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For other uses, see Bow (disambiguation).
For the ranged weapon of a similar name, see Crossbow.
Bow JE2 BE1.pngBow (Pull 0) JE1 BE1.pngBow (Pull 1) JE1 BE1.pngBow (Pull 2) JE1 BE1.png
Rarity color








A bow is a ranged weapon that fires arrows.


Skeletons and Strays[edit]

Skeletons and strays have an 8.5% chance of dropping a normal or enchanted 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 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.svg
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 trade, and expert-level fletcher villagers sell enchanted bows for 8‌[Bedrock Edition only] or 17–22‌[Java Edition only] emeralds as part of their trade.

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 enchantment table, including treasure enchantments like Mending.


Ingredients Crafting recipe
Stick +


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.pngAlex aiming with Bow.png

Bows can be drawn back by using it. In order to use a bow, the player must have at least one arrow in their inventory or be in Creative mode. 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. The arrow that is shown inside the bow always looks like a regular arrow, regardless of what kind of arrow is actually being fired 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 releases an arrow. A white sparkling effect signifies a full charged shot. The damage can be less than the maximum damage if the arrow slows down after being shot.

If the arrow hits another player, it makes a high-pitched "ding" sound.‌[Java Edition only]

Fully charged shots have a 25% chance to deal extra critical damage.

Charging time Maximum attack damage
0.1 s (no charge) 1♥
0.2–0.9 s (medium charge) 6♥♥♥
1+ s (full charge) 9♥♥♥♥♥
1+ s (critical) 10♥♥♥♥♥

Information above applies if the player or mob has no armor. [needs testing]

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

Endermen cannot be shot using an arrow, because the arrow either disappears as the enderman teleports, or it gets deflected. However, an arrow shot from a bow enchanted with Flame can ignite the enderman.

Crafting ingredient[edit]

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

Enchantments on the bow do not affect the resulting dispenser.


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

Name Summary Max Level
Power Increases the damage by (25 * (level + 1))%. V
Punch Increases the knockback (+3 blocks per level) applied by the bow. II
Flame Ignites arrow, dealing Fire damage.

In addition to damaging mobs, a flaming arrow can be used to ignite TNT and light a Campfire from a distance.

Infinity[n 1] Prevents the bow from consuming arrows when fired. 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.

Tipped arrows and spectral arrows are consumed even with Infinity.

Unbreaking Unbreaking causes a(100/(Level+1))% chance a shot fired reduces the durability of the bow. III
Mending[n 1] Allows a certain proportion of XP orbs collected to contribute toward repairing the bow, rather than raising the player's experience. I
Curse of Vanishing Causes the bow to disappear instead of dropping on the ground when the player dies. The keepInventory gamerule overrides this. 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 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 slow down if shot through water, reducing their damage significantly.

Arrows that hit solid blocks 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/illusioner.

Arrows shot through lava ignite, similar to the Flame enchantment. The arrow likewise ignites any entities it hits. If not extinguished, the fire damage can be up to 4♥♥. Although they cannot spawn naturally with bows, if a wither skeleton holds a bow it also shoots flaming arrows.

Arrows from bows can trigger wooden pressure plates, target blocks, and wooden buttons, as well as tripwire. However, they cannot trigger stone pressure plates or stone buttons.

The player can choose the type of arrow to fire 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.


SoundSubtitleSourceDescriptionNamespaced IDTranslation keyVolumePitchAttenuation
Arrow fired??entity.arrow.shootsubtitles.entity.arrow.shoot??16
Item breaks?When durability is exhaustedentity.item.breaksubtitles.entity.item.break1.00.916

Data values[edit]


Java Edition:

NameNamespaced IDTranslation key
Bowbow item.minecraft.bow

Bedrock Edition:

NameNamespaced IDNumeric ID Translation key


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Gamerscore earned Trophy type (PS)
Sniper DuelKill a Skeleton with an arrow from more than 50 meters.Use a launched arrow to kill a skeleton, 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 block.15GBronze


Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Namespaced ID


Take Aim
Shoot something with an arrowMonster HunterUsing a bow or a crossbow, shoot an entity with an arrow, tipped arrow, or spectral arrow.adventure/shoot_arrow


Sniper Duel
Kill a Skeleton from at least 50 meters awayTake AimKill a skeleton with a projectile while being at least 50 blocks away horizontally.adventure/sniper_duel


Hit the bullseye of a Target block from at least 30 meters awayTake AimBe at least 30 blocks away when the center of a target is shot with a projectile horizontally 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
0.3120100111-1Bow JE1.png Added bow texture to items.png.
20100122Bow JE2 BE1.png 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.
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.[2]
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 appropriately 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.
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.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.3.3 Bow JE2 BE1.png Added bows.
0.8.0build 2 Bow BE2.png The texture of bows has been changed.
0.11.0build 1Bows can now be obtained as a "treasure" item from fishing.
0.12.1build 1Fully charged bows now cause particles.
Bows can now be enchanted.
Bows obtained by fishing can now be caught enchanted.
0.15.0build 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
1.8.0beta in the hotbar now show an arrow when being drawn.
1.10.0beta Bow JE2 BE1.png 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.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU1 1.0 Patch 1 Bow JE2 BE1.png 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.


  • If a bow is enchanted with a level 1 enchantment, it always gets Power 1.
  • Bows are the first ranged weapon in Minecraft.
  • Bows with its enchantments are effective against single targets, while the Crossbow enchantments affect multiple targets.
  • Bows were intentionally left unchanged in the Texture Update as to appear to be made of a different wood type from crossbows.[3]
  • Dinnerbone got the idea for the high-pitched "ding" sound from playing on a former PvP server called Project Ares.[4][5]