Arrows: How to Nock the Right Way


When shooting an arrow, you need to know how to “nock an arrow” the correct way. This step is essential after learning how to get the proper archery stance.

However, what does it even mean to “nock and arrow?” All that it means is to load the arrow to the bow in the right manner. The fantastic thing is that all the latest arrows have a notch called the nock.

The curved end pinches the bowstring slightly. Furthermore, it prevents the shaft from dropping out or moving up/down.

The nock keeps the arrow in place, making your life comfortable to take a perfect shot. On the other hand, the modern nock on the shaft has flexible plastic construction.

What’s more, there are different ways to “nock an arrow” and we will be discussing them here.

Some Important Vocabulary on Archery

However, before we get to the start on how to learn to nock an arrow, let us look at what is the nocking point and nock locator:

  • “Nocking the arrow” is when you put the arrow on the bowstring.
  • The nock locator or string nock is a small piece of metal you attach to the bowstring to help
  • Set the nocking point on the bow.

Once you set the nocking point and attach the string nock, it helps you to connect the arrow at the same place every time. Therefore, you need to place the arrow at the same point on the string every time you make a shot.

knock an arrow

Nocking the Arrow By Hand

Now that you know your stance, you need to get an arrow. Start by reaching into your quiver and grab the arrow in front of the fletching.

You will notice there are three groups of feathers called the vanes, and one has a unique color (the index feather.) Make sure you have your bow pointing down to the ground while making sure the bow limbs placed vertically.

Place the arrow on the rest, and if you are shooting a recurve bow, the index feather needs to point away from your bow. For compound bow arrows the index vane can point up and depends on the type of rest you use.

Once it is in the arrow rest, you can click the nock at the end into the bowstring. You will not hear the nock clicking but should feel it secure on the string.

If you cannot feel the nock, sitting securely on the string it is not connected correctly and the result is a dry fire that is terrible news for you.


Important safety tips when nocking an arrow:

  • If you drop your arrow while nocking do not pick it up and leave it there.
  • Furthermore, if it is your first time and unsure instead ask an experienced archer to assist.
  • Always keep your eye on the center serving in the middle of the string where the finger savers located.
  • Before you use your arrows, always check the nock to see if it is not beat up.

Furthermore, you must remember two crucial things. The index feather always has to point away from the bowstring and the nock of the arrow you need to place under the nocking point. These days you can find all the modern bows with a nocking point for you to set the arrow.

Nocking an Arrow with a Drop Away Rest

While nocking an arrow, you can do by hand you can also do a small tweak using a drop-away rest. With the device, it makes a huge difference providing you with accuracy and efficiency.

Furthermore, the gadget allows you to adjust the fletching jig or use bigger fletching. The drop-away rest holds the arrow stable while you draw and drops down once you release leaving the arrow flight unhindered.

What are the basics of the fall-away rest?

What the drop-away arrow rest does is drops and does not make contact with the arrow once discharged prevent fletching. What it does is enhance precision by parting the flight of the arrow uninterrupted. Furthermore, they do not have contact with shaft but installing the device is perplexing.

So how do you install the drop-away rest?

Depending on the model you buy, each one differs, but the majority of them utilize a bit of string fabric you joint to your rest launcher arms towards the one side.

The other end connects to the downlink on the other side of the bow. However, some models can connect one end of the link to the bow appendage. The string needs to be the best possible length to anchor it to the limb to prevent it from moving.

Simple steps to use with a fall-away arrow rest:

  • To fix the rest to the riser of the bow, make sure the dimension is level.
  • For a robust mounting fix the catch head fastener and bolt the rest to the centerpiece of the bow called the riser with screws.
  • Before appending the bow down cable measure the drawstring as the rope should not be too short or long.
  • Now connect the draw cord around an inch underneath the bow rest by attaching it to the down cable with down cable placed one inch underneath the rest and the draw cord underneath the down cable at the base of the rest.
  • Once this is done you, need to set the nock at the surmised wanted height. With the arrow positioned on the bowstring, place the arrow rest arm to the extended draw position.
  • Furthermore, alteration to the focus shot you need to make before shooting your bow.
  • Now attach the draw cord to the bottom cable. Pull it to full strength, making sure the rest of the arrow rises without the pulling cord drawing against the bottom wire. The important thing is there should be no lump in the downlink and straightens as if nothing is attached to it.
  • When you down the string, the arms of the rest starts dropping quickly, and you can ask another person to check the arrow rest. The person needs to verify that the arm of the rest is in an upwards position and the draw cord is not taut that it is drawing against the bottom wire.
  • Once completing these steps, you can secure the jolts for the rest evenly to prevent movement.

How Much Does an Arrow Nock Weigh?

A regular nock weighs between 8 and 16 grains. You can find some contenders weighing up to 25 grains.

When changing the weight of a nock it can affect the arrow FOC (front-of-center) and you need to adjust the setup to balance the differential.

What the FOC does is help determine the arrow trajectory and is essential when you choose field tips and broadheads. The majority of archers want a higher FOC (with more weight forward.) The recommended arrow is one with 10% to 15% front-of-center when putting together with especially broadheads.

Furthermore, weight is not the only factor that can change as it can also affect the length as well. The arrow nock length can even vary between brands and types. With the difference of one nock length being one ⅝ and others being 1 ½ the weight distribution of your arrow and flight can change as well.

Wrapping it up

As you can see, there are two methods to nock an arrow and all depends on you how you want to do it. You can do it the old-fashioned way, or you can opt-in getting yourself a fall-away arrow rest instead. No matters which method you choose make sure to nock the arrow correctly not to get a dry fire.


I'm Isaac Murphy and at the moment I am a student. I took up archery as a hobby about 3 years ago and built this blog to share some of the things I have learned and to help those starting out in this sport. Check out my bio here

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