A good clean release. It’s what happens when you correctly let go of the bowstring at full draw, allowing the energy stored in the limbs to be transferred to the arrow, which is propelled down range toward the spot where you’re aiming.
Choosing a release aid is like choosing a wife. She’s got to be just right to take that super dive into the deep end. And like women, no two are created equally. Different materials are used, steel tolerances and quality are never the same, price tags are rarely identical, and there are a ton different styles to choose from depending on your preferred method of hunting or target shooting.
Below are just four of the many different styles
Finger Tabs And Gloves
This release method is perfect for traditional bows that use finger draw and release. The glove protects fingers and improves shooting. Finger tabs improve shot consistency by having the bowstring slide off just one surface instead of three fingers.
Tabs are designed to allow archers to shoot either with their index finger above the arrow nock and the two others below – that’s called split-finger shooting ‑ or with all three fingers below the nock.
Gloves are probably the simplest of the release aids. In a nutshell, they cover your three shooting fingers for protection against the string, and they provide a smooth surface for the string to glide across during the release. The gloves typically are made of leather or nylon.
Thumb Trigger Release
These releases are triggered by your thumb. Most are handheld, although some also can be attached to wrist straps to aid in drawing. They connect to the bowstring or D-loop either by enclosed jaw(s), an open hook or a rope loop.
The thumb trigger release, or thumb release, is the most popular release second to the hinge release. It has great versatility.
Lots of bowhunters use thumb trigger releases, and so do many target archers – especially 3-D competitors. Most thumb trigger releases can be used like a back tension release – the favorite among target archers – yet you still have the control of the release provided by a trigger.
Resistance Activated Release
Another hand-held release, this is a triggerless release used mainly by target archers. It’s activated by a build-up in pressure at full draw. It works similarly to the back tension release.
However, it has a thumb-triggered safety that eliminates some of the surprises. When the bow is at full draw, you release the safety by moving your thumb from it. Then squeeze your shoulder blades to trigger.
Index Finger Release
As the name suggests, these are mechanical release aids triggered by your index finger. Its popularity is in part because it is hard to lose when trekking through terrain and increases power.
The wrist strap ensures that the release cannot get dropped or misplaced on a hunt. By strapping the arm to the hand, the muscles are forced to work together, adding force while making the shot steadier.
When you come to full draw with one of these releases, you want to curl the forefinger on your trigger hand around the trigger post. If you have to stretch your forefinger all the way out to reach the trigger, you’re going to have problems with punching the trigger. Shorten the release head to reduce the gap separating it from the wrist strap.
Don’t activate the trigger by squeezing your finger like you’re shooting a gun. Wrap that forefinger around the post, and then pull through the shot with your whole arm.