In this article, we’re going to go over the basics of archery releases, analyze their different iterations, and review some existing products to help you find the best archery releases for you.
Starting out, many archers don’t recognize the need to use a release for archery, but once they experience using an archery release for the first time, the accuracy of their shots increases tremendously.
There’s a reason that archery releases optimize our performance. When we use our fingers, they’re nowhere near as stable, and this adds contact points on the bow.
The more contact points applied to the bow, the less accurate your shot will be. By using an archery release, you apply only one strong contact point on the bow, and it focuses on complete accuracy.
Not only that, but a smoother release is more comfortable and puts less strain on the fingers over time.
Let’s dive into the world of archery releases and try to find one that best suits your competitive or recreational needs.
This release has a forward trigger design that maximizes your draw length and speed. The trigger is light, with plenty of micro adjustments.
The release is said to be torque free, and the hook is self reloading. It is only compatible with bows that have D-loop string!
- Easy to use and draw with
- Fold back feature keeps it out of the way when not in use
- Great trigger accessibility and tension adjustability
- Sturdy hook and connector bridge
- Hook style easy to set, offers tights and better groups
- Little to no trigger travel
- Trigger might be too light for some archers
This hook-style release is torque-free – the head pivots 20 degrees to either side, and the jaw design is open to ensure quick loop attachment. Its strap is a black leather foldback designed for maximum comfort.
The strap comfort features include; 2.5x more padding, wider design, and the edges are rolled to prevent digging into the arm.
- Extremely comfortable plush padding and design
- Smooth trigger and precise angle
- Instant grouping improvement
- Simple and effective foldback feature
- Anti-torque pivoting head
- The wideness of the strap evenly distributes the pressure on the wrist
- Quick and easy engagement
- Easily adjust length of travel, trigger sensitivity, and weight to suit your preference
- Possibility of the trigger not resetting, and doing it manually is noisy
This hook release has a foldback feature to keep it out of the way when not in use. The buckle has over ⅝” of length adjustment, including locking option and adjustable trigger travel.
The head pivots 20 degrees to the left or right – eliminating torque at full draw and helps balance the bow while aiming.
- Great fit for most, with or without gloves
- Comfortable padding
- Impressive foldback mechanics
- Impressive foldback mechanics Results in significant grouping improvement
- Quick engage and disengage, even in the dark
- Prevents archers from “punching the trigger” and experiencing target panic
- The hook may wear down and damage D-loops
This is the shorter and more compact version of the original Mongoose release from the Scott Archery company. Possibly one of the best Scott archery release they have come up with so far.
This wrist release is leather and has a wide buckle strap with a four hole adjustment. It comes in plain black or mossy oak camouflage.
- Crisp and light release
- Comfortable on the wrist
- Perfect for smaller hands
- Strap material may bind and be difficult to feed through the buckle
- Not suitable for larger hands (check out the Mongoose version instead)
Best Archery Release Types
Firstly, we’ll go over some different styles that you will encounter when choosing your archery release. I suggest making an informed personal choice here, depending on whether the style of release benefits hunting or competitive archery.
Hook Style vs Caliper/Jaw Style Archery Releases
They are both beneficial to your game, but the choice is often affected by a few factors, including personal preference, your bowstring, and the shooting situation.
Ideal for hunting, these simply hook quickly and quietly to your D-loop. They’re not as secure as the caliper/jaw style, but there also isn’t too much risk of them coming loose.
Every second counts when it comes to hunting, so hook releases are great for speed. Obviously, if you’re shooting competitively, speed is a less critical factor.
Some archers prefer the caliper because it encloses the bowstring safely and only releases when you activate the trigger. However, they have faced criticism on the grounds of wearing down D-loop bowstrings which have forced archers into replacing their bowstring.
Wrist vs Handheld Archery Releases
This is the most popular style, and I highly recommend them for beginner to intermediate hunters. During drawback, wrist releases are easier on the wrist and forearm, and the trigger uses the index finger.
Wrist releases are reliable, easily adjustable, and offer the most comfort for the archer. Archers usually display a preference for wrist release due to its comfort, convenience, and compatible fit with any seasonal clothes.
They leave your hand free in case you need to steady yourself while trekking and hunting. Also, they’re secured to your wrist, so you don’t have to worry about losing them!
If you get a product that has a foldback feature, you can easily tuck it away until you need it. No noise or annoying dangling in the way!
- Wrist releases aren’t the best for accuracy
- They’re not particularly helpful when it comes to treating target panic
While they are more expensive than wrists releases, handheld releases are newer to the market and are more suitable for experienced hunters. They’re super lightweight and are used more commonly in competitive shooting.
The handheld release has more adjustment options compared to the wrist release. The positioning of the trigger and the release length affects your draw length.
The trigger is set off using the thumb or back tension. The trigger is overall more sensitive, and this can take some getting used to.
When shopping for a handheld release, make sure that it will fit comfortably in your hand. The best handheld archery release should have plenty of length adjustment for your hand size.
If the release isn’t the correct one for your hand size, you’ll strain and struggle to reach the trigger. Another huge benefit is that these releases really help with target panic!
The back tension feature treats the jumpiness factor, and decreases the anticipation or the need to ‘punch the trigger.’
- Since it’s not attached to anything, it’s easier to lose if you’re out in a hunting session
- More expensive than the wrist releases
Bowstring Style/Loop Compatibility
It’s worth getting familiar with your bowstring loop style because you’ll need to know if the release will work with it, or eat away at it. Your release purchase also depends on whether you’re shooting directly from a nocking point, or if you’re shooting from a loop on your string.
The most used loops archers use at the moment are D Loop cords, metal nocks metal type fasteners. Depending on what you’re using for a point of connection, it may not even be used with an archery release.
Make sure to check your bowstring regularly for any signs of wearing down. If the release isn’t compatible, it can chew through your bowstring over time.
That often happens with string loops, especially if the release mechanism is caliper. In case you need help identifying them, let’s take a quick look at the types of connection points for arrows.
The D-loop is a small cord that attached to the bowstring by cinch knots. It surrounds the arrow to form a “D” shape.
They’re affordable, but require a few different steps to tie them onto the bowstring.
These have the same shape and concept as the string D-loop, but can often be significantly more durable.
The nocking point serves as an attachment point for your arrow to set on the bowstring. If your bowstring already has the notch, you do not need any string loops or fasteners.
The anchor point refers to your hand positioning when the arrow is released. This is important because any adjustment affects your hand angle and reference point.
If you’re using a wrist release, it can be adjusted by the strap. As for handheld releases, they increase your anchor points’ accuracy and consistency.
To give you a better idea of how to understand and execute them, here are the two most commonly used anchor points:
Corner of the Mouth
This is perfect for beginner archers: it’s the most straightforward anchor point to remember and execute. When you draw your bowstring back, your hand should be resting near the corner of your mouth.
With practice, you’ll see a vast improvement!
Under the Jaw
This one is more challenging. For this anchor point, you’ll position your hand right below your jaw.
More experienced archers use this anchor point because it increases shot accuracy.
Anchor Points and Releases
When using mechanical releases, you won’t be able to rest your hand onto your anchor points, but it should be positioned in the same area.
Amount of Adjustment for Archery Releases
Wrist releases have fewer adjustments than handheld products: only some features like trigger angle, trigger travel, length, and trigger tension can be modified.
Handheld releases are more versatile in that respect: they generally come with a broader variety of adjustment options which include trigger angle and pull force.
The adjustment also refers to fitting the release according to the size of your hands. Length adjustment is significant for handheld releases because you want to make sure it fits in your hand comfortably.
If it’s too large, you’ll be very uncomfortable when reaching for the trigger.
Automatic or hydraulic archery releases will automatically fire your bow sometime after drawback. Releases with this feature are the most expensive and should be avoided if you are still new to archery.
Not too much to handle for experienced competitors, but they should be avoided by hunters as they will need as much control as possible over their timing.
Target panic is a common condition in which archers experience “panic” when aiming at a target with a bow that uses a manual trigger. It affects both competitive and recreational archers.
It is described as a psychological, or possibly neurological, response to attempting to align an arrow to the target. Symptoms include:
- Premature anchor: the archer feels that the bow is a lot heavier than it actually is and has difficulty coming to full anchor
- Archer “locks up” and is unable to move past a certain point while aligning their arrow with their target
- Premature release: Archer is unable to anchor fully without the premature release of the arrow
In simpler terms, the ailment causes the archer to anticipate the shot when they see the target, making them “punch” the trigger too soon. It can be treated, but it needs to be early when it’s first detected.
Instead of the traditional trigger, a good archery release for target panic is resistance activated release aids – they release when the string is at full draw, and you can’t “punch the trigger” if there isn’t one.
Back tension archery releases are used by applying tension between the release jaw and the bowstring, causing the archer to fire without anticipating it.
Some releases come with an audible clicking noise. If you are strictly shooting competitively, you don’t need to worry about making sounds. However, if you plan on hunting, you’ll need a release without the clicking sound.
That applies to all of your equipment; you don’t want to spook your game.
What To Buy
Top Archery Releases for the Money
Gearing up on accessories when you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality.
We’ll go over inexpensive and reliable archery releases, as well as more expensive alternatives.
Archery Releases on a Budget
Hands down one of the most dependable and durable of its kind, the TruFire Patriot Archery Compound Bow Release is accessible for any archer. Its dual caliper design is up to par, and the strap style is an adjustable black padded nylon strap, easy to use and comfortable.
They even have junior sizes available as a lighter, smaller version. The trigger itself is adjustable to sensitivity and travel, and the trigger head rotates 360 degrees.
However, there are a couple of things we didn’t like about it. A point that we’ve mentioned before is that its velcro, and it can be way too noisy if you’re taking it out on a hunt.
Two, the jaw-style release doesn’t automatically close, so you have to push forward every time to close the jaw.
Best Bang for Your Archery Buck
Money, not an issue? If you want to put more money on your bow release and you don’t mind a handheld, I recommend the T.R.U. Ball GOAT Reo Wilde Signature Series Release.
T.R.U. Ball collaborated with Reo Wilde to combine two popular forms of release into one handheld design. This archery release can alternate between hinge or thumb-style triggers and includes micro adjustments for ultimate precision.
T.R.U. Goat series is one of the more expensive and innovative releases out there, but don’t let the cost intimidate you. The locks come with individual trigger sensitivity and travel.
It also comes with a standard medium click, but it can be easily switched to no click by flipping the sear lock screw 180 degrees.
What is the Best Release for Target Archery?
After going over the different styles, it’s safe to say that the ideal release for target archery or competitive shooting would need to be a thumb release handheld for its accuracy.
By far the best archery thumb release for target archery may be the T.R.U. Ball Max Hunter Pro 3. It’s a handheld push-forward release with a thumb trigger mechanism. The head pivots 360 degrees, includes a screw for adjustable trigger sensitivity, and loading is pretty quiet.
It’s an overall sleek and comfortable choice for an inexpensive budget. A great alternative, especially if you find most thumb releases feel weird or awkward.
One disadvantage – it leans more toward a smaller sizing, not the best choice if you have larger hands.
What are the Best Archery Releases for Hunting?
The best archery releases for hunting need to be compact, fast to adjust and use, and has to be absolutely quiet. No Velcro straps!
We’ll narrow it down to wrist releases since they’re the best archery hunting release option. As my personal favorite, the TruFire Hardcore Buckle Foldback hook style wrist release meets all the requirements for the perfect hunting release.
It has the foldback feature, so it doesn’t dangle or clank against anything during long hunting sessions. The camouflage buckle is a silent adjustment.
It also has a 20 percent pivot, so it can be used whether you’re left-handed or right-handed.
After taking many factors into consideration, Our pick for the top archery release will be split between two separate archery goals: bowhunting and competitive shooting. They have vastly different needs so it’s only fair.
Hunting Release Winner
First of all, the TruFire Hardcore MAX prioritizes all the essentials of an archery release with the utmost quality possible. As mentioned in the reviews, it’s comfortable, lightweight, reliable, and it’s incredibly accurate.
The buckle and adjustments are quiet and easy to use. Overall, it wins at every aspect in the bowhunting release category.
Archers have reported that it gnaws away at D-loop strings, but the problem can be remedied with more durable loops, like investing in metal fasteners.
Target Archery Release Winner
This release is the smoothest transition from wrist to the handheld for archers. It’s my favorite handheld due to its ergonomic sleek design and fits comfortably in both hands.
Not to mention the 16 position trigger adjustable knob, everything about this release is absolutely smooth.
You can also achieve incredible accuracy with the 360-degree head pivot on 11 ball bearings. The design is torque-free and provides uninhibited rotation for your sharp anchor points.
It won’t get lost like the other handhelds either. It comes with a bolted lanyard.
Now that you’re familiar with the release types, their compatibility, and their ups and downs, you should be able to narrow your options down to the one that suits your bow the most.
That pretty much covers it. We hope you find the best archery release for your money, and whether you agree or have your own favorite, leave us a comment and let us know!
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