In this review; the SA Sports Empire Punisher 420. A very quiet, compact, accurate and powerful crossbow. It’s a brand-new crossbow just released by SA Sports. We’ve seen a couple videos going around on social media that were showing off the prototype version and it looks like it’s going to be a very reliable crossbow for not a lot of money at all!
SA Sports just released the Empire Punisher 420 as their latest and greatest crossbow. It’s a completely different design than what we’re used to from SA Sports (Empire Beast, Empire Diablo). This crossbow is a very compact and almost fully adjustable.
Read our in-depth review of the SA Sports Empire Punisher 420 below!
Table of Contents
SA Sports Empire Punisher 420 Crossbow Features
- SA Sports Empire Punisher 420 (Fully Assembled)
- Side Mount Quick Detach Quiver
- Illuminated 4×32 Multi Range Scope (Mounted and Pre-Sighted)
- U-Sled Rope Cocking Device
- Shoulder Sling
- 3 20-Inch Carbon Arrows
- Hex Keys
- Instruction Manual
First Impressions / Size and Weight
SA Sports ships the Empire Punisher 420 fully assembled and pre-sighted. This crossbow instantly reminds me of a TenPoint crossbow. It’s a very narrow, lightweight and fast crossbow. Only things different; the price and the TenPoint crossbows usually come with an ACUdraw crank-cocking mechanism built into the butt of the stock.
SA Sports made the Empire Punisher 420 to be fully adjustable. It’s possible to adjust the foregrip and length of the stock to the user’s liking. Without a foot stirrup, this crossbow measures 33.75 inches in length. With a foot stirrup it measures 36.75 inches in length. The adjustable stock can add a total of 2 inches to the crossbow, making it either 35.75 inches. without a foot stirrup or 38.75 inches with the foot stirrup.
It’s also a very narrow crossbow at only 12 inches wide when uncocked and 7.75 inches when cocked. SA Sports managed to make the Empire Punisher 420 this narrow by using a narrow design and CNC machined inverted cam system.
SA Sports equipped the Empire Punisher 420 with string dampeners to reduce the noise to an absolute minimum. Currently it’s only possible to get this crossbow with a Veil Camo finish.
Arrows and Speed
SA Sports custom designed new arrows for the Empire Punisher 420. These Punisher 20-inch carbon arrows come with custom designed “Punisher” nocks. The total weight of these arrows is 400-grains including a 100-grain field tip. You are only allowed to use those arrows with this crossbow or else you’ll void your warranty!
The Empire Punisher 420 has a draw weight of 185 pounds and produces a whopping 157 ft-lbs. of energy to launch arrows at 420 feet per second! SA Sports managed to reach these numbers by using a 15.5-inch power stroke and a reverse cam system.
Mounted on the Empire Punisher 420 is an Illuminated 4×32 Multi Reticle Scope from SA Sports themselves. It’s fog, water and shock proof and has a glass etched reticle. It features red and green rheostat controls with 4 aiming points for multiple yardages. You can also use the scope without power and you’ll still have the black reticle.
This package includes a U-Sled rope-cocker and I haven’t seen other crossbows from SA Sports equipped with a U-Sled rope-cocker, they previously used normal rope-cocking devices. I have used TenPoint’s ACUsled on the Wicked Ridge RDX 400 and while it doesn’t offer any extra reduction in draw weight compared to normal rope-cocking devices, it does manage to accurately cock the crossbow every time.
It still reduces the draw weight by about 50%, but the U-Sled reduces the risk of inaccurately cocking the crossbow. It should also be an easier and faster way to cock.
SA Sports designed this crossbow to be compatible with the Empire Crank-cocking device as well. This is a great alternative if people are having issues with rope-cocking a crossbow in general.
Trigger and Safety Features
The Empire Punisher 420 features a precision trigger with a 3.5-pound pull. This is the same trigger that SA Sports also installed on the Empire Diablo.
It’s a trigger with little to no creep and also has an anti-dry fire system built in. Of course, it also features an ambidextrous safety switch.
Assembly and Sighting-In
This crossbow comes fully assembled, sighted in and is ready to hunt/shoot. It’s best if you take your crossbow out for some target shooting at a shooting range first to make sure it’s actually zeroed in correctly.
As the Empire Punisher 420 is adjustable in length and has an adjustable foregrip, I easily managed to get this crossbow to be very comfortable. Even with all the accessories attached to the crossbow, it’s still very lightweight and balanced out perfectly.
Because of the ultra-narrow design of this crossbow, SA Sports were basically forced to use a U-Sled rope cocking device. With this rope-cocker you can easily, safely and accurately cock the crossbow over and over.
Even though SA Sports claimed they already sighted in the scope, I didn’t believe it was. The first couple of shots at 20-yards were dead-center though. I decided to swap it out for a target at 50-yards and still managed to get extremely tight groups.
The crank-cocking device that’s compatible with this crossbow fits perfectly and if used correctly will save you a lot of energy. The crank-cocking device sits “loose” in the port. This allows for easy attaching and detaching, but you’ll have to apply downward force to the cranking device to avoid it from shooting out of its port.
Speed-testing the Empire Punisher 420 gave some interesting results. I managed to get 422 feet per second on the chronograph. Slightly higher than the advertised speed. Usually it’s the other way around; slightly slower than the advertised speeds.
SA-Sports also pre-installed string-dampeners and rubberized the foot-stirrup, which makes shooting of the Empire Punisher 420 extremely quiet.
The only thing missing in this package is a crossbow case. SA Sports does provide a sling for easy transportation and to hang the crossbow.
Properly storing your crossbow for the off-season is important though. We highly recommend to store it in a crossbow case. Currently SA Sports doesn’t offer any cases for their crossbows, so you’ll have to find one yourself. I store all of my crossbows in a case so I already ordered the Titan Copperhead crossbow case from the Allen Company on Amazon. It’s a perfect fir for the Empire Punisher 420!
I’ll make sure to update this review of the SA Sports Empire Punisher 420 in a couple of months with a definitive review. So far, it’s looking to be a durable crossbow as well.
Quick Overview of the SA Sports Empire Punisher 420
The SA Sports Empire Punisher 420 is a very compact, lightweight, extremely accurate, and powerful crossbow. This package comes completely assembled, sighted in, and is ready to shoot. Everything you’ll need is included! SA Sports were already showing last couple of years that they were serious about becoming an influential presence in the crossbow industry, but the Empire Punisher 420 has really amazed me!
What we like
- 420 FPS
- Ultra Compact
- Fully Adjustable
- Extremely Accurate
- Very Quiet
- Pre-Assembled and Pre-Sighted
- All accessories included
What we don’t like
- Uses a special type of “Punisher” arrows with unique nocks. You’ll void your warranty if you use a different arrow