Steve Tentler, president and owner of Tru-Fire, says his company has become the world’s largest release manufacturer “because we design releases with features that are useful and unique. Our releases are 100 percent American-made, including the strap, and come with a lifetime warranty. From the hand-held 3D Hunter to the well-accepted double-jaw, fold-back Hurricane, Tru-Fire has a release for practically every archer and shorter Junior-size releases as well.”

Tentler was born with an archery pedigree. His Wisconsin family pioneered the split-limb compound bow building a company called Total Shooting Systems (TSS) and then sold that company in 1984.

“My folks owned the patent for split-limb bows and for several treestand models,” Tentler says, “so all four kids worked in the company. I started at the age of 12, eventually took a 10-year sabbatical and returned in ’99 to help my father.” Tentler and his wife, Cheri, subsequently purchased the company and today, Cheri is corporate secretary.

The new Tru-Fire Hardcore Max release adds two features to the Hardcore line-up (which was originally released in 2011) that bowhunters will appreciate.

First, separate screws adjust trigger pressure and trigger travel. With just a couple turns of the screw, pressure can now be independently adjusted from three to 16 ounces. A bowhunter wearing gloves during the late season can increase the trigger pressure for a greater sense of control. In addition, target shooters can increase trigger pressure to simulate the feel of back tension shooting.

Second, a new buckle, the Evolution II, is standard. It has more than twice the padding of earlier buckle designs and hunters should find it more comfortable, because it has a wider strap and rolled edges.

The essential operation of Tru-Fire’s index-finger Hardcore releases is based on an open, exposed single jaw hook added to a self-centering knuckle which is located behind the main body to eliminate side-to-side torque (a significant design flaw, Tentler notes, with other hook-style releases). Thus the body can pivot left or right a total of 20 degrees to compensate for varying anchor point positions. Now the loop or serving can line up straight with the centerline of the release for twist-free shots. The curved steel jaw automatically closes when the trigger is depressed and Tru-Fire guarantees that it will not slip off the loop or string. Set for minimal travel, trigger pressure is a mere four ounces.

Two trigger design options—swept-back and forward—are available for the Hardcore Max. The forward trigger may help recover the half-inch of draw from a string loop, but is definitely useful for XL bowhunters. “For guys with big hands, the swept-back trigger can be just a bit too far back,” Tentler says. “The majority of bowhunters and 3-D shooters though, maybe 90 percent, like the feeling of the swept-back trigger.”

This new release also has more than an inch of length adjustment and comes in black ($110), Realtree camo ($120), and Lost Camo ($100). The appeal of the Max Black model is red accent on the strap as well as the head of the release.

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Tru-Fire is also known for its Switchblade mechanicals ($30/3-pack), the only broadhead that can go from open to closed (or closed to open) by simply pushing and pulling the tip. A bowhunter does not have to install o-rings or rubber bands, Tentler says, because this head is “truly mechanical.”

With the success of the Switchblade, it was a surprise that Tru-Fire recently came out with the T1 fixed blade head. “We developed this head to eliminate the frustration of loose blades,” says Tentler. “With our patent pending Spring Retention System, a bowhunter simply places each blade in the ferrule blade slot; the spring does the rest. Pressure from the spring forces the blades into the tip and the spring itself secures the foot of the blade. It can’t fall out of the ferrule.”

The Tru-Fire T1 is readily identifiable because of what Tentler calls its “aggressive tip.” Although the machining is tricky, the tip and ferrule are a solid piece of precision machined, heat-treated steel. “Most broadhead manufacturers advertise their ferrules as +/- .003,” Tentler notes, “but the straightness on T1 ferrules is three-tenths of .001. It’s so straight it’s not even funny. It’s so straight it’s hard for us to pick up any deviation on our testing machines.”

The T1 comes in packs of three ($35) and each pack includes three free blades. (“Most bowhunters use one head for practice, so this sort of ‘reimburses’ them for good shooting, for quick, clean kill shots,” Tentler says.) Blades are 440 stainless and .032 thick. Overall cutting diameter is 1 1/8 inches. The 100-grain heads use vented blades while blades for the 125-grain heads are solid. “Guys shooting heavier heads are often going after larger game and a non-vented design always results in a sturdier blade.”

President and owner Steve Tentler says Tru-Fire engineers are developing two new releases. “They should be finalized in August and we’ll go into production in October for a 2013 roll-out.”

The Tru-Fire Corporation is located at 217 E. Larsen Drive, Fond du Lac, WI 54937. By telephone, they can be reached at (920) 923-6866 and by fax at (920) 923-4051. The internet site is and Steve checks e-mail at Tru-Fire is also represented on