How to Shoot a Compound Bow with Fingers?


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Archery is broad, and there is much to learn and practice. Because easy stuff is more appealing, most archers don’t bother to master the fingers shot and instead choose to learn shooting with the mechanical release-aid.

Come to think of it, using a release aid only came to the archery world a few decades back. Before that everyone had no choice but to shoot compound bows without a release.

Are you interested in mastering how to shoot a compound bow with fingers?
You have come to the right place.
Let’s get started!

The Basics of Shooting a Compound Bow without a Release

Whether you want to drill a bulls-eye or you are into bow hunting, you can use the finger shot to hit the target each time. In this case, the sport is more thrilling because your success chances are highly dependent on your math skills, patience, and focus.

Dive right in, and let’s go through some crucial points to increase your chances of shooting more accurately without a release.

Getting Proper Equipment

Finding the right gear is arguably the most important thing to do to enhance your finger shooting accuracy. You need a bow with a longer axle length for increased finger relaxation and reduced finger pinch.

Here’s the deal, there is a lot more to take into account than just the axle length. The size of the cams and even the brace height will also affect how the string angles at full draw.

The rule of thumb is to enhance the comfort of your fingers by ensuring a more gradual string angle.

This will also give you increased chances of making an accurate shot. Generally speaking, it’s best to use a bow with not less than a 40-inch axle to axle.

Gripping the String Correctly

To ensure accuracy, you must engage your bowstring in the exact same way with each shot. The idea is to build consistency.

An easy way to enhance uniformity is always to ensure that the back of your hand is parallel to your bowstring.

Once your stance is correct, use two or three fingers to grip your bowstring. Make sure the string is gripped on the first crease of the fingers or around that area.

It is also necessary to relax your fingers’ limp tips and try to keep them as torque-free as possible.

You certainly don’t want your hand to torque the bowstring and reduce your chances of a smooth and consistent release.

After getting to a full draw, you need to adjust your finger pressure, by perhaps choosing to use two instead of three fingers.

From my experience, hooking two fingers to the string provides enough grip at full draw without imparting torque to the bowstring.

I suggest doing some experiments to find out the kind of “hold” that offers you better consistency.

Mastering the Release

This is arguably the most crucial part of shooting without a release. Well, let’s talk about the two main ways to release the bowstring without a mechanical release aid.

Method 1

Slowly swing the sight pin into the bulls-eye then hold steady for a few seconds. Relax the back of your hand to cut the arrow free and let the string slip off.

When done correctly, this method is smooth, and precision is almost guaranteed.

Method 2

Another method is to use back tension — similar to what you do when using a release aid. The idea is to lower the risk of target panic and use your whole body to free the arrow.

Remember that in method one, you hold steady for a few seconds and use your instincts to tell the right time to shoot.

Gradually come to a full draw and swing the sight pin on your target. Increase the tension on your fingers, and this will automatically make the bowstring to break free.

With this method, you don’t have to obsess about the release. It’s as simple as aiming and shooting. Let your body, not your mind, dictate when the arrow will cut free.

Take-Out Tips for Shooting with Fingers

Take-Out Tips for Shooting with Fingers
  • Don’t twist the string because this will derail the bow and negatively affect your accuracy. Instead, ensure the bowstring is vertical at all times.
  • Avoid placing the string on the tips of your fingers. The correct way is to ensure it rests deep in your fingers, preferably inside the first crease where it cannot slip off by accident. Doing so will also prevent unnecessary strain and reduce the risk of tension variation in the fingers.
  • Keep your fingers as close to your arrow as possible for enhanced comfort. Simply ensure that you don’t touch your arrow once you are at full draw.
  • The two-finger technique is the best. Place one finger above the arrow and another one below it to mimic how you draw a compound bow with a release.
  • Find proper finger protection. You can use a tab or finger glove. Both are okay, although I highly recommend the use of a finger glove because it allows you to use the two-finger technique.

Pros and Cons of the Finger Shot

Pros and Cons of the Finger Shot

Ask any seasoned archer whether to use fingers or a release aid, and they will probably choose the former.

Let’s find out by analyzing the pros of the fingers shot. We will also have a look at the cons allied with this method of shooting a compound bow.


  • Archers get a better feel of their bow and the string before a release
  • To some, feeling the string enhances shooting precision


  • It’s challenging to release the string in the same, exact way each time when using your bare fingers

Compelling Reasons to Use a Release Instead

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against the use of fingers. If anything, seasoned archers can agree that finger shots are more thrilling. We can, however, not deny the benefits of using a mechanical release aid.


  • Improved accuracy and consistency — the release aid allows you to have a single point of contact with the bowstring each time
  • Enhanced bowstring durability


  • No direct connection between the archer and the bow (less thrilling)


I prefer remaining open-minded towards the various shooting techniques and styles. Whether to use your fingers or a mechanical release aid, all boils down to your personal preferences.

Now that you also know how to shoot a compound bow with fingers, you will enjoy more freedom choosing between the two shooting methods.


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