Nocked Up

Steve Sheetz

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Whether you are hunting or just shooting at the range with your friends, today's lighted nocks will help you become a better shooter, and ultimately, a better hunter.  Lighted nocks allow the shooter to see exactly where the arrow hits the animal, or if there is erratic arrow flight.   When you practice shooting with lighted nocks, you get advanced feedback that is guaranteed to make you a better shooter, and thus a better hunter. If your bow needs tuning or your form needs improvement, today's lighted nocks will help you realize it and address those issues.

With the increasing popularity of lighted nocks in the archery woods, I put together a panel of archery hunters with varying hunting abilities, experiences, ages, and backgrounds.  The only commonalities among them were their love of bow hunting and their service to our country in the United States Army.  We set out to determine the best lighted nock on the market today.  All of the nocks that we tested are available for virtually every arrow or bolt that is currently being offered.  We tested today's four most popular brands: Carbon Express' Lazer Eye, Burt Coyote's Lumenok, Rage's Nockturnal, and Easton's Tracer RLI.  Please note that all four of these products are high quality products that will do the job.  The panel was hyper-critical of each company and broke down each nock to determine the best overall.    

The first nock we tested was Carbon Express' Lazer Eye lighted nocks, which have an msrp of $31.99 for 3 nocks. The Lazer Eyes weighs in at only 18.5 grains, which is only 8 grains heavier than the standard Carbon Express nock. Because of the minimal difference in weight, we noticed no difference in arrow flight or accuracy out to 40 yards, and only a slight difference at 50 and 60 yards.

The Lazer Eye is activated upon release of the arrow when the bow string compresses forward upon the arrow, ensuring the nock will illuminate on each and every shot. After recovery of the arrow, the Lazer Eye is simple to turn off by pulling the nock from the rear of the arrow shaft approximately 1/16 of an inch. The Lazer Eye is engineered and durably constructed for repeated use, and offers up to an advertised 7 hours of illumination.  In our continuously lighted nock tests, we had one stay on for 12 hours.  Of the four nocks that we tested, it was the third brightest.  For whatever reason, we had some issues getting some of the nocks inserted into the shafts.   We added some lubricant and were able to get them installed with ease. The panel gave the Lazer Eye a grade of B-.

Next, we looked at the Burt Coyote Lumenok, which retails for $27.99 for 3 nocks.  The Lumenok is one of the most popular lighted nocks on the market, and with good reason. The simplicity of its design and operation makes it the lighted arrow nock of choice for many bowhunters. Because we shot Carbon Express arrows, we needed to sand the finish off the end of our bull dog collars, which took less than 10 seconds. The Lumenok adds only a few grains of weight to your arrow.  We saw no difference in accuracy out to 60 yards.   

The Lumenok comes on when shot from your bow and stays on until you turn it off by sliding the nock up approximately 1/16 of an inch. The Lumenok's 3 volt lithium battery has an advertised 5 year shelf life and will stay lit continuously for an impressive 40 hours.  That's almost two full days of light.   We had one stay on for a full five days in our testing.  This ability to stay lit was one of the best of any nock that we tested.  Additionally, the Lumenok was twenty percent brighter than any nock that we tested. They work great for hunting and target shooting.  The panel gave the Lumenok a grade of A+.

Thirdly, Nockturnal Nocks are under the umbrella of the Rage family of products.  They retail for $24.99 for 3 nocks.  Nockturnal nocks finished second in our brightness test, and there was no discernible difference in accuracy out to 40 yards.  Shoot it at dusk, and with an advertised 20+ hours of battery life, you can still find your arrow the next day. In our testing, we had one stay on for 32 continuous hours.  As with all the nocks that we tested, no assembly is required and the Nockturnal can go straight from the package to the shaft in fully operational condition. No prep work needed. Just insert it, and you are ready to shoot.  Nockturnal's have a Piston driven contact switch that ensures L.E.D. illumination every time.  To turn off the Nockturnal, you have to insert a sharp object into the nock and slide it in an upwardly direction.  They have a waterproof and shock resistant design that we found to be acceptable.  The panel gave them a grade of A-. 

Finally, Easton's Tracer RLI Nock has an msrp of $22.99 for two.  Tracer uses a patented system and features a 90-hour battery life, a microchip-controlled flash mode, and permanent on/off capability.  Its dependable, bright LED automatically turns on a highly visible flash mode upon release as it crosses over the included magnet, lighting every shot for easy tracking to the target and for arrow recovery. It boasts a non-turning nock position for consistency, adhesive-free installation, and permanent on/off capability. Its replaceable, longer-lasting lithium-ion battery lasts up to 90 hours, allowing you to find arrows up to days after they've been shot. However, of the four nocks that we tested, this was the least bright. 

On the down side, we did notice an accuracy issue with the Easton Tracer RLI nock.  We believe that this is due to the magnets that are needed to activate the nocks.  The panel did not like the blinking effect of the nock because it was distracting.  The panel gave the Easton Tracer a grade of C. 

The Burt Coyote Lumenok was declared the winner of our test.  With a retail price of $27.99 for 3 nocks, we found them to be fairly priced.  Additionally, they were the brightest of all the nocks we tested.  They were simple to install and simple to turn off.  They were the unanimous winner.  In second place was Rage's Nockturnal.  The pricing was fair at $24.99 for three nocks.  Though they are a better value, they have a shorter life span and significantly less bright light than the Lumenok.  Third in our test was the Carbon Express Lazer Eye.  It was slightly more expensive than the first two at $31.99 for three.  While we did not stress about the overall cost, as it was only a dollar or two more per nock, we did stress about the difference in brightness between the top two in our test and the bottom two in our test.  Finally, the top three nocks in our test did not have any accuracy issues, Easton's Tracer RLI did.  The Tracer came in at a price of $22.95 for a pair, while the others came in a three pack. 

I hope that the panel's reviews help you in choosing your lighted nock for this season.

Posted by Steve Sheetz under Hunting Gear Reviews on August 20, 12 12:08 PM | Permalink

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