Sabre3 Review

Visit Us

In a nutshell: “What A Fun Wing”

Flying the Sabre 3, photo by Performance Designs

Everyone’s talking about the Sabre3 but how many people have actually jumped one?

Martin Lemay, Canadian 4-way champion, World Medalist and Record Organizer, is one of the lucky few to get his hands in the Sabre3 toggles. Martin shares his thoughts…

Author Martin Lemay on the new Sabre3


I am a Flight-1 instructor. Flight-1 has a close affiliation with Performance Designs. I have been a Performance Designs sponsored athlete for freefall events since 2007. Hopefully, my review of the Performance Designs new hot commodity will resonate with you without you reading into what you assume is a biased opinion. I fly parachutes for a living.

In the last month, I had the pleasure of jumping a Sabre3 – 190 for work and a Sabre3 – 120 for fun. What A Fun Wing!

Sabre 3 experience

I loaded the 190 at 1.3. I jumped it mostly for high pulls. It offered me great performance and amazing bottom range flare on straight-in approaches. I flew standard downwind-base-final patterns with no intent of inducing speed. My intention was to fly it like a newer jumper would; conservatively but with a willingness to explore what’s possible under a parachute. Flying a wing at a low wing loading (exit weight vs square footage of the wing) early in your progression will allow for a lot of learning in a lower speed environment. The Sabre3 provides a fun first canopy. The cool thing with this canopy is that it can be flown conservatively on straight-in approaches, but it can also give you performance if you want it to.

As I am a freefall aficionado, I took advantage of jumping a Sabre3 120 during a weekend of organizing. I loaded it at 2.0 and seriously took it down for a rip. 

The cool thing with this canopy is that it can be flown conservatively on straight-in approaches, but it can also give you performance if you want it to”

Flying the Sabre 3, photo by Performance Designs


Openings were rapid but on heading. If you base your review of the Sabre3 based on openings only, this is an amazing upgrade from the very popular Sabre2. The snag and snivel are short, but the inflation felt longer. In basic terms, once you pitch, you have a canopy over your head quickly, but it takes a little longer for the slider to come down. All that happens while you are still on your opening heading. 

Flying characteristics

As for flying characteristics, you have a long control range, great dive coming off turn, easy-to-manage front riser pressure, performance on rear risers and solid bottom-end flare on toggles.

Who is it suitable for?

Based on my experience under the wing, I can say that this can be a perfect beginner wing to learn flare technique if you fly bigger sizes and a low wingloading. It can also be a great wing to learn how to swoop if you fly the smaller sizes. The feedback from both front and rear risers combined with the efficiency of toggles during the flare will help you train what you are looking for. For an all-around jumper who likes on-heading openings without the feeling of ground rush once you are flying, this canopy is for you. Because of its flying characteristics, the Sabre 3 can satisfy a large crowd of jumpers.

“The Sabre3 can satisfy a large crowd of jumpers” – Image shows Martin with Evolution, the Canadian 4-way team at the World Championships, Gold Coast, Australia

Fly before you buy

I strongly advise demoing one before making a purchase. Performance Designs, along with most other canopy manufacturers, have great demo programs in place so that you can find the wing that suits you best. [If you live in USA or Europe you can order a demo canopy of your choice to be posted to you to jump.  You just pay the cost of the shipping and insurance.]

Martin (left) and Ben (right), one of his brothers, dragging the pond at Skydive City, Zephyrhills FL, flying VK hybrids
Visit Us

Meet: Martin Lemay

I am a 2nd generation skydiver. I grew up on a skydiving school and have been around parachutes since I was 7 years old. I have done 12,500 jumps in the last 20 years: tandems, AFF, 4-way FS, 4-way VFS, tandem camera, Flight-1 instruction jumps and fun jumps.
I have jumped 360 square foot canopies down to 71 sqft. I have been a Flight-1 instructor for the last 9 years, both on the civilian side and on the military side.

Latest posts

Contact Me

    Scroll to Top