Custom fit and personalized performance is the name of the game with the new T.R.U. Ball (434-929-2800; www.truball.com) Fang RC ($100), which features the unique – and fast – red rope connection system. Just pull the rope to the preferred length, slide the red plug into place and you’ve got the perfect custom fit locked in. Two screws – one for trigger travel and the other for sensitivity – along with three included springs allow hunters to dial in just the right sensitivity, including the lightest available in a commercial release aid. The trigger features a rubber insert for a no-slip feel in the wet conditions hunters often find themselves in. And speaking of triggers, each Fang RC comes with two: a forward swept model for added energy and a comfortable back-leaning trigger. The Fang RC is available in buckle- or Velcro-secure strap models
T.R.U. Ball also offers a wrist-style release designed explicitly for young archers. The Shooter features a rope-style connection between the head and strap that makes the length of the release very short to fit small hands while still delivering the accuracy T.R.U. Ball is known for. The Shooter is also easy to operate – you simply pull the trigger to open the standard-caliper jaws and release it to close. A quick-lock connection system allows for easy adjustment for any anchor point. The Shooter is available in two sizes, with choice of black Velcro or black leather buckle strap, and in four appealing color combinations: red, white and blue; green and black; red and gold; and purple and black.
New from Tru-Fire (866-387-9307; www.trufire.com) is the Chicken Wing. This innovative new release boasts a small hook head design with a Tru-Forward Trigger, Tru-Centering Technology and sound-dampening technology. But what really sets the Chicken Wing apart is its interchangeable trigger: the user can choose between a standard single-finger trigger or opt for Tru-Fire’s new dual-finger trigger. The dual-finger trigger provides more control and promotes squeezing the trigger rather than punching it.
Last year’s introduction of the single-caliper Mongoose XT ($100) from Scott Archery (606-663-2734; www.scottarchery.com) featured 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. We also like the fact it has zero trigger travel thanks to tight tolerances, polished guts and a roller sear, though that level of sensitivity does take some getting used to if your current release has some trigger creep. For 2015, the Mongoose XT is now available in Realtree Xtra in addition to black and in the shooter’s choice of either buckled or hook-and-loop secured straps.
The Boa 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 allows for precise, custom adjustment with one hand without the bulk of buckles or the noise of hook-and-loop closures. You can find the Boa adjustment on the Speed Shot XS ($62) from TruGlo (888-887-8456; www.truglo.com). In addition, the Speed Shot XS features smooth stainless-steel sear and jaws in a torque-free rotating head, micro-adjustable trigger tension and travel, and a solid, CNC-machined rotary connection system that’s also adjustable up to 1 inch. The Speed Shot XS is available in both adult and junior-sized models with downsized wrist straps.
New from .30-06 Outdoors (614-409-9300; www.30-06outdoors.com) is the Black Horse release. The Black Horse makes use of design elements from rock climbing, creating a release that is reliable, fast, safe and easy to use. Slide-Lock Technology allows the user to slide the web stem in and out, making for incredibly easy adjustment. The leather strap features two additional holes so that smaller shooters can get a perfect fit. In addition, the Black Horse sports a colored cord and comes in a wide range of sure-to-please colors.
Where most caliper-style releases utilize roller bearings inside the head, the Hot Shot (435-752-9302; www.hotshotmanufacturing.com) Nano Post ($75-$85) removes the chance of debris affecting performance with a unique Lever-Link design between the trigger and jaw. This all but eliminates trigger creep and increases reliability ten-fold. For 2015, Hot Shot incorporated a post connection between the strap and head with precise, slip-free adjustment for just the right placement for every hunter. Trigger tension is also adjustable via a set-screw. The made-in-the-U.S.A. Nano Post – like all Hot Shot products – is so reliable, the company offers a lifetime warranty. The Nano Post is available with both buckle and Velcro-secured wrist straps.
Hunters looking to get the best performance out of their bow without dropping a lot of cash should consider switching to a release with a forward trigger placement like that found on the new Safari ($45) from Cobra Archery (800-352-6272; www.cobraarchery.com). As long as the shooter maintains a consistent anchor point, this trigger-placement design actually pulls the machined dual-caliper jaw farther back, increasing bow draw length and arrow speed. For greater comfort and accuracy, the web strap offers precise adjustment for every shape and size of shooter and reduces torque. The stainless-steel trigger with roller sear is fully adjustable with little to no creep thanks to a unique dual-sear design. The quiet, comfortable wrist strap – in classic brown leather – adjusts via a buckle for the same fit every time.
Ever caught with your figurative pants down and blow a shot because you were fumbling with the string connection at the moment of truth? If this seems to be a consistent ending to your hunting stories, a hook-style release may be for you. A quick swipe of the Cobra Serengeti’s ($85) polished stainless-steel hook provides a connection that locks up solid at the draw. This style, combined with the Serengeti’s adjustable web strap, virtually eliminates all potential for torque, and the single sear releases cleanly. The premium leather strap with metal buckle is quiet and comfortable.
It’s hard to find a more fervent group of fans than hunters who shoot Fletcher Archery (760-379-2589; www.fletcherarchery.com) releases, and for good reason – they’re consistently accurate and professional grade. The company’s 2015 introduction, the Outsider ($76), is a thumb release with one unique upgrade: opposite the trigger is a stabilizer arm extending from the cover plate of the machined-aluminum head that’s designed to put an end to target panic and the shooter’s tendency to jerk the trigger. Fletcher claims squeezing the arm with the index finger while simultaneously pressuring the thumb trigger will result in a smoother release. The black-and-gray anodized head features Fletcher’s proven hook similar to that of the Insider and is connected to the wrist strap via torque-free nylon webbing. The Outsider is available in either buckle or hook-and-loop designs.
Offering the security of a wrist strap with the speed of an auto-cocking hook design, the Spot-Hogg (541-995-3702; www.spot-hogg.com) Wise Guy ($115) is a hunter’s hybrid release with a competition heritage. Spot-Hogg is known for releases with a tightly machined sear, which creates a no-creep, feather-light trigger, and this release is no exception. This year, the Wise Guy has been upgraded with a leather strap and buckle system that allows the buckle to sit on top of the wrist for a tighter, more comfortable fit. The trigger maintains its swept-forward design to maximize draw length and increase kinetic energy down range. The single open-jaw design speeds connections to the D-loop in the field for fumble-free hook-ups at the moment of truth.
Shooting as accurately as possible both on the range and in the field requires using the same release for each, but that’s not always ideal, especially for those of us who suffer from target panic. Introduced last year, the handheld No Limit (623-327-9041; www.nolimitarchery.com) Ringer ($190) solves the problem with a trigger located – as the name suggests – in the ring-finger position, allowing the Ringer to act as a hinge release for practice and a triggered release in the field. It also comes with an optional strap to further mimic field-shooting situations and assist in the drawing cycle, as well as a thumb peg and both heavy and light springs for optimal customization. For 2015, No Limit has added a corrosion-resistant coating to the trigger mechanism which has the added benefit of creating a much smoother trigger pull.
The Equalizer ($200) from Goat Tuff (520-742-1701; www.goattuffproducts.com) turned heads when it was first introduced several seasons ago. While many shooters struggled with the concept, there were many, including a lot of women and older archers resigned to lower draw weights, who raved about the plunger-style release’s ability to increase speed and kinetic energy. Goat Tuff has upgraded the design for the new year with a wider finger shelf and repositioned plunger, increasing the space between the shooter’s trigger finger and the bowstring. The new model also allows for better adjustment of the billet-aluminum head in relation to the wrist strap, which is now available in both buckle and Velcro designs.
For nearly a quarter of a century Carter Enterprises (208-624-3467; www.carterenterprises.com) has been building quality releases with enough models to fit any shooting preference. For 2015, Jerry Carter and his team have designed the 1st Choice ($222), a T-style thumb release based on the popular Too Simple model but with a lengthened neck that’s stretched a half-inch to match the size of the company’s record-setting target-model releases. The added length provides greater clearance from the shooter’s cheek, which should improve accuracy. This new release incorporates a self-closing jaw that locks onto a D-loop securely with just the slightest click and features the Too Simple’s micro-adjustable tension that sets with just a turn of the screw. The anodized three-finger handle fits most hand sizes comfortably.
For 2015, Stanislawski (315-258-9269; www.ishootastan.com) re-invented the Super X. The new SX3 ($230) is smooth, crisp and built in the tradition of Stanislawski’s popular SX2 and Shootoff! models. This thumb-trigger release also features patent-pending Trainer Lock technology, which offers easy and safe practice settings. That allows the user to gain experience and confidence without even firing a shot. The oversized trigger is adjustable for size and tension. The ultra-comfortable SX3 boasts a hot orange color that is sure to turn heads.
More and more hunters are looking to target-style releases for the accuracy and performance they deliver, but many of these releases aren’t hunter friendly. Not so with the Hot Shot (435- 752-9302; www.hotshotmanufacturing.com) Vapor ($103 black; $120 camo). Available in both three- and four-finger models, this hook-style handheld release features a full-containment design, allowing hunters to hook it on their 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 360-degree thumb barrel is adjustable for projection, angle and length, and the trigger is crisp and clean with little to no travel.
Shooting style, body type and facial features vary from hunter to hunter, meaning there is no true one-size-fits-all release. That said, the handheld Revolution ($170) from Tru-Fire (866-387-9307; www.trufire.com) comes close. Introduced at the 2014 ATA Show but not seen in the woods until late this past fall, the Revolution features an 11-bearing system that allows the head to rotate 360 degrees for a smoother, more solid draw cycle and anchor. The head can also be locked into place at any point in the rotation via an easily accessible set-screw, and it 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.
The Thor Hammer Throw release from Tru-Fire easily converts from a three-finger release to a four-finger release – you just remove a screw. In addition, inside sound-dampening material eliminates the noise associated with hammer releases. The Thor features adjustable trigger pressure and travel, as well as a multiple-position trigger for the ultimate in customization.
Consistently smashing the X in a pressure-packed tournament environment requires a keen eye, nerves of steel and reliable equipment. Milled from heavy stainless steel, the Anchor hinge release ($200) from Scott Archery (606-663-2734; www.scottarchery.com) features a full-circle index-finger position that is comfortable in the hand and delivers repeatable performance shot after shot. The half-moon sear is adjustable for a custom, surprise release no matter your shooting style and is easily swapped between Scott’s two-, three- and four-finger ergonomic handles. Additionally, the thumb pins can be exchanged depending on preference or situation.
Fans of hook-style releases will be happy to note T.R.U. Ball (434-929-2800; www.truball.com) has added a downsized model to its Fang family. Like the original, the handheld Fang Mini ($145) features a red anodized hook, but it also includes a new rotating lock that can be fully engaged to capture the string loop. This leaves a hunter’s 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. The Mini’s comfortable black anodized three-finger handle is great for women, youth and other shooters with smaller hands that want full-sized performance. Medium and heavy springs are included to set trigger-pull weight, plus the thumb peg can be adjusted for both position and travel.
After the overwhelming success of the Ringer release, the folks at No Limit Archery (623-327-9041; www.nolimitarchery.com) listened to customer requests for a true hinge-release for target shooting and 3-D tournaments. Since many of these shooters are also hunters, they wanted a design similar to that of the Ringer so they could switch back and forth. The Veracity ($210) is a straight hinge release that is micro-adjustable: both the sear (which can be set to a click position) and the placement of the handle can be tuned depending on conditions and shooter preference.