This comes up with clients and on the Internet all the time, and it does seem much more complex than it should. Some ground rules, no release is any better than the next and they all have their own positives and negatives.
These release aids are good for alignment with many archers finding it easier to align bow hand, trigger hand and rear elbow. They are also good for archers who struggle with sight marks as the anchor position increases distance from eye to release hand. Wrist releases are also generally the cheapest. The negatives are the wrist release is often accused of being the easiest to punch due to execution by index or second finger and can have the worst flinching, also can be difficult to set with crisp mechanism (avoid the ones with roller mechanism).
Tru tension or pull through releases
There are three main types: Carter, nice feel and execution but the safety is released by moving thumb off the trigger which causes many people to move off the cams. Loesch, not very ergonomic designed body is prone to cracking, good adjustability, and the safety is the right way round (ie you pull the trigger down with your thumb to disengage safety). Stanislawski well built similar to the Carter evolution with a slightly better feel for those with small hands, good adjustment as with all stans.
These release aids are a godsend for those who really suffer from punching and flinching. Always set them at least heavy enough that they never go off as soon as you disengage the safety. Some archers claim that these releases are “unpunchable”, they aren’t but at least it is a punch with everything moving in the right direction (ie not a collapse). Similarly people are quick to call them inconsistent in the amount of pressure required to set them off, this is for the most part not the case (of course one can always get a damaged one like all kit and you should return it to dealer), any inconsistency is general down to the individuals inability to execute a release without coming off the pressure front and back during the shot. Those who have succeeded with this release will often tell others that it must be executed with “back tension”. They believe that if you shoot it off your arms or biceps it will shoot inconsistently and arrows will group in different places. I would still say that if you are going to punch then a punch with everything going in the right direction is always better than a flinch, so it really doesn’t matter how you execute the shot with this release aid.
Generally these release aids have allowed compound archers to see what a clean execution feels like the downside is they can get frustrated with the inconsistencies in their style and allowed them to blame the release.
Hinges, for 2 decades the blunt Excalibur of release aids. I am being overly critical but I get so frustrated with archers who think the hinge is unpunchable or in any way superior to a thumb or wrist release. That is not to say that they are not a valuable edition to the compound shooters arsenal, they are, but if I see one more “club archer” claiming some zen like skill with a hinge set so heavy it requires you to visibly move to set it off I will scream. Great hinge shooters use these release aids like any other ie they have a full draw position and then there is a window of opportunity for release execution. As to the question “can you punch a hinge?”, oh yes you can and it tends to have a result second only to punching a wrist release.
With the hinge comes the question of safety or no safety, safety catches that engage the head when released are great but it is a lot of moving parts and it tends to fail at the most irritating and often painful moments. The thumb post is used by many archers as a safety locating the hand whilst drawing. The problem can be in the novice moving the whole hand rather than just the thumb pressure at full draw and therefore being inconsistent in execution, often making up for this by adjusting the release heavier to prevent out of control shots until they are executing it by some version of changing release aid balance across the fingers after full draw. The major advantage of the hinge is it allows an archer, who chickens out with their thumb on a trigger, to stay on the shot and keep the window of opportunity open for a good execution.