Image by: J&S Shoot Photography
Shooting a bow is not easy and it takes a lot of practice to get it right. However, there are tools and accessories which can help make shooting easier and more reliable. One such accessory is the bow release. That said, how do you choose a bow release? Are there different types of bow releases? What is the best bow release for accuracy? These are all questions which we are here to discuss.
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What is a Bow Release?
A bow release is often referred to as a mechanical aid or mechanical draw string aid. These are mechanisms which have some sort of hook or ring, which the string of the bow hooks into. Then, depending on the type of bow release, there is some sort of trigger or mechanism which is activated, which releases the string and fires the arrow. It’s often called a mechanical aid because it’s a mechanism which makes drawing a bow string much easier than doing so by hand.
Different Types of Bow Releases
One of the most important things to know about is what type of bow release you want to get. So, let’s get familiar with each type of bow release, and yes, there are quite a few, all with their own specific benefits.
Wrist Strap Bow Release
Wrist strap bow releases have been around for a long time, the reason being that they are super simple and user-friendly, usually don’t cost too much, and they work quite well. These are generally made with some kind of fabric or leather strap, hopefully reinforced for strength, which fits around the wrist.
With a wrist strap release, there is a D-ring which holds the string, and an index finger activated trigger to release the string. These are very easy to use, and they come with a number of benefits.
What needs to be said about wrist strap bow releases is that if you use them right, wear them the same way, and are consistent with them, they are fairly accurate. Although that said, they are not considered to be the most accurate. Because it is likely that you will not wear the wrist strap in the exact same position every single time, it can affect accuracy in a negative way.
However, there are also some very beneficial aspects to wrist strap bow releases, such as ease of use, especially when it comes to using your index finger to pull the trigger. It’s very intuitive and easy to master.
Moreover, another benefit is that wrist strap bow releases keep your hands free, so you can deal with your gear without constantly having to get and put away a handheld release.
The other benefit with this type of bow release is that it makes drawing and holding a high-powered bow with a high draw weight much easier; with handheld models, you only use your hands and fingers to draw, but with a wrist strap bow release, you can use all of the muscles in your arms to draw, thus making it easier to use a high-powered bow.
Handheld Bow Release
The other main type of bow release is the handheld model, which as the name implies, is held in by hand as opposed to being strapped to the wrist. Many archers, whether for hunting or practice use this style of mechanical release, and it’s all because of accuracy and consistency.
As long as you draw the bow the same way each time, you will get the same result. Handheld bow releases are generally the more accurate of the two. There are a variety of types of handheld bow releases.
One of the most common and user-friendly types of handheld bow release is the thumb release. These are very simple to master and to use. There is a D-ring which holds the string, which is combined with a round knob which acts as the trigger (sometimes called a thumb barrel).
Simply pull the string back and press down on the knob with your thumb to release the string. Thumb releases are often considered to be one of the most accurate and consistent types of handheld bow releases.
Hinge releases are also fairly common and while they may look almost identical to thumb releases, that is where the similarity ends. For advanced archers, for people who know what they are doing, hinge releases can provide a very high level of accuracy and consistency.
However, using them has quite a learning curve. There is a hook which holds the string in place, and when you want to release the string, you have to rotate the whole mechanism to force the string off the hook. It can be difficult to learn, but once mastered is very reliable.
The other main type of handheld bow release is the resistance release. These do not use any kind of trigger, and instead, they are finely calibrated to release the bow string when a certain amount of resistance is met.
In other words, when you draw the bow string past a certain point, the resistance release will automatically let go of the string.
These can also be extremely accurate, but be aware that your bow and the release need to be finely tuned and in tune with each other, or else the release may let go of the string too early or too late.
Which Bow Release is Best for You?
Now that you know what the different types of bow releases are, and how accurate each is, it’s also important to discuss what kind of release is best for you. In other words, are you a beginner or a pro, a hunter or a target shooter?
Although they are not considered the most accurate, if you are a beginner just getting into archery, it’s the wrist strap release that you might want to go for. The reason for this is because they are simple. As a beginner, you have a lot to worry about, so using a simple release mechanism is ideal.
However, if you feel as though you can handle a handheld release, and you like the advanced accuracy which they can provide when compared to wrist strap models, the next best option to go with, the next easiest to use option, would be the thumb-release handheld bow release.
The consensus on what kind of release to use for hunting purposes is totally up in the air, and when it comes down to it, it’s more a matter of personal preference than anything else. Now, men usually prefer using a wrist strap release because it leaves the hands free to do other things, carry gear, and whatever else.
Moreover, they are constantly on your wrist, so if an opportunity presents itself, you can quickly hook in the D-ring and fire.
That said, wrist strap releases have some issues when it comes to hunting. For one, if it is cold or rainy out, and you are wearing long sleeves, even a thick coat, then managing a wrist strap release becomes a bit complicated. Also, they can hit your bow string and potentially blow your cover.
On the other hand, some hunters prefer handheld bow releases because they can be attached to a bow string and left in place; they are more accurate and reliable for shooting, but they can also slip out of your hands.
For Targets and Tournaments
For tournaments and target shooting, if you have a bit of experience, handheld releases are the way to go because wrist strap releases just cannot produce the same level of accuracy as handheld models.
Most target and tournament archers go with thumb or hinge release models because they are highly adjustable. Handheld bow releases allow for consistency and high levels of accuracy, thus making them best for target shooting and tournaments.
How to Choose The Best Release for You
Before you go out and buy any kind of bow release, there are some important factors to consider. Let’s take a look at what you need to keep in mind before choosing the best bow release for accuracy.
Your Needs and Skill
First and foremost, you need to take into account what we discussed above. In other words, what type of shooter are you? Are you a pro or a beginner, a hunter or a target shooter? You need to carefully consider all types of bow releases, their pros and cons, and which one best suits your needs and skills.
Ease of Use
Related to the first point, it’s always nice to have a bow release which is easy to use. Generally speaking, wrist strap releases are very easy to use, but not the most accurate. If you want something that is easy to use, as well as fairly accurate, you may want to consider a thumb-activated handheld bow release. Keep in mind that a lot of this has to do with personal preference and what works best for you.
Materials and Durability
Another very important consideration is what materials the bow release is made of. Now, whether you go for a handheld or a wrist strap version, anything that can be made of metal should be made of metal. Automatically, the less plastic is involved, the better.
You want to pay close attention to the release and trigger mechanisms. If you are going for a wrist strap, leather is always a go-to option.
Once again, comfort is also a matter of personal preference. You might find finger tabs or gloves, handheld models, or wrist strap varieties more comfortable. In all reality, what you find most comfortable is going to take a bit of trial and error to figure out.
Weight and Size
This is usually not a main consideration, but how large and heavy the bow release is, is important. It’s a bit of a trade-off, because larger and heavier models will usually be more durable and easier to hold, but lightweight options are going to cause less fatigue.
Noise is another factor. Now, this is really only a big deal for hunters, because the clicking sounds which some bow releases make can blow your cover. So, if you are hunting, be sure to get a bow release which is highly rated for silence.
The other important factor to consider here is adjustability. Generally speaking, you should be able to adjust the length of the shaft, the position of the trigger, and the tension on the trigger. This is important because it will allow you to adjust the release to meet your own needs and preferences.
Our Top Picks
The following are considered to be the best bow releases for accuracy. Here are two different models which deserve our attention.
Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle
First off, we have the Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle, which is a fairly high-quality and somewhat expensive wrist strap bow release. One of the things worth noting is that the wrist strap is made of reinforced leather, which is about as tough as it gets. It features a bit of padding on the inside to keep your wrists comfortable, but may cause a bit of chaffing.
The bottom line is that the Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle is very durable, and not only the strap itself, but all the components. For a release that comes in at nearly $150, we expect a high level of durability, which you get here, also thanks to the tough metal components used in the mechanism itself.
We would also like to say that the Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle is made in the US. Now, although this model is very durable and long lasting, it is important to note that it is very lightweight, so much so that you will barely notice that you are wearing it.
What is nice about the Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle is that it features a forward trigger design which allows you to use your index finger to release the string, and moreover, the trigger is adjustable for different amounts of pressure. At the same time, this unit also features an adjustable length, so you can get the best draw length and speed for your needs.
The fact that it comes with an open jaw means you can hook the string up real fast, but just be wary of the string falling off if not done right.
Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Archery Release
Here we have a slightly more expensive option, the Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Archery Release, which is a handheld thumb-activated bow release. One of the big benefits is that this unit is very comfortable to hold, as it comes with a special ergonomic finger grip style.
There is a groove for each finger, making it easy to draw and comfortable to hold. If you are looking for something very comfy and easy to use, this is a prime option to keep in mind.
The Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Archery Release is also extremely versatile. This is a thumb activated version, which out of all the handheld releases is by far the easiest to use. In terms of versatility and adjustability, this release features 16 different thumb knob positions, as well as an adjustable tension level.
Therefore, you can adjust the trigger to meet your exact needs, both in terms of thumb position and the amount of pressure that needs to be applied to activate the release mechanism.
What is also convenient about the Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Archery Release is that it features a string hook with 260 degrees of rotation; in other words, the release can rotate so you can move your hand freely.
Finally, this bow release is made in the US, and it is made with only the highest-quality materials; there is a reason why it costs as much as it does.
You should now know more or less everything about different bow releases. In terms of the best bow release for accuracy, we have reviewed two high-quality models, and we’ve also gone over how to choose the best bow release for your needs. The decision now rests firmly in your trigger finger.