Finger tabs can seem like nothing more than a piece of leather that protects your fingers from bowstring abuse at full draw and upon release. Yes, that’s part of its job, but you’ll shoot straighter and enjoy archery far more by choosing a tab that’s right for you.
Finger tabs include several components, including spacers, shelves and plates. The spacer sits between the index and middle fingers to keep them off the arrow as you grip the bowstring. Spacers also improve accuracy by reducing nock pinch, which occurs when tightly gripping the arrow between the index and middle fingers.
The shelf, meanwhile, sits atop the tab and helps archers consistently anchor at full draw, and the plate holds all the components together to complete the package.
Finger tabs are made from various materials, but most commonly use cordovan, a durable, lightweight and weather-resistant leather. If you shoot a heavy draw-weight bow, consider buying a double-layered leather tab for additional protection.
Finger tabs come in several models. “Pinkie hooks” help archers who want additional help creating a consistent release. These models feature an extra hook beneath the finger tab to cradle the pinkie, which relaxes the hand throughout the shot. If you use this model, you must keep light pressure on the hook throughout the shot to avoid torque and other inconsistencies that affect each release. Some finger-tab models let archers remove the pinkie hook once their shooting form becomes a habit.
Whatever your choice, the finger tab must fit comfortably and naturally in your hand. Different materials feel drastically different, so before buying one, visit an archery shop and test several models with help from an expert. You’ll then walk out with a finger tab that’s right for you.