Kisser buttons are quite a controversial tool. Some archers love them and can’t shoot without it. Others believe that they are useless and that they can only create more confusion. Therefore, you might wonder whether you should use a kisser. For that reason, I have compiled both the pros and cons of a kisser button and give my opinion. That way you can make an educated decision whether you want to try a kisser or not.
A kisser button creates an additional anchor point in the corner of your mouth. This anchor point helps you to stay more consistent with both your draw and head positioning. Some archers feel that the kisser makes it harder to stay consistent. Therefore, some archers remove the kisser after a few weeks.
In the remainder of this article, we will discuss what a kisser exactly is and how it works. After that, I will give some pros and cons of the kisser. I will also give my opinion on the kisser and explain how recurve archers can especially benefit from using a kisser.
What exactly is a kisser?
Lets first quickly discuss what a kisser is exactly.
A kisser is a disc-shaped piece which is attached above the D-loop. You place the disc in the corner of your mouth when you are at full draw. This then acts as an additional anchor point, which helps you keep a consistent draw and head positioning
In archery, we use anchor points to make sure that we are consistent with our draw and form. Therefore, it’s recommended to use at least two anchor points. In general, having more anchor points is even better.
The kisser allows you to use the corner of your mouth as an additional anchor point. Without the disc, you won’t be able to feel it. A kisser, acts as a reference point, to make sure that you stay consistent. In general, more anchor points allow you to find your shooting position more precisely.
Kissers come in varying form factors, but most store-bought are disk-shaped. In essence, anything which can easily be felt in the corner of your mouth can act as a kisser. Some archers use a knotted piece of serving wire or a clamped-on nocking point.
Another common anchor point is the nose. Most archers can easily feel the string on their nose, but some like to use a button. This device is graciously called a snotter button. This option is less common but very similar to how a kisser works.
The pros of a kisser
I already discussed that a kisser could help you improve your shot. In this section, I will explain in more detail how this works.
Archery is all about consistency. If you have a consistent form, you can tune your bow, to make sure that you shoot in the middle of your target. When you have an inconsistent form, it will be impossible to shoot accurately. Every arrow you fire should be shot with the same posture every time.
It’s quite hard to notice when you are inconsistent. Therefore, we use clear anchor points. If you don’t hit your anchor point, you know that you are inconsistent and that you should work on that. The kisser can help you improve your consistency in two major ways.
In the first place, the kisser can provide you with a reference to what place you want to draw the bow. It’s quite easy to draw the bow a little bit higher or lower between shots. With a kisser, you can feel this, because you notice that the button not in the right place.
For recurve archers, a common issue is to have an inconsistent draw length. This inconsistent draw length can cause major inconsistencies on the target. For recurve archers placing the kisser in the corner of your mouth can alleviate the problem. If you are not at full draw, you won’t feel the kisser which gives you a clear indication that you are not consistent.
Head position consistency
A lesser-known benefit of the kisser is that it also checks whether your head is the right position. It’s a common mistake to slightly rotate your head between shots. This can cause inconsistencies and sometimes even cause clearance issues.
For this reason, I always recommend having at least two anchor points on your face. If you hit both points you can be certain that your head is in the same orientation every time. A kisser provides you with this anchor point. If you feel that the kisser is not hitting the corner of your mouth, you can be certain that you are rotating your head.
You can sometimes even feel pressure differences. If you feel more or less pressure on the kisser, you know that you are slightly changing the orientation of your head.
It might seem a little far fetched, but for some archers using a kisser can boost your confidence during their shots. As I mentioned earlier, it can sometimes be very difficult to feel certain anchor points. Especially the anchor point on your nose can sometimes be quite difficult to pinpoint.
A kisser, however, is very easy to feel. Especially if you are using a large disc-shaped kisser. A kisser is so easy to feel because your lips are very sensitive. Therefore, it can be a great tool to keep you consistent.
Especially for new archers, a kisser can boost confidence. When they feel the kisser in the corner of their mouth, they know that they are consistent. Not only the physical part of archery is important, but also the mental part. Confident archers just shoot a lot better because they are not worrying while aiming!
The cons of a kisser
As mentioned in the intro, a kisser is not universally praised. Some people think they are unnecessary, while others feel that they are outright bad for your technique. In this section, I want to discuss those critiques and discuss why a kisser might not work for all archers.
It might be unnecessary
Probably the best reason, why a lot of archers don’t use a kisser, is because they feel it’s unnecessary. A lot of top archers shoot without a kisser and some archers don’t feel a difference at all. Archers that already are quite precise with their anchoring, might not benefit from a kisser. We discuss why, in the next point.
The reference point is imprecise
Since you place the kisser in the corner of your mouth, any change in your facial expression will also change your reference point. If you for example smile after a few shots, your anchor point will move slightly upwards. Therefore, some archers prefer using their nose as a second anchor point, because you can’t move your nose.
Additionally, it is quite difficult to precisely feel where the kisser is in the corner of your mouth. The corner of your mouth is quite a big space when you think of it. Therefore, it’s only useful to get a rough estimate of whether you anchor at the right place.
Multiple reference points can cause confusion
Some archers are against using multiple anchor points because they can cause confusion. If on anchor point is in the right position while the other isn’t it will be difficult to troubleshoot what went wrong. It can sometimes take days or weeks before you figure out what changed.
Therefore, some archers believe that you shouldn’t have too many anchor points. You might think that you should make major changes when you miss one reference point. This can sometimes lead you to make major changes which only makes the problem worse.
Having multiple anchor points can sometimes be too strict for archers. We can’t robotically shoot every arrow the exact same way, there will always be some variation. Because we can’t take all variation away, we should limit our focus to a few points.
It may not work in extreme conditions
As we discussed earlier, a kisser acts as an additional reference point, which can be to strict for some people. This is especially true when you are hunting or practicing 3D archery. With these forms of archery, you can’t always stay how you would on the field. Therefore, you might have to stand a little bit different when you shoot, to accommodate the terrain.
In these cases, the bow will try to force you to stay in your default position. But since that isn’t possible, you might not hit all your anchor points. Then it may seem like you have done something wrong, while the bow tried to force you in a certain position. Therefore, hunters and 3D archers shouldn’t be overly strict about their anchor points.
It can damage your lip
As discussed earlier, your lips are very sensitive. One disadvantage of the kisser is that it can damage your lip. Especially if you are using a large kisser with sharp edges, the kisser can cut in your lip when you shoot. This is quite a common issue and a major reason some archers don’t like kissers.
Using a soft and small kisser can solve these issues. But when the kisser is soft it also makes it harder to feel. Therefore, you must weigh up these two evils. Some archers use a small kisser to avoid injury, while others use a large kisser because they wouldn’t feel it otherwise.
It decreases the arrow speed
Some archers mention that they don’t like the kisser because it decreases the speed of the arrow. Although that is true, I think the difference is so small that you won’t even notice it.
Anything you add to the string will make it heavier. So, if you have metal nocking points, a large peep sight, or a kisser it will slightly decrease the arrow speed. Because the bow not only has to accelerate the arrow but also everything that is attached to the string.
Kissers are in general quite light, especially the smaller versions which are attached with glue. So, I don’t see how a kisser can make a significant difference in the speed of the arrow. Although it might slightly decrease the arrow speed, I believe you won’t notice it at all.
Choosing a kisser
Kissers can be bought in different form-factors. Below I will discuss three different kissers with both their pros and cons.
Kissers with anchor clips
These kissers are held on to the string by small pieces of metal, called anchor clips. This type of kisser is the easiest and most secure to install. You simply fold the kisser around the string and press the clips down with some pliers.
These kissers are quite large; therefore, you can easily feel when you hit your anchor point. The metal clip increases the weight of the string a bit, so it will slightly slow down the arrow. But that will not be noticeable.
If you want a kisser with anchor clips, I recommend this kisser, from Nika Archery. This kisser has more rounded edges. This makes it safer and more comfortable than other more pointy kissers.
For these kissers, you must remove the string, because you must pull the string through the kisser. The easiest way to do this is to first tie a small string to your bowstring. You can then use this string to get it through the eye in the kisser since it’s quite a tight fit.
These kissers are quite small. Therefore, it’s more difficult to feel when you hit your anchor point. But smaller kissers are also safer and reduces the chance of hurting your lips. These kissers are also very secure, once they are in place they will never come loose.
If you can’t remove the string, you can also cut a small groove and fold it around the string. You then use some super glue to glue it shut. I recommend these fit-over kissers from Pine Ridge because they are made of soft flexible rubber.
Just like the first kisser type, you fit this kisser around the string. Therefore, you don’t have to remove the string to attach it. You simply fold it around the string and use some superglue to glue it shut.
You must use strong glue and press it shut until the glue dries. This can be a bit awkward because it’s such a small piece. Make sure to fire the first arrow while standing on the pavement. If it’s not attached correctly it might fly off. If you shoot on grass, it will be really difficult to find it back.
If you want to use a glue-on kisser, I recommend this one from Pine Ridge.
Why I use a kisser
I started using a kisser when I had some issues with finding a solid anchor point. Although the peep sight forces you to be relatively consistent, I could still rotate my head between shots. Although I can feel the string on my nose, I really must focus on it to check whether it’s in the right place.
For me, the kisser provided me with an additional anchor point which I needed. I also shot a while without and my accuracy didn’t decrease. The kisser trained me to stay consistent when I was still struggling with the technique.
Although I believe that I don’t need it anymore, I don’t experience any of the disadvantages mentioned earlier. Therefore, I see no reason to remove it for now.
Why recurve archers should also try a kisser
I was very surprised to learn that recurve archers may also use a kisser according to the World Archery Rules (126.96.36.199). At my local club, all archers that use a kisser use it on their compound bow.
I believe, however, that kissers are even more effective on recurve than on compound bows. In compound archery, you already have to be relatively consistent to look through the peep sight. Therefore, some archers see the peep sight as an anchor point.
In the recurve division you don’t have this luxury because you don’t have a peep sight. Therefore, you can easily change your main anchor point without noticing it. One common issue in recurve archery is slightly tilting or changing the orientation of your head.
Another common issue is to shoot one arrow with your mouth open and the next with your mouth closed. Because you anchor below your jaw, this can amount to huge changes on the target. Since you don’t have any add that helps you check for these issues it might be very difficult to detect.
A kisser can be the saving grace in these situations. Therefore, I would recommend recurve archers to try a kisser. I believe it can help you spot these issues and make you shoot more consistently.
Should I use a kisser?
In this article, I highlighted both the pros and cons of the kisser. Just because I use a kisser it doesn’t mean you should too. In this section, I want to discuss some situations when it’s a good idea to use a kisser and when you might have little benefit from it.
When you should try a kisser
If any of these conditions apply, I would recommend a kisser:
- You notice that you are inconsistent with your draw or head positioning
- You are unsure whether you anchor consistently
- You don’t use a peep sight, therefore, a kisser is an excellent tool for recurve archers
- You don’t have a second anchor point on your face
When you don't have to try a kisser
If these conditions apply, a kisser probably won't have much of a benefit to you:
- You are already very consistent with your anchor point
- You use a peep sight
- You have a clear second anchor point (for example on your nose)
Of course, you can always try a kisser. So if you are still on the fence, it might be worth a shot!
Kissers are all about improving your anchor point and keeping it consistent. I have also written an article on how to find and improve your anchor point. So, I would highly recommend reading that article if you want more background information:
As discussed in the intro, kissers tend to cause quite a controversy in the archery community. For some reason, some archers believe that you should never use them, while others praise it as a one size fits all solution. In this article, I wanted to discuss these arguments and provide an unbiased answer to the question: ‘’should I use a kisser?’’.
I hope that you liked reading this article. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below. I will respond to any questions as soon as possible and send you an email with my reply!