How Difficult is it To Cock A Crossbow?

A question I had when researching for Crossbows of my own was “What is the difficulty cocking crossbows”.  The simple answer to the question for me was that I had to go try one.  I watched some videos online and you could kinda infer how easy or hard the task would be, but until I tried it…there was no telling.

I had quickly learned, once I went shopping and investigating, that there were essentially 2 main ways to “cock” the crossbow. With the use of the following:

  1. String cocker
  2. Crank cocker

A string cocker is where you use a rope like a pulley system to wrap the string on the bow and pull it to cock and load the quiver. So essentially what your doing is standing on the front end of the crossbow and placing the cocking rope over the crossbow string and pulling against the crossbow itself for leverage.

Then there is a crank cocking mechanism which is just what it sounds like. It’s a cranking system that you again turn by hand and the string on the bow is slowly pulled into position.  There is a crank placed at the base of the stock that you well…” crank”.

Now as you can see from the video, The crank-style cocking system appears to be easier for the person with joint injury and pain and therefore would be a better way to go. However, the crank-style cocking is a lot louder than the basic rope cock. The rope cock is quieter but will still cost some effort to pull the string into place.

My Preference with the Difficulty Cocking Crossbows

Wicked Ridge Crossbow Rope Cocker


I prefer the rope cocking as this affords me the ability to be quiet while hunting. I have no real joint issues so that isn’t a problem for me. Also as the video implies, If you cocking 300lbs, then the rope cocker will cut that effort by 1/2 so now you are pulling 150lbs.

The hand-cranking cocking device will cut the weight even further making it almost effortless. The exact amount or ease of cranking will depend on how much you spend on a crank system.

The next thing you’ll come across if you’re going to go with a crank set-up is the cost. Everything that makes life easier will cost money…LOL! The systems you can price out will range from $30 to $300 for the actual mechanism. This is a factor in itself for whether many of us will use a cranking system. On the other hand, the rope cockers range from $10 to $60. The huge price difference for affordability and convenience.

Final thoughts on Crossbow Cocking Difficulty


I went with the rope cock. The rope cock is much cheaper and not super difficult to use. It’s lightweight and easy to stick in a pouch or a pocket even to carry during my hunts.  Second, the rope cocker is quieter and for me, that means more opportunity to actually see the game instead of driving it away. I’ve only been hunting for 3 years and I need all the help I can get. ( I am becoming a better hunter every day).

Lastly, my ability to cock the crossbow string with 50% less weight is fine with me at this stage in the game. I have a bad left shoulder but even with that, I can still manage to cock the crossbow with ease. I will say from recent experience last season, that the rope cock is a little tricky to re-load from a climber. I was able to cock my crossbow but depending on how much room you have will determine your ability to do this with ease.

Anyway, I hope this answers your question as it did help me with figuring out crossbows and how they work. Again, I am a noob when it comes to hunting in general but I am learning a ton and enjoying every minute of it.