How to Use An Archery Release Aid: A Complete Guide

by | Jun 28, 2023

If you’re serious about archery, then you know the importance of having a steady hand and consistent shot. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, using an archery release aid can make all the difference in your accuracy and performance.

In simple terms, a release aid is a device that attaches to your bowstring and helps you execute a clean release of the arrow.

Without using a release aid, some archers may experience finger fatigue or inconsistent shots due to variations in finger placement on the bowstring. However, with a release aid, you can achieve consistent finger placement every time which results in cleaner shots down range.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing and using an archery release aid effectively for maximum benefits!

How To Use An Archery Release Aid: A Complete Guide

Attaching A D-Loop to Your Bowstring

Before you can start using your release aid, you need to attach it to your bowstring via a D-Loop. This is a relatively simple process, but it’s important to do it correctly in order to avoid any issues during use.

1. Find Your Spot

Identify the optimal “tie-in” spot by utilizing a bow square. Halve the berger hole with the bow square and mark 1/8 inch above the right-angled spot indicated by the bow square using a permanent marker. There is no need for a string level or arrow level.

2. Cut Your D-Loop Cord

Snip a segment of the D-Loop cord measuring at least 4 1/4 inches. You should be able to find D-Loop cord at any specialized archery store.

3. Shape The Cord

Fuse one end of the cord into a bulb shape (this enhances the likelihood that it will remain secure). You can gently press the bulb against the metallic part of a lighter to broaden its diameter, but take care not to flatten it excessively, as it may become fragile.

4. Tighten The Knot

Using the end with the bulb, tie a cinch knot above the mark you made. Tug on the loose end to make sure the knot is tight.

5. Trim Any Excess

Secure your finishing cinch knot so that the cord begins to wrap around the string on the opposite side of the top cinch knot. Draw the loose end close, but not too tight, and trim it approximately 1/2 inch from the bowstring.

6. Tighten the Loop

Form a bulb on the loose end using your lighter, and then pull the “D” section of the loop with a release to firm up the bottom knot.

Compound Release D-Loop

At the outset, it might seem excessively tiny, but rest assured, it is capable of expanding. The D-Loop needs to only be sufficiently large to accommodate the head of your release without coming into contact with the arrow’s nock.

Moreover, you can trim the cord in advance and fuse both ends at a dimension that is suitable for you.

A typical measurement that leads to an exemplary D-Loop is 4 1/4 inches from one bulb end to the other.

Adjusting the Length and Angle of the Wrist Strap

The wrist strap is an important part of using a release aid effectively. It helps ensure that the device stays securely attached to your hand and minimizes any unwanted movement during use.

Using and Archery release aid

To adjust the length of the wrist strap, simply loosen or tighten the adjustable strap until it fits snugly around your wrist without cutting off circulation or causing discomfort. The angle at which you wear your wrist strap can also be adjusted.

Some archers prefer their straps angled slightly forward while others prefer them straight up and down. Experiment with different angles until you find what feels most comfortable for you.

Adjusting Trigger Sensitivity

One of the most important aspects of using an archery release aid effectively is getting familiar with how sensitive its trigger mechanism is. Adjusting this sensitivity can help ensure that shots are released smoothly while minimizing any unwanted jerking or slapping motion.

Most release aids will have some kind of adjustment mechanism for trigger sensitivity – usually by adjusting a screw or dial located near the trigger itself.

Make small adjustments until you find the level of sensitivity that works best for you.

Keep in mind that it’s important to be consistent with your trigger pull, no matter what sensitivity level you choose. Practice releasing shots smoothly and accurately until it becomes second nature.

Proper Technique for Using a Release Aid

Gripping the handle correctly

Once you have your release aid set up and attached to the bowstring, it’s important to grip the handle correctly.

Most release aids will have a handle or trigger that you will use to activate the release mechanism. Grip the handle and ensure that you wrap your fingers around it comfortably, without holding it too tightly.

You want to be able to squeeze the trigger smoothly without any resistance from your hand. One common mistake when gripping the handle is placing your finger on the trigger too soon.

Avoid this by keeping your finger outside of the trigger area until you’re ready to shoot. This will prevent any accidental discharges and help you maintain control over your shot.

Aligning your sight picture

Once you’ve got a good grip on the handle, it’s time to align your sight picture. Your sight picture refers to how you line up your target with your bow and arrow.

With a release aid, this process becomes even more critical because any slight movement can cause enough disruption to aim to miss your target completely.

Align your sight picture by looking through your peep sight (if using one) and finding where the pin or pins align with your desired target.

Centre yourself behind your bowstring as much as possible before drawing back fully, ensuring that everything appears in line with each other and there are no obvious deviations from the initial position.

Squeezing the trigger smoothly

After aligning everything properly, it’s time for perhaps one of the trickiest parts of using a release aid – squeezing that trigger smoothly! Remember earlier when we talked about avoiding placing our finger on that trigger too soon?

Now is when we can finally place it on the trigger, but we need to be careful not to jerk or slap it. With your finger properly placed on the trigger, begin squeezing it slowly and steadily.

The release mechanism should then activate, and your arrow will fly true! By using a release aid properly, you’re able to take advantage of a greater degree of accuracy in your shooting.

Types of Release Aids

Thumb Trigger Release

A thumb trigger release is one of the most popular types of release aids among archers. This type of release aid has a trigger located under the grip, which operates with a thumb. When pulled, it releases the bowstring.

The thumb trigger release is easy to use and can be activated quickly, providing a great advantage in speed shooting situations. It also allows for consistent anchor points and tight shot groups.

Index Finger Release

The index finger release aid is another popular choice among archers. It operates by using an extended index finger to pull the trigger that releases the bowstring.

The trigger on these types of releases is usually positioned just behind or below the grip, allowing easy access with an extended finger. Index finger releases offer a higher level of accuracy and control compared to other types, thanks to the enhanced tactile feedback and better control over the applied force.

Back Tension Release

A back tension release works differently than other types of release aids. Instead of activating with your thumb or index finger, these require you to use your back muscles to initiate the shot.

With this type, you pull back on the bowstring until you achieve your desired anchor point then engage your back muscles which causes a hinge mechanism to activate releasing the string without any conscious input from you.

Now that we’ve gone over each type let’s move on to what will help you choose which style fits you best!

Choosing the Right Release Aid for You

Factors to consider (budget, skill level, comfort)

Before purchasing an archery release aid, it’s important to take several factors into consideration. Firstly, budget is a key factor as release aids can vary greatly in price.

While high-end models can offer smooth and accurate performance, they may not be necessary for beginners or those on a tighter budget.

Consider your personal skill level as well – if you’re just starting out with archery, a simpler and more affordable release aid might be the best option until you become more comfortable with your technique.

Comfort is also important since you’ll likely be using your release aid for extended periods of time; investing in a comfortable model that fits your wrist properly can help prevent fatigue and discomfort.

Trying out different types before making a purchase

With so many different types of release aids on the market, it’s important to try out several options before making a purchase. Visit an archery pro shop or range and ask if you can test out different models to see which one feels most comfortable and effective for you.

Remember that each type of release aid has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Certain types are more suitable for hunting purposes, while others are specifically designed for target shooting.

Consider what type of archery you’ll primarily be doing and choose accordingly.

Personal Experience

When I was first starting out with archery, I made the mistake of purchasing an expensive back tension release aid without trying it out first.

While this model was popular among experienced archers, I found it difficult to use and ended up switching to a thumb trigger release aid instead.

By testing out different models beforehand, you can avoid wasting money on a product that doesn’t work well with your personal preferences or technique.

Choosing the right release aid is crucial for achieving accuracy and comfort in your archery practice.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using a Release Aid

Jerking or Slapping the Trigger

One of the most common mistakes archers make when using a release aid is jerking or slapping the trigger. This happens when you try to release the arrow in anticipation of the shot, before properly aligning your sight picture.

Compound Thumb Release

Jerking or slapping the trigger can cause you to miss your target entirely, as it throws off your aim and makes your shot inconsistent. To avoid this mistake, it’s important to take your time and focus on aiming properly before squeezing the trigger.

Remember to use smooth, deliberate movements when pulling back on the bowstring and releasing it with your release aid.

Practice breathing techniques that will help you relax and stay focused on your shot without getting too tense or anxious.

Anticipating the Shot

Another common mistake many archers make when using a release aid is anticipating the shot. This means that they start to pull back on the bowstring too quickly because they’re eager to release their arrow.

Anticipating the shot can result in inaccurate shots because it causes you to rush through basic steps in shooting form.

To avoid this mistake, take time before each shot, focus on proper aim, form, and posture while aiming at small targets repeatedly over an extended period of time without necessarily releasing any arrows.

Forgetting to Reset After Each Shot

Forgetting to reset after each shot is another common mistake that affects accuracy over time. When using a release aid, it’s important not only to remember how hard or soft you pulled back on every previous draw but also to reset or reposition for a new draw by placing its hook securely behind the D-loop.

Actively maintain awareness of both yourself and others in your vicinity who might be at risk, to prevent this mistake of causing an unintentional discharge due to improper resetting or repositioning of the release aid.

Practising safe and responsible archery techniques is crucial for avoiding accidents and ensuring a great shooting experience.

Maintenance and Care for Your Release Aid

Cleaning and Lubricating Regularly

Clean and lubricate your release aid regularly, just like any other piece of archery equipment, to keep it in good working order.

Dirt, debris, and sweat can build up on the handle, trigger, and wrist strap over time, making it difficult to use the aid properly.

To clean your release aid, start by wiping down the handle, trigger mechanism, and wrist strap with a damp cloth.

If there is dirt or debris stuck in crevices or hard-to-reach areas, use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the area. Once you have removed all visible dirt and grime from your release aid, dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth.

After cleaning your release aid, you also need to lubricate it. There are many different types of lubricants available that are specifically designed for archery equipment.

These lubricants help reduce friction between moving parts of your release aid to ensure smooth operation.

Apply a small amount of lubricant onto the trigger mechanism and other moving parts by using a cotton swab or a small brush.

Storing Properly When Not In Use

Proper storage is crucial if you want your release aid to last a long time. When not in use, keep it in a cool and dry place where it won’t get knocked around or damaged. Avoid storing your release aid in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures as this can cause damage over time.

You should also make sure that you store your release aid properly when travelling with it to tournaments or hunting trips. Invest in a sturdy, preferably padded, case that fits your specific model of release aid to protect it when not in use.

In addition to proper storage practices, avoid dropping or throwing your release aid as this can cause damage to its delicate trigger mechanism or other parts.

Always handle your release aid with care and respect to ensure it remains in good working order for years to come.

Read More: Compound Release Aids: A Complete Guide


Your release aid is an essential tool for any archer who wants to improve their accuracy and consistency. With proper maintenance and care, your release aid will last a long time and provide you with many successful shots.

When shooting with a release aid, remember to use the proper technique by gripping the handle correctly, aligning your sight picture accurately, and squeezing the trigger smoothly. Avoid common mistakes like jerking or slapping the trigger or anticipating the shot.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a proficient archer who can rely on their equipment. Happy shooting!