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Horizon Wiki

The bow is a simple but dependable ranged weapon used by humans, capable of using different kinds of shafts at varying ranges.


The bow was used by the Old Ones for many thousands of years for warfare, hunting, or recreation. Its usage in warfare was reduced and then made obsolete as more powerful weapons such as guns and gunpowder became widespread. In the 20th century, its primary usage was in sports and recreational hunting. After the Faro Plague wiped out all organic life, it reemerged with the reseeding of humanity to become the most common and reliable ranged weapon used by the tribes, be it for hunting animals, bringing down machines, or waging war.

Bows are thought to have originated in Africa sometime between the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic eras, and their use extended to all inhabited continents save Australia. After the Faro Plague and the reemergence of humanity, the origin of the bow and arrow is unknown.

The bow is Aloy's primary choice of ranged weapon (her melee weapon being her spear), wielding one since childhood when she was given one by Rost. She demonstrates incredible proficiency in archery.


Bows in Horizon Zero Dawn seem to follow either recurve or compound bow patterns, depending on the power and purpose of the weapon. Each bow is also decorated differently according to the tribe that made it.

Types of Bows

Bows come in all shapes and sizes, all having different ranges and handling, and requiring different kinds of ammunition. Basic bows are starter weapons, with Shadow bows being the rarest and (typically) the best quality.

Hunter Bow

These reliable bows are good at short to medium range with short reload and drawback times. Versatile and good for general combat.

War Bow

These bows do less damage but deliver elemental attacks like Shock or Freeze, making the target more vulnerable to follow-up attacks. Best used in conjunction with other weapons.

  • (Basic) War Bow
  • Carja War Bow
  • Shadow War Bow
  • Adept War Bow NG+
  • Lodge War Bow
  • Adept Lodge War Bow NG+
  • Banuk Champion Bow FW
  • Adept Champion Bow FW NG+

Sharpshot Bow

These bows have a low fire rate but high damage with long range and high accuracy. Good for sniping or shooting off machine components.

  • (Basic) Sharpshot Bow
  • Carja Sharpshot Bow
  • Shadow Sharpshot Bow
  • Adept Sharpshot Bow NG+
  • Banuk Powershot Bow FW
  • Adept Powershot Bow FW NG+

Ammunition Types

All bows use arrows, but the type varies by bow type.


  • In the original gameplay trailer, Aloy could use Explosive arrows, however these were omitted from the final game. However, some NPCs can be seen using Explosive Arrows.
  • When equipping any bow, Aloy will have the arrow quiver on her right waist; this deviates from popular portrayal of bow-wielders who have their quivers attached on the back.
  • Beside the three types of bows accessible to the player, there is a type of bow that remains exclusive to NPCs. This bow is large in comparison to other types of bow and are carried around with two hands in a similar fashion to a war hammer. NPCs who are about to fire with this bow will thrust the bottom edge to the ground before drawing the string. Shots fired with these bows are powerful and often fatal on higher difficulties.
    • Said bows are carried by Bandit Brutes and their elite variant, but other NPCs such as Dran can also be seen carrying one.
Ranged Weapons Blast Sling - ForgefireFW - Hunter Bow - IcerailFW - Rattler - Ropecaster - Sharpshot Bow - Sling - StormslingerFW - Tearblaster - War Bow
Melee Weapons Spear - Sylens' Lance
Stealth Weapons Traps - Tripcaster
Heavy Weapons Deathbringer Gun - Disc Launcher - Firespitter - Firestriker - Mine LauncherFW - Oseram Cannon - Ravager Cannon