Field Evaluation: Tru-Fire Bulldog Buckle Release

Article by Keith Dunlap – November 6, 2007
Edited by Stanley Holtsclaw – April 3, 2017


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Tru-Fire has made quality archery releases for twenty-three years. In 1984, the husband and wife team of Lynn and Judi Tentler took their passion for archery and turned it into the Tru-Fire Release Company. Since that time, over 3.5 million releases have been manufactured and sold by the family-owned business! Year-after-year, Tru-Fire, now owned and operated by the Tentler’s son Steve and his wife Cheri, produce and sell more releases than any other company in the world.

I’ve personally used a Tru-Fire release for the majority of my bowhunting life, so I was excited to try a new product from Tru-Fire, the Bulldog release, with a buckle strap.

Let’s take a look at the new features and evaluate its performance…

I really like the buckle straps for adjust-ability and quiet in the woods.

– Initial Inspection –

Upon initial inspection out of the package, I found no visible defects in workmanship or finish.The Bulldog comes with dual position trigger that allows the shooter tochange trigger location from its standard position to one-half inch closer to the jaws to increase the draw length (see figure 2 below). The Bulldog also features the new spring-loaded trigger, which automatically opens the jaws when the trigger is depressed, closing them when the trigger is released.

This should make for faster and less cumbersome attachment to the string or loop,making this especially valuable during hunting situations. The Bulldog also features an adjustable buckle wrist strap, fits both right and left hand shooters, and is adjustable for both length (3/4″ adjustment) and trigger for release sensitivity. The jaw of this release is Teflon coated steel, which should make for a smooth release. The moveable jaw (the black part of the jaws shown in figure 2) closes into the non-moveable jaw (the camo part of the jaw as shown in figure 2), which should prevent any gaps for your loop or string to pass through accidentally. The buckle wrist strap has an elastic strap at the end of the leather strap to make it easier to get the Bulldog over heavy hunting gloves. This elastic portion of the strap secures to a clip attached to the leather portion of the wrist strap.

The ability to adjust the trigger position is great feature.

The first thing I noticed when I tried the Bulldog on for the first time was just how comfortable this release is once you adjust the length and trigger position to your liking. I normally use a Tru-Fire Judge release with the curved trigger and 360degree head rotation, so it took a little getting used to the straight and knurled feel of the Bulldog trigger. You can see from figure 2 above that the trigger on the Bulldog has no curl to it,and it has a knurled surface for better grip with your finger.

I prefer the trigger in the normal position; this position fits my hand perfectly.

– Testing –

I evaluated the Bulldog release for comfort and function(performance).

As stated earlier, the Bulldog release has adjustments for the buckle wrist strap, the length of the trigger from the strap, and the position of the trigger. In my opinion, evaluating the comfort of a release is purely subjective to what the evaluator feels when trying the release as compared to other releases on the market. In this case, because I already use a Tru-Fire Judge with a buckle strap, I found the Bulldog to be extremely comfortable. The buckle wrist strap has a soft inner liner that feels good against the skin. The wrist strap has ample adjustments to fit any wrist with or without hunting clothing on.The edges of the Bulldog wrist strap do not irritate your skin like some release straps. The length adjustment for this release does not require tools, you simply rotate the release head one way to lengthen and the opposite direction to shorten the release head from the body of the wrist strap. There is a full ¾” adjustment to the release length. The trigger position, as stated earlier, has a one-half inch adjustment from the standard position to the forward position. This can essentially increase or decrease your draw length by one-half inch. I had no trouble finding my “sweet spot” with the Bulldog release, and itfit my hand and bow perfectly once I adjusted the length and trigger position.

Hookup to a D loop is quick and secure, and the spring-loaded trigger is a great feature.

The next part of my evaluation of the Bulldog release was to consider the function/performance of the release. The jaws of the release attached to my D loop effortlessly thanks to the design of the jaws and the spring loaded trigger mechanism. I tried several types of bowstring draws, from quickly jerking the string to smooth draw, and the Bulldog performed perfectly each time. The jaws held the string securely during each draw and release of the bowstring. To evaluate the sensitivity of the trigger, I fired 30 arrows from my BowTech Tribute using each of the following releases: Tru-Fire Judge release, a competitor’s release and the Bulldog release.

My Judge release has a trigger sensitivity adjustment that was set for the most sensitive setting. The competitor’s release did not have a trigger sensitivity adjustment. The Bulldog was, by far, the most sensitive trigger release of the three tested. The Judge was a close second, and the competitor’s release had a more difficult trigger release. I like a sensitive trigger, one that almost surprises me, as I release the arrow. I shoot more accurately when I am floating the pin to center on the target, not having to think about the trigger release when I release the arrow. A sensitive trigger accomplishes this for me and improves my accuracy a great deal. Overall, the Bulldog release from Tru-Fire succeeded in impressing me during all parts of the evaluation.

Specifications as Tested:

  • StrapMaterial: leather Evolution buckle – adjustable
  • ReleaseHead Material: steel and aluminum
  • Right orLeft handed
  • Lengthadjustment without tools: ¾”
  • Triggerposition adjustment: ½”
  • RetailPrice: $64.99

– Conclusion –

I found the Tru-Fire Bulldog release to be very easy to use and adjust, extremely comfortable, and it performs as advertised. Quality, performance, and a reasonable price, who could ask for more from a release?

Don’t forget to check out more posts by Keith Dunlap, or to learn more about Tru-Fire and the products they offer – shop Tru-fire releases on Amazon, visit trufire.com online, or check our sister site, BowList.net, for more Release Aid related links.