How To Nock An Arrow On Your Bowstring

To nock an arrow is not limited to just your knowledge of archery as there’s more to nocking an arrow than meets the eye. Nocking an arrow is however not a herculean task if the guidelines and precautions are followed strictly.

There are certain factors to consider before you can nock an arrow perfectly. A perfectly nocked arrow increases your chances of hitting your target and ensuring your safety and the safety of others in your shooting expedition.

Be it target practice or actual hunting, If considered properly, these factors can make you a professional archer within a short time. Without further delay, let’s delve into these essential factors of nocking an arrow.

5 Factors to consider when nocking an arrow

Below is a list of factors and we’ll be considering them according to their importance.

nocking an arrow

1. Get acquainted with the parts of an arrow

This factor is often overlooked, that’s why some have difficulty in nocking an arrow even after watching the guidelines on YouTube or reading about it online. Just as the parts are different, so are their functions.

There’s a need to understand the different functions of the different parts and this will in turn guide you even down to the stance you take when shooting an arrow.

The arrowhead

The arrowhead is usually located directly opposite the nock, It also varies according to its different uses. The various types include the penetrating and the blunt arrowhead.

The penetrating arrowhead is designed to deal more damage to prey or designed to stick into a target. While the blunt arrowhead as the name implies is designed to cause a less fatal impact on its target.

The shaft

The shaft is simply the length of the arrow that holds the different parts. They are usually made of different materials ranging from wood to aluminum.

The fletching

To ensure stability, the fletching which is the feather-like materials located towards the bottom of the shaft is usually put in place. A properly installed fletching guides the arrow throughout its flight till it hits its target.

The nock

The nock which is our main aim of focus is a small attachment made to the bottom of the shaft with a slit in its middle. The nock is what balances the arrow on the string.

2. Remove the arrow from the quiver

This step, though simple, usually poses a problem for some which shouldn’t be so. How do you go about this?

You can pick your arrow from the quiver any way you want to however, for professionalism, it’s better to pick it from the middle of the fletching and the nock. Picking it up this way facilitates the nocking process.

Remove the arrow from the quiver

The next thing after this is to ensure that the arrow is resting on the arrow rest, this ensures that the arrow arrives at its destination without causing any harm or misfiring.

The reason for this is so that the arrow can find balance before the nock clicks on the string. And yes, that’s how you know the nock is safely secured on the string, the clicking sound.

This step shouldn’t be underestimated as any misfire can cause harm to other shooters around or even you the shooter. Also for professionalism’s sake, hold the bow vertically before you place the arrow on it.

Although it may seem more convenient to hold it horizontally for the sake of other shooters, hold it vertically.

3. Ensure the cock vane is facing towards you when nocking

While explaining the fletching earlier, we made mention of feather-like materials. In total, there are 3 feather-like materials on the shaft.

Two of them are identically colored leaving one different from the others. The different one is known as the cock vane while the identical ones are known as the hen vanes.

Now, when nocking an arrow, the arrow can be positioned in such a way that the cock vane is either facing you or away from you. Ensure that the cock vane is facing you.

Why is this? With the cock vane facing towards you, there’s a higher chance that the arrow will hit its target. In the sense that if it’s not facing you, it will face towards the bow and this can cause a misfire when the arrow is released.

You wouldn’t want to knowingly cause an accident to other shooters right? Because that’s what misfiring does.

4. Replace the nock if it’s damaged

A damaged nock will not give you your desired result and it can also put you in harm’s way. If you notice that the nock of your arrow is broken or detached, do not hesitate to fix or replace it right away. You can achieve this by taking it to a professional for repairs or doing it yourself.

Do not try to manage it as this can cause more cost than the cost of replacing it. And in the case the arrow misfires because of a bad nock, it might land you in trouble.

So, to get the best result from your shooting practice or hunting, ensure that the nock is in good shape. Also, pay attention to the size of the nock.

The size has to fit and this is very easy to detect. Once you hear that soft click of the nock on the string then that’s the size but otherwise, then change the nock to the right size.

5. Observe regular maintenance

There’s a need to carry out regular maintenance on both your arrow and the bow. A new arrow will not guarantee the best result if the bow is old and the string is weak. So your bow and arrow must be in the best shape.

Observe regular maintenance


We shoot arrows for different reasons but the main reason for shooting an arrow is to hit a target. To achieve such a feat, nocking an arrow is a skill that must be learned.

The above guidelines have made it easy to nock an arrow and achieve the best result only if they are followed. Follow these guidelines and you’ll find that you’ll hit your target 10 times out of any 10 shots you take