to experiment further.

Is The Jaguar a Good Hunting Bow?

I believe the Martin Jaguar is great for hunting for a few reasons:

  • It’s relatively short (60″), so maneuvering it in a blind is not a problem at all.
  • Only 2.8 lbs. heavy, so transportation in the field is not an issue.
  • Very quiet even without string whiskers or limb dampeners.

Depending on what you plan to hunt for, however, you’ll need more or less draw weight. In general, the bigger the animal, the more draw weight you will need. This is because higher draw weight recurves provide more kinetic energy, allowing the arrow to penetrate through thicker skin and flesh. Follow these guidelines:

  • If you want to hunt for wild turkey and deer, 40 lbs. of draw weight will be enough, as long as you don’t shoot from more than 30 yards.
  • For elk, 45 lbs. would be enough, though 50# is a much safer bet especially if you’re a beginner (as long as you can comfortably draw such weights).
  • For ox or cape buffalo, you’ll need 55-60 lbs. of draw.

Never buy a recurve with more draw weight than you can handle though. Refer to our guide on choosing draw weight for more help if you’ve never handled a bow before.

Where To Buy The Jaguar?

Check out today’s price on first of all. Craigslist is also an option, however if you’re a beginner better to buy a new bow to avoid unintentionally purchasing a faulty or abused unit. Most archery pro shops don’t have the Jaguar in stock, but it’s worth giving some a call to make sure. Ask about their prices and whether there’s a rebate available if you buy arrows with the bow.

  1. Reply
    Riley October 23, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    What is the draw length for this bow, my draw is 29.5. Is it long enough for me to comfortably shoot.

  2. Reply
    Tom February 28, 2018 at 1:48 am

    There’s is no draw stop on a recurve bow. This is how it works: recurve bows are gaged at a standard 28″ for the sake of draw wt. In lbs. So if you buy a recurve that is 40# @ 28″ that is a standard guide to go by. So if your draw lengthy is 29.5″ then you will be drawing more weight than at the 28″ standard, probably about 2-3 lbs. More. Hope this helps.

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