A Beginner's Guide to Choosing Arrow Nocks – Foundry Outdoors
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A Beginner's Guide to Choosing Arrow Nocks

Choosing arrow nocks is more important than you think.


When you think about your archery gear, what do you think about the most? The bow obviously makes up a big chunk of your gear. If you shoot compound you probably pay close attention to your arrow rest, sight, release, etc. With archery gaining so much popularity companies are competing hard for your business. That means each and every piece of your archery gear offers a myriad of choices for consumers. One aspect of gear many folks take for granted is the arrow nock.

You might be surprised at how much choice there is available with just a simple nock. I'm sure most folks out there simply pick up and shoot the standard nocks installed on your arrows. These are a fine choice, though they may not be the best fit for your particular needs. If you ever find yourself choosing arrow nocks, here are three of the most common varieties to keep in mind.


1. Press Fit Nocks

The press fit nock is your standard arrow nock that simply press into the back end of your carbon or aluminum shaft. If you prefer to use the press fit nock the biggest thing to keep in mind is your arrow shaft’s diameter. Not all arrow shafts come in the same dimensions, and you will need to buy nocks that fit your arrow precisely. This may require you to buy nocks produced by the company that manufactured your arrows. Once you have your nocks in hand just press them in and you are good to go.


press fit nock


The main benefit of these nocks is their ease of installation and their affordability. That's not to mention they generally come already mounted to nearly any arrow you buy. If you are the type who just likes to keep things simple, and cheap, they may be a good choice for you.

2. Pin Nocks

Another nock option for archers out there are pin nocks. Pin nocks are designed with two separate components. First off, there is an aluminum insert that gets glued into your arrow shaft. This insert has a small pin protruding out the back. After your insert has been glued in you merely snap the plastic nock onto the pin.


pin nock


Pin nocks mainly address the special needs of competition shooters out there. The major benefit they offer those shooters is arrow protection. We’ve all probably had a “Robin Hood” (shoot one arrow into the back of another) before, and the first few times it is pretty cool. After a while though, those Robin Hood arrows just start to look like broken arrows. This is also true for crossbow shooters in general; the top crossbows nowadays are balanced and accurate enough that hitting the same spot with multiple arrows is quite common, even among beginners. (Just make sure the manufacturer of your crossbow has nothing against using a pin nock, for safety reasons.)

Pin nocks help prevent arrow damage in this situation. If you happen to hit your arrow, you will still break the plastic nock, but not the aluminum insert. To get your arrow operable once again you simply swap the broken nock with a new nock and get back to shooting. If you are experiencing a big problem breaking arrows "Robin Hood" style, spending some time shopping around for a good pin nock might be worth the effort.


3. Illuminated Nocks

The final major category to consider when choosing arrow nocks are illuminated nocks. These revolutionary nocks were designed specifically with hunters in mind. If you’ve spent any amount of time in the wild parts of the world you soon realize most creatures move around sunrise and sunset light. Even during legal shooting hours where you can clearly see your target and take aim, tracking your arrow in flight can be difficult. Here are where illuminated nocks come into play.


illuminated nock


If you’ve never seen an illuminated nock in action, this brief video will show you what they are all about.

Illuminated nocks are designed in a variety of ways. All of them have the same two features though. They light up upon the shot and have a procedure for turning them off after the shot. Not only does the light help archers track their arrow flight, but it can also allow you recover more arrows in the field. Odds are you’ve probably already become acquainted with an arrow’s ability to hide itself in even the most open terrain. If I’m the only one who has spent time scratching my head wandering around a field looking for arrows I’d be surprised. With an illuminated nock installed, the time spent looking for your lost arrow could be greatly reduced.



There you have it, 3 common nock types for a variety of shooters. As you set up your shooting rig, don’t neglect to think about what style best fits your needs. Press fit nocks, pin nocks, and illuminated nocks all have a set of advantages that you may be searching for.






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