For a cleaner and more accurate shot, many hunters choose to use a bow release.
Getting a good shot with full finger contact is hard to manage for even the most experienced hunters.
From beginner archers to seasoned veterans, the best way to ensure consistency is with one of our top ten choices of bow releases.
Comparison Chart of the Best Bow Releases
Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle
Scott Releases Little Goose
Best for the Money
Hot Shot Vapor 4
Best Thumb Release
Tru-Fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback MAX
Best From Trufire
TruFire Edge Buckle Foldback Adjustable Release
Best Compound Bow Release
Scott Releases - Hero (Youth/Women)
Best Women's Bow Release
Tru-Fire PT-JR Patriot Junior
Best Youth Bow Release
Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Release
Best 4 Finger Bow Release
Scott Archery Shark Double Caliber Release
Best Wrist Release
What is a Bow Release?
A bow release, release aid, or mechanical release is typically used by compound archers to ensure a clean shot. It is a small device that can be affixed or used differently depending on the type of release, but most commonly are either wrist-mounted or handheld.
They essentially provide assistance in allowing archers to let go of the bowstring at full draw with all the energy stored in the limbs being transferred to the arrow which is smoothly shot down range. A good bow release will provide true accuracy and will make compound shooting much more effective.
Are Bow Releases a Must?
A bow release is not necessary but is generally highly preferred by compound bow users. They not only reduce the risk of dry firing and thus damaging the bow, but can also make it easier to group arrows tighter together due to a consistent release. A wrist strap allows hunters to pull the draw weight with the arm muscles instead of the fingers alone.
Modern compound bows are designed to be shot with a release aid as they have solid limb stops and planes of motion. Using a release aid decreases the chance of the bowstring jumping off the cams, and simply allows for a cleaner, safer, and more accurate shot. Alternatively, thumb rings can be used, but overall, a release aid is preferred by many.
They are used largely in competitive and unprofessional hunting alike, and many seasoned archers will confirm that they never shoot without one. While a compound technically still functions without a release aid, using one is a safer and more effective way to utilize your bow.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying a Bow Release
With many options and styles to choose from, purchasing your first or new bow release aid may be daunting. Here are the three top considerations to make before deciding which one is best for you.
Choosing between a wrist release or hand release is probably the first decision a prospective buyer should make. A wrist release is a more popular model among beginning hunters as it requires few adjustments and is easier to draw and release.
A hand release model is generally favored among advanced and competitive archers and uses the thumb to release tension. With a trigger release, it has a smoother feel when pulling back. This model requires many adjustments but is smaller and more lightweight, whereas a wrist release may be clumsy or get in the way if not properly folded.
Certain bow releases work best with specific string types. Some strings are set up in a D-loop, metal nock, or a metal fastener as release connectivity. Additionally, excessive length to your release can reduce draw-length, which reduces the speed of your arrow. Making sure your bow release is a good fit for your bow and string is an essential part of release aid shopping.
Adjustability and customization are also important factors to take into account. Your hand size determines the fit and comfort of your release and will impact your ability to maintain your shooting form.
In terms of wrist releases, Velcro or buckle straps are made flexible for proper hand adjustment, and often feature soft padding. While handheld releases are more comfortable over time once they fully mold to your specific grip. Some release models are ultra-sensitive for trigger accuracy, so the arrow is released with a slight movement, feature rotating heads, or adjustable trigger tension
Review of the Best Bow Releases
To save you time and energy, here are our top choices for bow releases, outlined with features, pros, and cons.
Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle
This wrist release is an amazing overall product. It is rated as comfortable and high quality, and provides top-of-the-line performance in all areas. It features micro-adjustable technology to give you the best experience, increasing your comfort and accuracy and allowing for hunter control and customization.
With a fail-safe trigger and quick loading draw, you might never miss a shot, as accuracy and speed are maximized. It has an adjustable trigger with a zero travel, self-reloading hook design, allowing you to focus on what matters most. Engineered for heightened speed, you can always stay on top of your game.
Its forward trigger design optimizes maximum draw length and speed to give you quick access in the field, ensuring a good shot directly when you need it. It is also lightweight, perfect for travel or any hunter’s use, no matter how small. This product is a good fit for beginners and seasoned archers alike, as it is easy to use while remaining reliable.
This release is one of the best customer rated products and has an amazing satisfaction rate. Made to endure hard work while still providing reliable and consistent performance, this bow release is an amazing overall choice for any hunter.
The Spot Hogg Wiseguy Release Buckle is a perfect wrist release, offering top of the line quality in all areas. It is lightweight and comfortable and features an adjustable trigger and self reloading hook for increased speed and accuracy in the field. Well-rated by customers, this piece delivers an amazing baseline with no bells and whistles but is sure to perform well in any circumstance.
Scott Releases Little Goose
The second best option has to be Scott Release’s Little Goose. This model is rated as the runner-up to the best overall product, and is an amazing wrist release with good customer reviews and sleek design. This wrist release is made of imported nylon for hunters comfort and features a signature “patent-pending” in-line, single-caliper design.
The trigger break is light and crisp, allowing hunters to make the most accurate shots while staying comfortable on the wrist. It is one of Scott Release’s most durable designs that is sure to outlast others, and remains one of their most popular models.
Featuring a forward, one-piece trigger design to maximize draw length and patented angled-jaw technology, this release is engineered to give you the most in accuracy and speed. This product is made to last a long time and withstand the harsh elements of hunting without sacrificing weight or comfort.
This model is also reported to be one of the best options for archers with smaller hands, so female or adolescent hunters look no further, although the adjustable nature of this unit allows it to be utilized by those with larger hands as well.
Scott Release’s Little Goose wrist release is an amazing choice for anyone looking for dependable and comfortable technology. It is durable and long lasting while allowing for maximum efficiency and skill. This product is highly adjustable and is perfect for hunters with smaller hands, but can be used by anyone overall.
Best for the Money:
For archers looking for top quality performance without putting a strain on their wallet, the TruFire Smoke model wrist release is the perfect option. Made from comfort-conscious nylon, it is perfect for travel or long term use, even by the most finicky of archers.
This release features a foldback buckle strap to allow for hands-free operation, so hunters can focus on fieldwork rather than keeping their strap out of the way. Feel free to climb, rattle, or glass with no floppiness or clanging. This piece fits both right and left hands as it has a 16 position trigger thumb adjustment system. This makes it incredibly versatile, and although after using it you might not want to share, it allows it to perfectly fit any hand size.
This release was engineered for durability and was rated as both compact and rugged, perfect for travel. It features durable jaws and a head the size of a dime, as well as adjustable trigger travel for maximum comfort. The jaws are open as you pull back the trigger and letting the trigger off closes them.
Although the trigger pull itself is not adjustable, it features a nice break, allowing hunters to rest their fingers on it and not worry about accidental fire. The foldback buckle increases stealth in the field and allows you to follow game without startling them away. For the offered price, this wrist release is an amazing choice that offers no compromises.
For an amazing option that won’t break the bank, TruFire offers the perfect product. Making no quality compromises, this release allows for durability, comfort, and accuracy. It features a foldback buckle strap to keep you focused on what's most important, and is adjustable to fit any hand size or positioning.
Best Thumb Release Option:
Hot Shot Vapor 4
For those looking for something a little different, Hot Shot offers the Vapor 4 thumb release. While generally thumb releases are trickier to use and can be slightly less comfortable than a wrist release, many experienced hunters prefer this system. This specific one features a fully-adjustable thumb barrel, as well as an automatic closing jaw for increased comfort and accuracy.
It is compact and smooth shooting, with a zero noise internal actuating system. Virtually silent, you won’t have to worry about scaring away game or folding back a strap. It is compact and won’t get in the way of your shot. This thumb release is a D-loop and is left hand compatible, making it a great choice for a variety of archers. The body and head are the same piece and the head does not swivel, although using a D-loop on your string enables hunters to rotate their hand 45-degrees.
The instructions, however, detail how to adjust to your liking. The only complaints with this product are true of all users of a thumb release. Calluses may appear on your hands at first, and the product can be very cold unless kept in a pocket, but this is typical of this style. Perfect for more serious or competitive archers, the Hot Shot Vapor 4 is an amazing thumb release option all around.
If you are a more serious or experienced archer looking for something less bulky and more silent than a traditional wrist release, look no further. The Hot Shot Vapor 4 is an amazing hand release that provides stealth and accuracy without being overly heavy. It is versatile and adjustable, although thumb releases are generally viewed as less comfortable than wrist releases, and this product is no different
Best From TruFire:
Tru-Fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback MAX
The TruFire Hardcore Buckle Foldback MAX is one of the most comfortable options on the market. It features a plush black Evolution II buckle that has 2.5x more padding than other models and is slightly wider with rolled edges.
Ideal for new hunters, it is easy to wear over long periods of time without causing discomfort or wearing thin. Other than simple wearability, it is also durable and strong and will outlast many other wrist straps as it is unphased by the elements of hunting. This wrist release is customizable in many ways and includes over ⅝-inch adjustment length and a swept back trigger for easy alterations.
It flawlessly fits both left and right hands and has adjustable trigger pressure. This is different from trigger travel adjustment, which is also featured on this design. By simply turning a screw, three ounces of pressure can be made into 16. The hook design with a 20-degree head pivot and Tru center technology reduces string torque and is guaranteed not to slip off loops.
This is an amazing option to increase accuracy while maintaining comfort as well as is durable technology. It is ideal for anyone whose main complaint is wearability or quality, as the strap is guaranteed to last a long time. Its foldback design increases stealth by removing noise, allowing you to forget your release and focus 100% on archery.
The Tru-Fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback MAX is an amazing option for hunters looking to maximize comfort and durability. Its reinforced foldback strap allows for a plush and long lasting design that won’t get in the way, and with adjustable trigger pressure and travel, you are always in control.
Best Compound Bow Release:
TruFire Edge Buckle Foldback Adjustable Release
The TruFire Edge Buckle Foldback Adjustable Release is rated as the best bow release for compound shooters. In typical TruFire fashion, this wrist release features an amazing foldback buckle and a leather strap allowing for hands-free operation and total silence.
The buckle strap is a simple, yet effective, design that is not only functional but looks good as well. It also is easy to adjust lengthwise with a locking option and features an adjustable trigger travel allowing for a customizable fit. It works with both the right and left hand and can be used on a variety of sizes.
It is durable and can withstand the harsher elements of hunting, and is compact with a dime-sized head making it perfect for travel on the trails. It is simple to use, with durable jaws that are opened and closed by pulling and releasing the trigger. This model features an American-made dual caliper release with a spring-loaded trigger.
Speaking of trigger technology, the travel is adjustable, putting you in control no matter what. The length between the strap and head can also be customized simply by turning the head clockwise or counterclockwise and then locking it in place with a screw.
Overall, this wrist release is a great option. It has an adjustable buckle strap to keep you properly hidden, a customizable trigger travel, and is easy to operate. It is made with long-lasting materials and works well will many differently-sized hands, as it can be adjusted simply. Perfect for long trips or simple times on the practice range, this is a good choice for any compound bow hunter.
Best Women’s Option:
Scott Release’s - Hero (Youth/Women)
For anyone with smaller hands, the Scott Release Hero Youth/Womens wrist release is an amazing choice. It is specially designed for smaller hands and compact, short-draw bows, so if you use one, fewer alterations will need to be made.
The nylon strap is comfortable and adjustable and functions well to reduce torque. The strap fits neatly into the buckle to reduce noise and bulkiness, allowing for a smoother drawback and a more powerful and accurate shot. The knuckled trigger offers superior grip as well as versatility, and the entire piece was engineered for infinite and simple adjustment.
This piece was designed to improve the accuracy and confidence of anyone having trouble with a larger release and is made to fit perfectly with a smaller bow. It can, however, be extended to fit a standard size, so if you are looking for a versatile piece that can be shared, you’ve found your match.
This wrist release is an amazing option for anyone looking for something compatible with smaller hands. Ideal for female archers or youth, this release makes no compromise other than size. With a buckled nylon strap, knuckled trigger, and adjustable features, you’re sure to be satisfied with this quality release.
The Tru-Fire PT-JR Patriot Junior Compound Bow Archery Release Aid is the perfect aid for young archers. With easily adjustable velcro straps, it fits comfortably, while allowing youth to make their own customizations. Perfect for children, it allows them to be self-sufficient while gaining confidence as an archer.
Designed especially for smaller hands, this release makes no compromises when it comes to effectiveness. It features an incredibly durable steel trigger that offers a smooth release, time after time. It is easy to use yet remains powerful, ensuring the best shot.
The Patriot’s trigger features adjustable sensitivity to control the trigger travel, allowing this piece to grow with a hunter and their style. The head rotates a full 360-degrees which makes it usable for both right and left-handed shooters.
The thinner and lighter geometric body makes this the perfect choice for a junior archer, but make sure to get a full close on the D-loop. There have been a few reports of an arrow being launched mid-draw due to the calipers needing to be manually closed.
Overall, this is a superb option for youth. It is a high quality and easily adjustable release that mimics a larger model. With an adjustable trigger travel and small frame, this is an amazing choice for anyone looking for customization and effectiveness in a smaller bow release.
Best Four-Finger Option:
Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Release
This finger release has an amazing and comfort-conscious design. It is CNC machined with a solid aluminum handle and has a head with a lanyard which bolts to the release for accessibility. It is the best hand release option for long-time wear.
Its head turns on 11 ball bearings for 360 degrees of rotation and can also lock in place for torque-free shooting. It features adjustable tension with a 16-position trigger knob as well as adjustable trigger travel. Its customizable thumb button can be fitted to right or left hands of various sizes, to ensure the most comfortable fit for a clean and powerful shot.
With no “click” at release like many finger releases, this product will keep you hidden when it matters most. Silent and compact, it is perfect for field use. It can also be easily used with gloves (for hunters in colder climates) and can be left on the string loop without falling off like some other models.
Engineered to minimize the fatigue sometimes felt with a wrist release, this piece will engage your forearm muscles properly so you can hold draw longer without getting tired. This is a durable and highly-rated finger release perfect for sport hunting and competition alike.
The Tru-Fire Hardcore 4 Finger Revolution Release is a great choice for anyone looking for a quality hand release. Engineered with comfort and adjustability in mind, this release is easy to use and dependable. Its trigger tension and travel can be adjusted to your liking and it features technology that keeps it silent in the field.
Best Wrist Release:
Scott Archery Shark Double Caliber Release
For those who assume that all wrist releases are for amateurs, think again. The Scott Archery Shark Double Caliber Release provides top-of-the-line quality and performance. This leather release is durable, comfortable, and sleek.
It offers professional aesthetics while remaining high-quality and can stand up to long-term use. This is Scott Archery’s number one selling dual caliper release, featuring a solid swivel connector with a patented five hole length adjustment for customization ease and ensures it will fit a wide variety of archers.
This release has a forward positioned Knurled-trigger which maximizes draw length to give users the most powerful and precise shot. This product receives excellent reviews that give testimony to its high quality.
It features a buckle to ensure the silence of your shots and also reduces bulkiness and is perfect for serious and even competitive hunters. It is durable, reliable, and lightweight for travel. There is nothing more to ask of a good wrist release than what is displayed here!
This wrist release is top-of-the-line, as it is made with strong materials sure to last in even the most intense hunting elements. With an anti-bulk buckle for silence and a forward positioned trigger, this adjustable wrist release is a great option for serious hunters who value comfort and reliability.
Types of Bow Release
As exhibited by the above reviews, there are a multitude of kinds of bow releases. They can be most easily split up by their trigger mechanisms. Here are the most common.
These release aids are triggered by a shooter’s index finger. Generally, all of these releases are attached to wrist straps which make them hard to lose or drop, and are preferred by beginners and veteran hunters alike.
This type of release is triggered by your thumb. Most thumb trigger releases are handheld, although some may be attached to a wrist strap. They connect to the bowstring or D-loop either by enclosed jaws or an open hook/rope loop.
This type of release is hand-held and is preferred by target archers. It is deployed by a build-up in pressure at full draw, created by squeezing your shoulder blades together. To utilize, the open hook should be clipped to the string or D-loop, and then with a thumb around the safety mechanism, it can be drawn. At full draw, the safety can be released and triggering occurs by squeezing the shoulder blades!
Release aids are not necessary, however, they do greatly increase the accuracy of a hunter’s shots, and are preferred by most compound shooters. There are many types of bow releases, each with a different set of features that makes it perfect for a certain hunter. Whether you are looking for a child’s wrist release, or a stylish and lightweight professional hand release, there is a good choice for you!
Some bowhunters think nothing of spending eight or nine hundred dollars on a bow, then scoff at the idea of laying down more than thirty or forty dollars on a release. For others, a release is another piece of equipment they don’t want to carry into the field. You will never forget your fingers in the truck. You can’t drop your fingers out of a tree stand. To them, a release ends up being another hassle they don’t want to deal with. But as archery becomes more popular and more hunters see the results of using one, the release section of the archery shop is becoming a hot spot. A good release makes shooting tighter groups easier.
There are different types of releases and some hunters do you use back-tension releases but the majority of bowhunters use a wrist strap release. As is the case with just about any piece of hunting equipment, price and quality vary greatly. Lower-end models start at around $30. Top quality releases can cost $200 or more. What is the difference? Think about a release like you would an aftermarket trigger on a high performance rifle.
Expensive releases usually have more efficient triggering systems and higher quality components. There are differences in how the release attaches to the wrist strap. Some allow the release to fold out of the way while climbing in and out of your stand. That might not sound like a big deal but understand that wearing your release while walking in and out of the woods essentially extends your hunting time. If you wait to put your release on until after you’re in the stand, you can’t effectively hunt while walking in.
The jaw of the release is also one of the most important components. Slimmer is better in my opinion but what is most important is that the trigger breaks with the right amount of pressure. As is the case with a hard to pull rifle trigger, a release that requires too much pressure will tend to cause the shooter to punch at the trigger. This can have a big effect on accuracy and consistency. Some higher end releases allow you to adjust the trigger to your desired pull weight.
An often overlooked feature is the wrist strap. Velcro is usually used in lower end models while more expensive releases utilize a buckle. There doesn’t seem to be a big difference at first glance but Velcro does have some disadvantages. First of all, it is noisy. If you’re picky about making noise in the woods, this is a problem. The main issue is consistency. If you use a buckle, you know to always use the same hole every time you put the release on. This helps keep your anchor point in the same spot no matter where you’re shooting. With Velcro, the strap may be tight one day and a little looser the next. You may not notice it at first, but it can have a big difference in finding your anchor point.
When it comes to materials used for wrist straps, you’ll find leather, Cordura, and nylon used. Just about everybody naturally picks leather because they think of leather as being a high quality material. In my opinion, Cordura and nylon have a big advantage over leather. Leather will stretch, especially when it gets warm and sweaty. Then you have the same issue as you have with Velcro. Your anchor point may not stay consistent. Nylon and Cordura won’t stretch and are fairly breathable and comfortable to wear.
Of course, a lot of it comes down to personal preference. The best way to find out what release is right for you is to try a few of them. A good release is like a good hunting partner. Sometimes they are hard to describe but you’ll know it when you get one!