A good and clean release is what all archers strive for as it goes a long way when shooting the bow. Regardless of the type of bow you are using, whether it is a compound, a recurve, or a longbow, with the help of a release you can more easily deliver the perfect shot you are trying to achieve so badly. In the following, we will present you with the best options on the market at the moment, so stick with us if you want to notice a major improvement in your archery game.

Top 7 Bow Releases Comparison

Photo Products Price
TruFire Smoke SMBF Image
Best Overall

1. TruFire Smoke SMBF

  • Trigger tension can be adjusted
  • Adjustable trigger travel
  • 5/8-inch length adjustment
  • Foldback design
  • Fits both left and right hands
Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Image
Our Choice

2. Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution

  • Adjustable trigger tension
  • Adjustable trigger travel
  • Over 1” length adjustment
  • Swept back trigger
  • Suited for left and right-handed archers
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Tru-Fire MX-HDBF Hardcore Buckle Foldback Image

3. Tru-Fire MX-HDBF Hardcore Buckle Foldback

  • Adjustable trigger tension from 3 to 16 ounces
  • Trigger travel is fully adjustable
  • Length adjustment exceeds 5/8”
  • Forward trigger design
  • Perfect for left and right-handed archers
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Tru-Fire MX-HDBBLKF Hardcore Buckle Foldback Image

4. Tru-Fire MX-HDBBLKF Hardcore Buckle Foldback

  • Trigger tension can be adjusted from 3 to 16 ounces
  • Fully adjustable trigger travel
  • Over 5/8” length adjustment
  • Swept back trigger style
  • Compatible with left and right-handed users
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Hot Shot 5450 Vapor 4 Image

5. Hot Shot 5450 Vapor 4

  • Trigger tension adjustability – full
  • Trigger travel can be adjusted
  • Length adjustment of over 1”
  • Swept back trigger
  • Can be used by left and right-handed archers
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Scott Archery Shark Double Caliper Image

6. Scott Archery Shark Double Caliper

  • Trigger tension is adjustable
  • Trigger travel is fully adjustable
  • Length adjustment – 4-position
  • Forward-positioned knurled-trigger
  • Perfect for left and right-handed archers
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TruFire Patriot Image

7. TruFire Patriot

  • Trigger tension is adjustable
  • Fully adjustable trigger travel
  • Length adjustment up to 1 inch
  • Forward pushing trigger design
  • Right fit for left as well as right-handed archers

Release Aids Reviews

TruFire Smoke SMBF

TruFire is the company that provides with the most qualitative products on the market, and the Smoke model makes no exception. On the contrary, as it is the best-selling product in its niche, it is safe to say that this is the best selection you could go for. It features an adjustable trigger travel that ensures maximum comfort when using it. All you have to do in order to make the proper adjustments is to pull back the trigger as much as you need by opening the jaws, and let them off to close when your comfort point is reached. It can be used by left, as well as right-handed individuals, and it features a 16-position trigger thumb adjustment system that ensures your hand size won’t matter as it will be a perfect fit. The foldback design of the buckle strap provides hands-free operation. Additionally, it is warranted against defects for 30 days after you purchase it.

PROS CONS
  • Spring loaded dual caliper model
  • Buckle strap ensures a tight, custom fit
  • The head can be adjusted to 16 different positions
  • Boasts a compact design that makes it convenient to use
VERDICT

Compact, reliable, and usable for individuals that shoot with their left hand, as well as right-handed users, the Smoke is the selection that drew everyone’s attention, becoming the best-selling product in its niche rapidly.

Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution

The Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution allows you to adjust it exactly as you like. It is expertly crafted using only the highest quality materials, as all products manufactured by Tru-Fire. The 360-degree head rotation is certainly one of its biggest highlights, allowing you to lock it into any position you desire. For a smooth and easy rotation of the head, it features a system with 11 ball bearings. For convenience in use and for a truly increased accuracy, the trigger tension as well as the trigger travel can be adjusted independently by simply turning a separate set screw. It comes with a lanyard that is adjustable and allows you to keep it on at all times. The loop retainer can be removed easy and quick. Additionally, it is designed to be used by left-handed as well as right-handed archers.

PROS CONS
  • Separate trigger tension adjustment for each level
  • Features 11 ball bearings that help with the rotation
  • 16-position trigger
  • Head rotates to 360 degrees
  • Loop retainer can be removed
  • Adjustable lanyard bolts to it
VERDICT

As you are practicing to improve your aim, you need all the help in the world, especially if you are a beginner. If ultimate quality is what you are searching for, as you have probably already deduced from our review, this Tru-Fire aim is the right choice to make due to its 11-ball bearing design and 360-degree rotation of the head.

Tru-Fire MX-HDBF Hardcore Buckle Foldback

The features which the MX-HDBF from Tru-Fire comes with make it one of the best options for hardcore archery hunters. For superior comfort in use and to guarantee you will be able to shoot arrows for hours on end without feeling the slightest fatigue, it features the Evolution II buckle strap which boasts extra padding and conveniently rolled edges. In order to allow you to fine tune it as you desire it offers you the possibility to adjust the trigger tension from 3 to 16 ounces. For increased accuracy when shooting with the bow, it features a pivoting head that prevents unwanted torque. Due to the deep jaw design, you are ensured of the fact that there is no possibility for it to slip off of the loop. Also, to provide added convenience in use, the head can be folded back.

PROS CONS
  • Deep jaw design ensures it will not slip off loops
  • Super plush strap for a comfortable use
  • Head folds back for convenience in use
  • String torque reduced by head centering feature
  • Quick and easy loop engagement due to open jay design
VERDICT

As its deep jaw design prevents slip offs, and the trigger tension can be adjusted to your liking, it is easy to understand why we strongly recommend this product. Furthermore, it comes at a reasonable price, which makes it even more understandable why beginner archers should opt for it.

Tru-Fire MX-HDBBLKF Hardcore Buckle Foldback

The third entry in our top comes from Tru-Fire as well, the MX-HDBBLKF as well as the other products we have talked about being proof of the manufacturer’s reliability and seriousness. In order to guarantee complete comfort in use, this product features the plush Evolution II buckle that has a thick padding and wide rolled edges. By simply turning a screw, you can quickly and easily adjust the trigger pressure from 3 ounces to as much as 16 ounces. The swept back trigger allows an over 5/8-inch length adjustment for the complete customization of the archery experience. Due to the fact that it features the innovative center technology, you will enjoy a head which can pivot to 20 degrees. Additionally, it is designed to not slip off of loops, thus guaranteeing a smooth and pleasant experience when using it.

PROS CONS
  • Superior comfort provided by plush buckle strap
  • Fold back head ensures convenience in use
  • Does not slip off of loops
  • Open jaw design allows for a quick loop engagement
  • Head centering feature reduces string torque
  • It sometimes has problems with the opening of the hook
VERDICT

Although some customers have had minor issues with it, do not take it as an impediment when it comes to purchasing the product as it is not the case with all models, and the good sides – the head centering feature, the plush buckle strap, and so on – more than make up for any flaw.

Hot Shot 5450 Vapor 4

The 5450 Vapor 4 is one of the most sought after products on this market due to the fact that it delivers a stable and convenient handheld release. Although it boasts a rather simple design, it delivers a superior trigger crispness and silence. It boasts an automatic close hook, without having a complicated cocking mechanism. Another highlight is the fact that it features a cat’s eye hook design which guarantees a torque-free release when departing the D-loop. When using it, you are able to basically adjust it as you like due to the multi-axis thumb barrel rotation it comes with. To ensure finger fatigue will not be an issue no matter for how long you are going to use the bow, it delivers an additional surface area at the fingers. In addition, it comes at a rather affordable price that makes it more easily accessible to those who do not have a big budget set aside.

PROS CONS
  • Automatic close hook
  • Complete silence during the shot
  • Helps improve accuracy due to superior trigger crispness
  • Torque-free release ensured by the cat’s eye hook design
  • Multi-axis thumb barrel rotation
  • Finger fatigue-free due to additional surface area
  • Can be easily knocked off of the string
VERDICT

In terms of ease of use, the Hot Shot is the best option as it features an automatic close hook. Thus, it makes for a great option especially for beginners in the art of archery, people who want to focus more on improving their aim rather than other aspects.

Scott Archery Shark Double Caliper

Another dependable model that you can go with and is guaranteed to help boost your accuracy when shooting arrows is the Shark Double Caliper from Scott Archery. What we first noticed when reviewing the product was the innovative compact design it boasts and the fact that despite its small size, it features a wide roller sear. This interesting detail shows it delivers a smooth trigger pull. For the highest performance possible, it features a perfect four-position length adjustment and a forward trigger design. The compact, dual-jaw design does not only help enhance your capabilities due it ensures a smooth performance as well. To guarantee a maximum draw length, the knurled trigger is forward-positioned. Additionally, despite the excellent design, manufacturing, and capabilities, it comes at a rather affordable and appealing price.

PROS CONS
  • Dual caliper model
  • Helps maximize draw length
  • Pivoting head provides accuracy and consistency
  • Wide roller-sear offers a smooth trigger pull
VERDICT

Cheap yet feature-rich, this is the ideal budget product for aspiring archers. Its dual caliper design makes it highly convenient to work with, while the forward-positioned knurled trigger ensures you can achieve a good maximum draw length with ease.

TruFire Patriot

One of the most economical products on the American market, the Patriot is a must-have for beginner archers who want to improve their skills. It is a right fit for left-handed as well as right-handed archers, so regardless with what side you prefer to shoot to bow, you won’t be inconvenienced by its design. This dual caliper model is easy to put on, which is convenient for inexperienced users. Although it is cheap, it is quite durable and dependable, what makes it so great being the coated jaws and trigger design. To close the jaws, all you have to do is to push the trigger forward, an intuitive design style which you will quickly get accustomed with. Furthermore, it ensures a smooth trigger action so that you may have a pleasant experience when using it.

PROS CONS
  • Economical – one of the most affordable American made products in this niche
  • Smooth trigger ensures a pleasurable experience when using it
  • Features a Velcro closure system
  • Easy on and off design makes it perfect for inexperienced archers
  • Does not come with a two-way trigger
VERDICT

The cheapest purchase you could make, but one that is not necessarily inferior to its more expensive counterparts, the Patriot is an ideal pick for inexperienced archers looking to improve their skills. What recommends it are the smooth trigger action and the forward push design of the trigger.

What You Should Know About Release Aids

In archery, the release aid is used as additional help when firing arrows in order to gain a bigger precision. The release of the bowstring is much quicker with this effective aid, and the amount of torque put on the bowstring from the fingers is reduced as well. It attaches to the bowstring, at the D-loop or below the nocking point, allowing the archer to release the string with the help of a special trigger.

Attaching it to the D-loop is the more popular choice as it causes the least amount of torque on the bowstring. A small piece of nylon cord is tied to the string of the bow with the help of two reverse facing hitch knots that result in a “D” shape. The other method to attach it is below the nocking point. This style puts a lot of stress on the bow as well as on the arrow on top, but it is still preferred by many archers, especially veterans, who have not adopted the D-loop.

The reason why this archery accessory is so sought after when it comes to those who use compound bows is that it drastically decreases the chance of dry firing, thus reducing the chances for the bow to be damaged or for the user to be injured. Also, it makes it easier for the archer to group arrows tighter together due to the consistent release that is put on the string every time. It is a small accessory that does not actually take up much space in the bag and the benefits it provides definitely make it a worthy investment for any archer.

Types

There are six different types of releases used in archery, more precisely the fingers, the finger tabs, gloves, back tension-hinge, index finger trigger, and thumb trigger releases. Deciding what is the style that suits you best will help you take a decision regarding investing in a release aid or not, and what type of aid is best for you specifically.

  • Fingers

    There is no need for intricate explanations when it comes to using your fingers as this is the classic way to shoot the bow. It is an inexpensive method to use as you won’t actually purchase anything, it is very easy as it basically comes naturally to you, and it is mostly based on instinct. What you must do when using your fingers is to put the index finger over the nocking point, and the middle finger and the ring finger under the nock, bending the thumb and the little finger when doing the motion. Unfortunately, the downsides to this inexpensive model are major as repetitive shots will inevitably put a lot of stress on your fingers, leading to short-term discomfort and even nerve damage in the finger if you use it on the long-term.

  • Finger Tabs

    Finger tabs, as opposed to gloves, for example, provide a better feel of the string as there are no finger creases to interfere with your interaction with the bow when shooting. But this can be considered a major disadvantage as well due to the fact that the fingertips are exposed and you might end up with nerve damage because of the repetitive shots that put stress on the fingertips. Finger tabs can be manufactured from leather or cordovan. Cordovan tabs are a lot tougher, thus being more durable and dependable. On the other hand, leather tabs are quite resistant as well, but they boast the added benefit of delivering a superior smoothness to the shots.

  • Gloves

    In archery, there are two types of gloves you can use, each having their own purpose – bow hand gloves, and bowstring hand gloves. Bow hand gloves actually hold the bow grip, while bowstring hand gloves recreate the natural way of using the fingers when pulling and releasing the string. These gloves can be made from leather, waterproof coating materials, and so on, and they have the role of protecting your hands from being injured. Unfortunately, the major disadvantage with it is the fact that in summer you won’t feel comfortable wearing them, they wear out pretty fast, and you do not actually get to feel the string very well.

  • Back Tension Model

    Back tension models are preferred by many archers as they keep a great follow-thru, they are ideal for target panic, and they are quite intuitive to use due to the fact that they operate exactly like a hinge. Some of them make click sounds when ready to fire so that you anticipate the shot, not suffering any lack of performance as you won’t be caught off-guard. It might be a rather noisy feature but it is one which ultimately helps improve the quality of your game, which makes it completely worth the hassle. Of course, there are some downsides to this style, more precisely that there is not an actual timing on the aim and the axle to axle length might need adjustments.

  • Index Finger Trigger Model

    The index finger model can either work with a trigger or with back tension if you are skilled enough. It generally comes with a caliper or a strap. It attaches to the wrist with a buckle strap or a Velcro in either a “V strap or a continuous round strap. High-end models allow for strap adjustability, and this is what we recommend you go for to feel as comfortable as possible when wearing the aid. As with all products, there are downsides to the index finger release, more precisely that the models which feature the Velcro wrist strap are quite noisy, which can affect your focus and concentration, and there might be a need to adjust the axle to axle length of the bow.

  • Thumb Trigger Model

    Just like index finger models, thumb finger releases work with a trigger or with back tension in case you are skilled enough. One of the main highlights is the fact that the trigger tension can be adjusted from sensitive to heavy, according to your own preference. Basically, with high-end models of this kind you have the possibility to adjust and customize many elements for it to be exactly how you want it, elements such as the trigger angle, the size, the position, and more.

Rating Process Explained

Releases are not the most complicated items to understand, but it gets tricky to rank these products as there are many options to choose between. In this section of the article, we will explain exactly how we rated the products. Knowing what ratings affected the ranking and made it look the way it does is going to help you better appreciate our choices. Also, you will have a clearer understanding of you should look for when picking out the perfect bow release aid for yourself as well.

  • Adjustable Trigger Tension

    Adjustability is necessary in order to ensure all the needed circumstances to take perfect shots each and every time you are using the bow. Knowing this, we made sure for all the products that we chose to feature adjustable trigger tension. The trigger tension represents the amount of pressure needed to release the sear. For tuning the trigger tension, you can turn the dial or the screw, depending on the model at hand.

  • Adjustable Trigger Travel

    Just like trigger tension, it is necessary for the trigger travel to be adjustable. The trigger travel represents the amount of movement that the external trigger will have before putting pressure on the sear and engaging. As expected, all the models featured in our top allow you the possibility to adjust the trigger travel. Regardless of your skill, if you are a novice or an expert, it comes in handy to be able to adjust the regulation of the external trigger when it comes to the end result, more precisely the quality and precision of the shot that you take.

  • Length Adjustment

    It is necessary for it to allow length adjustment as well. Being able to set the proper length adjustment is going to allow you to perfectly position the trigger for the back of your hand to remain flat and the fingers to curl over, the index resting upon the trigger. If it wouldn’t allow length adjustment, you could end up being forced to form a first with your hand when shooting arrows, this configuration limiting your dexterity and the movement that you are able to impart on the trigger. As you can see, all of the products we have chosen allow length adjustment of up to 1 inch.

  • Features

    Each and every product that appears in our top comes with its own set of features and tech innovations. As we made sure to pick only the best models available on the market, it was more than clear that we couldn’t overlook this aspect. The highlights in the features department include 360-degree head rotation, deep jaw design that prevents slipping, open jaw design for quick loop engagement, and so on.

  • Compatibility with Left and Right-Handed Archers

    Some archers are left-handed, while others are right-handed. Thus, it is important for it to be compatible with both types of users. All of our choices can be used by left-handed archers as well as right-handed archers. We paid attention to this detail in order to ensure that even if you don’t take it into consideration and overlook this small but important detail, you won’t end up buying a product that you cannot use as it is not designed for your specific needs.

How Your Aim Will Improve

Regardless of how skilled you are, there is still need for improvement in archery as there is a great level of focus and precision needed to take the best shots possible at all times. The bow release aid can play the ultimate role in the accuracy and smoothness of your shots, which makes the accessory mandatory rather than optional, especially for those who are not too great at aiming perfect shots yet.

  • Decreased Chances of Dry Firing

    When using a compound bow, there are quite a few chances that you might dry fire it. This will not be the case if you are using a release aid, dry firing having drastically reduced chances of occurring. Thus, the quality of your hunting game and your overall archery skills will see a major improvement as you will not go through any mishaps anymore. Additionally, the fact that there won’t be any dry firing ensures the bow won’t be damaged and you will not be in danger of hurting yourself either.

  • Consistent Release

    Another highlight is the fact that it provides a consistent release put on the bowstring every time you shoot an arrow. This consistency is preserved even when grouping arrows together, which is not achievable if you use your fingers, for example. Instead of using the finger muscles, you will use the strength of your arms, so you will replicate the consistency without a problem.

  • Archery Becomes Less Tiring

    As we have previously mentioned, when using it with a wrist strap, you actually use the strength in your arm muscles instead of putting all the tension on your fingers. Therefore, you are less likely to feel any type of discomfort, you won’t get tired as easily, and you will not put any body part in actual danger, so you will be able to shoot arrows for a long time without a problem.

  • Safer for Your Fingers

    Mechanical models reduce the contact of your fingers with the bowstring, which means you will not suffer nerve damage to the fingers. This is good news as you need your fingers to feel as comfortable as possible and to not get damaged if you are practicing archery. Therefore, using it actually guarantees you will be able to practice this sport for as long as you want as there won’t be any health issues stopping you.

  • Required for Modern Compound Bows

    Last but not least, there are a lot of modern compound bows which are actually specifically designed to be shot using this bow accessory. These models feature solid limb stops and fine planes of motion, making it impossible for the bowstring to not jump off the cams if you are using your finger instead of a release.

Buying Guide – Steps Toward Making a Good Pick

With various different types of release aids out there, it becomes quite tricky to settle on buying a certain product off of this market. We have written this section of the article with the intention of helping you reach the best decision possible so that you won’t only feel comfortable with the model you are going to use but to ensure it will serve you well for as long as possible. If you are in need of some useful guidelines for when you go shopping, make sure to check out the following lines.

  • Grip Type

    When it comes to the grip type it features, there are two options you can choose between, more precisely handheld and wrist/caliper. Handheld models are easy to operate and they are quite light, so it will be a cinch for you to handle them. It is usually the grip type that professional archers at 3D competitions prefer as it offers the freedom they are looking for when taking the shots. As a beginner, it will take you some time to adjust to the trigger mechanism featured by handheld devices as they generally are not pulled with the index finger. Wrist/caliper style models are the most popular choices among archers as they allow for a superior adjustment, providing higher levels of accuracy and consistency. Additionally, these grip types draw the weight to the wrist, making it easy to hold back the bow during a full draw. Make your choice depending on what you personally prefer, of course, but if it were to give you a clear piece of advice, we would recommend you go with a wrist/caliper grip model.

  • Adjustability

    Adjustability is another element you have to look into when making the purchase. First of all, look at the method used to lock the wrist strap into place. For amateurs and beginners, Velcro is the most popular option as it can easily be adjusted to fit the user’s hand, while buckles are the preferred choice of experienced hunters as they offer a more consistent fit. Other adjustability aspects to take into consideration when you make the choice are the capability to adjust the trigger sensitivity and the length.

  • Noise

    If the mechanism is noisy, you might find yourself in the awkward position of ruining a shot just because you got distracted. Therefore, you need to take into consideration the level of noise produced by the accessory as well. What you should do is to check the jaw locking mechanism to see how loud the “snap” sound it produces is. If you find it to be too distracting, then opt for another model.

  • Hook-Up Speed

    During an intense hunt or a competition, the hook-up speed is one of the most important elements to take into consideration. Unfortunately, there is no clear way of saying what type of jaw design offers the best speed as both open and closed-jaw models are similar in speed. What you should do is to try out as many models as possible before making a purchase or checking to see the opinions of other people who have purchased the model you are interested in to figure out if it scores well in this rating category.

  • Material

    The wrist straps can be made from a variety of materials, including nylon, leather, and neoprene. The reason why the type of material used in the manufacturing of the wrist strap is important is that it determines the durability of the accessory as well as the level of comfort in use. From this point of view, we recommend you test to see what type of material feels most comfortable for you to use in order to obtain the best results precision-wise when shooting arrows.

Improving the smoothness and accuracy of your shots when using the bow will be made easy with the use of a release. But this is something you are most likely already aware of if you have made it to this point. However, seeing how there are plenty of different models out there, it might get confusing to pick one and be sure that you will be satisfied with it. This is why we personally rounded up the best products in this niche at the moment, thus reducing your search area. The one we recommend the most, obviously, is the Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution which provides a convenient length adjustment which exceeds 1 inch. Furthermore, it is suited for left as well as right-handed archers, thus not existing a limit to who can use it. Another product we view as highly qualitative is the Hot Shot 5450 Vapor 4 which allows a full adjustability of the trigger tension. This makes it the ideal option for those who are at the beginning of the road and need forgiveness in their shots. On the other side, if money is your main concern, the Scott Archery Shark Double Caliper is the best choice you could make as it comes at a cheap price, all without sacrificing quality. It is an ambidextrous model that features a 4-position adjustment, allowing customization for beginners as well as advanced archers.

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