Can You Use A Release On A Recurve Bow?

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Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter and Outdoorsman.

There are many types of release aids that can be you can find in an archery store. But their suitability often depends on the kind of bow that you have. So, can you use a release on a recurve bow?  

Though they tend to be less popular, you will be able to use a release when shooting a recurve bow. However, because recurves were made to be shot using your hand, not a release, these techniques can often take a little longer to master, requiring more practice.  

Finding and using a release on a recurve bow can be very difficult. Often, there will be several options for you to explore. Let’s take a closer look at this area, helping you find the right approach for you.  

Should You Use A Release? 

A release is a device that you use to help you improve your archery. There are multiple pros and cons to consider, especially when using them with a recurve bow. So, should you use a release?  

Often this will depend on why you want to use the release. As a general rule, recurve bow designs enable them to fire by hand. As a result, you often won’t need to use a release. However, there are some times, like during an injury, where you might benefit from using one.  

The benefits you’ll receive will often depend on why you are using the release. To help you make a more informed decision, you’ll need to consider the pros and cons of using a release.  

Downsides To Using A Release 

There are a few reasons why you might not want to use a release.  

First, as we mentioned, a recurve bow is designed to shot using your fingers rather than a mechanical release. This allows you to feel the tension on the string, making sure that you are getting the right amount of force on the bow.  

If you are using a mechanical release, you might be placing more pressure on the string that is necessary. As a result, you need to replace it more frequently. 

It’s also possible that a release might affect your accuracy. When you draw back the bow, you need to make sure that it comes back to the same point each time. It can be hard to do this when using a mechanical release.  

Finally, there is the risk that you might overdraw the bow. When this happens, the excess energy vibrates through the bow. Over time, this can cause some severe problems, as parts of the bow get damaged and need replacing.  

Pros Of Using A Release 

While there are several downsides, there are still some reasons why you might want to consider using a release when shooting your bow.  

For example, you might not have the physical strength to achieve a full draw. In this case, a release might be able to help.  

It’s also possible that you might be trying to overcome an injury. In this case, you might use a release until you can get back to full strength again.  

As we’ll see later, using a release tool might be able to help you get a better grip on the bowstring. As a result, you will be able to draw it back more effectively, giving you more time and energy to aim and hit the target.  

Can You Use A Release During A Competition?   

If you decide to use a release, you will often need a lot of practice with it, to make sure that it doesn’t affect your ability to hit the target. But, can you use a release during a competition? 

Often, this will vary depending on the type of competition that you are trying to enter. However, in most cases, you won’t be able to use a mechanical release in a match.  

For more clarity, you’ll need to read the competition rules. In most cases, you will only be able to use a shooting glove or tab. However, in other cases, you won’t be able to use anything at all.  

It’s also possible that using a release will affect the class in which you can compete. If you are using a release, you might need to compete in the compound bow class. If you’re using a recurve bow, this could put you a disadvantage.  

You’ll need to investigate this area before attending the competition. This will let you decide whether using a release is a good idea.  

Types Of Recurve Bow Releases 

There are several types of releases available on the market. Often, though, there will only be a few releases that will be appropriate to use with a recurve bow.  

Mechanical Releases 

These are some of the most common kinds of releases on the market. In most cases, they will attach to the string.  

There are several reasons why you might want to try using these releases. For example, these will make it easier for you to apply more pressure to the string. They also tend to make it easier for you to aim and shoot.  

However, as we mentioned earlier, you might not be able to use a mechanical release on a recurve bow, as they are designed to be shot by hand. For this reason, you will need to investigate these releases to make sure that they are appropriate for your bow.  

You might also need to practice your technique because this release technique tends to be more challenging to apply to a recurve bow.  

Tabs and Shooting Gloves 

As they are unable to use a mechanical release, many recurve archers will turn to a tab or shooting glove to help them line up their shot. However, unlike a mechanical release, they won’t add any additional pull to the string.  

Unlike a mechanical release, you will have full control over the string. This makes them suitable for use with a recurve bow. As a result, they tend to be allowed at most professional competitions.  

Another significant benefit is the ability to have a little more padding between your hand and the string. This can be very helpful if you find uncomfortable when pulling on the string. This is particularly helpful if you have a hand injury.  

Finally, you might be able to use these to improve your release. These can often provide a smoother surface for the string, allowing it to slide off your hand. Because of this, you will be able to reduce interference with the arrow, giving you the best chance of hitting your target.  


Another popular release tool, particularly for recurve bows, is a clicker. This is placed onto a bow and will let you know when you’ve reached full draw, making a clicking noise.  

Once you hear this noise, you’ll be able to release the string, putting the maximum energy behind the arrow.  

This is also a great way to protect against overdrawing the bow. When you hear the click, you should stop, rather than risk stretching the string or damaging the bow.  

The way that you release the string is essential for archers, determining whether you hit the target. There are many mechanical release tools that you might be able to use. However, these often aren’t recommended with a recurve bow. These bows’ designs allow them to be shot with your fingers, allowing you to get the right pressure on the string. As a result, it’s recommended that you stick to more basic equipment, like finger tabs, gloves, and clickers when using a recurve.  

Do You Need Gloves For Archery?

Can You Use A Release On A Recurve Bow?

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. He has been hunting and fishing since a child, and has over 20 years of experience in the outdoors. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.


Hi, I'm Sam, and I love archery! I used to work as a caregiver, and I'm in medical school now. I started this blog to help people like my parents get healthier in fun and exciting ways, more than just going to the gym. If you like one of my articles, I'd appreciate it if you share it with your folks and help them get healthier too!

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