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Crossbow draw weights have become heavier in recent years as consumers have demanded more speed. As draw weights have increased, the need for cocking aids has become more important.

Although it is possible to cock the crossbow manually, most modern crossbow manufacturers also offer a device to assist in cocking, which is included with the crossbow when purchased or sold separately. Some devices come assembled on the crossbow itself.

Two of the most common types of cocking devices are the cocking harness and the hand crank. Most individuals can cock even the heaviest draw-weight crossbow using either system.