Rangerexpert is audience-supported. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission that we use for site maintenance. Learn more


Wrist Release vs Thumb Release: Which Is Better For Hunting?

wrist release vs thumb release
Written by Catherine Weeks
Last Update: August 11, 2023

Archery has become a popular game these days. As technology improves, you get to come across different archery aids.

Every archer aims at getting a smooth release, depending on the type of bow used, several aids have been provided to guide you in making a clean release.

Our today’s article will focus on the “Wrist Release vs Thumb Release” debate. We’ll share a head-to-head comparison between them to help you choose the best bow release for you. Let’s get started.

Thumb release triggers the action with the thumb whereas wrist release controls the action with the index finger. A thumb release is less sensitive to trigger feel, providing more flexibility whereas a trigger/index release provides comfort. Which works best for you will mostly depend on your preference and shooting style. 

Wrist Release vs Thumb Release: Key Differences

Choosing between these two is as important as choosing the right arrows and the best bows whether compound bows or even crossbows.

The job sometimes gets quite difficult for new archers. So, here I’m explaining them thoroughly.

1. The Wrist Release

Wrist Release

This is quite popular among archers. It is quite similar to the normal way most people use in hunting. This type of release is also known as the index release, finger release, or trigger release.

It gives you the ability to have total control of your shot. You have the ability to decide the form your trigger takes.

This kind of release, as the name implies, comes with a wrist strap that is wrapped around the wrist.

This provides support for your index finger to sit properly, providing you with a stronghold.

2. Thumb Release

Thumb Release

The name simply implies that your thumb is involved in putting this release to work. This release is held using your hand and activated using your thumb.

This kind of release is great for hunting and target release.

Using the thumb release provides you with a more comfortable, easy, and consistent hold on your anchor point.

Read more on finding a suitable anchor point (Setting Your Anchor) in another article.

3. Design and Material

While many ignore these considerations while weighing their options from thumb release vs wrist release, knowing the various designs and material is quite essential.

The wrist release comes with either buckle or velcro straps. With good padding.

It can either come with an automatic closing hook or an adjustable hook. There’s an adjustable trigger handle attached to them.

The thumb release is usually handcrafted, with an aluminum handle and head.

It is easily rotatable which allows you to make necessary adjustments and put it in place.

They come in different models and sizes, knowing your hand size and getting the one that fits is very important.

4. Types/Variations

The wrist release helps you in pulling your bow back easily compared to other releases. This is usually due to the fact that it helps you make use of your wrist and arm muscles.

When using the thumb release, there are probabilities of getting a targeted attack. It is quite difficult for most hunters to divide their focus into front and back.

The moment they are trying to do so; they might come up with target panic.

A wrist release is typically easy to use and affordable and makes you carry out shots very fast.

A thumb release for most people is easier and more stable to anchor with and can be used repeatedly for an anchor point.

The position of the hand, in addition to the thumb release, will allow you to divide your jaw bone with your first and second fingers.

Using a thumb release whenever you are feeling inconsistent with your anchor point. Will help you harden your anchor point.

5. Mechanism

The wrist release works in such a way that all the releases are attached to a wrist strap.

The strap then provides support to your arm by assisting it in drawing the string. The wrist release is always attached to the archer.

The release that is in connection with the string through the moving jaw totally brings the bowstring to a close. Thumb release usually works hand in hand with your thumb. The thumb usually triggers the release.

They are connected to the bowstring by an open hook or they could be enclosed. That’s why some shooters prefer a thumb release.

6. Effort Required for Adjustment

Little effort and consistent practice will enable you in becoming perfect when using any type of release.

Steps in Adjusting a Wrist Release

  • First, make sure the release you are using matches your way of shooting.
  • Then place the release strap around your wrist so that it fits perfectly but is not too tight. In such a way that it lies at the base of your palm.
  • Adjust the length so that the top of the release jaw is close to the middle joint of the finger you want to use to trigger.
  • Adjust the trigger to your preferred setting.

Steps in Adjusting a Wrist Release

  • First, at the anchor place the thumb barrel close to the base of your thumb and lock it in.
  • Allow your hand to relax.
  • Don’t allow your thumb to go soft and place it around a little deeper.
  • Squeeze it steadily until the shot goes off.

7. Usability

The wrist release is the most frequently used release among bow hunters. For beginners, this is usually the best release for you.

The wrist release will give you plenty of control over your shot. They are also reliable. The thumb release is most popularly used by hunters that are more skilled.

They are usually smaller and very light, making them better when avoiding target panic.

8. Advantages

Wrist Release

  • It allows the hunter to command shooting thereby providing accurate hits.
  • The wrist release always comes with a wrist strap providing support for your hand and finger too.
  • It is usually more affordable, durable, and easy to manipulate.

Thumb Release

  • The thumb release is easier and they are more consistent to anchor with.
  • It allows you to split your jawbone between the first and second fingers.
  • It allows versatility

9. Disadvantages

Let me tell you that no archery releases are all about positivity.  All types of bow releases come with their limitations. You need to get their negative aspects too.

Wrist Release

Archers with weak minds always find using the wrist release difficult.

In archery, good decisions depend on the archer’s mindset. You may not be able to shoot for a long time without experiencing target panic.

You have to keep adjusting the wrist release with every use, trying to find a comfortable position is always difficult.

Thumb Release

  • Since the thumb release is not attached to your body, you have to constantly keep track of them.
  • When you have to compare a thumb release to a wrist release, a thumb release is usually very expensive.

Here’s a bowhunter explaining both the releases and deciding the winner of the “thumb release vs index release” for himself.

So in conclusion, Both releases feature flexibility, convenience, and practicality. Depending on your preference, either one might be the best fit. Try out both to see which one resonates with your style, needs, and budget.

Whether you are thinking of using a wrist or thumb release for hunting, target practice, or competitive shooting, getting into your comfort zone while shooting will help you make the most accurate shots. So the winner of the wrist release vs thumb release will depend on the user.

Thanks for reading this far. Throughout this post, we’ve tried to highlight the key differences between thumb release and wrist release so that you can choose the best one for you. Good luck out there.


Are Thumb Releases More Accurate Than Finger Releases?

There is no definitive winner to the “thumb release vs finger release” debate. A thumb trigger-style release is typically more consistent and repeatable than a conventional finger tab-style release. However, some archers find that finger releases provide a better feel and control, which can lead to improved accuracy.

Can an Incorrect Wrist Release Lead to Injury?

Yes, incorrect wrist releases can cause pain, soreness, or even more serious injuries such as sprains, strains, or fractures. The risk of injury is increased when a person does not use proper technique and form while performing exercises that involve the wrists.

How Do I Adjust the Tension on My Thumb Release?

Most thumb releases have an adjustable screw that can be tightened or loosened to adjust the tension. By tightening or loosening the screw, you can increase or decrease the amount of pressure required to pull the release. Additionally, some thumb releases may have an adjustment knob that you can turn to adjust tension however you need.

About the author

Catherine Weeks

Cathy believes that hunting is not about downing an animal; rather, it’s about enjoying the purity of this challenge and making a connection with nature.

She loves country music, horses, shooting, and hunting; and spends her weekends in the great outdoors with her husband and two kids.

Though Cathy has hunted most of her life, it was not until her partner gave her a bow that she realized she had finally found her passion.

She is always determined to share her missed opportunities, dedication, emotions, and small details that people often forget to mention when they talk about their hunting experiences.

Cathy also works to promote wildlife preservation and protect natural resources. She thinks “patience” is the most important thing that can make a big difference.

Leave a Comment