Our Carter Release Review: Some of Our Favorites
Carter isn't the best-known company in the archery game, but they've got some truly devoted fans, and in our experience, their releases are top-notch.
So, here’s our Carter release review: below, we'll take a look at a range of different Carter bow releases, and detail what makes them unique, and why you may (or may not) want to use any specific item.
Before we jump in, though, we'd like to take this opportunity to say the following:
1) Carter makes really high-quality, deluxe bow releases, and we're very comfortable recommending them, and
2) As far as archery companies go, Carter Enterprises is truly quirky. There are a few features of the Carter company that we find really entertaining.
With that in mind, let's jump in, and we'll start with the fun part:
What's So Quirky About Carter?
If you're not interested in our observations and you just want to get to the reviews, you can skip this section. Our feelings won't be hurt.
Keep in mind, when we say "quirky," it is, by no means, to disparage Carter products. As we've said—and will happily repeat—Carter makes some really fantastic designs, and we're happy to discuss them. And to be honest, we love that Carter is quirky.
When we say they're quirky, we mean that... well, they're a small company, and their business runs in a way that's unlike the larger, more "polished" archery companies. For instance, when you visit the Carter website, if you look closely, you'll see in the upper right-hand corner, there's a link that says "Mexico Resort." Click on it, and you'll find... a long description/advertisement for... a resort in Mexico.
Is that resort part of the Carter Enterprise business? Are they simply doing advertising for a company who reached out to them? We can't say, because the website doesn't really specify. It does say, however, that if you stay at the resort, you get a complimentary Carter bow release, so that's nice. That may be the most unique sales pitch we've ever encountered—"Come to this resort, get a bow release"—and it would be funny if other archery companies featured the same sort of thing. Truglo: "Come on this cruise, get a bow sight," or Bee Stinger: "Come on our bus tour, get a stabilizer." The possibilities are endless.
So, listen: we don't claim to have visited the website of every archery company out there, but we're willing to bet that you won't find many with a link to a resort in Mexico. That's the kind of thing you simply will not find that sort of thing on an Easton website or a Hoyt website. That's pretty quirky.
And, honestly—take a look at that resort! It looks gorgeous! Let's just hope they have a bow range where we can do some target shooting and use that bow release 🙂
The other quirky thing about Carter we like so much is that their product names are absolutely fantastic. The archery industry has a long history of really cool names for their products, and from "Bloodline" arrows to "Predator" bows, there are hundreds of really cool names—and larger archery / bow hunting companies pay their marketing people a lot of money to come up with those names.
Compare that to some of Carter's products' names. Some of them are pretty rad—the Rx1, the Revolution, the Total Control—but a lot of them are straight-up silly: Chocolate Addiction, Just-B-Cuz, Quicky, and... the Whatever! That might be our favorite release: The Whatever (it's actually a great name—it's "Whatever you want").
We're being glib here and poking some fun, but we want to be clear: we absolutely love what Carter has done, it's one of the things we love most about archery and bowhunting—there's still room for the "little guys" to start a company and get a foothold in the industry, and in fact, make some of the best release aids on market.
If you look at Carter's "About" page, you'll see that Carter Enterprises is... Jerry Carter and his wife! (we have a feeling his wife came up with some of those names, too, and probably the "Chocolate" one). His son, Forrest Carter, is also part of the biz. We love that sort of thing—somebody is so passionate about archery and bowhunting that he/she creates a business about it. That's an incredibly adventurous things to do, and we think it's just fantastic.
Alright, so there you have it—that's why we say Carter is quirky. As you can see, we think "quirky" is a pretty awesome thing.
Carter Bow Releases We Like
Well, it looks like we used up a whole lot of room pontificating about quirkiness, so we'll keep each Carter release review short and sweet—we'll talk about the Carter releases we know and like, and their main features / why they may be useful. To make things easier, we've split our summaries into categories of bow releases: thumb trigger releases, back tension releases, and pointer finger releases.
Thumb Trigger Releases
Thumb trigger bow releases are still among the most popular type of release, and from what we can see of Carter's current product list, it looks like they've focused a lot of their energy on them. These releases focus on variations on a theme, and many of their thumb release are in fact very similar with only one or two features differing between them, so we'll try to highlight that where possible. Our favorites include:
The Carter Enterprises Wise Choice Release
The Wise Choice may be the most popular of all of Carter's products, and it's got a lot of features that would give it a "mass market" appeal: it's adjustable, it's got a self-closing jaw, it's for both righties and lefties (you just unscrew the thumb barrel and screw it to the other side of the release if you want to change it), and the area that holds the bow string is nice and tight—if you look, there's not a lot of space in there for a D-loop to move around when you're at full draw. That's a nice feature, because it's designed to provide you with more ability to aim.
The real feature of the Wise Choice, though, is that while it looks like a thumb release, you can use it as a back-tension release if you fiddle around with the settings. If you've been curious about back tension releases but don't want to fully commit to getting one, this can be a nice "bridge."
It's not perfect—we've known a few people who have said the release can be noisy, although we haven't experienced that—but all in all, this gets two thumbs from us.
By the way, Carter manufactures the Wise Choice in a 3-finger version (the Carter Enterprises Wise Choice Release 3 Finger) and a 4-finger version (the Carter Enterprises Wise Choice Release 4 Finger).
The Carter Enterprises Chocolate Addiction Bow Release
This is Carter's "other" main offering, as far as we can tell: The Chocolate Addiction. That name is just fantastic, and it is, as far as we know, one of the few archery / bowhunting products named after a desert.
The Chocolate Addiction has a more "traditional" hand-held bow release shape, in that it curves back into your hand (compare that to the more flat base of the Wise Choice), and all of the fingers are exposed (compare that to the Wise Choice, above, which encloses the index finger). We're pretty familiar with most of the hand-held bow releases on the market, and that seems to be the most prevalent model.
Carter maintains that the Chocolate Addiction is their most adjustable release, and that's saying something, when you consider that many of their models feature some sort of adjustability.
If endless adjustments drive you nuts—and we love that sort of thing, but not everyone does—you may want to stick with the Wise Choice. But if you like to set things juuuuuuust so and change them based on your activity (target shooting / 3-D shooting / bow hunting), this may be a good option.
This, too, is made in a 3-finger version (the Carter Chocolate Addiction 3 Finger) and a 4-finger version (the Carter Chocolate Addiction 4 Finger Release).
There's one more thumb release we want to highlight before we move on, because it's very unique:
The Carter Convertible Bow Release
The Convertible has a really unique design, and we don't know of too many releases like it. Depending on how you hold it, it can be a 2-finger or a 3-finger release (so if you're not a fan of the 3-finger/4-finger release, this may appeal to you). Like the Wise Choice, it has a very small chamber to hold the D-loop very snug, and if you flip it around 180 degrees, you can deploy the thumb barrel using your third finger. That's a really interesting design—for all you adventurous folks out there, this may be an interesting option.
Back Tension Releases
Carter's line of back tension releases isn't as deep as its line of thumb releases, but there's one we like a lot:
The Carter Honey 2/3-Finger Release
Back tension releases are a different beast that traditional releases, and if you've never used one, you may be in for some practice. They take some getting used to, even when you've got a lot of archery experience under your belt. That said, a lot of converts to back tension releases love them, and that's particularly true for target archers (and bow hunters who don't need to use gloves!).
If you're new to back tension releases, this release can serve as a good transition, because it features two safety options that allow you to reach your anchor point before turning off the safety. That can take a lot of the mental pressure off, because you can get a feel for the release before turning that safety off and using it as a “shoot-at-any-time-past-your-anchor” bow release.
A word about target panic and back hinge releases: there are a lot of people who have said back tension releases help them with their target panic, and that makes sense—there's an element of surprise to back tension releases, and very often, your arrow we leave your bow release before you have a chance to get nervous about it.
That said, we won't—and we'll repeat this—we will not—say that a back-tension release will cure you of target panic. There just isn't proof of that. We are comfortable saying, however, that we've heard a lot of people say that back tension releases have helped—although, to be fair, we've heard people say back tension releases *didn't* do anything for their target panic. So, keep in mind, your mileage may vary.
(By the way, just to clarify—in the reviews above, we wrote that the Wise Choice and the Chocolate Addiction are made in 3-finger and 4-finger varieties; when we say that Honey is a "2/3 Finger" release, we mean that there's only model made, and you can use that single model with 2 or 3 fingers.
Pointer Finger Releases
Most people think about hand-hand and back tension releases when it comes to Carter releases, and we wish more people knew about the following:
The Carter Like Mike Buckle Release
As per the Carter website, the "Mike" in this scenario is archery coach Michael Braden. If you're not a fan of hand-held releases—and there are plenty of people who don't like the feel of the thumb barrel and find it unnatural—you may appreciate a trigger-style release, like the Like Mike.
There are two aspects of this release that we like a great deal:
It's designed to have a crisp trigger. One of the problems with a lot of wrist-strap trigger releases on the market is that they have a really "spongy" arrow release mechanism. That can be true even when it's adjustable, and you have to really jam on the trigger to get arrow release. That is—to put it lightly—not a good thing. Not only can it lead to inaccurate shots, it can mess with your head a little bit. So that crisp trigger on the Like Mike is the first thing we like.
The second thing we like is the hook release. Many trigger releases feature a caliper/closed head design, so it's nice to see the hook here. That can provide a "cleaner" release, and it can lengthen the life of your D-loop. (By the way, if you’re looking for a hook release with a wrist strap and this one doesn’t do it for you, we also like the Spot Hogg Wiseguy).
The only thing we don't like here is the flat trigger. We just don't like the feel of it. If that feature drives you crazy, you may want to check out the Carter Quick Plus One Release. It, too, has some pretty great features, including the open jaw design, an adjustable trigger, and it resets after each shot, and the trigger is that nice curved trigger most of us are used to.
That’s All We Have for Now
This has been a lot of fun to write, and we hope there's something in our Carter release review that helps you. We think they’re a great company, and we love that they’re small and family-owned. We also like the example they set—they’re proof that a relatively small operation can make high-end, high-quality products.
So that about wraps it up. Good luck, have fun, and happy shooting!