While there really haven’t been any quantum leaps in release design or technology in recent years, there has been a steady tweaking of details slowly improving form and function; in short, helping us shoot better without much conscious effort. Here are some of the best new archery releases for 2016 on display this week at the ATA show.
30-06 Outdoors Black Horse
The fully-adjustable and affordable Black Horse (MSRP $34.95) release in 30-06 Outdoors’ (www.3006outdoors.com) Blood Line Signature Series, in addition to being available in standard black is now also offered in an assortment of vivid cord colors to match your favorite hunting bow (black, green, purple, red, orange, pink, blue and yellow). The padded leather wrist strap with buckle closure holds an easily-adjustable, heavy-duty Slide-Lock Technology mechanism that makes adjusting the length of the connecting cord fast and secure. The compact head and forward-placed trigger of the Black Horse includes a super-smooth trigger and fast, clean dual-jaw release. The cord-attachment design completely eradicates bowstring torque for accurate shooting. One release is designed to fit both adult and youth shooters.
Goat Tough Equalizer
If you’re a bowhunter who is limited by short draw length or low draw weight the Goat Tuff (www.goattuffproducts.com) Equalizer (MSRP $199.95) is the release you have been looking for. The Equalizer adds up to 3 inches to your draw length, translating into 10-15 fps additional speed, flatter trajectory and increased energy delivery. The Equalizer fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, the In Line adjustable “plunger” trigger promoting perfect alignment of the arm, wrist and release. This special plunger trigger also allows a smooth, natural movement of the trigger finger during release, or it can be employed as a back-tension release. The release body is precision machined from billet aluminum, all internal parts made of stainless steel to withstand years of hard use. The all-leather buckle strap is secure and comfortable.
For 2016 this unique release will be available only through the Goat Tuff web site or archery pro shops.
Hot Shot Manufacturing Nano
Hot Shot (www.hotshotmanufacturing.com), one of the originals in hand-held release design, offers three new releases for 2016 to cover any bowhunter’s needs. The new Nano (MSRP $74.95 black; $84.95 camo) is a classic index-finger release design loaded with user-friendly features. The Nano Post includes precision micro-adjustable length, the “Lever-Link” trigger assuring less trigger creep and crisper shots. This stronger, more reliable actuating system provides less friction than traditional roller bearings and seals out dirt and debris. Trigger tension is easily adjustable via a single Allen screw, the Cat’s Eye automatic-closing jaw assuring faster hookup. The head rotates 360 degrees for less torque. The extension folds back and side to side as needed, the zero-noise actuating system keeping things silent.
The new Impetus (MSRP $79.95) is an index-finger release with an automatic-closing, open hook design perfect for instant hookup while using string loops. Match-grade trigger tension is adjusted through a single set screw. The new post design features micro length adjustment and once set will never slip, the head swiveling 360 degrees to eliminate torque and the extension fully articulating and designed to fold back when not in use. Look for the Nano and Impetus in Black Buckle, Lost Camo Buckle and Velcro wrist straps.
Finally, the Hot Shot Vapor (MSRP $103 black; $120 camo) is a hand-held, thumb-trigger release offered in three- and four-finger models. The ergonomically-advanced handle is extremely comfortable, seeming to take pounds off of draw weight. The ultra-crisp trigger includes adjustable tension. The Vapor includes a 360-degree, fully adjustable thumb barrel that can be set for projection, angle and length to create a custom fit and ultimate control. The zero-noise internal actuating system is powered by a lever linkage that won’t spook jumpy game, the jaw closing automatically after each shot. This value-priced release is offered in Realtree Xtra and black and includes a wrist sling to keep it handy. All Hot Shot releases are made in the USA and carry a lifetime warranty.
Jim Fletcher Archery
Jim Fletcher Archery’s (www.fletcherarchery.com) new Outsider (MSRP $76.45) is a wrist-strap design triggered with your thumb instead of the standard index finger, and designed specifically for use with a string loop. The included index-finger trigger serves as a rigid stabilizer arm while aiming, but the shot is cut by squeezing a dog-leg trigger on the opposite side of the release head to provide you with a smooth, consistent release. Fletcher says by putting your index finger on the stabilizer arm (rigid standard trigger) and your thumb on the thumb trigger and then squeezing the two of them together you will realize the smoothest shot possible. The release design is excellent for curing accuracy-robbing trigger-punching habits or helping to eliminate debilitating target panic. The release comes with your choice of a padded Deluxe Leather Buckle Strap or Nylon Wrist Strap with loop-and-hook closure, both holding a highly-adjustable nylon-webbing connection strap eliminating torque during the shot.
A true heavyweight in the release arena, T.R.U. Ball (www.truball.com) has come out with two new release models for 2016 made to please the serious bowhunter. The T.R.U. Ball dual-caliper Rubberneck (MSRP $129.99) includes new technology in a wrist-strap design, including 10 degrees of side-to-side movement and swiveling extension linkage that helps reduce unwanted torque during the shot. A new thermodynamic rubber material in also incorporated on the extension sleeve and into a novel thumb grip to provide increased warmth and traction during cold- or wet-weather hunts. The Rubberneck includes a newly-designed ergonomic trigger and travel adjustment lock screw to secure adjustments. The release is secured to the wrist via a padded leather buckle strap.
T.RU. Ball’s new Blacknite series (MSRP $89.99), including the Blacknite, Blacknite Midnite, Blacknite Sunset and Blacknite Chameleon (the same release in different color schemes) is a dual-caliper release which also features thermodynamic rubber on the extension sleeve and in a side thumb grip. Like the Rubberneck the addition of this insulating material makes the release more manageable and comfortable while shooting in the cold or wet conditions experienced while on stand, while also dampening noise due to unintentional contact with gear or tree-stands. The release also comes with a travel adjustment lock screw to anchor fine adjustments. The Blacknite series includes the same torque-free, padded leather buckle strap of the Rubberneck.
I’ve used a good number of Tru-Fire (www.trufire.com; 866-387-9307) releases over the years—models that were invariably rock solid, 100 percent dependable and well ahead of the curve technology-wise. The newest product from Tru-Fire is the C4 (MSRP $69.99), a thumb-activated T-handle that brings affordability to the super-accurate, hammer-throw arena. The four-finger C4 is lightweight and comfortable, built from cutting-edge materials to be ultra-quiet and packed with high-end features. The body of the 2.1-ounce C4 is injection-molded from high-strength carbon-composite material and then covered with soft rubber to deaden game-spooking noise, as well as providing a sure grip and added finger padding. The sear closes over the string loop so it can be left in place and ready for action while sitting or stalking, holding up to 200 pounds when engaged but requiring only a few ounces of pressure to trigger the shot. It is adjustable for left- or right-hand shooters and the hexagonal thumb barrel can be adjusted to six positions. Internal parts are precision milled and heat treated for precise operation and long life. The C4 will be available through dealers in spring of 2016.
Tru-Fire also understands not all bowhunters are ready for the T-handle rage. For those bowhunters Tru-Fire offers the new Spark (MSRP $49.99) dual-jaw caliper release. The Spark is essentially a smaller version of the popular Tru-Fire Smoke released last year, including a smaller strap design to accommodate bowhunters with smaller hands (fits wrists measuring 4.5 to 8 inches in circumference). The Spark includes spring-loaded jaws featuring a linear bearing system combined with Tru-Forward trigger-finger positioning creating a compact head. Trigger travel is adjustable, the release factory set to 5 ounces. Overall design includes eye-catching orange-anodized head and strap stitching, Tru-Fire Foldback ring allowing flipping the release head/extension 180 degrees and against the arm while, say, climbing in to a stand. The buckle strap includes 10-position adjustments, the extension 3/8-inch of length adjustment with left- or right-hand lockdown. The American-made release is designed to hold 200 pounds until triggered.
TRUGLO Speed Shot XS Boa
In case you missed it last year, TRUGLO’s (www.truglo.com) Speed Shot XS Boa Release (MSRP $62) is back again for 2016, but with refinements to make it smoother than ever. The Speed Shot XS Boa is a dual-jaw release featuring a comfort-fit BOA patented wrist-strap system. Speed Shot XS includes synchronized, wear-free stainless steel jaws that are extremely compact and super smooth. The 360-degree rotating head eliminates bowstring torque, whether shooting serving direct or hooked to a string loop. The contoured, adjustable, one-piece trigger and ergonomic hand and finger positioning allows more natural hand placement and comfortable shooting. It includes more than an inch of length adjustment and can be color coordinated to match other archery accessories. BOA technology provides a compact but secure system allowing you to lock and dial wrist-strap tension for a perfect fit and all-day comfort, holding a silent, rotary adjustable extension. Boa straps are offered in Realtree APB camouflage, or black, green, orange, pink and red, and standard and junior sizing.