How I Set Up A Hinge Release

Before I get into how I set my hinges up, I want to address some common issues I find with archers I work with. So many archers have their hinges set too fast and use too much pressure on their index finger to hold the hinge in their hand. Sometimes it is because they are timid and afraid of the release going off because they’ve heard so many stories of people punching theirselves with a hinge release and they don’t want that to happen to them. Sometimes it’s because they have had problems with the hinge wanting to fire when they are shooting and think making the hinge faster will allow them to get their shot to fire sooner.

Both of these common issues boil down to lack of information available on how to set up and fire a hinge release. Using a proper set up method and using the correct tension in each finger against the release can turn a nerve racking or frustrating experience into one that can take your shooting to the next level. When you carry the majority of the weight in the index finger and lightly touch the middle and ring fingers to the hinge you are relying on relaxing the index in order for the shot to go off. In practice you may find this acceptable to do, but when the nerves kick in with a pressure situation, this technique will come back to haunt you. That is because the hand will hold extra tension in it and you will start to freeze. So what you are going to do is actually slow the hinge down and add pressure throughout all fingers on the release. Doing this will allow you to not rely on relaxing the index finger to fire the hinge and have a longer shot during pressure situations. The set up methods I go over will allow you to keep a closer shot timing to your practice rounds and help eliminate the freezing on target at full draw trying to fire a hinge release. That will be the focus on the set up of your release now. Using the outter fingers along with the index and thumb to draw the bow. In this article I will address how to set up a hinge both with and without a click and also, how much pressure to put into the release with each finger to get a smoother shot, time after time. I’ll also go over how to set up the hinge to accomodate for shot timing and to help your shot fire during its optimal window. Let’s start with setting up the hinge with a click.

Hinge Set Up With A Click
To start with, adjust the hinge to the slowest position you can. Where the release will not fire no matter what you do. Then practice drawing with the bow using pressure against all three fingers and the thumb. You’ll start to find the sweet spot where your body will repeat the pressures as you do this. If I had to guess and put a number on mine, I’d say 20% goes to my thumb, 30% index, 25% middle and 25% ring finger as I draw back. Notice I didn’t put a ton of pressure on the thumb bar. That is because the thumb bar is basically your safety. Holding pressure against it keeps you from over rotating the hinge while drawing and accidentally having a mis fire. This doesn’t need to be the majority of pressure becuase you want to set up the tensions in the outter fingers to aide in the release firing easier during your shot. As I am anchoring in, I’ll let off the thumb bar and equalize the pressure to all three fingers.
This is how my body naturally goes back each time.
After you’ve found that point where you start to feel consistency and your body can be aggressive with the release, start making it faster. Small steps at a time. Draw back, anchor, come off the thumb bar, equalize pressure, and see if it clicks. Do this every time until you get to the point where you release the thumb from the peg and the click happens after you’ve equalized pressure, or even added a little to the ring finger to feel even safer. And then start shooting with it. After you’ve gotten a feel for things, start adjusting the hinge faster or slower to accommodate your shot window and time it to go off where you are the steadiest in your float. There will be a couple seconds during your shot window that are the best. Maybe that’s 3 seconds in, maybe 7. But time it to go off there. Then you’ll be good.
A common question I get with using a click is, “Isn’t the distance from the click to when the shot fires the same, no matter the adjustment?” To answer this, yes it is. But how you get to the click is your timing for the shot window. If you find you need the release to fire quicker to accomodate your shot timing, get to the click quicker. Instead of releasing the thumb, equalizing pressure through the fingers and adding just a touch more to the ring finger, and then it clicks, have the click happen as soon as you equalize pressures in the fingers. This will require less work for the shot to break because you still have more of the movement available in the hand to fire the shot versus a slower click setting. This in turn allows the shot to fire quicker in the shot window for you. The same can be said in reverse if you need a slower shot. Have the click happen after adding more pressure to the outter fingers and then the movement available in the hand is less. This will allow the release to fire later in your shot window.
Hinge Set Up Without A Click
To start with, adjust the hinge to the slowest position you can. Where the release will not fire no matter what you do. Then practice drawing with the bow using pressure against all three fingers and the thumb. You’ll start to find the sweet spot where your body will repeat the pressures as you do this. If I had to guess and put a number on mine, I’d say 20% goes to my thumb, 30% index, 25% middle and 25% ring finger as I draw back. Notice I didn’t put a ton of pressure on the thumb bar. That is because the thumb bar is basically your safety. Holding pressure against it keeps you from over rotating the hinge while drawing and accidentally having a mis fire. This doesn’t need to be the majority of pressure becuase you want to set up the tensions in the outter fingers to aide in the release firing easier during your shot. As I am anchoring in, I’ll let off the thumb bar and equalize the pressure to all three fingers.
This is how my body naturally goes back each time.
After you’ve found that point where you start to feel consistency and your body can be aggressive with the release, start making it faster. Small steps at a time. Draw back, anchor, come off the thumb bar, equalize pressure, and see if it fires. Do this every time until you get to the point where you release the thumb from the peg and the release fires after you’ve equalized pressure, or even added a little to the ring finger to feel even safer. And then start shooting with it. After you’ve gotten a feel for things, start adjusting the hinge faster or slower to accommodate your shot window and time it to go off where you are the steadiest in your float. There will be a couple seconds during your shot window that are the best. Maybe that’s 3 seconds in, maybe 7. But time it to go off there. Then you’ll be good.
If you read through both set ups, you’ll find they are very similar. The difference between setting up a hinge release with or without a click is the timing of the click if you’re using one. That’s it. Also, using a click or not is based on personal preference. I’ve shot both ways and can effectively use each technique. It comes down to finding what works best for you and your shot.
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