At Zenith Archery, we're
frequently asked some common questions about back tension
releases at trade shows and on the range. We'd
like to take the opportunity to answer some of these
questions, as well as address some common misconceptions
about back tension releases. If you don't see
your question on this page, please feel free to e-mail
us with your question and we'll get back to you in short
order. Who knows, your question might even be
added to the list.
use a back tension release?
heard a lot of horror stories about back tension releases,
such as lost arrows, fat lips and sore fingers.
Are these stories true?
can use a back tension release?
is "target panic" and how can a Zenith release
help overcome it?
don't have anyone in my area to help me learn to shoot
a back tension release. Can I learn it safely by myself?
is unique about Zenith's wrist strap?
is the practice cam and how is it used?
is a "clicker cam" and how will it help
me when using a back tension release?
the clicker defeat the surprise release by letting
the archer know when the release is about to fire?
the release come back out of the clicker notch if
I have to let down?
the clicker adjustable and will it wear out frequently?
been using another brand of back tension release with
some success, why should I switch to the Zenith Comfort
can I decide which release is right for me?
does Zenith sell their products and what is their
guarantee on them?
back tension release affords the archer the surest way
to develop a true surprise release due to its triggerless
design. This is especially true for an archer first
learning to use a release. The trigger releases offer
the archer a quick way to a more accurate shot than
is possible when shooting with fingers, but the conscious
act of squeezing the trigger eventually can lead to
flinching and other forms of target panic.
many of these stories are true, but recent developments
such as ergonomically designed handles, the practice
cam, the clicker cam (all of which were pioneered by
Zenith Archery) and instructional videos have made these
problems a thing of the past. It is now possible to
learn to shoot one of these releases safely and with
a minimum of finger problems caused by poorly designed
Not all back tension releases have these features
or have them properly designed into the release.
Most of our competitors have added them on in order
to be competitive with our products.
All Zenith Back Tension Releases are a modern
design and were developed to overcome the horror stories
who is willing to take the time to get the proper instructions
either from an experienced archer or from an instructional
video can benefit from learning this type of release.
When used properly, size or strength has little bearing
on their successful use. We have customers as
young as twelve years old using our release to great
is "target panic" and how can a Zenith release
help overcome it?
panic is generally defined as the inability of an archer
to aim and execute a controlled shot at the moment he
wishes to shoot. It can manifest itself in several ways,
such as flinching, snap shooting, shooting on the move
or freezing off the target. A true case of target panic
is defined as an uncontrollable conditioned reflex and
can be almost impossible to cure. A more common condition,
also referred to by some as target panic, is a temporary
loss of control caused by the nervousness and tension
brought on by the stress of competition or the sight
of a trophy animal while hunting. This is a far more
treatable problem but it still requires a dedication
by the archer to practice properly and learn the basics
of a surprise shot from the ground up. There is really
not enough space in this format to go into a detailed
answer on how to cure target panic, but there are several
people who write articles about curing it, although
with somewhat different ideas, and we recommend reading
all of them and picking out what works for you. The
one common theme that runs through all of them though,
is the use of a back tension type of release aid and
the elimination of the target face during your initial
practice sessions. Starting up close without a target
and slowly introducing the target as you begin to get
control of your shot, is the way that we here at Zenith
believe is the way to go. If you are starting off a
new archer or teaching some one to shoot a release,
we believe that the back tension release is the one
to start with. The trigger releases are much easier
learn at first, but in most cases lead to problems with
punching or flinching as the archer gets used to them.
This can be the start of a problem that will be very
difficult to overcome so we recommend putting the extra
time and effort into learning the right way from the
you can. Zenith Archery Products has developed
a training kit which
will allow you to teach yourself how to use a back tension
release without the usual start up problems described
above. Most instructional articles on these releases
deal with how to shoot the shot after you achieve full
draw. Most problems develop prior to full draw.
This kit starts you at the very beginning, so you'll
get expert instruction from a nationally recognized
champion and Senior Olympic gold medalist. The
kit comes with your choice of Zenith's 2, 3 or 4 finger
configuration, with the 3 finger X-Cel being the standard. The
other handle selections would incur an extra charge.
Also, included are a full moon practice cam, a .008
clicker cam and a smooth cam without the click.
The handle is fitted with a wrist strap to prevent the
archer from danger, should he inadvertently let go of
the release while shooting. The novel feature
of this kit is the included VHS instructional video
tape or CDROM. The tape takes you from assembly
of the release, which is shipped unassembled, through
the adjustment, cocking and loading procedures.
You'll then learn the basics of the shot without shooting
any arrows by using the practice cam, and finally go
though the steps of the actual shot using the smooth
cam or the clicker cam. Thatís all there is to
it! Best of all, the kit comes with a money back
guarantee should you be dissatisfied with it.
You risk nothing.
wrist strap that we have designed into our handles is
placed at the same position on the handle as your index
finger, therefore providing an assist in drawing the
bow, rather than being merely a tether. The amount of
assist gained is controlled by adjusting the length
of the strap. Zenith feels it is important however,
to still maintain
control with the index finger.
If the strap takes too much of the load, you will find
yourself fighting against it when triggering the release.
The strap may also help prevent the release from being
dropped after the shot from a poor grip, or shooting
the release through the bow, as can happen on rare occasion.
practice cam keeps the dump from being released and
therefore keeps the bow from firing. Instead of
an edge as on the half moon which releases the dump,
the practice cam has a small notch cut into it.
When the dump drops off the leading edge of the notch,
a click is heard which indicates that the release would
have fired at that point, but because the dump is held
captive, the shot does not occur. This allows
the archer to practice actual shots with his bow without
shooting an arrow. You can now develop your whole
shot pattern and gain confidence in it without ever
shooting an arrow or worrying about prefires.
There are actually two notches in the Zenith practice
cams, one with a smooth edge and one with a .008 clicker
so that you can decide which mode of shooting you want
the conventional half moon cam with its smooth edge,
the clicker cam has a very fine notch cut into the shooting
edge of the cam. This notch causes an audible click
which tells the archer that the release is now ready
to fire. Its purpose is to provide a new reference which
allows the archer to position the release in the most
comfortable position for his style. The only reference
before the clicker was to rotate the release fully to
one end and to pull with one finger in order to keep
the release from pre-firing This caused many archers
to develop a very sore index finger and prevented the
use of heavier draw weights by many archers. With this
new reference, the release can be set up with more pre-travel
for safety, without having to slowly squeeze off this
extra travel while trying to aim and execute the shot.
Also more of the draw weight can now be transferred
to the other fingers allowing for greater comfort when
shooting heavier bows.
the clicker defeat the surprise release by letting the
archer know when the release is about to fire?
When the archer completes his draw, he should advance
to the click right away and then settle into his shot
routine. The click is part of your set up, not
part of the shot. Once the shot is started, the
end result is still a surprise. A certain number of
shots will still have to be let down because they failed
to occur within the archers comfort zone.
The edge of the dump will remain in the notch, but by
putting the weight back on your index finger the let
down can safely be made, just as it is without the clicker.
adjustment of the time from the click to the release
can only be changed by using a cam with a deeper or
a shallower notch machined into it. Zenith offers
four different speed cams with .004, .006, .008 and
.012 inches of travel. The amount of travel to
reach the click during set up is adjusted by the set
screw, which allows the cam to be rotated as in previous
models without the click. The major difference
is that this pre travel can be made much longer for
an extra margin of safety with respect to prefires.
Both the cams and the dump are made of hardened tool
steel and should last for several years.
the name indicates, we feel our handle is the most comfortable
and ergonomically designed in the industry. We
also produce a wider range of styles and sizes than
any other manufacturer. Our CNC machined handle
product, the Comfort Release includes two, three and
four finger models, both with and without an integral
thumb hook. This model comes in both medium and
large index finger sizes; 3 and 4 finger extra small
models and 2, 3 and 4 finger extra large models for
people who have extra large hands and who like to hold
the release in their fist. All of our machined
handles are cut using special form cutters, which provide
an index finger hole with a fully radiused shape.
The entire handle is then hand finished eliminating
any edges which may be uncomfortable. The handles
are bright dipped and anodized in a variety of single
of Zenith's releases are available with an optional
wrist strap at no extra cost. The strap is functional
and can be used to assist the archer to draw and hold
the bow weight, and also ensures that the release will
not fly out of your hand should your grip slip.
fully machined head also has many features not offered
by others. The head shell is CNC machined from aircraft
aluminum instead of being stamped from steel and bent
into shape. This allows for closer tolerances and
better parts alignment, which lead to better accuracy.
The release rope is also kept out of the path of the moving
parts so it won't cause any interference or be subject
to excessive wear. The hook-shaped peg which holds
the release rope is hand trimmed to eliminate wear on
the rope and is cut to the proper depth to allow the release
to be shot using a "D" loop as well as the rope.
No extra parts are needed to switch from one style
to the other, only a change in the adjustment of the
cam. The cams come in either smooth or clicker style
and are trimmed on one side for better index finger clearance.
The clickers are offered in 4 different speeds and offer
sharp sounding, but not jarring clicks due to the hand
work done in their manufacture.
a very personal decision. First decide if you
want to use two, three or four fingers on the release.
For target shooting, we feel that he fewer fingers you
use the less torque you can apply to the string, reducing
unwanted elements into your shot. For shooting
the heavier 3D bows, four fingers can be a help with
the heavier bow weights and also the thumb hook and
wrist strap can help you there. As far as size
goes, the machined handles are generally roomier than
the cast models, due to the shrinkage involved in the
casting process. If your hands are large or you
hold the release in back in your fist, go with the larger
machined model, maybe even in the large index finger
size. Problem size hands, either very large and
thick or very tiny, such as women or children, should
look at the two, three or four finger Big Guy or the
three or four finger extra small sizes. In the end,
it's best to try one from a friend if you know someone
who owns, one or stop by the Zenith booth at the major
shoots which we attend. (See the shoot calendar
for the probable 2005 shoots where we'll be set up.)
If you still can't get your hands on one to try, give
us a call and order one anyway. We always take
them back, minus shipping costs if you don't like them,
as long as they are not damaged. We get very few
back this way and get lots of reorders from archers
who let their friends try their release and then canít
get them to give it back!
can call Zenith directly to place an order and pay by
any major credit card if you wish. Most releases are
in stock and will ship within a day or two via U. S.
Postal Priority Mail which takes 2 or 3 days. The normal
shipping fee for releases is $6. For parts and other
items or if you are not in a hurry, first class mail
would be slightly less. We can do C.O.D. but the cost
to you is quite a bit more we try to stay away from
that. Some pro shops may also have the releases in stock
and we hope to add to that number in the near future.
We currently have no plans to sell through distributors
or any of the major catalogs. We build more of a custom
product and have no facility for large scale manufacture
of the releases. In the future we plan to maintain our
high quality standards and to continue to innovate in
the back tension market. Due to the nature of our business,
we also do not support a shooter program. If you see
one of the top shooters using a Zenith, he bought it
because it's the best. We guarantee our release products
to be free from defects for the life of the release,
with the exception of the release rope and wrist strap,
which are subject to normal wear and tear.
Zenith Archery Products.
Copyright © 2000 Zenith Archery Products.
All rights reserved.
January 3, 2010