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How to Cock a Crossbow

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Technology seems to be advancing in every industry, and that includes the crossbow one. In this aspect, not only are crossbows becoming more technologically advanced but so too are the cocking procedures and tools that can be used to do it.

If you purchase a crossbow, you should have a general idea of how it works, but you may still need a little help learning how to cock it. Therefore, in this article we are going to look at that part of the process in-depth, so you know how to do it safely.

Types of Crossbow

First of all, your cock may depend on the type of crossbow you are working with, so let’s start by giving you a breakdown of the three types you have to choose from.

Recurve Crossbow

This crossbow will have one string, so it is a little easier to cock than the other options. The name comes from the frame shape used in its design. Recurves can be used for a lot of purposes, and tend to be the favorite of hunters who like the challenge of using a bow.

Compound Crossbow

This crossbow uses a pulley system with cams and therefore delivers more power. This also means that it may take power to cock it depending on the bow itself. This type of bow is used for a wide variety of activities, including target practice and hunting.

Reverse Compound Crossbow

This crossbow has its limbs reversed from the traditional recurve design. This type of bow hurls a lot of power, which makes it perfect for hunting large game like elk or deer.

Ways To Cock a Crossbow

There are multiple ways that you can cock a crossbow. You can of course start by doing it with your bare hands. This will depend on your strength, though, because even though many can use this method, some find it challenging.

The defining factor of the ease is the poundage of your crossbow. This method is great because you don’t have to carry any extra gear when you’re out shooting your crossbow. However, if it is not done properly, the string can end up off-center which will mess with the consistency of your shot.

You can also invest in a cocking rope. This is a rope with two hooks that basically creates a pulley system. It is best used with a traditional recurve. A cocking rope gives you consistency when you are cocking your crossbow, unlike doing it with your hands. That being said, if it isn’t the right length it can get a little hard to use.

Lastly, you can go even more high-tech with a crank. This sometimes is built into a crossbow to help make cocking extra easy, no matter the weight of your bow or the strength of your muscles. By far this is the option that is able to give you the most consistency when it comes to shots. However, it is noisy and takes a bit longer to operate than the other two options.

Cocking A Crossbow Safely

No matter what option you use to cock your crossbow, you always want to be thinking about safety. The biggest thing to help make this happen is to have a routine when it comes to shooting.

Make sure you place your foot into the stirrup securely, then attach the stinger, grab your string, and then cock it into the right position. If you keep this routine you will be able to know when something is off, and therefore shoot your crossbow in a safer fashion.

Cocking Tips for Better Shooting

Like with anything else, there are ways you can improve your cocking ability to ensure better shots are to be had. Many of the best ones, though, are steps you can take before the process to ensure you are dealing with a straight cock to not mess up your aim. Below we are going to give you a few that we think will help you the most.

Make Your Cocking Rope Shorter

When you purchase a cocking rope, you will probably notice it looks like something that you could use to catapult yourself from a large slingshot. For most average-height individuals, the rope is just too long. This could lead to a shoulder injury or a crookedly cocked bow. So before using the rope, adjust the length to be on par with your cocking stroke.

Make A Mark On Your String

It is super simple no matter how experienced you are to cock your crossbow off-center. So to make sure that doesn’t happen, mark each side of your bow with a sharpie once you have it cocked right. From then on you will be able to use those marks to ensure you have a straight cock every time.

Mark Your Rope

After you have adjusted your cocking rope to meet your stretch, you can also take a sharpie or paint and mark the center of it just like you did your bow. This will help you line up the center of the rope perfectly with your stock seam. This will also help make sure you have a reduced chance of a cock that is a little crooked.

Final Thoughts

Cocking your crossbow has so much more to do with our consistency of shot than many people think it does when they first start. That’s why understanding how to cock your crossbow is one of the basic and most vital skills a crossbow user needs. You have to have the right tools for the job and understand your crossbow before you even start learning how to cock your crossbow.

Not only will it affect your shot performance, but a poor cock can also lead to injury and heightened safety risks. We hope that the knowledge and tips we have given you above help prevent any of that. As always, though, if you are unsure whether you have your crossbow cocking down, reach out to a professional so you don’t wind up hurting yourself or others. Remember safety first!