Archery Thumb Release Vs Wrist Release?

Archery Thumb Release Vs Wrist Release
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Many archers and crossbow users make use of mechanical bow releases to improve their shooting experiences. If you would like to use a release, you should know what options are considered the best of the best.

Using a nice, big bow with just your fingers is not a realistic idea. That is why using releases is a good way to help you shoot more accurately. Even the most seasoned bow users have one or two releases that they like to use when doing their ‘impressive archery thing’.

With so many options available on the market, it can be a little daunting to pick the right release for you.

There is a product to be found for every occasion that can be used by everyone – from master bow users to people just starting out and learning the basics.

The choice you make can be influenced by the many options thrown at you in archery shops and online. It’s best to look at what other people are using most often, because they know what works and what doesn’t.

The two favorite choices are thumb releases and wrist releases. In order to make an informed choice between the two, let’s take a closer look at them.

Wrist Release

These are actually one of the more preferred choices, especially among pro hunters who use bows. Because they are so reliable, easy to use, and easy to set up, many crossbow users swear by these releases, which are also called index finger releases.

Wrist releases are available in different subtypes. You can get the hook (or fang) style jaws, single or dual ball-bearing caliper jaws, as well as the strap type. Some of the releases will have Velcro straps. You will also find some that are buckle style.

This kind of release will help you have absolute control of your shot and features a strap that goes around your wrist. It gives the index finger great support, and that results in a stronger hold.

Thumb Release

As the name implies, this release lets your thumb do all the hard work. It is held with your hand, but it will be activated by your thumb. A thumb release is considered awesome for target release and hunting. It is much more comfortable and easy to hold.

Important points to remember

Material and design

Thumb releases are usually hand-made and have an aluminum head and handle. Rotation is easy, and they are available in different sizes and models. You should know the correct size of your hand before purchasing one if you can’t fit it on in a store.

Wrist releases will come with Velcro straps or a buckle and will have great padding. It will have a trigger handle attached that can be adjusted to fit your needs.

How they work

The wrist release will always be attached to you, which provides support for your arm by assisting in drawing the bowstring. A thumb release (as mentioned) will use your thumb, and it is connected to the string by a hook.


The thumb release is very popular with experienced hunters and skilled crossbow users. This type of release is smaller than the wrist release and is more lightweight as a result. Wrist releases are great for people who are newer to using bows. It gives great control over shots and is very reliable.


Let’s compare the advantages of these two options with each other to help you see which will better suit your needs.

Thumb release

  • Easy to use and consistent for anchoring
  • Lets you split your jawbone between 1st and 2nd fingers
  • Gives you versatility

Wrist release

  • Provides you with more accurate shots
  • Gives your fingers and hand support
  • Durable and cheaper option


To keep things balanced, let’s check out the disadvantage of each of these releases.

Thumb release

  • Difficult to keep track of sometimes
  • Can be very expensive

Wrist release

  • Can be very difficult to use expertly
  • Needs to be adjusted with every shot


So which should you choose between archery thumb release vs wrist release? As with almost every product available to make using crossbows easier, the choice you make depends on your preference, your skill, your needs/desired outcomes, and your budget. 

Thumb releases are awesome if you’ve been shooting for a while now and have some experience. However, it can cost you a pretty penny.

Wrist releases are the cheaper option and are ideal for crossbow users who are just starting out and want to learn as much as they can about the gadgets at their disposal. However, they can also take a long time to learn to use perfectly. At the end of the day, you’ll just have to evaluate what it is you’d like to achieve.

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