Crossbow Cocking Guide

A crossbow is an age-old weapon used both in hunting and warfare. The crossbow is now believed to be an ancient Chinese weapon, developed hundreds of years before Medieval Europe began to use it. The weapon is basically a mechanized bow. It uses simple machines mounted on a “gun-like” stock to easily pull back the bowstring and have a notch where the bolt is placed securely. It is fired by pulling on the trigger, and it is easier to use compared to the traditional bow and arrow. This guide covers the basics of crossbow cocking, loading, aiming and firing.

A simple Crossbow Cocking Guide for Beginners

Parts of the Crossbow

Before one learns how to use a crossbow, one must first know its basic parts. The basic design of a crossbow is divided into three parts, the bow, the stock and the trigger. The bow or limb is where the strength of the bow relies on. A bow string is attached to both ends of the limb, which is called the “cam.” The bolt or arrow is placed on a notch in the middle of the stock and is held by a locking device when cocked. This is the basic parts of the crossbow. A stirrup is attached at the front end of the crossbow. When reloading, the person steps on this stirrup to secure it in place, while both hands are used to cock the crossbow.

How to Prepare a Crossbow for Firing

Step one: Make sure the safety pin is in the firing position

In most crossbows, safety pins are included to prevent misfires or unintentional firing of crossbows. This is normally located near the trigger of the weapon. It is important to put the safety pin first into its firing position before crossbow cocking, because once the bowstring it pulled back and cocked, the lock will automatically return to its safety position. Remember not to release the safety pin unless one is ready to fire.

Step Two: Proper crossbow cocking

Place one foot on the stirrup when crossbow cocking, while placing the front end of the crossbow directly towards the ground. Some crossbows have built-in cranks that help in cocking the bowstring, which makes pulling the string back easy. Normally, crossbows today have locking mechanisms at the trigger part of the weapon, which sends off an audible “click” sound when the string is properly cocked. Once crossbow cocking is complete, the bolt can now be placed.

Step three: Proper placement of the bolt or arrow

Before placing the bolt, always check whether the lock is in its safety position. This prevents releasing the string prematurely. Once the bowstring is secured, the bolt is placed in a notch, where it can be secured to prevent it from falling off. Aim the weapon; remember to only release the safety lock when at the point of firing. After everything is ready, pull the trigger and fire. These pointers are included in most basic crossbow cocking guide books available. Remember to always maintain safety when using these weapons and have fun.


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