Release Triggers: Size Does Matter

My Carter Target 3 with three thumb trigger options I have used.

This posts concerns the photo attached (right). The release aid is my #1 release (has been for a very long time). When I bought that release the spot that my thumb rested on was a simple post (in photo just below small barrel). Then at a Las Vegas Trade Show I bought a number of Tom Thumb adjustable “barrels” to adapt the trigger to a somewhat larger size. This was just before Carter came out with their own version, the “Adjusto Trigger,” so I felt I was very much in the avant garde.

Recently one of my students made me a trigger barrel much larger than the Tom Thumb version. It is 1.0˝ wide (25 mm), as compared to the Tom Thumb version (the purple one in the photo) which was 5/8˝ wide (0.625˝ or 16 mm). I noticed immediately the different feel associated with this new, larger thumb barrel which got me to thinking.

Perfect positioning of the trigger on a thumb release aid: nowhere near the sensitive pad.

When encouraging a “surprise release” approach to release technique, the standard instructions are to tuck the trigger back away from the tip of the finger/thumb. The argument is that the very sensitive finger tips can feel the position of the trigger as it moves and thus lead to anticipation in the form of flinches, freezing, etc.

My thinking is that the nerves associated with those finger- and thumb-tips are pressure nerves. (The pain and temperature change nerves don’t get engaged.) The force required to trip the release aid is built in with springs and whatnot. But spreading that force out from a narrow pin, to a small barrel, to a much larger barrel, I have created small and smaller amounts of pressure on the trigger. This diminishes the feel of the trigger on the skin, which should be a good thing.

So, if you coach release shooters, or are one, and you haven’t tried a larger barrel or a “shoe” trigger, give it a try. You may like the results.

Note I am never satisfied with the “Gee, I like it better” approach to equipment recommendations. I much prefer for there to be reasons as to why such changes might be advantageous. Still, you do have to try things out to see if they work for you.

Thumb barrel, thumb shoe, whatever. The aspect that is important is the amount of contact area between archer and trigger.


Filed under For All Coaches

2 responses to “Release Triggers: Size Does Matter

  1. Tom Dorigatti

    A sad thing about the thumb buttons with only one hole in them is securing them so that they cannot move once you get them adjusted how you want them. If the single screw works loose, or if you are using the “palm extender” that only has one bolt in it, it seems they are always slipping out of adjustment. Of course, I’ve always been “ProActive” and marked them so when that happens I can get it back into position. But it is still a hassle.
    Some of the other brands have gone to two hole adjustments and you also not only can adjust how far back on your thumb the trigger will rest, but how far it is away from the release body, and even the angle of the button itself; thus it is adjustable in 4 different directions and locks down with two bolts so once set, it won’t move unless you choose to move it.
    Many have also gone to infinite adjustment for trigger tension, too, which is great. Rather than depending upon an internal spring that is set and can break, these other releases allow you unlimited adjustment to trigger tension.
    Of course, they all allow adjustment for “trigger travel”…the LAST THING you want is to be able to feel the “travel” in the trigger as you depress it which executing a shot, or worse yet, “rough edges.”
    I have all mine set for “zero travel”, or should I say “zero detectable travel”.
    I also never set the trigger to a hair trigger set so light that all I have to do is to touch it and it will fire.


    • I have a single bolt attachment on all of mine and have never had one move. The arrangement is with a bolt and a locking hex nut (the kind with the nylon insert). Torqued down properly and no problemo! It is key that the things be able to relocated for adjustment purposes but then locked down. The Tom Thumb model had this interesting feature, The barrel was rather thin and a slot was cut all the way across the end allowing a very wide range of positions. The bolt, nut, and a small lock washer (the ring kind) kept it in place.

      On Thu, May 4, 2017 at 6:01 PM, A Blog for Archery Coaches wrote:



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