Crossbows are some of the oldest man-made tools used to shoot arrows. In the old days, crossbows were much simpler than today’s models and involved pulling on the string using bare hands. However, as technology advanced, designers began providing models that went above human effort and demanded more energy to cock. Modern crossbows require up to 150 lbs cocking force which is quite high and daunting. For this reason, there was obvious need to offer mechanical assistance and a cocking device was seen as necessary. Many current crossbows come with a cocking device but some will still require you to purchase them separately. So what are the real benefits of using coking devices over bare hands?
1. Reduced Cocking Effort
This is quite obvious and straightforward. Cocking devices (whether rope or crank) reduce the effort needed to cock your crossbow by up to 50% percent. If you have to use 150 lbs with bare hands, a cocking device will reduce it to less than 75 lbs. It offers a basic mechanical advantage that allows you to use less effort in cocking the rope. If you are using a crank cocking device, it nearly feels like nothing at all.
Manual rope pulling usually involves stepping on the crossbow and then pulling the string up. It is like dead-lifting weight from the ground and requires someone who has the energy to constantly pull such weight each time they want to aim. While the procedure is fairly simple when compared to other crossbow cocking techniques, it takes quite an effort to do it repetitively. With cocking devices like cranks, it is as simple as pulling the trigger on a gun. Nonetheless, this is only possible if you choose high quality devices that are compatible with your system.
2. Centering and Straightening
Keeping the string center in line with the trigger is one of the major drawbacks of manual cocking. In order to achieve accuracy, the bow must be drawn perfectly straight and this is often difficult considering you are basically dead-lifting over 150 pounds from the ground while doing this. Cocking devices like cranks make it easy to center the rope on the trigger. In fact, this is one of the top advantages of using cocking devices.
With manual cocking, you have to constantly adjust the string to the center and redo this process after every length-adjustment and you may never get the precise center. Using cocking devices relieves you off this need as the device automatically aligns the rope at the center of trigger. The device also ensures your string remains straight giving you perfect aim. Having the rope at the center of trigger puts you one step closer to finding your aim. Without this, you will miss even with the best scopes.
3. Easy Adjustments
Making adjustments on crossbows that have cocking devices is comparatively simpler than in manual cocking. You can quickly access the cocking device and make necessary adjustment without worrying about accuracy. The device tends to align the rope centrally on the trigger and you do not have to take a second look. On the other side, this is not an oversight you can afford to make when manually cocking your crossbow.
If you reduce or increase the length, you must equally re-adjust the string in alignment with the trigger. The cocking device balances everything in position and pulls all sides of the string to maintain tension on both sides while centering the arrow on trigger. It therefore offers a one-time adjustment mechanism which handles all other adjustments required.
4. Integrated Into The System
Another obvious reason for using cocking devices is that they come integrated in the system. Of course some models have separate cocking devices which should be removed after using the crossbow. However, most use devices that are permanently fixed on the crossbow which makes them easy to use as part of the system. It may feel like an added weight on your package but it is totally worth having.
Even the models that have removable cocking devices still allow permanent fixing on the system and you would barely recognize it is removable without reading the manual. Nevertheless, having removable devices increases durability as they can be stored safely elsewhere. You can also use them on other crossbows; there is no need to have a device for every other crossbow you purchase.
5. Stability and Accuracy
Among all the benefits of using crossbows with cocking devices, this is the most crystal. Cocking devices distribute tension evenly on the rope preventing wobbling. They do not only help you pull the string back but also distribute the tension that cause a forward movement and reduced arrow wobbling while giving you the stability to aim accurately.
Accuracy is the most important aspect of shooting a crossbow. If there is any form of wobbling, you will miss miserably and it also increases the risk of injuries. It is universally agreed that manual cocking is simpler and takes a short time. However, aiming accurately without a cocking device requires both energy and experience, otherwise you will use more effort centering and adjusting the string.
There are many different cocking devices in the market and finding them should not be a difficult task. However, not all devices you come across will depict desirable features. It is important to keenly review your options before buying them. Some are only compatible with a few crossbows while others are made for all models. The percentage of effort reduced also varies from one device to another. As a general advice, you should purchase from credible licensed retailers who can guarantee original quality models. It is also important to note the difference between rope cocking and using a separate device.
Rope cocking often cuts down the effort to about 50% while devices can reduce the effort to less than 20%. When searching for such devices, review the brand reputation, features, ease of installation, durability, compatibility and affordability. This way, you will end up with highly functional crossbow cocking devices that will meet your unique requirements. Some models are quite heavy and inconvenient to use. Make sure you choose lightweight designs that improve the aesthetic appeal of your crossbow.