Archery release aids are one of the most helpful tools out there for shooting — especially if you’re newer to bowhunting. But what exactly are they, and how do you find the right one for your unique needs? That’s what we aim to help you uncover in this post. So without further delay, let’s get right down to answering some of the most common questions surrounding archery release training aids.
What is an Archery Release Aid?
Archery release aids are devices that attach to a compound bow’s string in order to make releasing it during a shot easier and more accurate.
Without a release aid, an archer uses their finger to hold the bowstring and release it to make a shot. But with a release aid, it’s the aid itself that comes into contact with the bowstring.
Different types of releases use different ways of releasing the string, from triggers to tension. But the concept between all release aids is similar: improve aim and reduce fatigue associated with holding a bowstring by hand.
What Are the Most Common Types of Archery Release Aids?
- Index Finger Release: Also known as caliper releases, these release aids are operated using your index finger. They feel similar to shooting a gun, which makes them feel more comfortable to newer archers. They also yield good accuracy gains for beginners without requiring much of a learning curve or mastery level.
- Thumb Release: This type of release is similar to the index finger release, but the archer uses their thumb, which is less sensitive than the index finger, to make the shot. Many believe this makes them more accurate than index finger releases.
- Tension Release: Unlike the first two types of release aids, tension releases don’t use a trigger; instead, they use a safety. To use, you draw your bow, let off the safety, and squeeze your shoulder blades together, pulling against the back wall of the bow. This type of aid may help reduce target panic — but it can also make it more difficult to capitalize on the window of opportunity for a perfect shot with this type of release aid, and these aids can require time to master.
- Hinge Release: These releases use tension like a tension aid along with hand movement, making them popular amongst advanced hunters and competition shooters alike. They can, however, be expensive and require time to master.
- DIY Archery Release Aids: Though we don’t recommend using a DIY release aid, some archers do.
What are the Best Archery Release Aids?
All Archery release aids have their own respective benefits, but some experts, like championship archer Randy Ulmer, believe that a thumb release’s increased accuracy when compared to other aid styles, most notably, the index finger release aid, gives it a leg up…or should we say, “a thumb’s up”!
Practically speaking, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to which type is best release aid for archery. The best release aid for you will ultimately depend on how you are using it and what you’re looking for in a release aid.
“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.”
What Not to Do When Choosing a Release Aid
If you’re new to using release aids for archery, it’s probably best not to go all out and splurge on a high-end release aid. The reason being, you may find that the type of release you start with isn’t the type of release you prefer to use over the long-run.
If you have experience with shooting firearms, you’ll already be familiar with the feel of index finger triggers. Therefore you might be most comfortable starting with a Caliper release, which is probably the most common type of release aid used on the whole for this very reason.
Don’t be afraid to try different release aids out! Everyone has different shooting preferences, and each type of release aid has its own unique benefits and considerations to keep in mind. Just remember not to bounce between different releases too often. You want to be able to learn the ins and outs of using one release first.
How to Choose an Archery Release Aid in 5 Steps
When it comes right down to it, the process for how to choose an archery release aid isn’t all that difficult.
- As we noted above, your first step is to consider how you’ll be using your release aid and what type of shooting you’ll be doing.
- Research different release aid options and the benefits of each.
- Talk to bowhunters and archers in your personal circle about why they use their release aids. They may even let you try their release aids on your bow.
- Talk to professionals in stores about the benefits and drawbacks of each release aid.
- Purchase a release aid and use it for a while before switching to another type so you can become familiar with how it functions and feels.
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Release aids help improve accuracy and precision and make shooting less strenuous. But there’s no substitute for the sweat equity involved with putting in archery practice hours. Thankfully, Accubow makes practicing archery at home easy and can also use a release with our full set of AccuBow products.
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