September 02, 2014
Of the two points where hunters engage their compound bow, the grip hand has the most effect on accuracy, but no less important is the release point. It's here where a small piece of machined metal ensures the string is released in a smooth motion in line with the arrow.
It only lasts a millisecond, but any deviation creates disastrous results. In an ongoing effort to ensure archers' accuracy, manufacturers are constantly upping their game with new innovations.
Here are some of the best for 2014.
Hot Shot Vapor
hook-style handheld release features a full-containment design, allowing you to hook it on your loop and let it hang while sitting on stand or bugling in a bull. The jaw closes automatically and doesn't require fiddling with the adjustable thumb knob to set the trigger.
Unlike a lot of full-capture triggers that close with an audible snap, the Vapor sets up silently. The thumb knob is adjustable through a wide arc, and the trigger is crisp and clean with little to no travel. It's available in black or Realtree camo.
It's hard to find a more fervent group of fans than hunters who shoot Fletcher
releases, and for good reason. The Flathead
features a machined-aluminum head that now comes in an anodized pink version for lady hunters.
The trigger is fully adjustable and is set in a forward, over-center position that puts your finger as close to the string as possible. The adjustable nylon strap connects the head to the cuff, which comes in either buckle or Velcro versions.
Scott Mongoose XT
As a longtime Scott
shooter, it was hard for me to trade in my Little Goose, but the new Mongoose XT
single-caliper release has one key feature that sold me — a new spring-loaded, self-closing jaw design. Let go of the knurled trigger and the titanium-coated jaw snaps closed for secure, instant string engagement. I also like the fact that it has zero trigger travel thanks to tight tolerances, polished guts and a roller sear, although that level of sensitivity does take some getting used to if your current release has some trigger creep.
My Mongoose XT did come from the factory set to an ultra-hot trigger pull, but it was easily adjustable to a slightly stouter setting for my fumbling fingers. It's available with either buckled or hook-and-loop secured straps, in black or Realtree AP camo.
Offering the security of a wrist strap with the speed of an auto-cocking hook design, the Wiseguy
is a hunter's hybrid release with a competition heritage. Spot-Hogg
is known for their tightly machined sear that creates a no-creep, feather-light trigger, and this release delivers on that reputation.
It's also now available with a flexible nylon strap between the leather cuff and head for easy and precise adjustments to fit virtually any size hand and to accommodate most draw lengths. The trigger is of a forward design, although I would like to see a swept-back option to offer even greater versatility to an otherwise full-featured release.
T.R.U. Ball Fang
Fans of hook-style releases will be happy to note T.R.U. Ball
has added a couple of new models to their Fang
family, most notably a three and four-finger handheld version. Like the original, these handheld models feature a red anodized hook, but include a new rotating lock that can be fully engaged to capture the string loop.
This leaves your hands free to glass, operate a rangefinder, or work a call. The FCS (Full Containment System) lock can also be slid out of the way for quicker shooting in a target situation. Medium and heavy springs are included to set trigger pull weight, plus the thumb peg can be adjusted for both position and travel. You can choose from either black, Splash Camo, or Lost Camo finishes.
Tru-Fire Hardcore 4
Shooting style, body type and facial features are different among every hunter in the woods, meaning there is no true one-size-fits-all release, but the new Hardcore 4
handheld comes close. An 11 bearing system allows the head to rotate 360 degrees for a smoother, more solid draw cycle and anchor. It's truthfully something I never thought much about until I actually tested out the Hardcore 4 and realized how intuitive and comfortable it was.
The head can also be locked into place at any point in the rotation via an easily accessible setscrew, and features a self-cocking jaw complete with removable steel spring to fully capture the string loop. For even greater customization, the thumb knob is fully adjustable through 16 different settings, accommodating both left and right-handed shooters.
TruGlo Detonator & Nitrus
Boa's locking closure system has been used on hunting boots for several years now, so it was probably inevitable the dial-a-fit design would make the leap into archery accessories. In terms of releases it makes sense, as it allows for precise, custom adjustment with one hand, without the bulk of buckles or the noise of hook-and-loop closures.
is offering the technology in both the hooked Detonator
and dual-caliper Nitrus
. Both feature smooth stainless-steel sear and jaws, micro-adjustable trigger tension and travel, and a solid, CNC-machined connection system that's also adjustable.
99 (Detonator); $
Winn Archery Free Flight
For guys that love their glove-mounted releases for the solid pull and extended draw length, it's worth mentioning Winn Archery
has upgraded their popular Free Flight
model by using a new buffing procedure in the manufacturing process that creates a faster, lighter release.
The open hook engages the string loop quickly and intuitively, and the release features a longer trigger, similar to those found on firearms, for a smooth, familiar pull, especially while wearing gloves. The Free Flight's leather glove now comes in True Timber camo.