How To Nock An Arrow On A Compound Bow (5-Step Guide)

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
archer nocking an arrow

Nocking an arrow is a quick and easy process that only takes a few minutes of your time. If you’re new to archery, however, you might be unsure how to nock your arrow. In this tutorial, We’ll show you how to nock an arrow in five easy steps.


A Few Terms


The method you use to nock your arrow is dependent on your equipment. You must nock your arrow differently if you fire with a compound bow. Before we get into the five steps, let’s go over some terminology. You should get familiar with this terminology because we will use them frequently.





Serving is the thin wire that thread that is usually wrapped around the main string at nocking spots and protects the string from abrasion by being looped around it.


Nocking Points



A nocking point secures an arrow on the bowstring, ensuring that it is launched from the same location and with the same force. There are two nocking points on some bows, whereas others only have one. (1)


The Nock



An arrow’s nock is built of plastic and serves as the connection point for attaching an arrow to a bowstring.





The shelf is a small “cut out” above the grip. This is the edge where you can “lay down” your arrow while shooting. A shelf will be found on practically every bow. This is the flat surface of your bow’s cutaway.


Arrow Rest



Arrow Rests attach to the side of the bow handle and provide a place for the arrow to rest. This improves consistency because the arrow is always in the same place.

Here’s the list of the best arrow rest in the market today.


Step 1: Placing the Arrow on the Shelf


Place the arrow on the shelf with the nock pointing towards the skin as the first step. There are two options for achieving this. You can either go around the string or through the gap between the string and the riser using the arrow.

When shooting a bow without a shelf, the arrow must be placed directly on your hand. Throughout the nocking technique, make sure to keep the bow pointed down. Raise your bow only when you’re ready to draw and shoot it.


Step 2: Make Sure the Arrow is Pointing in the Right Direction


There are two ways to attach an arrow to the string, but only one is correct. We’ll go over how to nock your arrow dependent on the sort of bow you have.


Traditional and Recurve


The fletching on recurve and conventional bows should point away from the riser. The two colors closest to the riser should be used, with the “off-color” pointing away from the riser. (2)




A shoot-through arrow rest is commonly used with compound bows. An arrow rest holds the arrow in place, allowing the arrow to be shot directly from the center. The off-colored fletching should point up to minimize clearance issues with compound bows when the arrow is resting.


Step 3: Placing the Nock Between the Nocking Points


It’s possible that the arrow will slip up to the higher nocking point, but this isn’t a problem. That is why a higher nocking point is always required; otherwise, the arrow will not stay in position while drawing the bow.

Finger guards are rubber pieces that serve as finger protection. These finger protectors are essentially nocking points. As a result, your arrow should be nocked between the two-finger guards.


Step 4: Pressing the Nock on the String


Simply press the arrow on the string until a click is heard or felt. Your hand should stay on the string when you take your hand off the arrow. The arrow should stay firmly on the string even when the bow is pointed down.

The nock doesn’t fit the string if the arrow slips off when you point it down. Try not to shoot a bow with a loose nock fitting because this will cause the bow to dryfire.


Step 5: Placing the Arrow on the Arrow Rest


The arrow from the shelf should now be placed on the arrow rest as the final step. Because you don’t have an arrow rest with a traditional bow. You can now draw your bow and shoot once you’ve finished this phase.




We’ll go over some of the most frequently asked questions about nocking an arrow down below.


Can I Also Put the Arrow Right on the Arrow Rest?


Getting the arrow on the arrow rests can be rather difficult. Because interference with the arrow is minimized, arrow rests are small and flexible. Some archers will tell you that instead of putting the arrow on the shelf, you should put it on the arrow rest right away.

However, some arrow rests are more firm, and you can set the arrow directly on the rest using those arrow rests.


What If My Nock Isn’t Properly Indexed?


To avoid clearance concerns, your nock should be indexed correctly. You can perform this by hand or with a tool, depending on the nock you’re using.

Simply place anything, such as a screwdriver, onto the nock and hold the shaft. Another arrow can even be used as a lever.


How Can I Nock an Arrow While Using the Clicker?


It’s more difficult to nock an arrow when you’re using a clicker. This can also be done after the arrow has been fastened to the string.


How Do You Fix a Nock Fitting Problem?


Your nock should be neither too tight nor too loose. It’s easy to spot a loose nock fitting.

  • When you nock the arrow, you hear a loud clicking sound.
  • When the nock is joined to the string, it deforms.
  • Attaching the nock to the string takes a lot of force.

If you think your nock is too tight, I strongly advise you to read the information below. In that post, I demonstrate two approaches for determining whether or not your nock is too tight. I also go through how to fix nock fitting concerns.


Is It Truly Necessary for Me to Have Nocking Points?


Yes, having at least the upper nocking point is necessary. You won’t be able to reliably place the arrow onto the string if you don’t have any nocking points. Because it can affect your accuracy if you don’t keep your spot on the string consistent, it’s important to do so.

Here are a few learning guides for a compound bow that you may want to check.


(1) force –
(2) colors –