Crossbow Won’t Pull Back? Here’s How To Fix It!

What if your crossbow won’t pull back? This item is still a “hard-to-handle” object with most archers, and there is a lot of trouble while using it. So, what should you do in this case?

Scroll down if you are seeking the solutions to this problem!

Reasons Your Crossbow Won’t Pull Back 

Things Aren’t In the Correct Position

There are several reasons a crossbow is jammed, which might be because of some unexpected reason from the distributor or the companies producing it. Here are the common causes:

crossbow won't pull back

1. The string latch isn’t in the cocked position

According to an experienced hunter on The Archery Talk forum, the strings must be pulled back even if the bow is not in the draw position. If the part is not LATCH, it may be because the claws are not holding the strings.

2. The safety of the bow is in a safe position

To cock the crossbow, you have to make sure the safety is in the fire position. Otherwise, your crossbow won’t pull back, says The Crossbow Nation.

Frankly speaking, it is not an easy task.

Swinging a crossbow with one hand can be difficult if you have a disability or mobility issues. Modern crossbows can weigh over 150 pounds, and it’s easy to misalign the bow when pulling the strings back by hand.

How To Pull Back a Crossbow Easier?

Let’s learn how to draw a crossbow with hands, rope, pendulum easily, as well as look at the pros & cons and compare all the options.

That way, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s worth investing in. 

By Hand

Pulling back a bow by hand will need a lot of arms, legs, and core energy. If you are confident in your body strength, this method is for you.

Step 1: Place the front of the bow on the floor.

Slide your feet into the stirrups to avoid tripping or slipping. Then, lean straight over the stall and touch the strings.

crossbow won't pull back

Step 2: You need to hold the wire with both hands and lift it with your chest until you reach the wire lock. Make sure your hands pull the rope evenly over the barrel. Otherwise, the threads will attach unevenly to the mechanism.


  • Little time-consuming
  • Ideal for follow-up shots
  • No tools needed


  • Requires a lot of strength
  • Difficult to get the string even
  • Might lead to inconsistent shots

By crank 

Some crossbow models have a crank system fully integrated into the bow technology by default. However, you can purchase an aftermarket kit that can be attached to the spring stock and removed when not needed.

Step 1: Attach the crank to the crossbow according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2: When hearing the string click into place and engage your safety, turn the handle on.


  • The most accurate way to start.
  • Anyone can pull back any draw weight.
  • Easier to use on a wooden base.
  • You can safely release the crossbow by turning the handle.


  • The slower method of firing.
  • The noise is too loud.
  • It takes a long time to attach and detach the crank
  • It is prone to mechanical errors.
  • The built-in crank adds weight.

By Rope

Although this method is simple to follow, it is very helpful.

Step 1: Starting at the same position as the manual technique, place the crossbow on the floor and lower it. Place your feet on the stirrups to keep the crossbow stable

Step 2: Grasp the rope and place the center of the string in the groove on the back of the stock with the hooks facing the other way.

Closely place the hooks on the crossbow strings on either side of the shooting path.

Step 3: Then, firmly grasp the handle of the tensioning strap and pull it upwards.

Do this slowly and return to a standing position. When the strap is pulled all the way back, you will hear or feel a click to indicate that it is connected to the trigger mechanism.

Tackle the Crossbow-won’t-pull-back Trouble

To ensure that your crossbow is in the best condition, try having the bow treated by some experienced stores. If you want to do it on your own, consider these two ways:

Using a Screwdriver:

Step 1: Using a screwdriver, lift the nail and pull the trigger with the safety on.

Step 2: Use a cotton swab and alcohol to clean locks and mechanisms that can stick to rope and rail wax, brushes, bark, and weed dust.

Using a Pencil: 

This method is similar to the screwdriver’s method. However, try using this with some small details. Pull the trigger and check with the pencil if the string latch is in the fire position. 

Don’t forget to check whether the safety is in the same position as the latch!

If you don’t get how to do it using the mentioned object, check out this video: FAQ: Crossbow won’t cock with trigger latch down.


So here’s why you struggle with the bow:

A crossbow with a large counterweight is more difficult to cock than a crossbow with a small counterweight. 

There are three main factors that lead to the difference in the draw weight: length, shape, and material used to make the crossbow.

  • Firstly, the length of the crossbow determines how easy it is to draw. Long crossbows are usually more powerful than short crossbows.
  • Secondly, bow shape increases flexibility, and the configuration or the crossbow type you have affects how easy or difficult it is to draw.
  • Finally, the difficulty when pulling back a crossbow is varied depending on the density and tensile strength of the material.
  • The material used also affects the energy it can generate and the product’s elasticity.

Learn To Use Your Crossbow Correctly

Using a crossbow could be difficult for a beginner, so grab some useful free lessons below to make sure you have used your crossbow correctly.

 1. Crossbow Loading:

  • Stand on the stirrup. Make sure that your crossbow is deeply positioned under while using the cocking ropes to pull your string back. Stand on 
  • Position the coking ropes. Particularly, place the rope’s middle in your groove to tighten it. 
  • Put the bowstring’s middle at the groove which is at the bow’s top, using a stock. 
  • Put the cocking hooks on your bowstring on the barrel’s sides. 
  • Pull your ropes to make the handles even to each other. 
  • Then, the ropes back. Keep pulling them till there are sounds of clicking.
  • Put a bolt inside the groove. 

2. Shooting the Crossbow: 

  • Now, slide your bolt back to the barrel unless it is perfectly positioned against your bowstring. 
  • Make sure that your crossbow is away from “safe” and your fingers move far from the trigger. 
  • Stand firmly and start squeezing the trigger. 
  • Make changes to the site if required. 
  • Keep your bow. Put some bowstring wax on your strings per few shots to prevent them from drying out. 

Read More: Can You Leave Crossbow Loaded? Detailed Explanation

The Bottom Line

So, what should you do if your crossbow won’t pull back? – There are three ways to tackle this problem: by a crank, by ropes, or by hand. Make sure that you follow the steps carefully to ensure safety!

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