Elden Ring is a difficult game. That’s really not too surprising considering Elden Ring is from the same people who gave the world Dark Souls, as well as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Anyone who’s played a game in the Souls series knows how difficult they can be.


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Bows are generally not the best weapon in games like Elden Ring, since there is more of a focus on melee combat. Bows are slow, it’s easy to miss, they require ammunition, and their damage generally leaves a lot to be desired. To add to this list of negatives, in Elden Ring, many bows are not compatible with the Ashes of War; which upgrade equipment. That being stated, these weapons have their uses, and players will come across situations where a bow is the most efficient weapon for dispatching enemies. What are the best bows in Elden Ring?

Updated on February 3, 2024, by Jeff Drake: Using an archer build in Elden Ring requires a lot of patience and determination. The reason is that bows are a little underpowered, causing players to use a kiting tactic with most enemies. If a player wants to make it to the end with a character that uses a ranged weapon as their main weapon, it’s important to use the best bow available. In the time since the game’s debut, new bows have been discovered and highlighted in Elden Ring. In an effort to make this list a bit more comprehensive, additional bows have been added in this update.

23 Light Crossbow

The Light Crossbow Inflicts A Fair Amount Of Damage And Has A Good Range

Crossbow_Best Bows in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Kick
  • Can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant in Weeping Peninsula for 1500 Runes.

The Light Crossbow gives players the ability to deliver as much damage as the Shortbow but at a much longer range. The drawback of the Light Crossbow, with all Crossbow-type weapons in fact, is the Weapon Skill. The Kick skill is only useful in very specific circumstances.

The Light Crossbow is also a more stable weapon than the various classes of bows. Unfortunately, this doesn’t negate the fact that all longbows have better damage and range than this weapon. Archer builds will want to replace this with a better weapon as soon as possible, but it’s not a bad weapon overall.

22 Arbalest

A Larger Heavy Crossbow With Better Damage Potential

Elden Ring Arbalest

  • Weapon Skill: Kick
  • Can be found on a rampart in Stormveil Castle.

The Arbalest has a few aspects that some players might want to exploit. The first is that the Arbalest has relatively low Dexterity requirements. This allows more character builds to make use of this weapon as their preferred distance weapon. This weapon also reloads faster than one would expect from an oversized Heavy Crossbow.

This does more damage per shot than any of the other crossbows. The Pulley Crossbow does more damage per pull of the trigger, but at the cost of depleting ammunition faster.

21 Heavy Crossbow

A Bigger, Heavier, Version Of The Crossbow

Heavy Crossbow_Best Bows in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Kick
  • Can be dropped from any of the Soldier enemy types.

This is a great crossbow to use until the Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow, Full Moon Crossbow, or Pulley Crossbow are found. The Heavy Crossbow does significantly more damage than the standard Crossbow; however, the Strength and Dexterity requirements are only slightly higher.

This does more damage per shot than all other crossbows except the Arbalest and Pulley Crossbow, and the latter only does one point of damage more per shot. The Heavy Crossbow is also very stable when used on horseback.

20 Shortbow

A Quick Weapon That Allows For Jump-Shots

Using a shortbow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Barrage
  • Can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant near the Coastal Cave location for 600 Runes.

It really is a toss-up as to which bow is better for a starting player: the Shortbow or the Longbow. The latter offers higher damage and a moderately better weapon skill. Conversely, the Shortbow gives the user a faster rate of fire and has far lower stat requirements, Strength (8) Dexterity (10), than the Longbow.

Shortbows are capable of being infused with the Ashes of War for customization purposes, and their shortened range can be improved with support items. Finding a Shortbow is easy; it is part of the Bandit class starting gear, and it can be purchased for a reasonable price. Shortbows can also be dropped by the Marionette Soldiers encountered in Liurnia of the Lakes, among many other places.

19 Longbow

Better Range And Damage Than The Shortbow

A samurai using a longbow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Mighty Shot
  • Can be purchased from the Twin Maiden Husks at Roundtable Hold for 1200 Runes.

The standard Longbow is a great choice for a player if they’re just starting the game and want to decide if they want to try and bother with archery, or just focus on a pure melee build. This gives a good balance of damage, rate-of-fire, range, skill requirements, and scaling. Its weapon skill is Mighty Shot.

This versatile bow can be infused with the Ashes of War. That said, players should not bother buying this bow unless they really want one since the skeletal archers found in the catacombs and dungeons have a chance of dropping a Longbow. Use the Longbow to pick off unsuspecting enemies, but switch to the Shortbow when fighting groups.

18 Golem Greatbow

Slow To Fire, But Inflicts Tremendous Damage

The Golem Greatbow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Through and Through
  • Can be dropped by some enemies at Limgrave Tower Bridge, near the Colosseum in Caelid, and around Castle Morne.

The Golem Greatbow is a greatbow (obviously), so it’s going to fire noticeably slower than most of the other bows on this list. It also weighs more than most of the other best bows in Elden Ring. What this bow does have going for it is that it delivers a massive amount of damage per shot (130), for a bow anyway.

This bow is not that hard to find if the player knows where to look. The best farming location for the Golem Bow is in Caelid; golems can be encountered on the path leading to the Coliseum. The Limgrave Tower Bridge is also a great farming location, especially for new players.

17 Albinauric Bow

An Upgraded Longbow With Low Requirments

The Albinauric Bow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Mighty Shot
  • Can be dropped by some enemies southwest of Ordina, and north of the Inner Consecrated Snowfield.

This is a great all-around bow. It does slightly more damage (82) than the standard Longbow. The bow’s Mighty Shot skill increases the range and damage per shot; this really helps the player conserve their arrows while maintaining a safe distance. The Albinauric Bow can be found fairly early in the game and has reasonable Strength (7) and Dexterity (18) requirements.


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The main reason this bow is worth mentioning is the fact it can be infused with the Ashes of War. This allows the player to customize their Albinauric Bow to better fit their play style. These bows are carried by Albinauric Wolfback Archers, and there are a couple of good farming locations in the Consecrated Snowfield area.

16 Misbegotten Shortbow

A Shortbow Variant That’s Better At Close Range Than The Standard Shortbow

Fighting a flying Misbegotten in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Barrage
  • Can be dropped by the flying Misbegotten creatures at Weeping Peninsula.

It can be difficult to run a pure archer. In other words, at some point, an archer is going to have to switch to melee weapons or run away. This is the problem with archery builds, the Dexterity required to use most bows requires a sacrifice to other stats – like Endurance and Strength. The Misbegotten Bow has a very low Dexterity requirement of eight. It also does a bit more damage (68) than the standard Shortbow (65), but it also has a slightly shorter range.

Thankfully, that drawback can be negated with the Arrow’s Reach Talisman. Best of all, this weapon can be infused with the Ashes of War. The best place to farm for this is in Castle Morne; it can be dropped by the flying Misbegotten.

15 Serpent Bow

A Longbow Variant That Inflicts Stacking Poison Damage

The Serpent Bow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Mighty Shot
  • Can be found in the Abandoned Cave near a pool.

This is not only an excellent bow, but it’s possibly the most stylish bow in Elden Ring. The bow resembles two snakes wrapped around each other. The Serpent Bow has some properties that are unique among the bows – at least the ones found so far. Its primary ability is to add 15 poison damage build-up to every arrow.

The poison damage is great for causing continuous damage to stronger foes while the player evades their attacks and gets ready for another attack. This bow scales with Dexterity and cannot be infused with the Ashes of War.

14 Erdtree Bow

A Good All-Around Greatbow Suited For A Faith Build

The axe-shaped Erdtree Bow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Mighty Shot
  • Found in a chest on the second story of the Erdtree Sanctuary building in Leyndell.

This is probably the best bow for a Faith build. That being stated, it would be nicer if this bow scaled with Faith a little better. The Erdtree Bow splits its damage between Physical (40) and Holy damage (50). This damage split can be good or bad depending on the target; however, the Erdtree Bow’s total damage is higher than most of the other bows in the same class.

This bow has the Mighty Shot ability, and cannot be infused with the Ashes of War. The Erdtree Bow can be found on the second floor of the Erdtree Sanctuary in Leyndell.

13 Black Bow

A Longbow That Allows Jump-Shots

The Black Bow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Barrage
  • Can be found on a corpse on a rooftop in Leyndell. The rooftop is near the lift to the Lower Levels.

The Black Bow is a great choice due to it staying viable throughout the game. This bow operates as a light bow but does the damage of a longbow. This allows the player to perform actions like jump-firing – firing an arrow during a jump and then firing another upon landing.


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Since the Black Bow acts as a light bow it also has the Barrage ability instead of Mighty Shot. Barrage is generally better, as it does more damage than Mighty Shot (in general). Like most bows, the Black Bow cannot be infused with the Ashes of War. Many players consider this to be the best bow in the game, and it’s easy to see why.

12 Horn Bow

A High-Damage Longbow That Can Be Infused

The Horn Bow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Mighty Shot
  • Can be found on a corpse under a stairway in the Siofra River Bank Site of Grace location.

This bow has quickly become a favorite among players. For starters, this is one of the few bows that can be infused with the Ashes of War. This makes the Horn Bow more versatile than most of the other bows on this list. The Horn Bow also does more base damage than any of the other longbows.

The Horn Bow splits its damage between Physical (65) and Magic (30) damage. Like the Erdtree Bow, this can be good or bad depending on the target. The Horn Bow, using the Rain of Arrows infusion and Dwelling arrows, can inflict significant damage on a group of enemies.

11 Full Moon Crossbow

A Crossbow That Scales With Intelligence

The Full Moon Crossbow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Kick
  • Located in a bell tower at Raya Lucaria Academy.

The Full Moon Crossbow is a great option for a spellcaster in need of a ranged weapon; not that spellcasters are in need of such things. This bow scales with Intelligence, and cannot be infused with Ashes of War; though, the best feature of the Full Moon Crossbow is its ability to enhance magic bolts.

Another, undocumented, bonus to using this crossbow is that it helps the player save their Focus Points (FP) until they’re really needed. This weapon allows for very effective and versatile builds; despite the in-game description labeling this crossbow “unique,” it can be dual-wielded. The only real drawback to the Full Moon Bow is that it has the Kick ability.

10 Lion Greatbow

A Greatbow With A Unique Weapon Skill

Using the Lion Greatbow's weapon skill in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Radahn’s Rain
  • Can be obtained from Enia (Roundtable Hold) by giving her the Remembrance of the Starscourge.

Excluding the ballistae class weapons, this greatbow does more base damage (120) than all the bow weapons except the Greatbow and Golem Greatbow. The Lion Greatbow also has fantastic range, which is an important factor to consider in Elden Ring.

Most bow weapons have one of three skills. The Lion Greatbow has a unique weapon skill – Radahn’s Rain. This ability allows the player to fire an arrow into the sky and have a rain of arrows come down around their character. However, this ability takes too long to perform and leaves the player vulnerable to attack. Radahn’s Rain does at least enough damage to kill, or significantly wound, many of the lesser enemies.

9 Erdtree Greatbow

A Greatbow That Inflicts Holy Damage

Finding the Erdtree Shortbow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Through and Through
  • Obtained after defeating the Chariot at Fringefolk Hero’s Grave.

The secret to obtaining this greatbow is only just now beginning to get out among Elden Ring players. It involves using a bow to drop large pots on the moving chariot trap in the Tomb of Knowledge. The Erdtree Greatbow stands out among the bows by splitting its damage between physical damage (60) and Holy damage (65). As a greatbow, this weapon also has excellent range.

The Holy damage can be a double-edged sword; as some enemies are resistant to this type of damage. Another drawback to using the Erdtree Greatbow is that Ashes of War upgrades are not compatible.

8 Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow

A Crossbow Variant With Better Range

Locating Crepus' Black-key Crossbow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Kick
  • Can be found in a room with an Imp Statue door in Roundtable Hold.

Crossbows need a little work in Elden Ring. They’re certainly better than they were in the Dark Souls games, but they still need a little balancing. The deal with crossbows in games, traditionally, is they offer a trade-off to players; they are slower to reload but more accurate and damaging than bows. In Elden Ring, crossbows do quite a bit less damage than bows – even many light bows have higher damage ratings.


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The Crepus’ Black-key Crossbow has the best range of the crossbows in Elden Ring. This will let the player snipe from a little further away. This weapon cannot be upgraded with Ashes of War.

7 Composite Bow

A Shortbow That Can Be Infused

Looking at the Composite Bow in the inventory in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Mighty Shot
  • Can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant near Bellum Church for 3,500 Runes.

The Composite Bow is becoming a favorite among players. It doesn’t do a lot of damage (65); however, it can be fired fairly quickly. This bow can be obtained early into a game from a merchant near Bellum Church in Liurnia of the Lakes. The Composite Bow can be infused with Ashes of War.

This weapon has the Mighty Shot weapon skill. The Mighty Shot skill does a lot more damage than a standard shot but requires the player to draw the bow back fully before firing. This is the only light bow with the Mighty Shot skill. Since the Composite Bow is faster than most other bows, it allows the player to fire Mighty Shots faster than the larger bows that typically get this skill.

6 Red Branch Shortbow

A Composite Bow With The Barrage Skill And The Ability To Be Infused

Using the Red Branch Shortbow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Barrage
  • Can be dropped by Pages in the Leyndell Royal Capital, Tombsward Ruins, and Royal Moongazing Ground locations.

In terms of base stats, the Red Branch Shortbow and the Composite Bow are identical. They both deal the same amount of damage (65), they both have the same range (29), and they both have the same Strength and Dexterity scaling. The only major difference between the two is their weapon skills.

Instead of getting Mighty Shot, like the Composite Bow, the Red Branch Shortbow has the Barrage skill. This skill allows a weapon to fire much faster than normal. In general, this skill isn’t as desirable as Mighty Shot, although Barrage does have one advantage. A barrage of arrows has a much better chance of inflicting a status ailment on an enemy than a single shot.

5 Greatbow

The Standard Greatbow Scales With Stats Better Than Most Bows

Finding the Greatbow in a chest in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Through and Through
  • Can be found in a chest at Highway Lookout Tower in Altas Plateau. Can be dropped from Redmane Knights at Fort Gael, and Leyndell Knights at Atlas Plateau.

Many players use ranged weapons in Elden Ring to weaken enemies a little before switching to a melee option to kill the target. With the Greatbow, a player often doesn’t need to resort to melee at all. The Greatbow does a tremendous amount of damage (125) per shot, and it has an outstanding range. In fact, the Greatbow’s damage is comparable to the heavier melee weapons; which it compensates for by weighing less than most of the other greatbows. The Strength scaling for the Greatbow is also slightly better than most other bows.

The Greatbow has the Through and Through skill, which gives arrows the ability to penetrate and hit enemies behind the target. Enemies have a tendency to pursue the player character in a single-file line. It’s also not difficult to find narrow areas through which a player can make the enemies pass.

4 Pulley Bow

Great Damage Combined With Superior Range

A top-down view of a character holding the Pulley Bow in Elden Ring

  • Weapon Skill: Mighty Shot
  • Can be found on a corpse in a siege tower near Gelmir Hero’s Grave.

The Pulley Bow is arguably the best bow in Elden Ring, at least so far. This weapon has the best range (55) of the bows or crossbows currently available in Elden Ring. Having a long range is perhaps the most important attribute of this type of weapon. A longer range allows for not only more shots before an enemy can close the distance to the tarnished, but it also lets the player pick off enemies without alerting any other enemies lurking nearby.


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This bow inflicts a lot of damage (77) for a non-greatbow. Mighty Shot is this weapon’s skill, and it works well with the Pulley Bow’s extended range. This weapon can be improved with Ashes of War.


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