How To Nock An Arrow On A Compound Bow? (Explained) is reader-supported. When you buy something through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Archery is a sport that requires multiple skills. Expert archers are good at aiming and handling their archery equipment. Novice or beginners often struggle to look after their equipment than playing the sport. Archery is a delicate art form where people have to get everything right.

For example, you can never aim correctly with a faulty bow. However, adjusting your equipment is a whole another skill. It requires a lot of practice to change your archery equipment. This article will show you how to nock an arrow in a compound bow. Handling a compound bow is easier than other traditional bows, like recurve or longbow. 

How To Nock An Arrow On A Compound Bow

Begin by placing the arrow on the shelf. Ensure that the nock points towards the skin. Check the orientation of your arrow. When using a compound bow, do not rest against the bow or plunger. Hold the arrow up with an arrow rest to ensure you shoot it from the middle.

After you get the arrow in the correct orientation, place your nock between two nocking points. If your bowstring has only one nocking point, place the arrow below it. Press the arrow on your bowstring until it sits firmly on the bowstring. Lastly, place your arrow from the shelf to the arrow rest. 

In simple words, nocking an arrow is putting the nock of an arrow onto a bowstring at one point. It is a quick action that takes place when archers get ready to aim. The process of nocking arrows lays the groundwork for an accurate shot, and it prevents mistakes like an accidental dry shot, damaging the bow. 

Types of bows

All bows are different, due to which you require a different technique to nock an arrow on them. There are three popular bow types in archery – the longbow, recurve and compound bow. All have benefits and drawbacks. Here is a brief description to help readers understand their differences. 


The longbow is a traditional model where the strings touch only the tips of the bow. These bows come from a time marked by a lack of technological advancement. The simple design is the result of the lack of innovation. People find it hard to aim accurately with a longbow. Due to their traditional design and high skill level, longbows are suitable for archery masters. 

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Recurve bows are heavy and hard to handle, and they are traditional bows with a fully manual mechanism. A recurve bow gives more energy and speed to the arrow than other models. Recurve bows are also more accurate than their traditional counterpart, the longbow. 

Compound bow

The archers put their energy into the bow by drawing the strings. However, compound bows have a modern feature that enables the user to put more energy with less effort. Compound bows have more strings, cables, and cams than traditional models, and they are shorter and more compact than recurve and longbows. Such a mechanism also makes it easy to hold a compound bow. 

Steps to nock an arrow on a compound bow

Nocking an arrow is a simple process, but it has more components than one would imagine. You have to line your arrow with the bow rest. Slide the arrow rearward until it engages the bowstring. Compound bows have a d-loop used with a release aid, and the d-loop has an upper and lower knot. This knot is coupled with the bowstring as a dual nock locator. Place your nock in the void between these two knots. Here are the detailed steps for nocking an arrow on a compound bow. 

  • Take your arrow and position the bow such that it points towards the ground. 
  • After positioning the bow, place the shaft on the riser. 
  • Position the arrow in such a way that the index weather points away from your board.
  • Align your fletchings correctly and snap the nock onto the bowstring. 
  • After snapping the nock, people hear a clicking sound with recurve bows. However, you may or may not hear this sound in a compound bow. 

Because compound bows are partially automatic, it is easier to nock an arrow onto them. Compound bows also have different kinds of arrow rests, making the index feather useless. 

Nocking an arrow is similar to loading a gun, and this procedure requires attention. One way to nock an arrow quickly is to shoot fast and often. With practice, you can learn to nock an arrow soon. Remember that repetition is the best way to practice archery, like any other sport. 

An alternative way to nock an arrow 

You can nock an arrow using a few tools. A whisker biscuit and a drop away rest can make it easy to nock your arrow. These tools are beneficial, but learning how to nock an arrow manually is essential. 

How to remove a faulty nock

It is not uncommon for a nock to break after prolonged use. Nocks break due to wear and tear or the impact of collision of two different arrows. Using a plier is advisable while removing your old nocks. Apply pressure while gently twisting and pulling outward on the nock. You can free the nock easily by doing this procedure. 

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However, sometimes the condition of the nock is so bad that you cannot grab it with pliers. In such cases, break it down into small pieces and carefully dig it from the arrow shaft.

Nocking an arrow if you are left-handed

People always use their dominant hand to nock an arrow, and they hold the grip of the bow with their non-dominant hand. For lefties, grab the bow grip with your right hand. Draw the bowstring using your left hand. Thus, your left hand would become free for nocking an arrow.

Safety tips for nocking

  • These are the most crucial tips for nocking an arrow. If you are at the range and an arrow falls, leave it there. Most dangerous enforce strict rules about dropped arrows. If you are with a group of people and drop an arrow, do not pick it up. Ask a staff member to come and pick up the arrow for you. It is only a rule put in place to keep players safe. 
  • If you do not understand how to nock an arrow, ask someone with experience. Nocking an arrow is a simple process but requires a lot of practice. Archery is a sport where you can get injured if you make mistakes. If you feel doubtful about nocking an arrow or any other step, seek help from some experienced archer. Most people would be happy to help you out. 
  • Pay attention to your center serving, the extra material in the middle of your bowstring. Initially, you may not notice it, but it is a significant component of your archery equipment. This material undergoes wear and tear, due to which it generates and eventually disappears. If you see that your center serving has some damage, it is time to buy a new bowstring. 
  • Ensure to check the nock and the end of your arrow. Your nock is the part of the arrow that receives all the energy from you. Modern arrow manufacturers have created strong nocks, but they are not indestructible. A nock will undergo wear and tear if you use your arrows frequently. If you have been using a nock for a long time, ensure to check that the nock is in good shape. A broken nock can cause a dry fire, eventually damaging your archery equipment. 
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Tips for buying a nock

Every nock does not fit every arrow. When buying a nock, ensure that it fits your arrow perfectly. Here are some different types of nocks.

Press-ins – You attach these nocks by pressing them in the arrow. They are easy to use, due to which they are the most popular type of nock in the market. Because they do not require any glue, you can replace them anytime. 

Pin-nocks – If you experience split shafts, pin nocks are for you. They prevent such incidents due to which they are popular among archery masters. These are more expensive than the press in nocks, but they are an excellent tool for a beginner. 

Fit-over nocks – Place these nocks over the shaft, and your job is over. It is easy to use these fit-over nocks. People use these nocks when their shafts do not accept press-in nocks. They are popular among traditional archers. 

Cone nocks – People use cone nocks on aluminum arrows, and you have to glue them on to stop them from coming off the arrow. 

Build-in nocks – People use build-in nocks for the cheapest arrows, and people attach them to the vanes. Once connected, you cannot remove them easily like press-in nocks. Most archers stay away from these nocks, but they still exist in the market. Because they are so hard to remove, you have to bin the arrow if something happens to the nock. 


Archery is an art of precision, concentration, and practice. Nocking an arrow will feel awkward when you do it for the first time. However, it is ok.

During archery practice, you have to handle a big bow and arrows that seem as if they are the wrong size. It is hard to coordinate all the archery equipment and aim at your target.

Compound arrows are comparatively easier to handle than recurve and longbows. Remember that archery will become easier the more you do it. Nocking an arrow on a bow seems like a hard task when you do it first.

However, after practicing for a couple of months, you will notice that you can nock an arrow seamlessly without much effort. 

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