A high-quality bow release system is a great addition to your bowhunting or target shooting arsenal if you want maximum comfort along with an improvement in your overall accuracy. Just what does a bow release do exactly? Basically, it allows you to shoot arrows out of a bow more accurately by allowing for a clean, unobstructed bowstring release.
In this article, we are going to showcase our favorite bow release products on the market today so you can make a purchase that fits closest to your needs. First off, we’re going to give you the simplest details on what constitutes a quality bow release in our short buyer’s guide. Right after that, we’re going to jump right into the product reviews, which will then be followed by a more complete buyer’s guide which will hopefully enrich you more on the subject matter.
- What to Consider Before Buying a Bow Release
- Top 10 Best Bow Release 2021
- 1. Best Overall Pick: Tru-Fire Smoke Adjustable Compound Bow Release
- 2. Best Budget Pick: Tru-Fire Patriot Compound Bow Release
- 3. Best Premium Pick: Spot Hogg Wiseguy Bow Release Buckle
- 4. Most Comfortable: Tru-Fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback MAX Bow Release
- 5. Most Durable: Scott Archery Little Goose Bow Release
- 6. Most Customizable: Scott Archery Shark Double Caliper Release
- 7. Best Control: Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Archery Release
- 8. Best Grip: Scott Archery Caliper Grip Release
- 9. Best for Avoiding Target Panic: Scott Archery Longhorn Hunter Release
- 10. Best Simple Release: Nika Archery Compound Bow Release Aid
- Guide to Buying the Best Bow Release
- A Small Guide on How to Use a Bow Release
- Final Considerations
What to Consider Before Buying a Bow Release
We realize there’s a lot of options to choose from when it comes to getting a quality bow release, but here are our top considerations to keep in mind when researching these products. For a more in-depth analysis, please consult our extended buyer’s guide at the end of the product reviews.
Style of Bow Release
One of the first considerations you need to make is whether or not you’re looking for a wrist-mounted bow release or a hand release model. They both have their pros and cons, which we will cover in our extended buyer’s guide after our product reviews. However, a simple explanation, for now, is that handheld releases are better suited for new archers, while a wrist release is usually considered to be a more advanced tool used mostly by hunters.
Is It Compatible?
Different bow releases work with different types of bowstrings. It’s a good idea to know the mechanics of your bow, especially its string type, and seeing if it gels well with the bow release product you are considering before making a purchase.
You can spend a large amount of time at the range or hunting in the great outdoors. It’s a good idea to buy a comfortable bow release that doesn’t dig too deeply into your hands, especially if you plan to be out on a hunt for days as opposed to just a few hours.
There’s absolutely no point in purchasing a product that is just going to waste away in a few months of use. Be sure to check out the longevity of every bow release you look at. This is especially crucial if you partake in long hunting sessions. No one wants their gear to fail on them out in the middle of nowhere!
How Quiet Is It?
Of course, silence is going to be a much bigger factor for hunters than target shooters. All it takes is one errant noise to send your quarry bolting away in a panic, potentially wasting hours lining up for that perfect shot. If you’re looking for the quietest bow release on the market, it’s a good idea to choose buckle varieties as opposed to straps made of velcro.
Is It Adjustable?
Adjustability is important if you want a maximum amount of control with your bow release. Some types of bow release systems have sensitive triggers for pinpoint accuracy. Others will have adjustable settings so that the archery can tweak their preferred tension accordingly.
Top 10 Best Bow Release 2021
If you’re looking to take a couple of new folks out on a bow hunt and you want a low-cost way of showing them the lay of the land, here’s a fantastic offering from TruFire that will provide them a high-quality bow release at a substantial discount when buying multiples.
How does the actual bow release stack up, though? Well, it’s made out of highly durable nylon, so it’s going to put up with all sorts of terrible weather and hard usage with ease. It’s also got a silent and comfortable adjustable buckle design for those on-the-fly adjustments that are sometimes needed during a hunt. It also can fit both left and right-handed archers, so you won’t have to worry about the southpaws in your group!
The only downside we found with the Tru-Fire smoke is that there is not an adjustable trigger pull, meaning that you’re pretty much stuck with one trigger setting, which may take some getting used to for experienced archers. However, we think that this product is a great deal on a beginner-friendly bow as well as an entry-level friendly item that can benefit hunters of all skill levels without destroying your wallet.
Tru-Fire is a brand that you’re going to see a bit of on this list. They not only make exceptional products, but they also make a variety of them that are dependent on the individual hunter’s needs. Their Patriot bow release model is considered to be one of the most popular bow releases out there today. Why? Let’s find out!
First things first, this is very much an entry-level product, which is a good thing for a lot of new hunters. One of the biggest impediments for anyone entering into a new sport/hobby is the price of admission. Hunting is no exception to this rule, especially with a lot of products that cost a lot more. Tru-Fire seeks to break through that mold and offer a high-quality product at a very affordable price.
A low price doesn’t mean jack if the product itself isn’t that great. Well, we’re happy to report that this bow release is not only cost-efficient but also highly durable as well. This model can be used for years and years without even the slightest bit of wear or tear. We tend to think this is because of its hard steel trigger, which is nigh-on unbreakable.
Another great feature of the Patriot bow release is that it is designed for both left and right-hand individuals, so you don’t need to worry about specificity with this product as you do with some others. The versatility of this product, along with its price point, gives it an almost overwhelming value. We can’t stress this enough!
Probably the worst thing we could find from this product is that the strap is made of velcro, which keeps it from being silent when you need to make a quick adjustment. Other than that, this is a high quality, affordable, and exceptional product that is a fantastic bow release.
Accuracy matters with bows, whether you are an avid hunter or you compete in archery. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s crucial, especially when you are an ethical hunter that is focused on a quick, humane, and utterly clean kill. If you’re an archer that prides yourself on consistent accuracy, the Spot Hogg Wiseguy bow release is just the kind of product you need to ensure that you keep your reputation solid.
How does this product aid in accuracy exactly? Well, it comes with what seems to be one of the lightest triggers we’ve seen in a bow release. Seriously, this thing requires a great amount of control with the trigger, but if you can manage that, you’re going to be able to land numerous shots in an even pattern. We think that this makes the Spot Hogg great for competition shooters.
The Spot Hogg has a quick-attach open jaw construction that latches itself onto your bow with ease. Additionally, due to the forward trigger design, this product has a huge draw length.
The downside to this product is mostly up to the individual’s shooting style. Some archers prefer a heavier trigger for numerous reasons. Ultimately, it’s really up to you and your own needs. This is an excellent product that can certainly assist you in your accuracy game.
For some hunters, comfort is king, especially on longer and more grueling hunts. The Tru-Fire Hardcore Max bow release is just what you’re looking for if you are in the market for a high-quality bow release that provides maximum comfort with practical design features for your archery needs.
The most prominent thing about this product is the level of padding provided, Tru-Fire claims that it has 2.5 times the amount of padding than other bow release products on the market today, and we would tend to agree. The cushion properties it provides for your wrist make for a comfortable hunt no matter what locale you might be in.
The product also comes with many great additional features besides its comfortable design. The trigger pressure is adjustable from 3 to 16 ounces giving the archer some choice in how they can pull off their shots. Additionally, the product is made from a quiet buckle design, so you won’t have to make any unnecessary noise for an impromptu adjustment.
The high amount of padding on this product isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you tend to wear heavy hunting clothes, but that, of course, is dependent on the individual. The quality of the product as a whole, however, is unquestionably solid.
Durability is going to be key, especially on longer-period hunts in all sorts of elemental conditions. You certainly don’t want your equipment to fail on you, especially right as you’re just about to take out that massive buck you’ve been potentially stalking for days. When it comes to overall toughness, Scott Archery has you covered with their Little Goose bow release.
This little guy is made of tough nylon all over. That means it can withstand the harshest environments possible and will not degrade over a period of time. This is a fantastic feature if you’re looking for something that you won’t have to replace any time soon, and I’d be willing to bet most of us fall into that category.
Another great feature of this bow release is how small it is. It wraps snugly around the wrist and is small enough to not interfere with most hunting jackets, no matters how large they might be. This is a plus, especially if you’re the kind of hunter that needs maximum comfort to stay focused on the hunt at hand.
Speaking of sizing, this product comes with five different settings when it comes to wrist adjustment, so you’re sure to find a decent fit no matter what. Additionally, the buckle design is noise-free, so you can remain stealthy as a cat if you need to make a quick on-the-go adjustment before taking a shot.
The worst thing we found with the Little Goose is that, despite the five different adjustment settings, this product can still potentially dig into your wrists depending on your build. It’s probably a good idea to test this one out before making a final purchase, if at all possible, but otherwise, this is a solid, rugged and affordable bow release that will last you many hunts.
The word “shark” brings to mind a lot of things. Sleek, vicious, predatory, and some of the toughest aquatic creatures out there. This offering from Scott Archery resonates well with that image, providing a professional-grade bow release at a highly affordable price.
Aesthetically speaking, this bow release is certainly shark-like indeed. Made up of a beautiful and tough buckled leather strap design, this bad boy won’t be breaking down anytime soon. The strength of this release doesn’t fail in the comfort department, either. The lining on the inside is shark-skin smooth, ensuring that your wrists won’t get shredded during a long hunt.
When it comes to the connector, it’s a swivel-based mechanism composed of tough metal. The connector also has unique five-hole adjustment settings, making this one of the most customizable bow releases on the market right now.
This is a fantastic, high-quality, sleek bow release. We especially liked the front positioned knurled trigger mechanism, which allowed for long draws. The only real issue we found was how overly sensitive the trigger was. While this is good for a trained individual, it might be a bit more off-putting to an archer that wants a little more resistance in their trigger.
Many hunters swear by handheld bow releases as opposed to wrist releases. An argument could be made that a bowstring will ultimately have a greater torque (read: power) the more fingers you’re able to use to draw back the bowstring itself. The Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Release might just be the perfect introduction for someone who is used to wrist releases and wants to dive into the deep waters of handheld releases.
This product has a 360-degree rotating head design that allows you to get into pretty much any position you could dream of and still get off a decent shot. You can even lock it into place with a screw if that’s more your speed, but with that sort of adjustability, why would you ever want to?
Speaking of adjustments, this bow release has people who love to tweak their gear covered. It comes complete with a five-position thumb adjustment mechanism, trigger, and travel adjustment system, trigger pressure adjustment. Oh, and this handheld release also has a left and right thumb accessible trigger button, making it suitable for all hunters, no matter their dominant hand.
The main problem we had with this Tru-Fire hand release is that it’s a bit small, especially if you’re already wearing thick gloves on a hunting expedition. This is going to be doubly problematic if you’re the sort of individual that has large hands already!
Additionally, it’s a bit pricey, though, with all of the fantastic adjustment options at your disposal, we think the cost is well worth it.
This classy looking handheld bow release has been in Scott Archery’s lineup since 2003, and for a very good reason. It’s solid, dependable, and large enough to be gripped in the bulkiest of hunting gloves. Let’s take a closer look at this legacy bow release.
This bow release features a heavy-duty molded grip made out of rubber. This is a fantastic thing to have out in the woods, especially in wet weather conditions, as it won’t slip easily out of your hand when in use. Right below this rubber grip is a strong aluminum frame, so as you can see, this is one tough customer and isn’t going to break down on you during a hunt.
Another key highly for this bow release is its adjustable knurled trigger design, ensuring that you’ll get a good grip on your bow release no matter what kind of gloves happen to be on your hands. The adjustability factor is enhanced even more in that with a simple turn of an Allen wrench, you can change the sensitivity at the base of the model, fine-tuning it to your liking.
While this is a well-made product, there are a few factors that keep it from being higher on our list. For one, the finger areas, while sizable, still can be potentially too small for individuals with a larger finger width. Additionally, we found that the trigger sensitivity screw adjuster is a bit finicky and sensitive and might be tough for beginner hand release archers to deal with.
Target panic can be one of the biggest impediments to a bowhunter. There’s nothing worse than spending hours upon hours in the woods, possibly in terrible weather conditions at that, waiting for that perfect moment to score a fantastic buck, only to miss a makeable shot due to trigger panic. This product from Scott Archery takes a pretty big bite out of that hair-trigger mentality with their unique Longhorn handheld bow release system.
The handle is made of solid brass, so it’s certainly not going to be degrading anytime soon. Also, the lovely camouflage exterior is a great touch, mirroring the surrounding woodlands and aiding in one’s stealthy approach to boot. The Longhorn also provides a full radius handle design, allowing you to be comfortable while in the draw position, ready to let loose on your quarry.
The big draw here with this product is its unique “clicker” design. Basically when you’re just about ready to fire with the Longhorn, it “clicks” letting you know that it’s ready to fire off soon. This is fantastic for reducing that trigger hesitation we discussed above and could very well save you from missing that critical shot.
One of the biggest issues we found with this product is its three-finger design. We think this is a massive step down from a more stable four-finger design as it allows for less control and overall torque of one’s bowstring, especially if large padded gloves are taken into consideration.
Additionally, the back-tension design is hard to use for a lot of hunters, especially beginners and is only really recommended for seasoned bowhunters. However, if you have no issue with any of the above, this is a high-quality handheld bow release that is durable and unique with its anti-trigger panic design feature.
Beginner hunters have quite a challenge when it comes to acquiring quality equipment at a reasonable price. We’ve all been there before, and it can be pretty frustrating. Sometimes you’re just looking for something that will “do the job” with no extra frills or additional content. The Nika Archery Compound Bow Release Aid manages to satisfy this niche so that people can put some skin in the game without ruining their bank account too much.
This product has a lot of similarities to the rest of the offerings on this list. It’s usable for both left and right-handed archers and comes with an adjustable steel trigger design and a 360-degree rotating head. As far as durability, it’s got a fairly standard nylon design, meaning it will resist pretty much anything nature can throw at it. The Nika bow release pretty much has everything you need to start bowhunting fast at a pretty bargain price.
This is a budget-minded product, so you’re not going to get the most out of it compared to other models on this list. One of the more glaring negatives about the Nika is it’s designed for compound bows only, which makes it a lot less versatile than other bow release systems.
Additionally, the trigger adjustment could be a lot better, but honestly, at this price point, there’s not much to complain about. It’s a good starter product for an absolute beginner who is wanting to get their feet wet.
Guide to Buying the Best Bow Release
Bowhunting is a great way to experience a more traditional hunting style that is closer to what our ancestors may have had to go through back in the day just to have provide their families with a decent meal. Nowadays, bows are a lot more reliable than they used to be and have many different technological additions that make using them to their fullest potential a lot easier.
You can see how this would be of an extreme benefit to individuals who aren’t hunting just to get out of the house for a minute but are seriously out there looking to bag the biggest and best kills possible.
Doing that takes having the proper equipment made with the right job in mind, and for bowhunters, a bow release mechanism is going to be on the top of their list as far as an essential item is concerned.
Here are some more in-depth points that expand a bit more on what we originally covered in our brief buyer’s guide earlier in the article. So, if you’re still a bit confused about the value a quality bow release can give your archery, then read on!
The Types of Bow Releases
There are two main types of bow releases available. They either strap to the wrist or are held in hand. Here are some details regarding the two.
Wrist releases are bow releases that specifically go around the wrist area of the hand that draws back the bowstring. They typically come with a metallic head/hook that attaches to your bow’s d-loop.
Wrist releases are usually triggered by the index finger, mostly because the triggering head sticks out conveniently around that particular digit on the hand.
Another advantage wrist releases have is that they generally come in either strap or buckle varieties, making them easily adjustable depending on one’s hand size.
These types of bow releases are grasped in the palm of one’s hand. Because of this, they are usually more portable and can be quickly stowed away in a pocket or pouch when not currently in use.
Thumb releases use the thumb to trigger the arrow’s release; however, there are some varieties of hand releases that have what is called a back tension trigger system. Back tension triggers are interesting in that they require you to draw back the arrow a certain distance before the trigger hook opens and allows for the bowstring to be released.
Some hunters like the level of control that hand releases give you compared to the wrist releases. It’s really up to personal taste, but we think that hand releases should strictly be used by more seasoned archers.
For a more visual look on wrist and thumb/hand releases, please take a look at this video from HoosierHunter.
Some Good Reasons to Buy a Bow Release System
There are several reasons to invest in a quality bow release that you might not know about.
They Prevent Dry Fire Accidents
Dry firing a bow is a bad move when it comes to keeping your bow in good condition, especially if you are using a compound bow.
Compound bows store a lot of potential energy when the string is fully extended. If dry fired, it could potentially damage the bow. However, having some sort of bow release mechanism in place, it will keep any sort of accident like this from occurring.
Maximizes Draw Power and Accuracy
Bow releases allow you to fully extend the bowstring no matter what strength level you are currently at. It does this by distributing “pull power” down the full length of the arm. This leads to a much easier draw than you would have without one.
It also allows you to have a much more stable hand, which could ultimately mean more accurate hits with your arrow. This is because you have one main contact point (the release) instead of all of your fingers. This negates any sort of external forces from ruining your shot.
Helps You to Avoid “Panic Shooting”
The leadup to making a shot with a bow can be tense for some archers. Depending on one’s skill level, there’s a serious possibility of jerking the entire bow as they let off of the string. This obviously will have a terrible impact on one’s overall accuracy in the long run.
You can bypass this extra motion with a bow release system, allowing you to relax and assess your situation without a lot of tension, allowing you to release the arrow with minimal direction change.
A Small Guide on How to Use a Bow Release
If you’re new to using a bow release, never fear. It’s not as complicated as it might seem at first hand. Here’s a small guide on how to use a bow release. Please refer to your individual manufacturer’s specific instructions for a more detailed look at your model.
- If it’s a wrist-mounted bow release, attach it to your wrist snugly and make sure it has the same level of tightness each time. Otherwise, accuracy issues might be a problem.
- If it’s a handheld release, you’re generally going to be placing your index finger or an index/middle finger combination at the base of one’s ear or jawline, grasping onto the trigger the entire time as the string is drawn back.
- At this point, if you are ready to fire, apply just enough force on the trigger mechanism. This will vary depending on your model, as some bow releases have much more sensitive triggers than others.
For a more visual explanation of how mechanical bow releases work, Here’s a helpful video from Howcast on the matter. If you need some extra help dialing in your target, make sure to check out our guides of the best hunting rangefinders and the best hunting GPS units for this year.
We hope that these product reviews have helped you to not only determine if a bow release is something that you need for your archery toolset but also has helped you to narrow down which one would be best for your personal needs. While they are not explicitly needed for good accuracy in bow hunting or target shooting, they can help tremendously in the long run. And hey, that’s what tools are ultimately for, making life easier.
If you’re still unsure about what kind of bow release you need or why, please take another look at our short buyer’s guide at the beginning of the article for the bare minimum approach. But if you’re more of a detail-oriented person, be sure to check out the extended buyer’s guide.
Happy hunting, and may your arrows always aim true!