If you’re new to crossbow hunting, you’ll need to learn the archer lexicon, especially if you’ve not previously hunted with a bow. Arrow (or bolt) nocks play a critical role in launching since they touch the string and assure complete energy transfer to the shaft. Traditional arrows have fairly standard nocks with a few variations, yet crossbow users will face a much larger decision — flat nocks, moon, capture nocks, or TenPoint’s new Omni-Nock? Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of each:
Flat Nocks: As the name implies, these nocks are designed to sit perpendicular to the bow string, regardless of the how the bolt is loaded. If you’re in a hurry or loading in the dark (not recommended), you can be sure the shaft is properly seated. A problem can arise if the string slides under or over the nock. The bolt launches, but erratically.
Capture Nocks: More like standard arrow nocks, these rear tips grip the string on both sides so it won’t slide over or under the bolt. Caution must be taken that the bolt is loaded so that the string fits into the throat of the nock.
Moon Nocks: This concave design allows the string to align with the center of the shaft but, like the capture nock, must be loaded properly or the string will fly past the nock, launching the bolt by propelling the fletching.
Which is best? Read your owner’s manual or check online for the nock recommended by the manufacturer. My Mission-320 booklet specifically recommends moon nocks and bolts of a specific weight and length. Develop the habit of assuring your bolt nock seats properly before each shot, and you’ll have confidence on its impact.