LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
Lighted nocks have changed the way I practice and bowhunt. If you have never tried lighted nocks for hunting, and they are legal to use in your state, you definitely should. If they are not legal for hunting, they still work great as a training tool. My guess is the first time you try them you will immediately add this tiny piece of gear to the end of your arrows. Lighted nocks not only can improve your shooting, but they will give you critical data about your shot placement when hunting.
Choosing Your Lighted Nock
There are many brands and options of lighted nocks available today. I have tried several and currently use two different brands, both of which work well. I read and examined several reviews that helped me come up with my final choice. If you are not sure where to start, check out Justin Zarr’s review of lighted nocks titled. It can be found here (lighted nock review). Justin did an in depth review that provides valuable information on each lighted nock model so that readers will have an idea about which one best suits their needs.
There are many brands and options of lighted nocks. When you find the right one, I suspect you will never go back. Pictured here is the all new Carbon Express LAUNCHPAD Illuminated Precision Nock.
There are many factors that helped me make my final decision on which nock I wanted to use. While the brightest light available was my top priority, reliability, battery life, simple design, and being light weight also played a large role in the one I chose. Lighted nocks need to be reliable. If they don’t turn on it doesn’t matter how bright they are. They also need to remain illuminated for extended periods of time; not only for practice, but for real life hunting applications. Therefore, battery life is essential too. I don’t want extra parts or pieces to worry about so having a simple design that is user friendly is also very important. Finally, the lighted nock needs to be light weight so that the F.O.C. of my arrow doesn’t change.
Using the above criteria to make my choice, I went to my local pro shop and shared my results with them and asked for their opinions. While there were several lighted nocks that fit all of my criteria, the fun part was trying them out. This is a great selling point of a good pro shop. Besides their expertise, they had all the lighted nocks that were on my list available for me to try. I would highly recommend trying any product out before you purchase it as you will be happier if you have directly compared it to its competitors.
Getting Used to the Light
It is best to regularly practice with lighted nocks if you intend to hunt with them. This is important for two reasons: First, even though lighted nocks are much lighter than in the past, all current models are still heavier than a standard nock. It is best to practice and find out if it changes your arrow’s point of impact or flight characteristics. Second, practicing with lighted nocks will allow you to get used to the explosion of light that takes place when the bow propels your arrow to your target. This is something you need to do before using them on your first hunt. By practicing with them, you will get used to the light, preventing you from flinching on a hunt.
With the speed of most modern bows, these glowing balls of light will allow you to better track the flight of your arrow. This will provide immediate feedback which will reveal flaws in your technique or arrows that simply do not fly true. When using lighted nocks you will also more readily pick up on bow-hand torque. While the focus of this article is not on curing the many causes of hand torque, lighted nocks will definitely allow you to know it has occurred.
Lighted nocks allow you to see slight imperfections in arrow flight that might not be otherwise noticeable due to today’s speeds of bows. Notice the difference in arrow flight from the two images above?
It is extremely helpful during practice to see the path of your arrows and eliminate any arrows that do not fly true. Technique aside, there are certain arrows that do not fly like they are meant to. This is another way that lighted nocks pay off. By picking out the errant arrows, you are able to re-shoot them to eliminate the possibility of a technique flaw. If the arrow is still off, you can then focus on the arrow itself.
New For 2013
Top shooters and bowhunters understand that nocks are an important component of consistent, accurate arrow flight. This insight led Carbon Express engineers to develop the patent-pending LAUNCHPAD Illuminated Precision Nock. LAUNCHPAD Illuminated Precision Nocks are like no other nocks available today. In the past, lighted nocks focused on brightness and battery life. LAUNCHPAD changes this because it is the first lighted nock specifically engineered for better arrow “performance”. Carbon Express designed this nock to ensure consistency at all critical launch-points in order to allow the hunter to shoot better no matter what arrow they are using. (see more here)
Carbon Express has taken lighted nock performance to the next level with the introduction of the LAUNCHPAD Illuminated Precision Nock System.
All LAUNCH PAD Illuminated Nocks are balanced and manufactured with four-axis consistency and straightness within 0.001”, which ensures the truest flight possible. LAUNCHPAD nocks are engineered to help you Shoot Better by featuring precise contact points, precision aligned nock barrels and a concentric design. The engineering expertise that Carbon Express has applied to the LAUNCHPAD Nock System ensures an optimal combination of weight, brightness and battery life; all delivered with minimal reduction of arrow front-of-center (FOC). As a result, shooters can expect accuracy, speed and precision from their lighted nock.
It’s Hunting Time
When used for hunting, lighted nocks serve several purposes. The best feature is that they allow the hunter to see the location of the arrow’s impact on the animal. Today’s lighted nocks are not just for early or late day hunts either. They are bright enough to be seen even on the sunniest mid-day hunt. After all, knowing where you hit (or if you missed) the animal is essential in the recovery process. When finely tuned, your arrow will appear as a laser beam being shot out of your bow. With the speed generated by today’s bows, tracking an arrow without a lighted nock is much more difficult. As the light disappears into the animal, it leaves a mental snapshot in the mind of the hunter. This image, along with blood, hair, or feathers left at the point of impact, serves as a great starting point for tracking.
Finding Your Arrow
Using lighted nocks also helps in the recovery of your arrow; whether it is shot into an animal or a target. This can save you money in the field or on the local 3D range by helping you recover arrows that may otherwise have been lost. They can also help you spot and recover your animal if the arrow does not completely pass through it.
Lighted nocks help you to easily see where your arrow enters the deer; or in this case, a 3-D target.
With today’s selection of lighted nocks, there is definitely one that will fit perfectly into your current bow set up. Combining all items I have discussed, lighted nocks will make you a better hunter and help in the recovery of your animal. Besides these features, these little beams of light also add to the fun factor when shooting.