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Which Release is Best for You?

A Good Release can help make better Groups

A Good Release can help make better Groups

Release aids come in a wide array of sizes and shapes. Even in this arena there are only three styles of release aids. The finger trigger, thumb trigger and the back tension release. They all have their application in certain situations.  But for hunters there are some basic elements to consider.

Most hunters you see in the woods use a finger trigger release. It straps to their wrist with a buckle or God forbid, some type of Velcro device. These clamp onto the string of loop and with the squeeze of the trigger releases the arrow. These come in a wide array of styles and designs. Many prefer the caliper style that clamps fully around the string or loop and when the trigger is pressed opens the jaws and releases the string. A ‘hook’ style is also popular. This style hooks onto the string or loop and when the trigger is pressed, forces the hook to pivot releasing the string.

The trigger finger release is popular because it mimics the action of shooting a gun. We are used to using our trigger finger to get a result. Plus the fact that the release aid is attached to our wrist we cannot drop it or lose it. The finger release is considered by most to be the least accurate of the three because of the manner in which it is fired. Shooters have a tendency to “punch” the trigger rather than to squeeze the trigger. While this can be taught, it is a constant struggle for most shooters and hunters.

The thumb trigger is the second type of release. It is a bit more difficult to master because quite frankly we are just not used to using our thumb to release or fire something. But once mastered, the thumb release is considered to be far more accurate than the finger trigger release. It is my personal favorite and I use the same release while shooting targets, 3D or hunting.

The thumb release allows for a more consistent anchor point and a more consistent release action. The pressure of the release is far more adjustable on thumb releases. Allowing the shooter to micro adjust the amount of tension on the trigger to control the shot. Notice when changing from a wrist strap finger release to a thumb release, the draw length will shorten a good half an inch or more, due to the shape of the release. I have moved from a 28.5” draw length to a 28” draw length just by changing release aids.

The third and last release type is the most difficult to master. It is known as the back tension release. While it really does not take back tension to cause the release to fire, it theory it should. This release works on steady pressure. By holding the bow still and maintaining enough pressure on the release, the shot will break, surprising the shooter. This is the style of release most of the top target and 3D shooters shoot for the best scores. They are focused on holding the bow still rather than squeezing the release trigger. By focusing on the target and maintaining constant or increasingly more pressure the release will fire the string suddenly and with little flinch by the shooter.

This type takes a lot of getting used to and takes thousands of arrows to get proficient and confident with shooting. Personally, I have never gotten used to the back tension and prefer the thumb release.

Regardless of which release you choose, you must practice and practice a lot to get proficient with shooting a bow. It is one of the few things that I personally enjoy practicing. Shooting a bow and arrow accurately and consistently will build confidence in the woods that when the moment of truth happens you know with all confidence that you will make the shot.