Today, the vast majority of compound archers rely upon the use of a dedicated release aid. Of course, this is for good reason. The use of a quality release promotes consistent shooting, thereby positively impacting one’s accuracy. However, many archers are left in question which release to purchase.
I, myself have used a T.R.U. Ball Stinger release for a lengthy period of time, both in target and bowhunting applications. As such, this has provided me with the opportunity to review the Stinger, in a detailed manner.
I also briefly reviewed four other release aids. You´ll find more about those further down below. It´s going to be a pretty longs post – In case you are just here for my recommendations
At A Glance: My Favorite Bow Releases
+ BEST OVERALL -T.R.U. Ball Stinger. This is the release I personally used for more than 10 years! The solid stanchion between the unit´s wrist strap and trigger mechanism helps to eliminate slack from one end of the release aid to the next. This is a quality release aid that has proven to stand the test of time!
+ RUNNER UP – TRU-Fire Edge Buckle Foldback. An excellent release. Instead of using a V-shaped strap, it adopts a buckle design where you are able to adjust the fit to suit your comfort.
+ HIGH END – Tru-Fire Hardcore Buckle Foldback. Hands-free operation. Allows you to secure it to your wrist with one hand. Right & Left-handed. Helps to eliminate torque at full draw.
+ CALIPER GRIP RELEASE – Scott Archery. If I would have to buy a caliper release – it would be this one! Reliable. Best used with a loop.
+ HANDHELD RELEASE – Tru-Fire Edge 4 Finger. Solid Aluminum, highly adjustable, right & left-handed, CNC machined.
Now, let´s get started.
BEST OVERALL – T.R.U. Ball Stinger Release
Of T.R.U. Ball’s numerous releases, few have remained as popular for such a prolonged period, as the Stinger. The T.R.U. Ball Stinger has served as one of the company’s most popular releases for over a decade and is consistently ranked as one of the hottest-selling releases within the industry in any given year.
The T.R.U. Ball Stinger is a moderately priced, caliper-style release that has been on the market since shortly after the turn of the new millennium. This release features a wrist strap with velcro securement.
The Stinger’s wrist strap is connected to its head via a metal rod covered in a rubberized coating. This rod is allowed to swivel and pivot at its connecting point with the release’s wrist strap.
T.R.U. Ball Stinger Release in Action
The trigger/head mechanism featured on the Stinger is of a dual-caliper design, meaning that each jaw of the release opens independently from one another when actuated.
An integrated return spring returns the Stinger’s jaws to the closed position when no pressure is being applied to its trigger.
The T.R.U. Ball Stinger Reviewed
I have owned a T.R.U. Ball Stinger release for approximately 15-years. In years since I have used this release exclusively for both hunting and target shooting.
The following are my first-hand observations, regarding the T.R.U. Ball Stinger.
I have always been, and continue to be, extremely pleased with the level of comfort provided by the use of my Stinger release.
The wrist strap featured on this release is somewhat padded in design and carries a wide enough profile to prevent indenting into an archer’s wrist, even during prolonged practice sessions.
The Stinger also remains quite snug on the wrist and does not require constant readjustment, as is the case with many releases on today’s market.
Simply velcro the strap around your wrist, tighten the exterior Velcro strap in place, and you are ready to shoot.
One is also spared from the hassle of fighting with a buckle-style clasp, as is found on most modern release aids of this type.
I am also extremely fond of the Stinger’s trigger positioning. This release features a half-moon shaped trigger, which is simple to depress, even when wearing thick winter gloves.
I have found this to be of enormous value when bow hunting in the late winter cold. The trigger is also orientated at a 90-degree angle to the mechanism’s body, rather than canted at an angle.
This seems to allow for a steadier trigger pull than would otherwise be possible.
The action of the trigger itself is quite smooth. Surprisingly, even today, after over a decade’s worth of use, the Stinger’s trigger action is as seamless as it was on day one.
I have never experienced any binding or hesitation within the period of time that I have owned my Stinger release.
Many release aids are known to cause a certain level of wear to a bow’s string or d-loop. In severe cases, this wear can even necessitate the replacement of these components.
However, I have never experienced issues of this nature when using the T.R.U. Ball Stinger. Throughout the years, I have owned a handful of bows, all featuring strings and d-loops of various compositions.
None of which have been negatively impacted by the Stinger’s use.
These observations can be largely explained by the Stinger’s use of a dual-jaw design. Since each jaw of the stinger’s release mechanism opens independently, little additional torque is placed upon a bow’s string or d-loop.
The Stinger’s jaws do not roll off of the string, as is typical of a hook-style release.
Overall, the design seems rather well thought out. One of my favorite Stinger design features is that which pertains to T.R.U. Ball’s use of a solid stanchion between the unit’s wrist strap and trigger mechanism.
This solid rod eliminates the use of traditional corded or strapped securement, thereby eliminating slack from one end of the release aid to the next.
This has proven useful, as the trigger mechanism can be quickly and effortlessly flipped into position prior to a shot.
This prevents an archer from being forced to fumble with a cumbersome strap of any type, which can cost valuable seconds when preparing for a shot at game.
I literally can not say enough regarding the Stinger’s durability. Over a decade and a half of use, I have not experienced any mechanical issues with my Stinger release. For all intents and purposes, the Stinger is as reliable as the day is long.
I have simply been unable to wear this release out, even after years of bowhunting in various weather conditions, and taking an untold number of shots.
The Stinger has remained a constant in my bowhunting arsenal, even when other pieces of gear have come and gone.
I highly recommend the T.R.U. Ball Stinger to any archer who is looking for a quality release aid, that will stand the test of time.
After 15-years of use, I have found little if any issue with the Stinger, as a whole. Even more impressive, is the fact that the Stinger can be purchased for a reasonably subdued retail price.
- I found the durability to be outstanding (15+ years)
- Well thought out design
- Easy on string wear
- Smooth trigger action
- Not everybody likes the caliper style
The purchase of a T.R.U. Ball Stinger should be seen as an investment toward an archer’s future, and the continued growth that they will experience along the way.
No matter your archery-related endeavor of choice, the T.R.U. Ball Stinger should be at the very top of one’s “must-have” list of essential gear
RUNNER UP – TruFire Edge Buckle Foldback Archery Compound Bow Release
The TruFire Edge Bow Release is an excellent release. Instead of using a V-shaped strap, it adopts a buckle design where the hunter is able to adjust the fit to suit their comfort.
The interior is smooth and comfortable on the skin over long periods of wear and doesn’t get hot either.
- Durable nylon material with adjustable buckle strap instead of V-shaped strap
- Ambidextrous design ideal for either hand
- Spring-loaded dual caliper mechanism made in the USA
- Adjustable sensitivity on the release
- Shorten or lengthen the strap connecting the strap from the release
- Release rotates 360-degrees
- Highly sensitive release trigger which surprises some hunters uses to 3-5 lbs trigger pulls on pistols
The protruding trigger sticks out well. The amount of travel on the trigger to activate release is modifiable depending on personal preference.
The webbing between the strap and the head measures half an inch and is adjustable to bring the trigger closer (or farther away) from the hand.
The caliper is spring-loaded with a dual release made in the USA. The jaws open when the level is pulled back and closed again when easing off the release lever. The release rotates on a 360-degree axis. This is absolutely one of the best bow wrist releases out there.
HIGH-END TruFire Hardcore Buckle Foldback
The TruFire Hardcore Buckle Foldback Adjustable Archery Best Bow Release aid comes with a self-closing mechanism as one hook.
The head pivots up to 20 degrees when ready to release to cut down on the amount of torque felt before shooting your arrow. The head pivoting feature is not found on many other similar products.
The buckle strap is adopted here instead of a more typical v-shaped design. This produces fast adjustments to cinch the strap tighter or bring the release nearer to your hand for easier activation and make it one of the best bow releases out there!
- Camo wrist strap with a buckle fixture to adjust the fitting
- Webbing between the strap and release can be lengthened or shortened
- Trigger travel is adjustable too
- 4 lb trigger pull in default setting
- Ambidextrous design
- Head pivots up to 20 degrees to reduce or remove torque pre-release
- Made in the USA
- May slide down the wrist to the hand with smaller hands
The webbing between the strap and the release is half an inch and is adjustable to make it shorter.
The trigger itself is a 4 lb pull with the sensitivity adjustable using a screw turn to change the setting.
CALIPER GRIP RELEASE – Scott Archery, 4 Finger, Black
The Scott Archery Caliper Grip Release doesn’t sit above the wrist (=not a wrist release aid) but instead is held in the hand. There is a hole at the end of the grip to help tie it to your wrist using paracord or hang it up between uses to avoid losing it (a common complaint of hunters with grip releases).
The benefit here is that the grip can be stored out of the way when not in use rather than having to be worn on the wrist the whole time during a hunt.
The grip supports four fingers with tall inserts between them. Designed in a gray/black color, the handle bears the Scott Archery logo.
- Molded black grip with four finger indents
- Scott Archery logo is shown on the side of the grip
- Soft feel
- 360-degree rotating release
- Adjustable trigger release
- Compact release vs. buckle strap release
- Must be tied to the wrist to avoid losing the grip during a hunt
The black shiny trigger mechanism at the end has a long, knurled trigger which is adjustable for sensitivity.
The release rotates up to 360-degrees.
The caliper jaws are either red or hot pink depending on the version received and stand out against the darker body.
HANDHELD RELEASE – Tru-Fire Edge 4-Finger Aluminum
The Tru-Fire Edge 4-Finger Hand Held Bow Release is another hand-held product instead of a wrist-based release. This aluminum, American made model is durable.
The CNC cut handle is designed to fit the hand well. The head will rotate up to 360-degrees to keep up with the directional movement of the bow.
The jaws open and close based on the caliper movement. The spring-loaded trigger makes it easy to take aim and release in your own time. The large thumb knob at the top is easily adjustable.
- Hand-held release
- CNC cut aluminum handle
- Spring-loaded dual caliper release
- 4-finger design for comfort
- Very light compared to a nylon wrist model
- Tie to the hand to avoid losing it
The camo is interesting here. It is a darker brown camo on the handle and a green-based camo on the release itself. The calipers are black color and merge in nicely too.
Finding the right bow release for your hunting is based on which type you believe is most appropriate. Some hunters much prefer the simple hand-held release over a wrist release, that they can bring to bear when needed and not bother with when they’re not near their prey (read.. best thumb release).
They’re lighter and take up less space. Other hunters prefer the wrist release mechanism despite its extra weight with the release hanging down when not in use.
What is the most accurate bow release?
Many of the well-known bowhunters use a handheld, thumb-trigger release aid. So I´d say the most accurate bow release is a handheld and thumb-trigger release. Maybe it is less instinctive to use, plus you need to adjust your form when transitioning from a wrist-strap release to a handheld one.
Who makes the best archery releases?
I personally use the T.R.U. Ball Stinger XT for more than 10 years. So if you´re asking me, it´s an absolute quality release aid. Is it the best? Well, for me it is. Scott Archery and Tru-Fire are other good brands that make great releases. I would say it comes down to personal preference.
What release do pro archers use?
The pros use thumb releases, back tension hinges, and handle releases. Jon Dudley uses a handheld thumb release.
What release does Cameron Hanes use?
According to his equipment list, Cameron Hanes uses the Wiseguy by Spot Hogg release.