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The Different Types of Bow Releases

Posted by Hunting Bow on

Identifying the different types of bow releases could help you make your mind about what to buy depending on your needs and your style. Either you decide to use only your fingers or the most technological mechanical release aid, the most important point remains to develop a consistent anchor point and a good archery form, no matter which type of release technique you picked. That said, using a bow release aid might improve considerably your consistency and accuracy by helping you to reduce your flaws in your archery form if the release aid is properly used.

 

Different string types and axle length mean different type of releases.

Bow strings can be set up in different ways. There can be a “D” loop, metal nock, or metal type fastener on the string. Some release aids aren’t only suitable for use on certain string styles. Make sure your potential release is compatible with your string setup. Another factor to consider is the axle length of the bow. If the axle to axle length is short (a short bow) then you might get some finger pinch when you get to full draw. If too narrow, the fingers will get pinched and accuracy will be off. It might also make finger tips go numb. So, you have to consider the amount of length adjustment it offers. All archers hands are not the same size, so not all releases fit every hand. You don’t want to have to strain just to reach the trigger. Therefore, make sure it is adjustable so that you can shoot with as much comfort as possible. It is really important to have the right fit for your bow setup.

 

Be aware…

What the release will be used for will have an impact in your release aid selection. Seek the features most beneficial for your type of shooting. Will you likely use it for target shooting, 3-Ds, or primarily for bow hunting? It is possible to use the same release for all uses, while other will use a specific style for target shooting and change style when heading out for bow hunting. The options should fit your personal preferences for comfort and style, so be sure to sample a variety of releases to find out which you prefer. In some cases, you'll be limited to available release styles based on your bow setup. For example, if you use a D-loop or specialized nock, then you must choose a release advertised to work well with your setup.

 

Hunting TIP!

When hunting, pay attention to the noise that the release produces. Some designs make a clicking sound during the process. This noise can easily scare your target. Therefore, you will want to make sure that your potential release aid doesn’t make any noise when your target is in your sight. In other words, you will need something that shoots smoothly and quietly in all weather conditions.

 

Six different Styles of Release in Archery.

Styles of release

Type of Bows used

Type of releases

Type of shooting

Pro’s

Con’s

 Fingers

All kind possible

None

All uses possible mainly traditional

- Target shooting

- 3 Ds

- Bow Hunting

- Tournaments

Easiest to learn, inexpensive and instinctive way of shooting.

Can be hard on finger tips on repetitive shots.

Finger Tabs

All Kind possible

Handheld

All uses possible mainly traditional

- Target shooting

- 3 Ds

- Bow Hunting

- Tournaments

Inexpensive, Good durability, Better feel of the string.

Leave your fingertips exposed

Gloves

All kind possible

Wrist strap

All uses possible mainly traditional

- Target shooting

- 3 Ds

- Bow Hunting

- Tournaments

Obvious protection of the fingers and the hand.

Can be warm during summertime. Can wear out faster. Less feel of the string.

Back tension-hinge release

All kind possible mainly Compound Bows and modern recurves

Handheld, Wrist strap and caliper

All uses possible mainly Compound Bows

- Target shooting

- 3 Ds

- Bow Hunting

- Tournaments

Keep it more instinctive. Keep a better follow-thru. Best solution for target panic.

No timing on aiming, Possible need of adjustment for ATA length

Index finger trigger release

All kind possible mainly Compound Bows and modern recurves

Wrist Strap and Caliper

All uses possible mainly Compound Bows

- Target shooting

- 3 Ds

- Bow Hunting

- Tournaments

Timing aim, setting for the trigger sensibility, better adjustability for length.

Noisy Velcro wrist strap, Possible need of adjustment for ATA length

Thumb trigger release

All kind possible mainly Compound Bows and modern recurves

Handheld with sling

All uses possible mainly Compound Bows

- Target shooting

- 3 Ds

- Bow Hunting

- Tournaments

Timing aim, possible setting for the trigger sensibility. Comfort and stable at anchor point.

No attach, don’t lose them. Possible need of adjustment for ATA length

 

The graphic follows certain logic in the way that a Tab is better than fingers; gloves are slightly better or equal than tabs and releases are better than gloves and tabs for more consistency and accuracy when shooting. It doesn’t imply that you need them but they clearly help to improve your form and accuracy.

Let’s go through them one by one.

 

Fingers

No need of introduction, fingers are the genuine way of shooting a bow. Most people are naturally putting the index finger over the nock point on the string and two other fingers (middle finger and ring finger) under the nock point. They will then bend the thumb and the little finger. The string will stay on the first phalanx of those fingers or just right after the first phalanx in the finger crease. That natural way of holding a string has inspired the creation of the finger tabs.

If you still want to shoot bare fingers, you must consider that shooting bare fingers might cause short-term discomfort and long-term nerve damage to your fingers. Then, it might be harder to achieve a clean release when the string slides off your fingers.

 

Tabs

The tab is mainly made out of two materials, cordovan or leather. Cordovan is leather made from horsehide as opposed to cow hide for normal leather. It's meant to be tougher/more hardwearing than cowhide leather. Be careful, sometimes manufacturers use synthetic leather. Many archers like the natural feel of a tab but every archer agrees on the fact that the right size makes all the difference. A loose tab is mostly annoying.


Finger tab release

AAE Elite Finger Tab Super Leather

 

One small but undeniable advantage of tabs is the absence of finger crease like on a glove. The tab can be used over a wool glove and you can flip it around your finger so it's out of the way to tie nock sets for example. For many hunters, the smoothness of the shots overcomes the annoyances when hunting.

 

Gloves

There are 2 different types of Archery gloves that are used for different purposes.  First, the bow hand glove actually holds the bow grip. Second, the bow string hand glove is usually covered by a three-fingered glove as shown below.

Neet Shooting Gloves FG2L Tan Suede

 

This Glove also recreates the natural way of using fingers when pulling the string and releasing it. Gloves are made of different materials from leather to waterproof coating material. The gloves will obviously protect your hands from being injured from the bowstring. Mainly all gloves will groove and this might affect your shot performances.

 

Back tension releases

Also called hinge releases because they operate exactly like a hinge.  It’s important to determine the size of your release to make it comfortable. Every mechanical release offers many adjustments but, if possible, you should try them out to find your personal best hand fit. You will have to look at the size, the number of fingers used and if you want to shot with a clicker or not. Some back tension releases have a half moon which will make a click sounds when ready to fire. For some archer, it may bring you to anticipate the shot which might affect your shooting performances. It is basically for safety but, can be too noisy in a hunting situation.

Stan Black Jack Release 3 Finger

 

You can set the Back Tension release "hotter" so that 1/10 of one degree of rotation will fire the BT release (not really advisable for anyone). You can set the release "colder" so that much more rotation is required to fire the BT release (advisable for beginners). You can also adjust the thumber height and the thumb barrel shaft. Again, it all goes down to your personal preferences for being the most comfortable as possible at anchor point and then focus on aiming.

 

Adjustment tip!!

Do read the directions sent by the company when it's time to make adjustments. It will save you time, trust me! Although nowadays YouTube tells all...

 

Index finger trigger releases

This IF release is the most popular among every discipline. Index finger releases work with a trigger but also with back tension (when mastered). Those types of release often come with a wrist strap or a caliper. These releases attach to the wrist by either a Velcro or buckle strap, in either a continuous round strap or “V” strap. Seek out models that offer customization in both trigger and caliper adjustments.

TruFire Edge Extreme Release Camouflage Buckle

 

The IF release offers many adjustments to his bearer making it the best fit for beginners. ATA axle length could be an issue so make sure that the wrist strap features that type of adjustments. Make sure that the strap allows you to curl your fingers over the trigger. You can also make a trigger tension adjustment from sensitive to more heavy. The release mechanism is triggered by the index finger. The action opens the «fang» and releases the string. To obtain a surprise release keep pressure on the trigger but pull your elbow to an object behind you. The tension generated will trigger the release.

 

Wrist strap tips!

It is strongly recommended to let your fingers behind the trigger when drawing back to anchor point to avoid any shots before time. Try also to always wear the strap the same way because if it's tighter one time or looser another time it might affect your anchor and generate consistency problems.

 

Thumb trigger releases

Popularity is increasing into the hunting world. Thumb releases work with a trigger but also with back tension (when mastered). You can also make a trigger tension adjustment from sensitive to more heavy. With many thumb-trigger releases, you have a much greater range of adjustments that allow you to customize the release exactly how you want it. In other words, you can adjust the trigger position, size, angle, and more. These minor adjustments are a big deal when it comes to reaching the most comfort, consistency, and accuracy out of your setup.

Stan JustXceptional Thumb Release 4 Finger

 

The release mechanism is triggered by the thumb but the thumb is not really moving. The trigger will eventually get “tripped” by your thumb. To do so, pull your elbow to an object behind you until you get a surprise release.

 

Conclusion

Releases are overwhelming so we recommend you to head to the nearest archery pro shop or sporting goods store. Nothing can compare to hands-on testing to get a feel for what works for you. In the case that no pro shops are near you, we recommend you to re-read this post and look for forums or any other platforms that would confirm your impressions on a specific release. Choosing the perfect aid now will ensure years of consistent and successful shooting but with a lot of stuff in archery, remember that it’s all down to personal preferences.

 

Buying tip!

When buying on the internet when far from pro shops, make sure to read the return policies on websites. You've spent time and money researching and purchasing your release; don't neglect to get this information.

Thank you for reading us! Do not hesitate to ask us if you have any questions or leave a comment below.

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