How and Why to Custom Fit Your Mechanical Release

A couple of years ago, when I finally traded in my shooting gloves for a mechanical release, I promptly made every possible beginner mistake. It wasn't until I sought professional advice that I got better arrow flight and consistent accuracy. The following tips from Steve Tentler of Tru-Fire Release Aids helped put me back on target, and they can help you, too.

Get Connected. "Some release aids are made to be clipped directly on the string serving, and others are designed for use with a string loop [a small half circle of Dacron cord served into the bowstring at the nock]," Tentler says. "Make sure your release matches your way of shooting. For instance, if you have a short axle-to-axle bow, it's usually best to go with a string loop because the bowstring is typically drawn at too severe an angle to connect a release directly to it. Your pro-shop owner can help you decide what's best for you."

Strap It On. Wrap the release strap around your wrist so that it's snug but not tight. It should rest at about the base of your upturned palm. Once you've found a comfortable fit, put a sizing mark on the strap so that the device sits in the same place for every shooting session. "And if you wear gloves when hunting, practice with them on, too," Tentler says. "The added bulk can affect the fit of the strap, as well as the amount of feel on your trigger finger."

Tweak the Length. You can adjust most release aids for length. Following the manufacturer's instructions, set it up so that the top of the release jaws sits near the middle joint of your trigger finger. "If your release extends to your fingertip, you'll have to reach for the trigger, increasing the odds of punching rather than squeezing the shot," Tentler says.

Adjust the Trigger. Many quality release aids have an adjustable trigger. Tentler advises trying various settings to find a crisp, smooth release. "Generally, lighter settings are better for the tournament shooter who wants to be surprised by the release," he says. "Hunters are usually happier with a little more tension because a very light trigger can be set off when a glove brushes against it."