Can You Shoot A Compound Bow Without A Release?

Can you shoot a compound bow without a release?

The simple answer is, yes, you can. You can shoot a compound bow without a release as it’s not essential for Archery. A release aid can, however, help you shoot arrows more precisely with the use of a trigger instead of fingers.

And using a release aid does possess some advantages over traditional archery practices.

Let’s dig in a bit to learn more about it!

Can You Shoot A Compound Bow Without A Release?

Yes, you can shoot a compound bow without a release. Archers can use their fingers as an alternative to release aid. 

Shooting without a release involves proper finger placement on the bowstring and maintaining consistent finger tension. 

While using a release aid can improve accuracy and reduce torque, shooting without one can be a viable option for some archers. 

However, it requires practice and finding the right finger protection to prevent discomfort or injuries. 

Archers practicing compound bow archery with a thumb release.

Why Is A Release Preferred For Shooting A Compound Bow?

A release is preferred for shooting a compound bow due to its ability to reduce bow torque, minimize string interference during the release, and provide a clean, consistent arrow release. 

In traditional archery styles like those used for longbows and recurve bows, archers draw and release the bowstring using fingers, often protected with an archery shooting glove or tab. 

However, with modern compound bows that have shorter lengths and higher velocities, shooting without a release aid presents challenges. 

Mechanical releases are commonly used with compound bows to improve accuracy and eliminate issues like Archer’s paradox. 

A mechanical release aid, depending on its type fastens around an archer’s wrist and clamps to the bowstring at the nocking point. Spring-loaded metal jaws within the release hold onto the bowstring for you. With the use of a trigger, the release aid let’s go of the bowstring, shooting the arrow. 

That’s pretty much how a mechanical release aid works.

Some of the most common release aid used with Compound bows are: 

  1. Index finger releases
  2. Handheld thumb trigger/button releases
  3. Hinge style releases
  4. Tension/resistance releases

Most compound bow archers use a string loop, attached to the main bowstring, to eliminate wear from the release being hooked onto it.

The release latches onto the string loop and has a firearm-like trigger that the archer squeezes to shoot the bow. This eliminates issues like archer’s paradox and improves shooting accuracy.

Nevertheless, in barebow divisions of compound bow archery, some archers choose to shoot off their fingers without mechanical release aids or sights.

Using a release aid enhances accuracy, improves shooting form, and leads to tighter arrow groups, making it a popular choice among archers seeking precise and reliable shots.

Is A Release More Accurate?

While a release aid can certainly improve shot consistency, accuracy is not solely determined by the use of a release. 

Both shooting with a release and without one can yield accurate results when proper shooting techniques are employed. 

But a release does help you ease the stress on your fingers, reducing risks of injury. That’s why almost every pro archer use a release aid with compound bows. 

Picking the right release is also a very important factor to consider as it’ll ease your shooting process, helping out with target panic

Hinge style release for compound bow.

What Are The Risks of Shooting A Compound Bow Without a Release?

Inconsistent Arrow Release

Without a release aid, maintaining a consistent and smooth arrow release can be difficult, leading to variations in arrow flight and accuracy. 

It mostly impacts the endurance and concentration in archery for those who’re not used to shooting without a release.

Torque and String Interference

Shooting with fingers increases the likelihood of bow torque and string interference during the release, affecting arrow trajectory and overall shot consistency.

Finger Pinching and Discomfort

Without proper finger protection, archers may experience finger pinching, discomfort, or even blisters, especially during repetitive shooting sessions.

Reduced Accuracy

The absence of a release aid can make it harder to achieve precise and tight arrow groups, resulting in decreased shooting accuracy.

Strain on Fingers and Hand Muscles

Drawing the bowstring with fingers can place more strain on the fingers and hand muscles, leading to fatigue and potential overuse injuries.

Limited Draw Weight

Shooting without a release may restrict the archer’s ability to handle higher draw weights, which could impact arrow velocity and overall shooting performance.

How to Shoot A Compound Bow Without A Release?

Reducing the String Angle

To make shooting without a release easier, consider using a compound bow with a large frame, which reduces the string angle compared to smaller hunting bows. 

Additionally, reducing draw length can lessen the string angle, but it’s essential to maintain a comfortable shooting position and avoid altering draw length for this purpose.

Finger Placement

Draw the bowstring with two fingers, placing the index finger above the arrow and the middle finger below it. 

Avoid the three-finger under-the-arrow technique used in traditional archery, as it can cause discomfort and affect accuracy.

Tips for Shooting a Compound Bow with Fingers

  • Keep the bowstring vertical to maintain accuracy and prevent bow derailment.
  • Place the string deep in your fingers to avoid strain and accidental slips.
  • Position fingers as close to the arrow as possible for comfort and stability during the draw.
  • Use the one finger above and one below the arrow technique to simulate release aid shooting.


Do Olympic Archers Use Releases?

No, Olympic archers are prohibited from using any type of release aid. Releases are only meant to be used with compound bows, which are not allowed in the Olympics. You can only use recurve bows for competing in the Olympics. Archers are only allowed to wear finger protection for the competition. 

What Releases Do Pro Archers Use?

The Thumb Release and Hinge release has seen a rise in popularity among pro archers in competitive archery. Some archers also prefer the index release.

What release does Levi Morgan use?

Levi Morgan uses a Synapse thumb-button release (left) and a SEAR hinge release (right). Morgan switches between the two release styles often to avoid getting too familiar with their timing. 

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