Why You Need a Back Tension Release

by | Jul 19, 2023

Imagine this scenario: You’re at the archery range, drawing back your bowstring with precision and focus. Your aim is steady, and your form is flawless, but something feels off. The release of the arrow feels jerky and forced. You could easily mitigate this issue by using a back tension release.

A back tension release can give you improved accuracy and greater consistency in every shot you take. With its ability to promote proper shooting technique and eliminate jerky trigger pulls, this innovative tool can help take your archery game to new levels of excellence.

In this article, we’ll look at exactly how using a back tension release can improve your accuracy and consistency in much greater detail. Read on!

Why Do You Need A Back Tension Release?

When shooting with a traditional handheld release aid like a wrist strap or thumb button, there’s often an inherent tendency to punch or jerk the trigger at the moment of release.

This unwanted movement can result in inconsistent shots and ultimately undermine your shooting performance.

When you have a back tension release on your bowstring, your focus changes. It shifts from triggering the shot to slowly increasing pressure. This is until the arrow releases naturally.

Back Tension Release

The concept of back tension powers it. This means using your back muscles to start the release. You’re not just relying on your hand or fingers.

In doing this, you don’t need to consciously fire the arrow. You depend on muscle memory and correct form instead. This helps you shoot each arrow with great precision.

So why should you consider incorporating a back tension release into your archery arsenal?

So why settle for anything less when perfection is just one well-placed shot away? Embrace the power of back tension and unlock your true archery potential with a back tension release.

What Is a Back Tension Release?

A back tension release is also called a hinge release. This archery aid enables a smooth and unexpected release.

It’s designed to get rid of the jerky movement common with thumb or index finger trigger releases.

Rather than depending on a finger squeeze to shoot the arrow, it uses rotational force. This force activates the shot.

It consists of an ergonomic handle with a hook or calliper-style jaw that securely holds the bowstring.

The distinguishing feature of the back tension release aid is the absence of any trigger mechanism.

Instead, it relies on the archer’s back muscles to create tension and initiate the shot. By gradually increasing pressure on the bowstring while maintaining proper form and alignment, it allows for a more controlled and accurate shot.

Using a back tension release can be intimidating at first, as it requires mastering proper technique and developing muscle memory.

However, once you become accustomed to its operation, you’ll experience several advantages over traditional releases.

Smooth and Consistent

The main advantage is its ability to ensure consistent and repeatable shots. It removes anticipation or flinching linked to pulling or squeezing triggers.

Also, as the firing process relies on muscle use, not manual skill, it can lessen target panic. It can also improve shooting form.

However, it’s vital to know that “back tension” and “hinge” are not always the same. Even though some archers use the terms interchangeably for these releases, their design and operation differ a bit.

The Benefits of a Back Tension Release

The back tension, or hinge release offers numerous benefits that can greatly enhance your archery performance.

Improved Shot Execution

With this type of release, you rely on your back muscles to activate the shot rather than using your index finger or thumb like you would with a hinge release.

By engaging your back muscles, you create a more consistent and controlled shot process.

This not only helps to improve your accuracy but also reduces the chances of flinching or jerkiness during the release.

Reduce Target Panic

Target panic refers to the anxiety or anticipation that archers may experience just before releasing an arrow.

With a traditional hinge release, there’s often pressure on the shooter to time the shot perfectly, which can lead to target panic and unwanted muscle tension.

However, with a back tension release, this issue is minimized as you let go of control over when the arrow fires.

Related: Archery Target Panic: How To Beat It For Good

Potential Issues with a Back Tension Release

Premature Release

One of the potential issues that can arise when using a back tension release is the occurrence of a premature fire.

Now, you might be wondering ‘What in the world is a premature release?’.

Well, imagine this: you’re aiming at your target, your finger gently wrapped around the hinge release, and suddenly, before you’ve even reached your desired level of back tension, the shot goes off unexpectedly.

It’s like a surprise party you didn’t sign up for!

This premature release can happen due to a variety of reasons. It could be because of an unsteady grip on the hinge release or perhaps unintentional movement while trying to achieve proper alignment.

Sometimes it’s just that pesky little twitch in your hand at precisely the wrong moment. Whatever the cause may be, it can throw off your accuracy and leave you scratching your head as to what went wrong.

First and foremost, practice makes perfect.

Knowing your back tension release well and getting used to how it works can lower the risk of early fires.

Also, using the right body posture and keeping a relaxed grip on the hinge release can minimize surprises.

So, take your time. Find the perfect level of back tension before shooting. Say goodbye to those annoying early releases!

Loss of Control

This happens when the archer becomes too focused on trying to execute a perfect shot using back tension and ends up over-rotating the hinge.

As a result, they lose control over their shot, leading to inconsistencies in accuracy.

The loss of control can occur when an archer pulls through their shot too aggressively or unevenly.

Instead of smoothly applying pressure and allowing the back tension release to rotate naturally, they might inadvertently jerk or force the release.

Compound Hinge Release

This sudden movement can throw off their aim and cause them to miss their target entirely. To prevent this issue, archers must use a back tension release to focus on maintaining control throughout the entire shot process.

They need to develop an intuitive feel for when to apply pressure and how much rotation is necessary without going beyond their comfort zone.

It takes practice and patience to master this technique effectively.

Additionally, proper hand placement plays a significant role in avoiding the loss of control with a hinge release.

Archers should keep a steady grip on the handle. They should avoid gripping or squeezing too hard. That could block smooth rotation.

By keeping a relaxed but firm grip, they can control the movement of the back tension release better. This gives them more control over their shots.

Using a hinge-style back tension release can be beneficial. But, there’s a risk of losing control if you don’t use the right technique.

Understanding how to apply pressure smoothly and keep your hand placed consistently can reduce this risk. It can also improve shot accuracy.

Click Setting

The click setting refers to a mechanism within the release that produces an audible click when the trigger reaches a certain point.

This feature can be highly beneficial for archers who are still learning to develop a consistent shot execution.

The click setting serves as a helpful indicator that the archer has reached their desired anchor point and has achieved proper alignment.

When drawing the bow back, as you come closer to your anchor point, you will feel the tension building in your muscles.

With a back tension release, this tension is crucial because it allows for a smooth and controlled shot execution.

When you get to your anchor point and align properly, keep pulling with your back muscles. Keep steady pressure on the release.

As you put more pressure on the hinge of the back tension release, you’ll hear a click. This sound tells you that you’ve applied enough pressure for an accurate shot.

Using the click on a Tension release

The click serves as both a confirmation and a cue for release.

The click helps stop early firing. It gives archers a sound cue when they reach their full draw point. Only then can they start their shot.

But, it’s important to note that hearing the click doesn’t mean you should fire right away. Instead, see it as a signal to keep applying back tension. Do this until the shot happens naturally.

Some archers find comfort in having this audible feedback during their shooting process. It provides reassurance and helps them fine-tune their muscle memory over time.

Yet, some archers like to shoot without sound cues. They just rely on their feeling and body awareness when using a back tension release.

Whether to use a click setting on your hinge-style back tension release is a personal choice. It depends on your preferences and shooting style.

Beginners or those struggling with consistency are advised to use it. But it might not be needed for more experienced archers. They usually have good control of back tension already.

Experimenting with different settings and techniques will help you determine the most effective approach for your shooting.

Back Tension Release for Hunting

Back tension releases are not only popular among target archers but also widely used by hunters.

Hunting requires precision and accuracy, especially when aiming at a moving target or in challenging conditions.

Bow Hunter Using A Back Tension Release

The back tension release can significantly enhance your shooting performance in the field. When it comes to hunting with a back tension release, one of the main advantages is the increased control it offers.

In high-pressure situations, such as when you spot your prey and need to draw your bow swiftly, maintaining control over the shot can be tricky.

With a back tension release, you can achieve a smoother draw motion while keeping your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Furthermore, hunting often involves long periods of waiting and staying still in anticipation of an opportunity.

During this time, muscle fatigue can set in, leading to shaky hands and compromised accuracy.

Minimised Movement

Using a back tension release can alleviate this issue by minimizing any unnecessary movement caused by jerking or flinching when firing the bow.

The gradual activation of the release ensures that you have complete control over your shot, allowing for a more stable aim and improved shot placement.

Incorporating a back tension release into your hunting gear arsenal can greatly benefit your shooting performance.

Whether it’s providing enhanced control during high-pressure moments or reducing movement-induced inaccuracies during long waits, this type of release allows for smoother draws and more accurate shots in various hunting situations.

So why settle for anything less than optimal precision? Upgrade to a back tension release and elevate your hunting experience today!

Two Methods To Fire

When it comes to firing a bow with a back tension release, there are two primary methods that you can employ.

These methods allow you to utilize the unique mechanics of a hinge release and maximize the benefits of shooting with back tension.

Back Tension

Understanding the concept of back tension is crucial. Back tension refers to the controlled contraction of the muscles in your back as you execute the shot.

This method allows for a more accurate and consistent release, minimizing any unwanted movement or torque that may affect your shot. Achieving proper back tension is essential.

As you draw the bowstring back, you want to focus on engaging your back muscles rather than relying solely on your arm strength.

This creates a stronger foundation and promotes better alignment throughout the entire shooting process.

How To Shoot With Back Tension

Once at full draw, maintain your anchor point while continuing to engage your back muscles.

Avoid consciously triggering the release; instead, gradually increase pressure against the hinge until it reaches its break-over point.

At this moment, you will feel the release activate naturally without any conscious effort on your part.

Mastering this technique takes practice and patience.

It requires developing an understanding of how much pressure is needed to trigger the hinge release without inducing premature firing or jerky movements.

However, once you have mastered proper back tension, you will experience increased accuracy and consistency in your shots.

Remember that each person’s experience with using back tension releases can vary slightly depending on individual strength and shooting style.

Experimenting with different techniques and finding what works best for you is key to fully harnessing the benefits of utilizing back tension in conjunction with your chosen hinge release mechanism.

Manual Rotation

Manual rotation refers to the intentional movement of your hand while holding the release, which ultimately determines when the shot will be fired.

This method allows you to maintain control over when the arrow is released and helps you achieve a more accurate shot.

To execute manual rotation effectively, start by positioning your index finger on the release’s barrel or handle.

The index finger will act as a pivotal point for your hand movements.

Next, lightly anchor your other fingers around the handle for stability and precision. As you draw back your bowstring, gradually apply pressure with your index finger in a smooth and consistent motion.

The objective here is not to forcefully pull or jerk the trigger but rather to let it naturally rotate as you increase tension in your back muscles.

By maintaining proper form and utilizing back tension throughout the draw, you allow your hand to rotate slowly until a point of no return is reached.

At this critical juncture, when you can no longer resist the force building up in your muscles, the hinge release mechanism engages, and the arrow is released with surprising accuracy.

It requires developing muscle memory and understanding how your body moves during each shot sequence.

With dedication and persistence, however, this technique can greatly enhance both consistency and precision in archery.

So don’t be discouraged if it feels challenging at first – keep practising until executing a flawless manual rotation becomes second nature.

Using a Back Tension Release

When it comes to using a back tension release, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to understand the concept of back tension itself.

With a back tension release, the goal is to execute your shot without consciously triggering it. Instead, you rely on the gradual increase of pressure on your back muscles to initiate the release.

This creates a smoother and more controlled shot execution. To start using a back tension release effectively, you need to establish your anchor point consistently.

This ensures that you have a reference point every time you draw your bow and helps maintain consistency in your shot execution.

Maintaining Steady Pressure

Once you’ve achieved your anchor point, focus on maintaining steady pressure with your drawing hand while aligning your sight pin with the target.

Next comes the crucial part – maintaining that steady pressure while allowing your back muscles to engage and gradually reach their limit.

It’s like waiting for that perfect moment when everything feels just right before releasing the arrow.

Another key aspect is finding the right setting for your back tension release. This applies to both its click (if it has one) and its release mechanism.

Some archers like having a click as a cue that their release is ready. Others prefer silence for stealth when hunting.

Also, finding the best resistance setting for the hinge mechanism helps. It allows better control over its exact activation time.

Using a back tension release requires mastering physical technique and finding suitable settings tailored to individual preferences.

By leveraging controlled pressure on your back muscles instead of relying on a conscious trigger-pulling action, shooting with this type of release can significantly improve shot execution precision and consistency.

Click Setting

The click setting refers to the option of having a click sound when the release is activated. This feature has its pros and cons, and it ultimately depends on your personal preference and shooting style.

For some archers, having a click sound can be beneficial as it provides an audible confirmation that the release has been triggered.

This can help maintain consistency and timing during your shot execution.

When you reach your anchor point and start building back tension, you will hear a distinct click which indicates that the release is about to fire.

This auditory cue can aid in maintaining proper form and follow-through.

To Click or Not to Click

On the other hand, some archers prefer not to have a click setting on their back tension release.

They argue that relying solely on feel rather than auditory feedback enables them to develop a more intuitive shooting process.

By focusing only on increasing back tension, without any external cues, they believe they can improve shot execution and have a smoother release.

Trying different options during practice can help you find what works best for you. It can help you meet your goals as an archer.

Apart from considering the click sound’s presence or absence, adjustability is another factor.

Some back tension releases offer various adjustment options for the click’s intensity. Some even let you switch it off entirely if you wish.

This flexibility allows you to fine-tune your equipment based on your personal preferences.

Release Setting

The release setting refers to the amount of pressure required for the release mechanism to engage and fire your arrow.

This setting is highly customizable and allows you to find the perfect balance between control and surprise.

To set your release correctly, start by attaching it to your bowstring. Then, adjust the tension screw until you feel a slight resistance when pulling back on the bowstring.

Back Tension Release

Keep in mind that this should not be excessive pressure; rather, it should be enough tension to prevent accidental misfires while maintaining a smooth draw.

Finding the optimal release setting requires some experimentation.

Begin by shooting a few arrows at different settings, gradually increasing or decreasing the tension with each shot.

Pay close attention to how comfortable you feel during each shot and how well you can maintain proper form.

Ideally, you want a setting that allows for a clean follow-through without any jerky movements that could affect your accuracy.

It’s not uncommon for archers to make small adjustments over multiple sessions until they find their sweet spot.

Understanding and adjusting the release setting on your back tension release is essential for achieving consistent and accurate shots.

Related: How To Use An Archery Release Aid: A Complete Guide

Back Tension Release with Safety

This type of release helps improve shooting technique and accuracy. But, it’s key to include safety measures in your shooting routine.

By following some important principles, you can make sure using a back tension release is safe and effective.

Firstly, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions about installing and using any back tension release.

Knowing how to properly attach the release to your bowstring or D-loop is vital for safe shooting.

Moreover, familiarize yourself with any additional safety features that may be present on your specific back tension release model.

Some releases may have built-in mechanisms such as an auto-lock feature or thumb pegs designed to prevent accidental firing.

Additionally, incorporating proper form and technique will contribute significantly to maintaining a safe shooting experience with a back tension release.

As noted before, the main advantage of using this type of release is it encourages proper shooting mechanics. This includes using your back muscles when shooting.

Doing this reduces the chances of twisting or jerking the bow when firing. This lowers the risk of injuries or accidents.

Also, it’s wise to practice with lighter bows when first switching from other types of releases. This gives you time to adjust and build the right muscle memory.


What is the difference between a back tension and hinge release?

The main difference between a back tension and hinge release is the mechanism they use to activate the release, with back tension relying on increasing tension and hinge utilizing a rotating mechanism.

Are back tension releases good for hunting?

Back tension releases can be effective for hunting but require practice and proper technique.

What is a tension activated release?

A tension-activated release is a type of archery release aid that triggers the release when a specific amount of tension is reached.

Why use a back tension release?

Back tension releases are used to promote a surprise release, enhance shot consistency, and improve accuracy by minimizing anticipation and flinching during the shot execution.


A back tension release can greatly enhance your archery experience, whether you are a target shooter or a seasoned hunter.

The back tension release provides a unique method of firing, relying on the natural movement of your back muscles rather than relying solely on finger control.

By understanding the mechanics and benefits of this release aid, you can make an informed decision about incorporating it into your shooting routine.

This promotes proper form and technique, leading to more consistent and accurate shots. It also helps to alleviate target panic and flinching, which can be common issues for archers.

Experimenting with different configurations will help you find the perfect fit for your needs.