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First appearances

See History

Data value

dec: 261 hex: 105 bin: 100000101



A bow is a ranged weapon that fires arrows.



Skeletons have a 8.5% chance of dropping a bow on death when killed by the player. The chance of dropping a bow is increased by 1% per level of looting, allowing up to a 11.5% chance of dropping.


Fletcher villagers will trade a bow for 2 to 3 emeralds as part of their tier 2 trades.


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


Ingredients Crafting recipe Description

String +

Stick String Grid layout Arrow (small).png Bow

Stick String

Damaged Bow

Grid layout Arrow (small).png Bow
Bow Bow

Grid layout Shapeless.png

The durability of the two bows is added together, plus an extra 5% durability.


Bows can be drawn back by using it. In order to use the bow, you must have at least one arrow in your inventory, or be in creative mode. While the bow is being charged or remains fully charged, the player is forced to move at sneak speed, unless they are riding a horse, or are in a minecart or boat at the time, which causes no speed decrease.

Charging the bow to its maximum causes it to visually shake as an indicator, and releases an arrow with a sparkling effect, signifying a critical hit. At minimum charge, the arrow will deal 1 (Half Heart.svg) and barely travel a block. At full charge, the arrow travels up to about 65 blocks upwards, flies with a speed of roughly 53 m/s, and consistently deals 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) damage, with a rare chance of dealing 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg). If the arrow hits another player, it will make a high pitched "ding" sound.

Damage caused by the arrow is unaffected by the strength status effect.

Endermen cannot be shot using an arrow, as the arrow will either disappear as the enderman teleports, or it will become deflected. An arrow shot from a bow enchanted with Flame I can ignite the enderman, however.

Crafting ingredient[edit]

Name Ingredients Crafting recipe Description


Cobblestone +
Redstone +

Cobblestone Cobblestone Cobblestone Grid layout Arrow (small).png Dispenser
Cobblestone Bow Cobblestone
Cobblestone Redstone Cobblestone

The bow must be undamaged.


Bows can receive five different enchantments, and have a base enchantibility of 1. Bow enchantments have no effect on arrow speed or distance.

Power increases the damage by 25% times the level of power plus 1, up to a maximum of level V. A power V bow will deal a maximum of 25 (Heart.svg × 12.5).

Punch will increase the knock back applied by the bow, up to a maximum level of II.

Flame will ignite the arrow, causing it to likewise ignite any entities it hits. If not extinguished, the fire damage will do up to 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg). Flame will also allow the player to ignite TNT from a distance. There is only 1 level of flame.

Infinity allows you to fire the bow without consuming any arrows. A single arrow is still required to fire. Fired arrows shot from an infinity enchanted bow cannot be retrieved if they land on the ground. There is only 1 level of infinity.

Unbreaking causes a 100 divided by the level of unbreaking plus 1 chance of taking any damage. Unbreaking has a maximum level of III.


See also: Arrow

As arrows are affected by gravity, they take an arcing path over distances. One must aim above the target when firing from a distance, or gain higher ground, to effectively make a hit. Arrows will slow down if shot through water.

Arrows that hit solid blocks will become stuck and can be recollected, unless the arrow was shot by a bow enchanted with Infinity, a player in creative mode, or a skeleton.

Arrows shot through lava will ignite, similar to the flame enchantment. The arrow will likewise ignite any entities it hits. If not extinguished, the fire damage will do up to 5 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg).

Arrows from bows can trigger wooden pressure plates and wooden buttons. However, they cannot trigger stone pressure plates or stone buttons.


Icon Achievement In-game description Prerequisites Actual requirements (if different) Version restriction Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Grid Bow.png
Sniper Duel Kill a skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 meters Monster Hunter Use a launched arrow to kill a skeleton or wither skeleton from 50 or more blocks away, horizontally. None 30G Silver



0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST The 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.
January 22, 2010 Development began on the bow and arrow.
January 30, 2010 Added bows. The right mouse button could be held down to fire in rapid succession. Each arrow dealt 4 (Heart.svgHeart.svg) for each hit. They would fly in a ballistic trajectory affected by gravity and drag in air or water. They would travel approximately 15 blocks when fired parallel to a flat plane. Arrows also had a maximum range of around 52 blocks when fired at a 38 degree angle on a flat plane.
Bows often failed to interact with objects, but would instead shoot. This was very inconvenient when trying to open doors, chests etc. This was due to the fact that shooting arrows was an instantaneous action.
1.2 Bows are used as recipe for dispensers.
1.8 Bow behavior is overhauled; they now need to be charged to fire.
Official release
1.0.0 A fully charged arrow now consistently deals 9 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHalf Heart.svg) damage, with a rare chance of dealing 10 (Heart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svgHeart.svg).
Bows have a durability.
Bows do not need arrows for ammo in Creative mode.
The bow could be enchanted via console commands, but no enchantment would affect it.
1.1 Bows can now be legitimately enchanted. Four enchantments were added: Flame, Punch, Power and Infinity.
1.2.1 12w06a Skeletons have a 2.5% chance of dropping a bow. One fifth of the time, this bow will be enchanted with Power I (20%).
1.4.6 12w50a Bows can now be enchanted with Unbreaking using an anvil and an appropriately enchanted book.
1.4.6-pre When a player hits another player from far away with a bow it makes a high pitched "dinging" sound.
1.7.2 Bows can be obtained as a "treasure" item from fishing.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.3.3 Added bows.
0.8.0 build 2 New bow rendering.
Console Edition
TU1 Added bows.
TU5 Bow behavior is overhauled; they now need to be charged to fire.
Pi Edition
0.1.1 Added bows.


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


  • Arrows seem to mostly fly slightly to the right of where the player is aiming; this may be because the crosshair is slightly off-centered upwards and to the left by one pixel in the .png it is drawn in, although not enough to affect aim. This can be fixed in a resource pack.
  • Riding a minecart and charging a bow use the same arm animations.
  • If you enchant a bow with a level 1 enchantment, it will always get Power I.
  • The bow is held slightly different to other tools.