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Gear Review - Nock Out Lighted Nocks

In our opinion, there are two types of bow hunters.  Those who hunt with lighted nocks and those who wish they were using lighted nocks when they hunt.  There is so much of an advantage in seeing your arrows in flight when lighted nocks are used, it’s not even comparable. 

Over the past couple of years, we have been filming our hunts so the value of lighted nocks is obvious.  However, even when not filming, you can much more clearly see an arrow in flight with a lighted nock than without, and knowing where you hit your targets is extremely beneficial in knowing how and when to approach after your shot.  We wouldn’t hunt without one.

In 2014, the notoriously “behind the times” Pope & Young Club officially changed their stance to allow entries into their record books by archers using lighted nocks during their harvest.  With a well-crafted lighted nock, there really is no viable argument for not using them that we’ve encountered.  We don’t hunt without them.

There are many manufacturers of lighted nocks on the market, and they each have their own merits and disadvantages.  Today, we will be reviewing a relative newcomer, the Clean Shot Nock Out variety.  Can they truly deliver that KO punch, or is it a swing and a miss?

Unpacking:
First thoughts:
The first thing we noticed when we picked up our Nock Outs was that they’re truly unique.  Each Nock Out is about 1/2” longer than a traditional nock or most of the other lighted nocks on the market, and they look “different”.  The diameter of a Nock Out is less than that of a normal nock which we’ve use in our hunting bows.  When we first slid a Nock Out into the GT Bushing, we was worried.  Could this be a weak point that perhaps breaks on impact?  

Brushing that concern aside until we could actually test, we then proceeded to turn one of them on by simply apply pressure to the back of the nock.  BRIGHT!  We’ve used several different brands of lighted nocks, and none have matched the light that eminates of these green Nock Outs.   Certainly, if there’s a “Wow factor” for these nocks, it’s their brightness!

Nock Out Original Packaging

Specifications:
Manufacturers Claim:
Practice Mode: A simple 1/4 turn of the silver activation collar deactivates the LED. Now, you can decide if you want the LED to light or not.

In the field:
This is an interesting feature which works exactly as advertised. However, it’s one of which we can’t ever see a practical use for in our opinions.  As long as a lighted nock can easily be turned off, we’ll happily practice with it, turning it off between shots to get a true idea for performance and durability.  With a 24 hour advertised battery life, practice mode doesn’t have an appreciable value to our team.  Take that with a grain of salt, you may want to install the lighted nocks and practice with them turned off and if so, this feature works.

Manufacturers Claim:
Easy Off: Simply pull the nock straight back until you hear a soft "click" and the LED turns off - no tools, no magnets, and it remains indexed to your vanes. Lighted nocks shouldn't take longer to turn off than they take to shoot. 

In the field:
Again, exactly as advertised.  There is no tool or appreciable effort required to turn the Nock Out on or off.  Especially valuable during target practice, when you walk to your arrow, you can always give a slight pull back and turn it off. 

Manufacturers Claim:
Universal Fit: Each 3-pack includes 3 sets of precision orange bushings to fit the 5 most common carbon arrow shafts on the market (total of 9 bushings per 3 pack).

In the field:
By far, this was the feature that drew us to the Nock Out in the first place.  We use a number of different arrow shafts, and buying different sized lighted nocks for each is a pain, to say the least.  When we tested, these bushing slid into our different sized arrows snugly and the Nock Outs were easy to change back and forth between different arrows.  The downside of this was that the bushings fit VERY tightly into our Gold Tip and PSE brand arrows, and removing the bushing itself at a later time will not be something we can do with just our bare hands.

Cost: $9.99 (USD) for One, $29.99 for 3 MSRP
Real World: 
This was a case of the MSRP matching the real world price exactly.  Interestingly, and somewhat disappointingly to us, there is no discount for buying a 3 pack instead of buying them individually.  It actually costs 2 cents more!

Real World Thoughts:  
Positives:

It cannot be overstated, these nocks are bright!  Just a couple of weeks ago, David harvested a whitetail buck with his bow using Nock Out lighted nocks.  In full daylight, an hour and a half before sunset, he described easily being able to follow the Green Nock Out in flight and clearly see the point of impact.   While not being able to see the buck fall, he knew based on where the arrow struck that the deer could not have gone far.  Approximately 30 yards from his shot he found the trophy.

Nock Outs are about a 1/2 inch longer than traditional nocks

Despite initial concerns about durability, the additional ½” length added to these nocks versus traditional or other manufacturers had no appreciable difference on the flight of the arrows and after hundreds of shots there seems to be no durability concerns.

Negatives:
Unfortunately, the “Easy Off” feature comes with a very nasty twin brother, “Easy On”.  While we certainly prefer for lighted nocks to be activated by shooting and not require an additional step to consider, these nocks are activated far too easily.  Literally, every time we placed the Nock Out on our string, the light comes on.  This requires you to remember to disable the light each time.  More troublesome, it does not take much of a brushing up against the nock to make it come on even while in your quiver.  24 hours is a long time for a nock to stay lit under normal circumstances, but if you’re not careful with the Nock Out, you can easily burn through that time because of inadvertent activation when placing your bow into your carrying case or brushing trees in the woods, or even during raising or lowering your bow from a tree stand.

The Bottom Line:
When it comes down to it, compared to other lighted nocks, we’ve never seen a brighter brand and in flight or on video that can be a real benefit.  The price of a 3 pack of Nock Outs comes with a price tag approximately 20% higher than that of our current favourite lighted nock, the Nockturnal by Rage.  For the premium price, we expected premium performance.  The inadvertent lighting of the Nock Out was enough to dissuade two of our three testers from trusting them in hunting situations. Constantly having to worry “Is this thing on?” wasn’t our favourite feature.

We would really like to see a multi-buy discount when purchasing a 3 pack, as other major manufacturers provide. Nockturnal sells for $9.99 each, $24.99 for 3.  Lumenok sell for $11.99 each, $29.99 for 3.  This practice encourages you to purchase the multi-pack and it seems like a no-brainer for us. 

Given the incredible brightness of these lighted nocks, we can foresee using these nocks again in the future, but they weren’t able to overtake Nockturnal as our “go-to”.

2015-10-26 18:12:21

 

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