Comparison testing of Easton Tracer, G5 G Force, Firenock S Hunting
Description of Products
Easton Tracer: I got a single tracer at a cost of 9.99, it comes packaged in a easily opened plastic package with the nock, magnet and instructions. The nock comes fully assembled in one piece consisting of a nock, the lighting circuit, and battery, the battery is attached and shrink wrapped it is not replaceable. According to Easton the battery life is 90 hours. Easton did not provide a listed weight, but I weighed it at 29 grains. Installation was easy you pull off your old nock and insert the new one. It fit snugly into my Gold Tip arrows. You also have to install a magnet somewhere on your bow within a half inch of where the nock will pass, a velcro sticker is provided with the magnet. Also before being able to shoot the nocks you have to “activate them by holding the nock to the magnet for 5 seconds, wait for it to blink, and then remove it from the magnet, doing this again will put it in “sleep mode” and wont accidentally turn on. Once the nock is installed, magnet is on the bow, and is activated you are ready to go. The nock lights up as it passes the magnet and stays lit for 15 seconds then it blinks until it is passed by the magnet again. (For more go to Firenock)
G5 G Force: I got a single G5 nock at a cost of 19.99, it comes packaged in a hard plastic packaging with the nock, and battery, brief instructions were on the back of the packaging. Battery life is 25+ hours and weighs 38 grains. The nock comes with the battery needing to be installed the instructions did not tell you how to install the battery, but it is pretty simple you just push the battery into the nock. Once the battery is in the nock you just push it into the back of the arrow, it went in easily and fits snugly. When you have the nock installed you are ready to go, it activates automatically when the bow is shot, it stays lit for 10 seconds and then blinks until it is deactivated. To deactivate you tap the end of the nock three times on a hard surface.
Firenock S Hunting: The Firenock S Hunting version single nock costs 19.95. The nock comes packaged loose in a plastic bag with the circuit, nock, battery, O ring, and instructions. The assembled nock weighs 27 grains and has a battery life of 24hrs or 48hrs with 1hr burn increments. The nock needs complete assembly circuit goes in the nock, the o ring on the battery, and then the battery onto the nock. It is a little tricky to install the battery, but it comes with full instructions that explain the assembly process very well. Once the nock is assembled you push it into the back of the arrow, it went in easily and fit snuggly. Once in the arrow you are ready to go. The nock is activated when you shoot, it stays lit until you shut it off. To deactivate the arrow you must tap the end of the arrow once on a hard surface.
Bow used was a Mathews Reezen 6.5 shooting Gold Tip XT Hunter arrows at 294 fps. I was shooting into a Cabelas layered foam target. I also alternated which arrow I shot first so the length each nock was illuminated was the same.
The first day I was shooting at a 10 yard indoor range temp was set at 75 degrees and I varied the lighting conditions from all the lights on to just illuminating the target. I shot a total of 75 shots, 25 each nock. I tried to get all the nocks in red, but the tracer only came in orange and green, but the orange lit up looks just like the others. In the indoor range all the nocks looked about the same, with the tracer being the most dim with the lights on. When all the lights were off the Firenock looked just a bit brighter than the G Force. For the first 75 shots all nocks worked just as advertised.
The second day I took the testing outside. It was 77 degrees with a slight breeze and I was shooting from before dusk until almost dark. Distance was from 10 to 30 yards. Again I shot a total of 75 shots, 25 each nock. This is where I started noticing some differences. Immediately you could see the difference in brightness between nocks. Again the Firenock and G Force where close, with the Firenock being a tad brighter, the Tracer was noticeably dimmer. The shooting commenced and at shot 27 the G Force nock shut off on its own, the nock activated and then went into blinking mode but the nock shut off before I was able to remove it from the target, the following shot the nock performed normally. The 49th shot again brought problems for the G Force. This time the nock activated normally went into blinking mode and blinked dimmer each time until it shut off, the next shot was normal and bright. The Firenock and Tracer worked flawlessly throughout the day.
The third day I shot in the middle of the day with bright sunshine at about 86 degrees, distance ranging from 10 to 40 yards. Again I shot a total 0f 75 shots, 25 each nock. This is where the brightness of the nocks really made a difference. Again the Tracer was the dimmest, but out to 20 yards you could still see it, but when it went into blinking mode it was quite hard to see, anything past 20 yards was almost impossible to see in the sun. The Firenock and G Force were visible out to 40 yards, but I found it difficult to see the G Force when it went into blinking mode at 40 yards. The Firenock and Tracer again performed flawlessly the entire day. The G Force again had problems, shot 52 and 53 it shut off on its own. It would activate and then go into blinking mode but shut off before I removed it from the target. I also noticed that at the end of the day it seemed slightly dimmer than before.
The fourth day brought the most comfortable conditions 75 degrees and overcast. Shooting 75 shots 25 for each nock at ranges from 10 to 40 yards. With the overcast conditions it was much easier to see all the nocks. Again the Tracer was the dimmest and as the day went on it got noticeably dimmer, but still worked flawlessly all day. The Firenock remained bright and worked every shot. Day four was the demise of the G Force nock. The first 6 shots of the day it performed just as advertised and just as bright as day one. The 81st and 82nd shot it shut off after it started blinking. Shot 83 and 84 shot normally. Shot 85 was normal, but it would not shut off at first it took four tries to finally deactivate it. Shot 86 shut off after blinking mode. Shot 87 the nock activated but shut off on impact. Shot 88 it performed normally and was easy to shut off. Shot 89 is where the nock died, it did not activate at all. I continued to shoot with the other nocks until reaching 100 shots each to see if it would “wake up” because it seemed after a malfunction it would sometimes work better than before, but it did not work at all I checked the battery and all the connections but it did not work.
I continued to shoot the Firenock and Tracer for about 20 to 30 more shots, the 100 shot period was over so I just shot them with my other arrows as I was practicing. Again both nocks worked every time as advertised, although the Tracer was noticeably dimmer that day one, I suspect the battery is starting to go but cant check it because you can not change the battery.
Pros and Cons of Each Nock
Pros – Easy Installation, Easy activation and deactivation, battery is replaceable and practice nocks are available, blinking mode comes on to soon.
Cons – The nock is a lot heavier than the other two, it is one of the most expensive nocks available, not as reliable as I would have liked.
Pros – Easy Installation, Durable all one piece construction, very reliable, practice nocks available.
Cons – Magnet must be installed on bow, accidental activation is a concern, not very bright, battery not replaceable must buy new nock when dead.
Pros- Lightest of all nocks tested, very reliable, very bright, numerous color options, nocks are interchangeable, replaceable battery, durable, practice nocks available, easy to activate.
Cons – Price, it is one of the most expensive nocks, assembly is a little difficult, deactivation takes more effort than comparable nocks.
This test was a fun opportunity to compare one of the best new accessories I have tried in a long time. First I want to say that this is the first year I am shooting a lighted nock, and not only is it fun but it also can be very helpful. When you make a good shot you can see the arrow flight perfectly straight, but you make on mistake in your form, grip, or you punch the trigger you see it in your arrow flight, I did not think you would be able to notice, but if you make a bad shot the arrow will tell you. Also, the nocks might just pay for themselves your first bad shot, if you miss the target and go into some high grass this nocks will make finding the arrow a lot easier. Lastly the lighted nock might be able to save you a deer, you could instantly see where you shot the deer, you could find the arrow easier if it a pass through, and if it gets stuck in the deer just wait till dark and follow the light.
All the nocks performed better than I thought, obviously the reliability of the Tracer and Firenock were superb, but if you were to just use the G5 for hunting you should know it will last through all hunting situations. After all is said and done I think I will stick with the Firenock, the Tracer is cheaper and did perform just as well, but throughout time without the opportunity to change batteries the Firenock will pay for itself, not to mention its brighter and you don’t have to mess with any magnets.
Thanks for reading and I suggest you make your own decision on what nocks to use, but if you get the chance do a same kind of test I would recommend it and the results should point you in the right direction.