How Does A Back Tension Release Work?

How Does A Back Tension Release Work?
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The back tension release, also known as the hinge release, is one of the most popular types of releases archers use.

Many crossbow users prefer to utilize mechanical releases to improve their shooting. You see, when you’ve been using a bow for a while, you can anticipate when your crossbow will fire, and that anticipation will make your body react – you will involuntarily flinch, kick your release hand out to the side, or drop your bow arm. This will ruin your shot, and even the most focused crossbow user will fall victim to this.

To prevent this from happening, archers developed a counter-measure – a way to use trigger releases without just making use of your finger movements.

Instead, you will come to full draw and slowly squeeze your shoulder blades towards each other, which increases the tension in your back muscles.

This will result in your release arm pulling backwards and your index finger (or thumb) hitting the release trigger.

That’s how the mechanical release can be activated by using back tension. However, this wasn’t completely efficient, and archers went even further to invent back tension releases. Since they don't come with traditional triggers, these releases rely on back tension to fire.

Who should use a back tension release?

This release is good for anyone who feels their accuracy isn’t as good as it could be. Of course, lots and lots of practice will help improve that, but, if you want to give yourself a well-deserved boost, there’s nothing wrong with making use of additional equipment. In fact, most professional archers make use of back tension releases. It’s just awesome for boosting accuracy.

Hinge release

These are handheld back tension releases, and the whole handle serves as the trigger. A sear holds a hook that connects to the D-loop in place. Then, as the handle rotates away from your bow, the sear releases that hook, and your arrow is shot. The back tension works with the hinge release when you reach full draw.

When at anchor, you can start squeezing your shoulder blades together, and your arm will be pulled backwards. The handle will rotate, and that’s how your arrow is launched.

Another way that back tension is employed with a hinge release is to get to full draw, and then lock the tension in the back muscles in place when at anchor. You can then relax your wrist, and your whole bow arm will slowly move forward - the release will not rotate, as long as you ease the tension.

Why should you use a back tension release?

This type of crossbow release comes with its perks. It allows you to apply steady and gradual back pressure once the pin has settled on its mark.

This lets you calmly and coolly ‘squeeze’ your trigger, and this leads to much better accuracy. On top of that, using this release can actually help you relax as you get your shot ready, and that also helps with your accuracy.

With this method, you’ll feel more confident and maybe even get ‘the perfect shot’. You will also improve your mechanics, as well as timing. However, this release does come with some cons, as well. Well, just one really – it has a sharp learning curve. 

But, if you stick with it, it will definitely change the way you use your crossbow for the better. Also, hunters are better off not using this release – it isn’t recommended by professionals.


We have now answered the questions of how does a back tension release work? If you have trouble with shooting accurately, there could be many reasons. One of them can be that you are anticipating your shot, or the moment your arrow will launch, and your body will react to this anticipation.

You will either drop your bow arm (even just a little bit), or your release hand could kick out to your side. You could also flinch ever so slightly, and any of these reactions will result in your shot being ruined.

Just a tiny movement could change the direction your arrow takes and make you miss your target. One of the best solutions for this problem – which every crossbow user faces at one point or another – is a back tension release. With this nifty little gadget, you will be able to avoid that flinch reaction that your body wants to have, and you’ll experience more accurate shots.

It will also help you relax as you aim, improving accuracy even more. These guys are a little difficult to master, but with perseverance, you’ll get there in the end.

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