Almost all archers agree, that you should have nocking points. But there is no clear consensus whether you should have 1 or 2 nocking points. If you are setting up your bow for the first time and wonder which is better. Therefore, I will discuss the pros and cons in more detail. Below is a quick summary in case you are in a hurry:
In most cases, it’s better to shoot with two nocking points. It’s more intuitive and helps you to place your fingers on the string correctly. If you experience issues with the lower nocking point, you can always remove it since it’s not essential.
The recommendation above gives you some clear guidelines, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Some archers strongly believe that one nocking point is better. Therefore, in this article I will give arguments for both options, so you can make this decision yourself.
Why you need nocking points
Every bow needs at least one nocking point which is placed above the arrow. The nocking point makes sure that the arrow doesn’t slide up on the string. It also helps you to attach the arrow in a consistent place on the string.
Therefore, it’s universally agreed that you should have nocking points on your string. It will be a lot more difficult to consistently attach the arrow which can lead to inaccuracies. Therefore, you rarely see experienced archers shoot a bow without nocking points.
In most cases, it will even be very difficult to shoot a bow without nocking points. The nock shouldn’t be a tight fit on the string, which means that it can slide up and down. Therefore, the weight of the point will pull the tip of the arrow down, which causes the nock of the arrow to slide up. You can see this in action in the video below:
Benefits of using two nocking points
Alright, now you know why you need at least the upper nocking point, let’s discuss why a lot of archers shoot with two nocking points.
It makes nocking more intuitive
The first major reason why a lot of archers shoot with two nocking points because it makes nocking a bit easier. If you have two nocking points it’s more intuitive where you should attach the arrow. This is also why you often find two nocking points on beginner bows at courses or fairs.
It’s simply easier for new archers to understand that they have to place the arrow between the two nocking points. Since archery is a complicated sport, making this a bit simpler makes a lot of sense for coaches.
For more experienced archers this isn’t the case. They learn that you should place the arrow directly under the nocking point. But since many archers learned it this way, a lot will stick with two nocking points, even though they don’t need it anymore.
Equalize the feeling between the index and middle finger
Most archers that shoot with a sight, use the so-called Mediterranean shooting style. This means that you place your index finger above the arrow and your middle and ring finger below it. When you use this shooting style your index finger will touch the nocking point. Some archers want to have the same feeling with their middle finger to make sure that they consistently place their hand on the string.
It pushes the fingers away from the arrow
A common issue amongst both new as experienced archers is arrow pinch. This happens when you accidentally touch the arrow which causes you to interfere with the arrow. That’s why most high-end tabs have a finger spacer, which helps you to spread your fingers. I discuss the difference between, high-end and low-end tabs in more detail in this article.
Especially with a steep string angle, the fingers can sometimes slide towards the arrow. In that case, having two nocking points can be extremely helpful. These nocking points will catch for fingers if they start to slide. Therefore, you can avoid arrow pinching issues by using two nocking points.
It helps you to guide your finger placement
In archery, we often talk about anchoring and anchor points. These points help us to stay consistent because we touch a certain spot every shot cycle. It’s admittedly one of the most important aspects of archery and I discuss it in more detail in this article.
Consistency is king in archery, but something that is rarely discussed is consistent finger placement. If your fingers are not consistently placed on the string the tension will vary between shots. Therefore, it’s important to have consistent finger placement.
In this case, the nocking points can help you train your finger placement. If your fingers are too far away from the arrow, you won’t feel the nocking point at all. If your finger completely covers the nocking point, you are too close to the arrow.
Simply put, the nocking points can be used as a reference point, similar to how a kisser button is used while anchoring.
Benefits of using one nocking point
Although there are some benefits of using two nocking points there are also some cons. Let’s discuss these in more detail!
It makes the string feel more smooth
Most traditional archers shoot with three fingers under the arrow. In that case, you would have a completely uninterrupted string if you don’t attach the lower nocking point. This makes shooting heavy draw weight bows more comfortable because you don’t get a pressure point on your index finger.
Therefore, a lot of traditional archers like to shoot with only one nocking point. It provides more even pressure and makes shooting the bow more pleasant.
Avoids arrow pinching
I often hear that you shouldn’t use two nocking points is because they pinch the arrow. That is true, if you attach the nocking points too close to the arrow, they will indeed cause arrow pinch. Therefore, I recommend having at least ½ of the with of the nock of extra space between the two nocking points.
Therefore, it’s not really a benefit of using one nocking point, but since I hear this argument so often I wanted to include it as well.
So in conclusion, the choice between one or two nocking points mostly depends on your preference and situation. If you are a traditional archer that mostly shoots a heavy draw-weight bow, adding a second nocking point might not make sense.
For most recurve archers that shoot with a sight, adding the lower nocking point does sense. They might use it to guide finger placement and have to deal with the upper nocking point anyway.
Therefore, just try it out and see what fits your shooting style best!
I currently shoot with two nocking points, because for me the benefits outweigh the cons. I don’t shoot a heavy draw-weight bow and I don’t think it feels uncomfortable. If you have any experiences you would like to share please add them below, I might update my article with it.
If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section down as well. I will respond to your comment as soon as possible, and I will send you an email once I replied.