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Best bow releases

A good bow release can improve your accuracy by taking the strain off your fingers and allowing perfect, controlled firing. They’re also kinder to your fingertips.

However, with hundreds to choose from, picking the right model can be hard work. Our concise bow release review will make life easier, and we’ve added some personal favorites. Our top model, the Tru Ball Buckle Bone Collector Scout Release, is a high-quality all-rounder equally good for the bow hunter or target shooter.

What to know before you buy a bow release

Types of bow release

Bow releases can be divided into wrist or hand models.

Wrist releases are generally considered easier to use. They have either a Velcro closure or a strap and buckle, so you can adjust it for comfort. A solid rod or fabric strap, called an arm, extends from this and holds the trigger mechanism. It’s important that the rod or strap can be adjusted for length so you can reach the trigger comfortably with your index finger. Some do this in a number of steps, but better models provide unlimited adjustment so you can get the perfect fit. When you’re not using it, it stays attached to your arm. You don’t have to worry about where to put it or it not being handy when you need it. However, if the arm isn’t flexible or folding, it can get in your way.

With hand releases you wrap your fingers around them. Entry-level models might not offer any size adjustment, so you have to choose one that’s right for your hand. Better ones have an extending thumb button so you can get a better fit. Release is by thumb trigger rather than finger. This usually provides a smoother action. While they take a little longer to learn well, they are often preferred by more experienced archers, and competitive target shooters in particular. Aluminum is usually used for the main body to keep weight down, though brass is also available. Some have a lanyard attachment, so you don’t have to worry about finding a pocket or putting it down.

The bowstring is held either by calipers (jaws) or a single hook, both of which are designed to latch onto a bowstring D-loop. Not all strings carry these loops, though they’re easy enough to add. If you don’t want to do that, you may find a bow release that’s compatible with your bowstring, but you may not. It’s an important consideration at the outset.

Both types of bow release might include different tension settings, so the trigger can be set to release without any actual input from the archer. Most of these can be set to click just before release, so you get a moment’s warning. The amount of trigger travel, and thus sensitivity, may also be adjustable. Hinge release models (can be wrist or hand) have no trigger as such, but are set off by rotation — you pull the bowstring back to the firing position, then rotate your hand. These are recommended by those who suffer from “target panic,” which makes them release the shot too early.

How much you can expect to spend on a bow release

The cheapest bow releases are the wrist type, starting at around $15. As an introduction to the device, they’re OK, but archers who find they like them tend to upgrade reasonably quickly. High-quality models start at around $40, though they can reach $120 for a wrist release and almost $200 for the best hand releases.

Bow release FAQ

Can I use a bow release with a recurve bow?

A. Although normally used for compound bows, there’s nothing to stop you using one on a recurve. However, there is a danger that the extra draw weight could trigger an unexpected release, so check that the model you’re considering is rated high enough for the power of your recurve bow.

Is dry firing a good way to practice with my bow release?

A. No. You should avoid dry firing (firing the bow without an arrow) if at all possible. The energy that should go through the arrow is absorbed by the frame of the bow instead, which can cause damage and even a complete break.

What’s the best bow release to buy?

Top bow release

Tru Ball Buckle Bone Collector Scout Release

Tru Ball Buckle Bone Collector Scout Release

Our take: Well-made, competitively priced model for all types of archery enthusiasts.

What we like: Smooth, patented release mechanism. Velcro strap gives secure, comfortable fit. Adjusts for trigger pressure and reach. Virtually silent for hunting use. U.S. made.

What we dislike: Almost nothing, though a few find release adjustment difficult.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top bow release for the money

SAS Adjustable Archery Release Aid

SAS Adjustable Archery Release Aid

Our take: Budget device ideal for those who are trying a bow release for the first time.

What we like: Adjustable Velcro strap gives decent fit. Head design can be switched from right to left handed. Five length settings. Very low cost.

What we dislike: Can be overly sensitive, leading to uncontrolled release.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Tru-Fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback Max

Tru-Fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback Max

Our take: Superb quality and tremendous comfort for archers with deep pockets.

What we like: Adjustable for both length and trigger pressure. Hook design guaranteed not to slip off loops. Right- or left-handed. Made in the U.S.A.

What we dislike: It’s a lot of money. Very rare instances of trigger malfunction.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon



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Bob Beacham writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.


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