Tabs or Gloves (for Target Archers)?

QandA logoDear Coach Ruis,
Why do a lot of hunters prefer to use gloves over a finger tab? Wouldn’t everyone benefit from a finger tab due to it creating a smoother release? Also, are there any Olympians who use gloves?

* * *

Many hunters who shoot with “fingers” (as opposed to with a release aid) prefer gloves over tabs as you can’t drop and lose a glove that is Velcroed or strapped to your hand. Shooting without finger protection, especially in cold weather, is not necessarily an option, so losing it is an expensive proposition as it may ruin an entire hunting trip.shooting glove

To reiterate the advantages of a tab over a glove for target archers, the three fingers used in the typical Mediterranean string grip are held together by a tab (so much so that many prefer a rigid metal tab body to shoot with). This encourages the three fingers acting together as a unit, giving a cleaner release of the bowstring. The fingers in a shooting glove are not so connected by the glove. Also, the tab surface, while flexible, is flat, as opposed to the rounded finger stalls of a shooting glove. This promotes a cleaner slide of the string off of the fingers. Well-used gloves also tend to show a deeper indentation where the string sits that creates a larger paradox during the loose of the string.

Regarding Olympians using gloves, the only case I am aware of was Michele Frangilli who used a glove and a tab at the 1996 Olympics, but he was fighting a bad case of target panic at the time, I believe. Other than that, I haven’t heard of any serious Olympian preferring a glove over a tab.


Filed under For All Coaches, Q & A

2 responses to “Tabs or Gloves (for Target Archers)?

  1. I shoot with a glove, whether I’m shooting traditional or recurve. This is because I find tabs really clumsy during the loading of the arrow, and they are also extremely easy to lose >.< Before, I used to shoot with just sports tape on my 3 fingers. It works just as well, there is no equipment to lose, and it does not inhibit the hand in any way. I never encountered the "independent 3 fingers" problem ^_^

    also, I love your blog. so many helpful posts 😀


    • Thanks for the kudos. Another alternative is to double or triple serve your bowstring and use no finger protection at all.

      My tab is held on with Velcro and one I put it on, it doesn’t come off string shooting. When I pull arrows I rotate it around the finger Velcroed in to the back of my hand and then rotate it back to shoot again.

      You probably would not notice an “independent 3 fingers problem” as it would just contribute to slightly larger groups which you would have no way to compare with the slightly smaller groups had you used a tab. This is the inherent problem with archery “compared to … what”? This is a little like the old Geirge Carlin line: “Look how frisky the Alpo (a brand of dog food) dog is compared with this dead dog over here.” It is very, very hard to compare one form with another because we do not, if we even bother to compare at all, get to compare the two possibilities side by side.

      Please do send in any questions you have because, as you can see, it creates ideas to talk about.


      Liked by 1 person

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