Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Product Review: HipBone by Tactical Archery Systems
Hunting smarter is the name of the game. Out here in Southern California you have to do a lot of glassing to find your furry targets. I know that hunting out here can be a test of your patience because you used to have to set your bow down so that you could pull up your binoculars. I have tried slings, 'kickstands' and just holding my bow on my foot while I glass. I hate them all. I wanted a completely hands free device that I could use to hold my bow while glassing. I finally found it with the Tactical Archery Systems HipBone.

The HipBone is by far the best device I have reviewed all year. It truly is! 

Unique Ball & Socket Design Attaches a Rugged Polymer Ball to Either the Cable Guard or Stabilizer; Seats Securely in a Simple Belt Clip

New Braunfels
, TX – Tactical Archery Systems’ HipBone provides a simple, secure, hands-free bow holding solution with lightening fast engagement exactly when you need it. Hunters from across the country are enjoying hands free stalking or access to optics while still having their bow ready and within reach within a matter of seconds.

“For years, like many hunters, we struggled with bow holders that were cumbersome and ineffective, said Klint Kingsbury, president of Tactical Archery Systems. “As a result, bowmen were forced to either carry their bows by hand or drop them on the ground in order to fine tune their optics or move brush and other obstructions out of the way. We developed the HipBone to give hunters a simple, secure and silent way to keep their bows at hand – without sacrificing the reaction speed needed to engage a target.”

The HipBone's quick-attach ball & socket design attaches a rugged polymer ball to either the bows cable guard or stabilizer, which then seats securely into the specially designed belt clip socket. Each HipBone bow holder system comes with a belt clip and male and female threaded balls for attachment to either stabilizers or cable guards- making this holder compatible with almost any bow.

Here is a brief overview from their website:
  • Quick attach ball and socket for lightening fast engagement
  • Bow is completely secured
  • Space age polymer with steel inserts for maximum durability
  • Tactical Black matte finish
  • Compatible with all bows
  • Most secure bow holder ever
  • Frees hands for use of optics and stalking
  • Keeps your bow within hands reach at all times
  • Perfect for hunting or tournament shooting

Let me tell you what, I LOVE this new piece of archery gear. It's not brand new to the market, but it's new for this hunter! When I first spoke with Klint Kingsbury, owner of TAS, he gave me the overview on his products and asked me to describe my glassing techniques. Once I explained I was using a sling or nothing at all, he recommended the HipBone and offered to send me one.

Want to see it in action?


Pretty cool, huh? I was stoked to try it out. When the package came in the mail it didn't take me long to rip it open and pull out my new gear. Klint not only sent me a Hip Bone, but inside the box was also a Delta Rail Stabilizer and a SABO sight. For this review I am only going to focus on the HipBone.

First off, this thing attaches to your bow so easily. The directions to install are very simple. You attach one ball (socket) to your cable guard with two set screws. The other socket screw into your Delta Rail Stabilizer, or a stabilizer with a screw in area. Then, you just take the molded 'holster' and slip it over your belt. Make a note that you may have to cinch up your belt one or two notches because with the weight of the bow on your belt your pants are liable to slip down a bit. Mine did and that was when my waistline was a bit wider. Once that is done you are done. Time to go and start glassing. As you saw in the video, you can use either ball to connect to the socket adapter on your belt. Pretty slick, in my humble opinion.

Initially, I had a different quiver on my bow, so I was able to utilize the cable guard socket most of the time. I found that this allowed me the quickest access to my bow handle in a shooting situation from my left side (I am right handed) and it also kept the bow from swinging too much while I walked. This was very convenient when glassing out here in the hills. I was able to reach right up, not worry at all about my bow and start scanning for wildlife. 

Side view of the Hip Bone in action (cable guard attachment) with no quiver.
On the other side of the bow, I can utilize the stabilizer attachment and have my bow hang from the opposite side. This allows the bow to hang a little lower in the front, but also keeps it away from your hands more. This works great when standing or hiking in the wide open. I did find that if you are hiking through grass or tall weeds that they are apt to get stuck in the cams more often when using the stabilizer side of the bow. Still, it worked great and I each side gave me plenty of room to hike and glass without the worry of having to set my bow down or hold it in a weird way.

Recently, I switched to a new quiver and that gets in the way of the cable guard ball, so I had to use the stabilizer attachment more often. This was not an issue at all. In fact, if I take the quiver off I can use the cable guard attachment without any issue. Keep this in mind for you guys that may have a quiver or different bow set up than I do. You may have to play around to find the 'sweet spot' for the ball and socket, but trust me it will be worth it!

Side view of the Hip Bone in action (stabilizer attachment) with the Tightspot attached.

In the photos below, you can see how my bow hangs a little lower, but is still out of the way of my hands and give me freedom to glass without worrying about my bow.

You can see that even in full camouflage the HipBone functions extremely well.

The only issue I have with the HipBone is that after you use it for a few days it starts to squeak when you walk. The ball and socket design cause it to rub and squeak, but I found a very easy fix that has worked for months. I took a little bit of talcum powder and squirted it into the HipBone, where the ball meets the socket, and let it work in. It's been there for 4 months now and works great. Now, I haven't taken it in the rain or snow (hard to come by in SoCal) but I am guessing that you might have to freshen it up from time to time.

The price point on this one does get to me a little. It retails for $29.99 on the TAS website, which to me is a good deal, but the shipping charge is $13 flat rate. With tax you'll be paying close to $45 for one of these. Basically, what I understand is TAS really needs some dealers to sell these items so everyone can get a better deal. They are protecting their dealers and that is admirable. I still think that could be adjusted a bit.  

Note: You can buy these through places like Cabelas for $19.99 +shipping.

So here's what I did. While I don't want to exactly be a dealer for TAS, I know a few archery shops that could. So, I went and bought a case of the HipBones! Yes, a case because I got them at a great price with shipping included. They do take care of you when you help them out. I gave a few away as gifts already and have a few left over, so if you'd like one, let me know!

I highly recommend the Tactical Archery Systems HipBone to every hunter with a compound bow. I truly believe in this product and I think it's one of the best new archery inventions out there.

6 comments:

  1. That seems like a pretty good idea, and a fair price too. That said, I don't think I could get used to the bow dangling at my side, and in the thick stuff that I often hunt, I could see it getting snagged a lot. Out of all of the holster-type designs I have seen, this one definitely seems like it would work the best.

    I noticed you went with a TightSpot for your new quiver...how are you liking it? Are you going to do a review?

    By the way, what is up with rappelling from a tree? ;)

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  2. Sounds like a pretty handy product, Al. So if I don't have a stabilizer, would it work to just screw the ball into the riser where the stablizer would be?

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  3. Mark - I hunt a lot of thick stuff, and that was one of the big tests I wanted to put to this. Usually when I go through thick stuff I am holding on to my bow anyway. Even with a sling, you'd want to hang on to it. Otherwise it will get hung up. But, I did keep it connected to the holster a few times in the brush and it still worked great.

    As far as the TightSpot. I'll let you know. So far I do like it. It's a good quiver and the set up is easy. Not sure if I'll do a review. I have a few other things I have to review first.

    The rappelling - well, it IS a 'tactical' piece of gear. :)

    Phillip - yes, it will screw into the front of the riser. It might be a bit tight on your hip, but it works. I'll set that up and send a photo if you'd like.

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  4. If you try it and let me know if it's totally unweildy, that'd be cool.

    It sounds like it's perfect for hanging the bow to glass or to shoot video, which is about the only time my bow leaves my hand while I'm hunting anyway. I have a sling for packing around and it works fine.

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  5. Phillip, I tried it out tonight and it works really well. Not as well as if you had a stabilizer, but it does work and hangs well from the hip. For hunting in Cali I'd say it still works well.

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  6. This looks like a very interesting product. I have tried several different slings, and side "holsters" for bows, and have yet to find one that works super well for me. I like to use them while doing 3D shoots as well as hunting. I will have to look into this one for sure.

    Thanks for the review.

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