How to Choose the Best Archery Release Type

Video best bow release for beginners

The ultimate goal of an archer is to get their arrow to hit where they are aiming. In order to get the best possible accuracy, you must first choose the right archery release type. There are many archery release types to choose from. Each will have its own advantages and disadvantages, but using one is sure to take your archery skill to the next level! But how do you choose the best release type for you? Let’s go over the various types of archery releases and how you can select the right one for you.

What Is An Archery Release?

An archery release is a device that helps you to draw and shoot your bow. They work by consistently releasing the bowstring the same way every time, leading to better accuracy. Every archer should utilize some type of release, as it can help to improve accuracy, consistency, and fatigue in your hands and fingers. Executing the perfect shot can be challenging in archery. A release helps to mitigate the risk of making a mistake at the most crucial moment: the execution of the shot.

Archery Release Type Options

There are many different types of archery releases, each with its own features and best use cases. There is a lot to consider when choosing an archery release. For example, some releases utilize a trigger to fire the bow while others do not. A trigger release will require the shooter to work a trigger mechanism to fire the bow with the release. A trigger-less release, on the other hand, does not have any type of mechanism with a trigger. Instead, it is fired once the shooter performs a certain action such as placing the proper tension on the release and bowstring. Your choice will depend on your style, needs, and preferences.

Here are the different types and their advantages:

1. Fingers

Using your fingers to draw and release a bowstring is the most basic option for a release. There are finger tabs and gloves out there to help protect your fingers from the bowstring and fatigue. Most recurve or traditional archers utilize their fingers, although it can be done with compound bows as well. This is generally the most challenging out of all types of releases. This is due to how difficult it can be to get a consistent release with your fingers as opposed to another type of archery release.

2. Caliper Release

Caliper releases are also known as index finger releases. This is due to the release being set off via a trigger with your index finger. These releases are among the most popular and widely known releases. This is because of how easy they are to use and how consistent they can be with a little practice. The calipers of the release clamp around your D-loop or bowstring and fire at full draw by pulling the trigger. They are usually attached to your wrist with a velcro or buckle strap, ensuring it is always in place when you need it. This, along with the ability to shoot on command, make them a popular choice amongst bowhunters.

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There are a few downsides, however. Caliper releases tend to encourage the shooter to quickly pull the trigger, or “punch” it. This can result in a major decrease in accuracy and consistency. Although being able to control your shot can have its advantages, punching the trigger will almost always lead to problems such as target panic. Other shooters may not like to have the release attached to their wrist or hand, as it can become too hot, cumbersome, or uncomfortable.

3. Thumb Release

Thumb releases are a popular option for both hunters and competitive archers. It functions similarly to caliper releases. The exception is the trigger being maneuvered with your thumb instead of the index finger. They also do not attach to your wrist and are instead a handheld option that can give you a more comfortable and natural draw. Proponents of thumb releases will tell you that they are very easy to shoot with. You also get the advantage of a trigger release in the event that you are hunting. This allows you to force a shot when necessary, but otherwise, you can use it like a back tension release for most scenarios.

But what about the downsides? Thumb releases can contribute to target panic and “punching” the trigger just as easily as caliper releases. You must also keep track of your release very carefully, as they can get lost since they are not attached to your body. You do not want to lose one of these releases either, since they can be quite expensive!

4. Tension Release

A tension release is very different from a caliper or thumb release. It only includes safety and not a trigger. They are handheld and require a little more practice to use. After drawing your bow and letting off the safety, you slowly apply pressure to trigger the release. This is done by squeezing your shoulder blades together and pulling against the back wall of the bow. Once enough tension and force are placed on the release, it will activate and the bow will go off. These types of releases are designed to completely avoid punching the trigger and the consequences of target panic. Because you do not know the exact moment that the bow will fire, it forces you to have better form. It helps to avoid common pitfalls that occur at the shot.

Tension releases are not the best option for everyone, however. Most hunters will not use them as it is nearly impossible to control the shot. If an animal is quickly moving through a shooting lane, you may need to shoot at an exact moment or lose the opportunity. Tension releases can also be much harder to learn to use and be quite expensive.

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5. Hinge Release

Hinge releases are very similar to tension releases. They are handheld and trigger-less. But unlike a tension release, they use a combination of tension and hand movement to fire a bow. As a shooter draws a bow, they must keep pressure on the thumb and index finger. Once at full draw and ready to fire, they can begin to apply back tension while relaxing the index finger and thumb. This transfers pressure away from these fingers and onto the middle and ring fingers. This process causes the release to rotate and this rotation will cause the release to eventually fire.

Hinge releases are among the most popular types of releases amongst competition shooters. They are also growing in popularity amongst hunters. They can help avoid target panic and there is no trigger to punch. But, much like tension releases, they can take some time to master and generally cost much more than other releases.

Choosing Your Archery Release Type

What Are Your Intentions?

The first major step in choosing a release is what you intend to do with it. Are you going to be shooting in competitions or bowhunting? If you want one simply for target practice, your needs are going to be different than those interested in competing or hunting. For example, those in competitions will want the utmost accuracy out of their setup. This means that tension and hinge-style releases are going to be very popular options. On the flip side, many bowhunters want convenience, simplicity, and the ability to control a shot. This is where caliper and thumb releases will be more popular.

Of course, you will see different types of releases in all aspects of archery. Some hunters may use a hinge-style release while competition shooters could use a thumb release. But at the end of the day, it comes down to what you want out of your release and what fits best you and your style of shooting.

Best Archery Release Type for Hunting

Truglo Nitrus Caliper Bow Release
1. Truglo Nitrus Caliper Bow Release

The Truglo Nitrus release is a great release for hunters who want a high-quality release without spending a fortune. It offers micro adjustments on the trigger and the rotating head helps to avoid any torque. This rotating head also allows this release to be ambidextrous. Overall it is lightweight, comfortable, and reliable for any bowhunting adventure.

Tru-Fire Smoke Buckle Foldback Bow Release
2. Tru-Fire Smoke Buckle Foldback Bow Release

Tru-fire is considered to be one of the best manufacturers of bow releases in the hunting world. Their Smoke buckle release is one of their most popular models and for good reason. The head and trigger mechanism are able to “fold back” and keeps it out of the way of your hands until you need the release. It also features plenty of adjustments and extras to ensure you can set it up exactly how you need it.

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STAN PerfeX Heavy Metal Long Neck Resistance Release
3. Carter Chocolate Addiction Release

For those wanting a thumb release, look no further than the Carter Chocolate Addiction. Many hunters love this release, as it gives them complete adjustability. While pricey, it has a silky smooth trigger and function. This is the most popular thumb release amongst hunters, and it has a long reputation for being one of the most durable out on the market.

How to Choose the Best Archery Release Type
4. Spot Hogg Wiseguy Buckle Release

Spot Hogg makes some of the most durable bow sights in the hunting world and their releases are just as indestructible. While they cost more than your average index-style releases, they will last you for years to come. They are also very comfortable and can easily be worn all day long.

Best Archery Release Type for Competition

How to Choose the Best Archery Release Type
1. Scott Archery Longhorn Pro Micro Back Tension Release

The Longhorn Pro Micro utilizes a 3-finger design that gives you a smooth and accurate shot every time. The body is hand-polished brass with a stainless steel yoke and hook for maximum durability. It also gives you the ability to micro-adjust the settings and clicks. For a competition release that won’t break the bank, the Longhorn Pro Micro is a great option.

How to Choose the Best Archery Release Type
2. Carter Honey 2 Release

Carter makes some of the best archery releases for both hunting and competition, and their Honey 2 is no exception. This hinged back tension release is not only comfortable but a pleasure to shoot. Release speed can be easily adjusted with the sear engagement and it looks great too! I’ve been shooting this release for well over a year now and I can say without a doubt that it’s improved my accuracy and enjoyment of the sport.

How to Choose the Best Archery Release Type
3. Scott Archery Ascent Micro

The Ascent Micro from Scott Archery gives you plenty of options. Choose from a medium or large size, as well as a three or four-finger model. This release gives you micro-adjustable travel and click distance in a very small and affordable package.

How to Choose the Best Archery Release Type
4. STAN PerfeX Heavy Metal Long Neck Resistance Release

For shooters who want the most adjustability out of their release, the Heavy Metal Long Neck is the answer. This release allows you to adjust the trigger length and resistance, knobs, and finger grooves. With so much adjustability, you can set up this release exactly how you need it.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right archery release type can be almost as difficult as finding the right bow to shoot. But with a little bit of self-reflection, research, and thought, you can find one that perfectly suits you and your needs. No matter what type of archery release you settle on, just be sure to get plenty of practice with it!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>