The use of a bow release increases accuracy and repeatability for many hunters and shooters. The single contact point with the string eliminates the impact of any inadvertent movement at the moment of release.

There a couple of release styles that dominate the market, namely wrist and handheld releases. Of the handheld releases the types that a lot of people use is the 4 finger release.

For many, the 4 finger release provides the greatest level of control and comfort while going through the draw and hold phase of the shot.

Immediately below is a table that lists all of the 4 finger bow releases that are examined on this page. You can use this list to get a quick comparison of each of the makes and models available.

Further down the page is a more complete review of each release with a more thorough examination of the features and reasons why it may be your preferred option.

List of 4 Finger Bow Releases

Make / Model





Back Tension
























Detailed Description of 4 Finger Bow Releases

Now that we have had the opportunity to compare some releases and get an idea about their basic individual characteristics we will take the opportunity to go into more detail.

Below is a more detailed review of each make and model including features that might make them the more appealing option. 

Carter Evolution+ Release 4

This is a resistance activated release which means it will fire when resistance is increased. This takes place after you have drawn back into the valley and then taken the thumb off the safety.

As a back tension release there is no trigger to have to worry about and no need to go through any rotation as you prepare to fire.

The release is easy to latch onto a string D-loop.

What makes this release such a good choice is it can help in teaching shooters the way to properly execute the shot. For archers who have had trouble in working out when to take the shot and have experienced an annoying jump at release, allowing the release to make the call is a great alternative.

Tru-Fire Hardcore Revolution Release

The Hardcore Revolution takes the features from the popular original Hardcore release and has added more to make it a more versatile choice.

It has a head rotation of 360 degrees that moves smoothly on an 11 ball bearing system. Once you have reached the position that is most comfortable you can then lock it into place. This pivoting head makes it very easy to find a consistent anchor point which helps with accuracy.

The trigger tension and travel can be adjusted independently at the turn of a set screw. You can also locate the trigger knob in 1 of 16 different positions.

It also comes with an adjustable lanyard so you can keep it on your wrist at all times where it can be quickly used.

Visit the Feradyne Outdoors website for more information about the 4 finger release.

Hot Shot Vapor 4 Release

The Vapor 4 bow release is a great value thumb release that offers plenty of adjustment options in a simple design that can be relied upon to perform strongly.

This is a release that has been initially aimed at the hunter but will also prove very effective on the 3D course. It is lightweight and comfortable and noticeably silent.

The trigger tension is fully adjustable. It has an auto-close hook so there is no cocking mechanism. The design of the hook ensures that the release is torque free from the D-loop.

The design of the release includes an intentionally greater surface area at the fingers compared to other similar releases so that finger fatigue is reduced.

This is a very popular 4 finger release at a great price which means a lot of happy hunters.

More information as well as the instructions manual can be found on the Hot Shot Manufacturing website.

Spot Hogg Whipper Snapper 4 Finger Release

The Whipper Snapper is a high quality thumb release that is designed to assist the serious shooter through the promise of a high degree of repeatability.

It is a narrow contoured release that is designed to fit neatly in the hand for maximum comfort and to ensure it can be properly positioned to make repeatable and consistent shots.

The trigger is crisp and can be adjusted using a single screw that is used for both the trigger travel and the tension. Once the trigger has been set it is locked in and won’t move through repeated use. So that it will suit different hand sizes it is possible to adjust the position of the trigger barrel with two position choices available.

This thumb release is designed for use in a D-Loop hookup only and it is available in open jaw or closed jaw configurations.

It is possible to view video instructions on the Whipper Snapper by visiting the Spot Hogg website.

Tru-Fire Edge 4-Finger Hand Held Release

This is another thumb release from Tru-Fire and it provides a head that rotates a full 360 degrees so that the hand can remain comfortable throughout the entire draw and release process.

The release features a dual hinge opening and the thumb knob is completely adjustable as is the trigger travel.

The release is suitable for all experience levels and represents one of the best value for money options available. This makes it a very good bow release for someone new to using them.

The full head rotation and the thumb knob adjustment means that the release can be used by either a right or a left handed shooter.

The release handle and head is made from CNC machined solid aluminum and it is designed to fit comfortably in the hand.

T.R.U. Ball Max Pro 4 Release

The Max Pro 4 is a thumb release that uses caliper jaws that move slickly and silently. The design of the jaws that are set on a smaller head means that you can achieve a longer draw length and this means faster bow speed.

This is a well-built release that feels substantial in the hand yet it is neatly compact. It features a swivel head that can rotate through 360 degrees making it easier to load when attempting to grab the string loop.

The trigger travel can be adjusted through the use of a screw. Some people have reported that this screw can be loose out of the box and could be tightened using Loc Tite.

The finger grips have been designed with embedded grooves to improve the grip to ensure there is no chance of slipping.

Note - A health warning is included for this product: WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including Nickel Acetate, which is known to the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information visit

Visit the Tru Ball website to get more information about this release.

T.R.U. Ball Fang 4 Release

The Fang release is another thumb release. This one uses a hook-style jaw that is paired with a Full Containment System (FCS). When the release is attached to the D-Loop you can slide the FCS forward to lock it on.

It is possible to adjust the tension spring of the release from no sensitivity spring for a light touch to a medium or heavy spring if you prefer a firmer trigger.

The trigger travel adjustment screw makes it possible to position the trigger to the exact preferred spot. It is also possible to adjust the thumb barrel position.

The way in which the release works is that it will fire at the pull of the trigger and then, when the trigger is pulled a second time the hook will be reset and ready for the next shot.

Note - A health warning is included for this product: WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including Nickel Acetate, which is known to the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information visit

Visit the Tru Ball website to get more information about this release.

Carter Insatiable

The Insatiable release is one of the founding fathers of the Carter thumb release range. It is a straight forward release that is simple in design and function and that makes it very popular with pros who expect their equipment to work every time.

The release body is made from CNC machined 6061 T6 aluminum while the internal components are made from 1018 cold roll steel.

It looks different to other 4 finger releases thanks to the arched handle which is designed to put the elbow into a more natural position so that the shooter has greater control. It uses the new Interchangeable tension System (ITS) which allows the springs to be changed with a minimum of fuss.

It has smooth, rounded edges in order to allow the holding pressure to be dispersed evenly across the fingers.

More information about this release and others as well as the instruction manual can be found by visiting the Carter Enterprises website.

Hand Held Bow Release Types

When dealing with 4 finger releases we have been exposed to 2 different types of hand held releases: the thumb release and the back tension release.

Thumb Releases

The more preferred option out of these two types is the thumb release or trigger release. As the name suggests this type allows the shooter to control the moment of release by pressing on the trigger with the thumb.

This is a very customizable way of shooting. You can set the tension of the trigger to be quite light or much stronger depending on how hard you wish to push before deploying.

The downside with this type of release is that some people experience string jump at the moment of release because they anticipate firing.

Back Tension Releases

The back tension release can take a bit of getting used to but has been proven to be an aid to greater accuracy.

This type of release works by deploying the release functionality through drawing further back on the bow string. They involve safety switches which are engaged through the early stages of the draw and hold sequence. Once the string is held you release the safety and then draw back further which triggers the release.

Many archers find that due to not knowing the exact moment when the release is going to take place there is little or no jump or twitch experienced and their shots are more accurate.

3 Finger or 4 Finger Release?

Shooters who like using hand-held releases have a choice of handle sizes that they might prefer to use with the most common being either 3-finger or 4-finger releases.

There is no such thing as a “best” type of bow release, but it could be argued that there is one that will best suit your personal preference.

It comes down to what feels the most comfortable in the hand and which type might offer greater control.

Listed below are some of the reasons given as to why shooters prefer either a 3-finger or a 4-finger bow release.

3-Finger Release

4-Finger Release

People believe they get better feel of back tension on the shot

It allows more pulling pressure

You are able to shoot with less torque

The ability to anchor the pinky makes it more comfortable to draw and release

You are able to achieve greater consistency and repeatability

It provides a stable base and is a good starting choice for shooters new to using a handheld release

It is highly recommended to try a number of different handheld releases before making your choice.

It’s common for people to start with a 4-finger release and then, as they progress cut down to a 3-finger and then even a 2-finger release.

The trigger mechanism may also be a factor in your choice with a thumb trigger and hinge style that uses back tension being the options.

It is possible that a 4-finger release combined with the hinge style release is a preferable choice than a thumb trigger.

How Should A Bow Release Fit?

If you use a release with a wrist strap you should simply wrap the strap around your wrist so that it is snug but not tight. The release should rest at the base of the upturned palm.

When it is comfortable and you have done some shooting with it, put a mark on the strap so that it can be done up exactly the same next time you shoot and the release will be in the exact same spot every time you shoot.

Handheld releases are available in a few different shapes. The Carter Insatiable +, for example has a curved handle that is designed to ergonomically position the hand.

Other bow releases provide a straight handle for those who feel they need to completely align themselves at full draw.

The other fit issue comes with the length of the draw. If you had originally measured your draw length based on drawing the bow with your fingers, the addition of a bow release will alter this slightly.

Once you have taken ownership of your new bow release it will be necessary to shorten the draw length of the bow. This is because the addition of the release hook or caliper reduces your capacity to draw the string as far.

If you are using a trigger release, you will need to set it up so that you position the trigger at the second knuckle of your index finger.

This will allow you to hook the trigger and provide a nice even pull back helping you to use your back tension. A nice even pull means that you will avoid developing issues such as target panic.

And here is a further explanation about why it is important to get this position and how you might adjust your release length to get a custom fit.


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