How To Shoot A Thumb Release (All You Need To Know)

by | Jul 13, 2023

Learning how to shoot a thumb release in archery involves key considerations. It’s important whether you’re new or changing your shooting style. Proper use of a thumb release can boost your accuracy and shooting experience.

Shooting a thumb release effectively needs the archer to have set up the release to match their style of shooting. This includes adjusting trigger sensitivity, bow tuning, and finger positioning. Light pressure is applied by the thumb on the barrel at the point of release.

In this article, we’ll look at every aspect of how to shoot a thumb release, from set-up to shot execution.

How to Shoot a Thumb Release

When learning how to shoot a thumb release requires a few important steps to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Let’s walk through the whole process together.

How To Shoot A Thumb Release

Setting Up Your Thumb Release

When it comes to shooting with a thumb release, properly setting it up is crucial for achieving accuracy and consistency.

Here are the key elements of setting up your thumb release.


First and foremost, pay attention to the trigger placement.

You want to position the trigger so that it rests comfortably against the pad of your thumb. This will allow for a natural and relaxed grip on the release.

Adjusting the trigger sensitivity is also essential. Everyone has a different preference when it comes to how much pressure is needed to activate the trigger, so experiment with different settings until you find what feels right for you.

Remember, a smooth and easy trigger pull is what you’re aiming for. Next, consider your anchor point.

Anchor Point

The anchor point is where you draw back your bowstring consistently every time before releasing your shot.

With a thumb release, most archers find that anchoring at the corner of their mouth or jawline works well.

However, this might vary depending on personal preference and comfort level. Experiment with different anchor points to see which one allows you to maintain proper form and stability throughout your shot sequence.

Bow Tune

Another important factor when learning how to shoot thumb release is adjusting and fine-tuning the bow itself.

Ensure that your bow’s draw weight is appropriate for you, as too heavy a weight can cause inconsistency in your shots while too light may sacrifice power and accuracy.

Additionally, check if your bow’s draw length suits you by consulting with an experienced archery professional if necessary.

Finger Positioning

Focus on positioning your thumb correctly on the release itself.

Place the base of your thumb onto the rocker or platform of the release while maintaining a relaxed grip around it with all fingers except for your index finger (which should be extended along its side).

This grip provides stability while allowing for controlled movement during firing.

Once you have your thumb release set up and properly adjusted, it’s time to learn how to shoot with it.

Shooting With The Thumb Release

First, start by positioning yourself in the shooting stance you are comfortable with. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, slightly staggered, and your body should be facing the target.

1. Relaxed Grip

Hold your bow with a relaxed grip, allowing your fingers to lightly wrap around the riser. Avoid the death grip as this can add unwanted torque to the bow.

2. Anchor

Anchor points are crucial for consistent shooting. With a thumb release, the most common anchor point is the corner of your mouth or jawline.

As you draw back the bowstring, bring your hand close to your face and find that anchor point that feels natural and comfortable for you.

Now it’s time to adjust the bow according to your thumb release style.

Some archers prefer a higher anchor point while others like a lower one. Experiment with different positions until you find what works best for you.

3. Bow Alignment

Make sure the bowstring is aligned properly with your eye as well. Positioning your thumb is also vital in shooting accurately with a thumb release.

As you draw back further, pay attention to any adjustments needed on the rocker mechanism of your thumb release if applicable.

A small adjustment can make a big difference in how smoothly and consistently the trigger engages during each shot.

4. Release

When everything feels aligned and ready to go, it’s time to release! Keep steady pressure on both sides of the handle while shaping your thumb around the barrel.

5. Don’t Squeeze The Trigger

In reality, once you’ve shaped your thumb around the barrel, you pull back with the draw hand.

A misconception about using a thumb release is that the trigger is squeezed or ‘buried’ by the thumb.

That ‘pulling-back motion’ is what releases the string.

Remember that practice makes perfect!

Shooting with a thumb release requires time and effort to develop muscle memory and consistency.

Regular practice sessions will help you become more comfortable and confident with your thumb release, ultimately improving your accuracy on the archery range or in the field.

What is a Thumb Release?

A thumb release is an archery release aid that utilizes the power of your thumb to activate the trigger mechanism.

Unlike other types of releases such as wrist releases or finger tabs, the thumb release offers a different feel and shooting technique.

One major advantage is the increased control and consistency it provides during the shot process.

With a thumb release, you have more direct control over when the arrow is released from the bowstring.

This can result in smoother shots and better accuracy since you’re not relying solely on finger tension for consistent shot execution.

Hand Held Thumb Release

Additionally, using a thumb release can help reduce string torque and bow hand interference compared to other types of releases.

Unlike other types of releases such as wrist releases or finger tabs, a thumb release provides archers with a different shooting experience and offers unique advantages.

One of the key features of a thumb release is its design. It typically consists of a handle or grip that fits comfortably in your hand, allowing you to securely hold it while shooting.

Attached to the grip is a pivoting mechanism that holds onto the bowstring until you’re ready to shoot.

When you press the trigger with your thumb, it releases the mechanism and allows the bowstring to propel forward, launching the arrow towards its target.

Why Shoot a Thumb Release?

Using a thumb release can offer several benefits for archers. Firstly, it allows for cleaner and smoother releases compared to other types of releases like finger tabs or thumb rings.

The design lessens contact between your hand and the string when you release. This cuts down on interference that might hurt accuracy.

A thumb release aids in consistent shots by keeping even pressure on the string. If you want better accuracy and control in archery, a thumb release can help.

Its unique design gives more consistency and accuracy than other releases. It improves shooting arrows at targets.

With a thumb release, you simply hook your thumb onto the trigger, allowing for a more relaxed and comfortable hold.

Benefits of Using A Thumb Release

Better Control

This grip promotes better control and reduces tension in your hand, leading to more consistent shots.

Other release types like index finger or wrist releases can cause movement that affects shot placement.

But a well-executed shot with a thumb release eliminates this. It pulls back directly and uses back muscles for power.

This direct line of force results in less lateral movement during the shot and ultimately improves accuracy.

More Consistency

In addition to these benefits, shooting with a thumb release can also help improve consistency in your anchor point.

The anchor point is where you draw the string back to every time before releasing the arrow.

With a traditional finger release, keeping the same anchor point can be tough due to finger variations.

But, a thumb release gives a fixed anchor reference, like your thumb against your jaw or cheek. This allows for more consistent shots.

More Accuracy

Overall, shooting with a thumb release can offer archers improved comfort, increased accuracy, and enhanced consistency in their shots.

Whether you’re a beginner or refining your technique, it’s worth considering the benefits of this archery release in your archery journey.

Buying Your First Thumb Release

When it comes to buying your first thumb release, there are a few factors to consider. The archery release market is flooded with options, so it’s important to choose one that suits your needs and preferences.

Release Size

When it comes to shooting a thumb release, one of the crucial factors to consider is the size of the release itself.

The size of the thumb release can have a significant impact on your comfort and control while shooting.

There are various sizes available in the market, so it’s essential to find one that fits your hand comfortably.

Choosing the right size for your thumb release is vital because you want it to feel secure in your hand without being too tight or too loose.

If it’s too small, you might struggle with proper finger placement and not have enough control over the release.

On the other hand, if it’s too large, you may find it difficult to maintain a consistent grip and anchor point.

Bow Release Aid

To determine the appropriate size for your thumb release, start by measuring your hand. Measure from the base of your palm to the tip of your middle finger.

This measurement will give you an idea of how long or short your thumb is relative to other people’s thumbs.

Keep in mind that different manufacturers may have slightly different sizing options, so be sure to check their specific recommendations.

Additionally, consider trying out different sizes at an archery store or borrowing from fellow archers before making a purchase.

Release Design

The design of a thumb release plays a significant role in how it feels in your hand and how it functions during the shot.

Let’s take a closer look at two common types of release designs: hook-style and handheld.

Hook-style releases feature a curved or angled hook that fits around the string to hold it in place until you’re ready to fire.

Thumb releases are known for their simplicity and ease of use.

The hook securely holds the string, providing a consistent anchor point while keeping your fingers free from strain or torque.

Some hook-style releases also offer adjustable tension settings, allowing you to customize the draw weight and sensitivity.

On the other hand, handheld releases are designed to be held directly in your hand without any attachment to the bowstring.

They typically feature an ergonomic handle with a thumb trigger mechanism that activates the release when pressed.

Handheld releases provide more versatility as they can be used with different types of bows and strings.

Thumb releases allow fast, easy shooting without needing to attach or detach from the string.

Both hook-style and handheld have pros and cons, so pick one that suits your style.

Release Features

When it comes to choosing the right thumb release for your archery needs, it’s important to consider the various features that different models offer.

These features can greatly impact your shooting experience and overall performance.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key release features you should be aware of before making a decision. One important feature to consider is the adjustability of the release.


Many thumb releases offer adjustable trigger tension, allowing you to customize the amount of force required to activate the release.

This is particularly useful if you prefer a lighter or heavier trigger pull.

Additionally, some releases also offer adjustable travel, which refers to how far you have to press the trigger before it releases.

Being able to fine-tune these settings according to your preference can greatly enhance your shooting accuracy and comfort.

Some archers like a small grip, while others prefer a large one.

The grip’s shape and texture can affect how securely it sits in your hand.

A release must offer a secure, comfortable grip. Any discomfort or slipping could affect your shot.

Many thumb releases offer size options or finger extensions for a perfect fit.

Having an appropriately sized thumb release ensures proper alignment and minimizes any unnecessary strain on your fingers during use.

Additional Features

Some releases may have additional features such as adjustable thumb barrels or rockers which allow you to fine-tune their position according to your comfort level and shooting style.

These adjustments can help optimize how the release fits in your hand and provide greater control over its activation.

Consider these features when choosing an archery thumb release. You’ll find one that suits your preferences and needs.

Finding the right release is about comfort and confidence in your gear. Take your time to explore options before deciding.

How To Shoot A Thumb Release

Trigger Placement

When it comes to shooting with a thumb release, one of the most crucial aspects to get right is trigger placement.

The position of the trigger can greatly affect your accuracy and consistency in releasing the arrow.

First and foremost, you need to ensure that the trigger aligns comfortably with your thumb. It should be positioned in a way that allows you to smoothly activate it without any strain or awkwardness.

A good starting point is placing the trigger between the pad and the crease of your thumb joint. This allows for a natural bend in your thumb while still providing enough contact with the release.

Hand Position

Now, let’s talk about hand positioning. To achieve proper trigger placement, you’ll want to keep your hand relaxed and avoid any excessive tension.

Ideally, you should hold your thumb release in a way that allows for an open-handed grip. This means keeping space between your palm and the handle of the release, allowing for greater control and flexibility.

Another factor to consider is finding a position where your finger comfortably rests on top of or along the side of the trigger.

Experiment with different angles and positions until you find one that feels comfortable and natural for you.

Remember, everyone’s hand shape and size are different, so what works for someone else might not work well for you.

Dedicate practice time to try different positions until you find your best fit. Remember that optimal trigger placement is key to consistent shots with a thumb release.

Take time to explore options until you find what feels comfortable and natural for your hand.

Trigger Sensitivity

Trigger sensitivity refers to how easily or rapidly the release’s trigger activates once you apply pressure with your thumb.

This aspect plays a crucial role in achieving a clean and precise shot.

Some archers prefer a more sensitive trigger that releases quickly with minimal pressure, while others prefer a less sensitive one that requires more force to activate.

Ultimately, it all boils down to personal comfort and what feels most natural during your release execution.

To adjust the trigger sensitivity of your thumb release, most models offer some form of customization.

Typically, there will be an adjustment screw or mechanism near the back of the release where you can fine-tune this feature.

By turning the screw clockwise, you can increase the sensitivity, making it easier for the trigger to activate.

Conversely, by turning it counterclockwise, you can decrease the sensitivity, requiring more pressure before the release is engaged.

Start by adjusting it conservatively and test different settings during practice sessions until you feel confident with your chosen level of responsiveness.

Release Positioning

If you want to learn how to shoot a thumb release, proper positioning of the release in your hand is crucial for accuracy and consistency.

The way you hold the release can affect your grip on the bowstring, how smoothly you can execute the shot, and even influence your anchor point.

Compound Bow Release Aid

To start, place the thumb release on the pad of your hand near the base of your thumb. The handle should rest comfortably in your palm with your fingers naturally curling around it.

Make sure not to clutch it too tightly as this may cause tension in your hand and affect your shot execution.

Next, position your thumb on top of the release’s thumb peg or lever.

This is where you’ll apply pressure to fire the release when ready. Your thumb should rest against the peg or lever firmly but without excessive force.

Find a balance where you have control over the release without straining or gripping too hard.

It’s important to note that everyone’s hand shape and size may vary slightly, so feel free to experiment with minor adjustments until you find a comfortable position that works best for you.

Remember that finding a consistent grip will not only enhance accuracy but also contribute to a repeatable anchor point every time you draw back on the bowstring.


Your anchor point is where you rest the back of your hand against your face to ensure proper alignment and stability during the shot.

To establish a solid anchor point, bring the thumb-release hand up to your face with your index finger resting on your chin or jawbone.

The most common anchor points are either at the side of the jawbone or just below the corner of the mouth.

Experiment with different positions to find what feels comfortable for you and allows you to maintain a consistent release position.

Once you have found your preferred anchor point, focus on maintaining that position shot after shot. This will help you achieve repeatable results and improve accuracy over time.

Get A Grip

Remember to be relaxed but firm in your grip, keeping slight tension in your fingers without squeezing too tightly.

This will allow for optimal control and minimize any unnecessary movement during the release.

As you practice anchoring with a thumb release, pay attention to how it affects your overall shooting technique.

Experiment with different hand placements and angles until you find what works best for you and allows for consistent arrow flight.

Don’t be afraid to make adjustments as needed – anchoring is a personal preference that can vary from archer to archer.

Properly anchoring with a thumb release is essential for achieving accurate shots in archery.

Bow Adjustments

The first step in adjusting your bow is setting the draw weight. The draw weight refers to how much force is required to pull back the string of the bow.

Draw Weight For A Thumb Release

When learning how to shoot a thumb release, it’s important to find a draw weight that allows you to comfortably hold and control the bow at full draw without sacrificing accuracy.

Start by setting the weight slightly lower than what you are used to with other releases, as shooting with a thumb release requires less force due to its different mechanics.

Rest Alignment

Next, check your arrow rest alignment. The arrow rest plays a crucial role in guiding the arrow as it leaves the bow.

With a thumb release, you want to ensure that the arrow is aligned perfectly with your hand and forearm at full draw.

This alignment helps promote consistent arrow flight and minimizes any unwanted contact between the arrow and your hand or wrist during the shot.

Adjusting the arrow rest may involve minor tweaks or even replacing it with one that suits your shooting style better.

Centre Shot Alignment

Another important aspect of adjusting your bow for a thumb release is tuning its centre shot alignment.

Centre-shot refers to aligning the arrow’s path perfectly with that of the string and riser of your bow.

Achieving proper centre-shot alignment eliminates any left or right deviations in arrow flight caused by an inconsistent release or grip on the bow handle.

Fine-tuning this alignment can be done through slight adjustments of both the horizontal and vertical position of either your rest or riser.

Remember that every archer’s setup might differ slightly based on personal preference and equipment specifications, so experimenting with different adjustments is essential until you find what works best for you when shooting with a thumb release.

Position Your Thumb

When using a thumb release, you will typically position your thumb in one of two ways: either on top of the index finger or alongside it.

The choice between these two options largely depends on personal preference and comfort.

If you choose to position your thumb on top of the index finger, place it gently so that it rests comfortably without applying any pressure.

Compound Thumb Release

This position allows for a more relaxed grip and provides stability during the shot.

Make sure not to squeeze too tightly or tense up your hand, as this could result in an inaccurate release.

Alternatively, if you prefer to position your thumb alongside the index finger, place it slightly to the side and wrap it partially around the handle of the release.

This technique provides additional control and stability during the shot. Again, ensure that you maintain a firm yet relaxed grip without overexerting any pressure.

Experiment with both methods and find what feels most natural for you. Remember, consistency is vital for hand placement with a thumb release.

Regular practice to develop muscle memory will refine your shooting technique.

Rocker Adjustments

The rocker is the part of the release that controls the movement of your thumb.

By adjusting it, you can fine-tune how smoothly and quickly the release opens. This allows you to have better control over when your arrow is released, resulting in more precise shots.

To adjust the rocker on your thumb release, start by loosening the set screw that secures it in place.

Each release may have a different mechanism for adjustment, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific details.

Once you’ve loosened the screw, you can slide or rotate the rocker forward or backwards to find your desired position.

Fine Tune Your Release

Some rockers even allow for micro-adjustments, so you can make very precise changes.

Experiment with different positions and observe how they affect your shots. If you find that your arrow is releasing too early or too late in your shot sequence, adjusting the rocker may be necessary.

Remember that small adjustments can make a big difference, so take your time and be patient with finding what works best for you.

It’s also important to note that anchoring consistently plays a role in how well rocker adjustments will work for you.

Make sure your anchor point remains consistent throughout these adjustments to ensure accurate results.

Once you’ve found a rocker position that feels comfortable and provides consistent releases, tighten down the set screw to secure it in place.

It’s a good idea to periodically check this adjustment as screws may loosen over time with continued use.

Related: How To Use An Archery Release Aid

Related: Compound Bow Release Aids: An Essential Guide


Is a thumb release better than a finger release?

A thumb release can offer more consistency and accuracy than a finger release, but it depends on personal preference.

Where do you anchor with a thumb release?

With a thumb release, you typically anchor with your thumb against your jaw or cheekbone.

What should I look for in a thumb release?

Look for comfort, ease of use, adjustability, and compatibility with your bow in a thumb release.

Does a thumb release change draw length?

A thumb release could slightly change your perceived draw length but shouldn’t significantly affect the actual draw length.


Mastering the art of how to shoot a thumb release can greatly enhance your archery skills and overall shooting experience.

The thumb release offers a unique and reliable way to achieve precise shots with consistency.

By understanding the mechanics of this type of release and practising its techniques diligently, you can unlock a whole new level of accuracy and control.

By putting in regular practice and dedicating yourself to honing these techniques, you will steadily improve your accuracy over time.

Remember that patience is key when learning any new skill, but with perseverance comes progress.