The Best Bow Releases

Gear We Use
The Best Bow Releases

Release aids aren’t the flashiest archery accessories. But unless you’ve mastered shooting fingers, you’re going to need a reliable release to arrow any animal.

Between hooks, calipers, triggers, wrist straps, and handhelds, you’ll find dozens of different combinations in the archery aisle. So while the best bow release aid ultimately comes down to personal preference, it doesn’t hurt to have some avid bowhunters weigh in on the decision.

We’ve pulled the trigger on just about every style of release aid, and these are our favorites.

How to Pick a Good Bow Release

There’s no one set of criteria to find the best release aid.

A good release will boast a crisp trigger and minimize torque at the shot. But the best option will depend on what type of hunting you plan to do, your experience and skill level, any bad habits you’ve picked up along the way, and—most importantly—that subjective “feel” that makes a release your Goldilocks fit.

Some whitetail hunters love the option to leave their bow hanging from a tree with a thumb release hooked onto the D-loop until a buck strolls by. Many western hunters want a release that will stay secure on their wrist as they trek miles across tough terrain.

If you’re prone to losing gear in the backcountry or dropping essentials from your treestand, a release that features a wrist strap might be a good idea.

Struggle with target panic? You might want to try a back tension release.

And if you’re not getting the right fit or performance from factory settings, a release that allows for adjusting trigger tension, travel, size, and other is probably in order.

Generally, you want a bow release that fits you just right, feels comfortable in your hand, reinforces good form, and offers the settings you need to consistently hit the bullseye.

But don’t just take our word for it—test a few out at your local pro shop.

Jump to: Field Notes

The Bow Releases We Use

We’ve swapped out hand-helds for wrist straps and toyed with index finger or thumb triggers over the years. After testing the water on all different types, we narrowed down the list to our four favorite bow releases.

Field Notes from the MeatEater Crew

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