Minecraft Wiki
For other uses, see Bow (disambiguation).
For the ranged weapon of a similar name, see Crossbow.

A bow is a ranged weapon that shoots arrows.



Ingredients Crafting recipe
Stick +

Mob loot[]

Skeletons and Strays[]

Skeletons and strays have an 8.5% chance of dropping a normal or enchanted bow on death when killed by a player or a tamed wolf.

The chance of dropping a bow is increased by 1% per level of Looting, allowing up to an 11.5% chance of dropping.

The chance of being enchanted depends on the difficulty, whether it is normal or hard. The enchantment level is equal to enchant level 5-22.

Bows of skeleton traps are always enchanted at level 5 to 23. The exact level depends on regional difficulty, as on Easy it is always a level-5 enchantment.


Information icon
This feature is exclusive to Java Edition. 

Illusioners have an 8.5% chance of dropping an unenchanted bow when killed by the player. The chance of dropping a bow is increased by 1% per level of Looting, allowing up to an 11.5% chance of dropping.


Apprentice-level fletcher villagers sell bows for 2 emeralds as part of their trades.

Expert-level fletcher villagers sell enchanted bows for 7–21 emeralds as part of their trades. The enchantment level is equal to enchant level 5–19.


Bows have a chance of being caught by fishing. When caught, the bow may be damaged and contain random enchantments equivalent to a level 30 enchantment from an enchanting table, including treasure enchantments like Mending.


Ingredients Grinding recipe Description
2x Damaged Bow
The durability of the two bows is added together, plus an extra 5% durability.
Ingredients Crafting recipe
Damaged Bow



Steve aiming with Bow
Alex aiming with Bow

Bows can be drawn back by using them. In order to use a bow, the player must have at least one arrow in their inventory or be in Creative mode. The arrow that is shown inside the bow always looks like a regular arrow, regardless of what kind of arrow is actually being shot from the bow.[1]

When drawing a bow, the display zooms in slightly. Charging the bow to its maximum causes it to visually shake as an indicator. Releasing the button shoots an arrow if it is charged at least 15%. Drawing a bow can be canceled by switching to another hotbar slot while holding use.

While the bow is being charged or remains fully charged, the player is forced to move at sneaking speed, unless they are riding a horse, minecart or boat, or flying with elytra. It is not possible to sprint while charging a bow or holding a drawn bow. When the bow is released, normal motion resumes although any prior sprint is cancelled. Sneaking while drawing the bow makes the player move even slower.

If an arrow hits another player, the player that shoots the arrow hears a high-pitched "ding" sound.‌[Java Edition only]

Fully charged shots launch critical arrows which have a trail of particles behind them and deal up to damage, where is the damage after any enchantments. The listed values below describe maximum damage from a bow with no Power enchantments, assuming the target is at a distance where drag and gravity are negligible. However, the critical damage is likely to be more around 8-10; critical damage is added at a random value between and and it is rare to have minimum or maximum values. The damage dealt can ultimately be less than the maximum damage if the arrow slows down after being shot.

Charging time Maximum attack damage
0.1 s (no charge) 1♥
0.2–0.9 s (medium charge) 5♥♥♥
1+ s (full charge) 6♥♥♥
1+ s (critical) 11♥ × 5.5

The game stores the damage of arrows even in values with a decimal point. For example, it is possible for a critical arrow shot to cause damage values such as 6.4. In this cases of a broken value, the game can round up or down and store the amount for subsequent damage sources.

Any projectile thrown by the player is under the influence of momentum in current versions of Minecraft. Naturally, the player's movement speed can be modified under a number of circumstances, affecting the ballistic trajectory of projectiles, and as a result, the damage inflicted by arrows.

In Java Edition Combat Tests, to avoid sniping, arrows shot from fully-charged bows become non-critical if held drawn back for longer than three seconds. Instantaneous effects on tipped arrows are scaled by 1/8, just like the duration of other effects. For example, Instant Damage I arrow will deal an additional 0.75♥ × 0.375 magical damage.

Damage caused by the arrow is not affected by the Strength effect.

Endermen cannot be shot using an arrow, because the arrow either disappears as the enderman teleports, or it gets deflected. Even while immobile, the enderman is immune to damage from arrows. However, an arrow shot from a bow enchanted with Flame can ignite the enderman.

Crafting ingredient[]

Name Ingredients Crafting recipe Description
Dispenser Cobblestone +
Bow +
Redstone Dust

The bow can be of any durability.
Enchantments on the bow do not affect the resulting dispenser.


Bows can receive several different enchantments and have a base enchantability of 1. Bow enchantments have no effect on arrow speed or the distance it travels. In Bedrock Edition, if a bow is enchanted with any level 1 enchantment, it always gets Power I.[verify]

Name Summary Max Level
Power Increases the damage dealt by bow-shot arrows. V
Punch Increases the knockback dealt by bow-shot arrows. II
Flame Ignites arrows, dealing fire damage to anyone hit as well as igniting TNT and campfires. I
Infinity[n 1] Stops the bow from consuming arrows when shot. A minimum of 1 arrow is still required to work. I
Unbreaking Grants a chance to negate durability consumption, making the bow last longer. III
Mending[n 1] Repairs the bow using experience, but also preventing the player from gaining score. I
Curse of Vanishing The bow vanishes on death, not dropping as an item. Overridden by keepInventory. I
  1. a b Mending and Infinity are mutually exclusive.


A bow can be used as fuel in furnaces, smelting 1.5 items per bow in Java Edition or 1 item per bow in Bedrock Edition.


Main article: Arrow

As in real life, a flying arrow in Minecraft is affected by gravity. Its vertical speed is modified by one block downward every second, resulting in a parabolic flight path. An arrow slows down if shot through water, reducing its damage to near zero unless brought back into the air or otherwise given momentum.‌[Java Edition only]

Arrows that hit solid blocks become stuck and can be retrieved, unless the arrow was shot by a bow enchanted with Infinity, a player in Creative mode, or a mob.

An arrow shot through lava ignites, giving it the effect of the Flame enchantment, igniting any entity it hits. If not extinguished, the fire inflicts up to 4♥♥ damage. Although a wither skeleton does not spawn naturally with bows, if it holds a bow then it also shoots flaming arrows.

On impact, an arrow can trigger a wooden pressure plate, target block, wooden button, or tripwire. Arrows cannot trigger stone pressure plates or stone buttons.

The player can choose the type of arrow to shoot based on its location in the inventory. Arrows in the off-hand, or the selected hotbar slot if the bow is in the off-hand, are prioritized first. If there are no arrows in the off-hand or selected hotbar slot then the arrow closest to slot 0 is selected.

Arrows shot by bows in Bedrock Edition has a slightly higher range than arrows shot by bows in Java Edition.


Java Edition:

SoundSubtitlesSourceDescriptionResource locationTranslation keyVolumePitchAttenuation
Arrow hitsFriendly CreaturesWhen an arrow impacts somethingentity.arrow.hitsubtitles.entity.arrow.hit1.01211-4316
Arrow firedPlayersWhen a bow shoots an arrowentity.arrow.shootsubtitles.entity.arrow.shoot1.043-1.125 [sound 1]16
Player hitPlayersWhen an arrow shot by a player hits another playerentity.arrow.hit_playersubtitles.entity.arrow.hit_player0.180.4516
Item breaksPlayersWhen a bow's durability is exhaustedentity.item.breaksubtitles.entity.item.break0.80.8-1.216
  1. Depends on how long the bow has been charging. uncharged bows give 56-0.625

Bedrock Edition:

SoundSourceDescriptionResource locationVolumePitch
PlayersWhen an arrow impacts somethingrandom.bowhit1.01.09-1.3
PlayersWhen a bow shoots an arrowrandom.bow1.00.83-1.25
PlayersWhen a bow's durability is exhaustedrandom.break1.00.9

Data values[]


Java Edition:

NameIdentifierFormTranslation key

Bedrock Edition:

NameIdentifierNumeric ID FormTranslation key


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Gamerscore earned Trophy type (PS4)
PS4 Other
Sniper DuelKill a Skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 meters.Use a launched arrow to kill a skeleton, spider jockey, wither skeleton, or a stray from 50 or more blocks away, horizontally.30GBronze
Dispense with ThisConstruct a Dispenser.20GBronze
ArcherKill a creeper with arrows.10GBronze
BullseyeHit the bullseye of a Target block15GBronze


Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Resource location
Advancement-plain-rawTake Aim
Shoot something with an Arrow Monster HunterUsing a bow or a crossbow, shoot an entity with an arrow, tipped arrow, or spectral arrow.adventure/shoot_arrow
Advancement-fancy-rawSniper Duel
Kill a Skeleton from at least 50 meters away Take AimBe at least 50 blocks away horizontally when a skeleton is killed by an arrow after the player has attacked it once.adventure/sniper_duel
Hit the bullseye of a Target block from at least 30 meters away Take AimBe at least 30 blocks away horizontally when the center of a target is shot with a projectile by the player.adventure/bullseye



Java Edition Classic
June 14, 2009Notch discussed how bows and arrows would work in Survival mode: "Bows and arrows can be made out of wood. To use it, select the bow from your inventory and make sure you’ve got some arrows. Click in front of you, and an arrow goes flying using real physics. To actually HIT something, aim above it."
0.24 SURVIVAL TESTThe player did not need a bow to shoot arrows. Instead, Tab ↹ was used to fire arrows. However, arrows still had to be collected to shoot. Launching arrows this way was much slower than the bow that now fires them.
Java Edition Indev
0.3120100110Bow JE1 Added bow texture to items.png.
20100122Bow JE2 BE1 Added bows as item with changed texture. The right mouse button can be held down to fire in rapid succession. Each arrow deals 4♥♥ for each hit. They fly in a ballistic trajectory affected by gravity and drag in air or water. They travel approximately 15 blocks when fired parallel to a flat plane. Arrows also have a maximum range of around 52 blocks when fired at a 38 degree angle on a flat plane.
Bows often fail to interact with objects, but instead shoot. This is due to the fact that shooting arrows is an instantaneous action.
At this point, bows have no durability, and can essentially be used infinitely.
Java Edition Alpha
v1.2.6Interacting with objects (door, chest, etc.) while holding a bow no longer shoots the arrow.
Java Edition Beta
1.2Bows are now used to craft dispensers.
1.8July 8, 2011Notch teased hold-to-charge bows.
July 13, 2011Notch indicated that along with bow charging, he would add an achievement based around shooting a skeleton at 50 meters, eventually to be known as Sniper duel.
Pre-releaseBow behavior has been overhauled; they now need to be charged to fire.
Java Edition
1.0.0RC1A fully charged arrow from a bow now consistently deals 9♥♥♥♥♥ damage, with a rare chance of dealing 10♥♥♥♥♥.
Bows now have a durability of 385 uses.
Bows no longer need arrows for ammo in Creative mode.
The bow can now be enchanted via console commands, but no enchantment affects it.
1.1releaseBows can now be legitimately enchanted. Four enchantments have been added: Flame, Punch, Power and Infinity.
1.2.112w06aSkeletons now have a 2.5% chance of dropping a bow. One fifth of the time, this bow is enchanted with Power I (20%).
1.4.612w50aBows can now be enchanted with Unbreaking using an anvil and an appropriate enchanted book.
preWhen a player hits another player from far away with a bow it makes a high pitched "dinging" sound.
1.7.213w36aBows can now be obtained as a "treasure" item from fishing.
Bows can now be enchanted with Unbreaking directly in an enchantment table without the use of an anvil.
1.814w02aFletcher villagers now sell 1 bow for 2–3 emeralds.
14w30aBow placement when drawing back has been slightly changed.
1.915w31aWhen shooting, the arrows are no longer offset to the right of the Crosshair.
The bow in the hotbar now shows an arrow when being drawn.
Bows can now shoot an additional 14 types of arrows, selected based on the arrow type held in the off-hand or closest to slot 0.
Bows cannot be used in the off-hand.
15w37aThe bow can now be used in the off-hand.
Bows now prioritize the selected hotbar slot for arrows if the bow is in the off hand.
When using the bow in the off-hand, the bow does do the animation, but does not aim at the target.
?Momentum now affects the physics of arrows fired from bows.
1.1016w20aBows are now used by strays and can now sometimes be obtained as a rare drop.
1.1116w33aBows can now be used to fuel furnaces.
1.11.116w50aInfinity and Mending are now mutually exclusive for bows.
1.1217w16aBows are now used by illusioners and can now sometimes be obtained as a rare drop, although unenchanted.
1.1317w47aPrior to The Flattening, this item's numeral ID was 261.
1.13.118w30aMC-88356: Fixed a bug: When using the bow in the off-hand, the bow does do the animation, but does not aim at the target.
1.1419w11aFletcher villagers now sell enchanted bows.
Pocket Edition Alpha
v0.3.3Bow JE2 BE1 Added bows.
v0.4.0Bows now have a durability of 385 uses.
Bows also now slow down the player while aiming.
v0.5.0Bows are now obtainable after activating the nether reactor.
v0.8.0build 1Bow BE2 The texture of bows has been changed.
build 7Bows can now be used as fuel in a furnace.
v0.11.0build 1Bows can now be obtained as a "treasure" item from fishing.
v0.12.1build 1Fully charged bows now cause particles.
Bows can now be enchanted.
Bows obtained by fishing can now be caught enchanted.
Bows are no longer available from the nether reactor.
v0.15.0build 1Added strays, which are equipped with a bow that can rarely be dropped by them.
Bows can now shoot an additional 14 types of arrows, selected based on the arrow type closest to slot 0.
Pocket Edition
1.0.4alpha can now be obtained by trading with a fletcher villager.
1.1.0alpha the Mending enchantment, which can now be applied to bows and is mutually exclusive to the Infinity enchantment.
Arrows can now be placed in the offhand slot and bows now prioritize the arrows in that slot.
Bedrock Edition
?Momentum now affects the physics of arrows fired from bows.
1.8.0beta in the hotbar now show an arrow when being drawn.
1.10.0beta Bow JE2 BE1 The texture of bows has been changed to match Java Edition's texture.
1.11.0beta villagers now sell unenchanted bows for 2 emeralds, and enchanted bows for 8 emeralds.
1.16.210beta in first-person view is now held differently.[2]
1.17.0beta are now held like it was before beta.[3]
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU1 1.0 Patch 11.0.1Bow JE2 BE1 Added bows.
TU5Bow behavior is overhauled; they now need to be charged to fire.
TU31CU19 1.22 Patch 3Bows can now be obtained by trading with a fletcher villager.
TU46CU36 1.38 Patch 15Bows can now shoot an additional 14 types of arrows, selected based on arrow type held in the off-hand or closest to slot 0.

Historical sounds:

Sound From to Pitch
0.31 Sound Update 1.0


Issues relating to "Bow" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.


  • Bows were left unchanged in the Texture Update.[4]
  • Dinnerbone got the idea for the high-pitched "ding" sound from playing on a former PvP server called Project Ares.[5][6]



  1. MC-87685 — "Drawn bow texture does not reflect arrow that will be shot" — resolved as "Won't Fix".
  2. MCPE-116741
  3. MCPE-116741
  4. MC-168156 — resolved as "Works As Intended".
  5. "Also things I learnt from pvping today: Bows need to ding when you hit people (it's so much fun/rewarding!) & arrows don't render far enough"@Dinnerbone (Nathan Adams) on X, December 15, 2012
  6. "Minecraft PvP with Dinnerbone & Docm77 - Team DocBone @ 11:52" – docm77 on YouTube, December 7, 2013

External Links[]