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How to Aim a Bow in Dark Souls 3 (Easy Guide)

How to Aim a Bow in Dark Souls 3 (Easy Guide)

Dark Souls 3 presents tons of options when it comes to playstyle. This means that there are plentiful ways to enjoy getting killed by the in-game bosses. While melee is generally preferred in Dark Souls 3, ranged characters are not that bad either. 

In hindsight, ranged characters are generally better in most scenarios. Therefore, if your affinity lies more in line with archery, then make sure to try it. There is nothing to lose and it can be a highly enjoyable experience even if you are missing most of your shots. 

Speaking of hitting your shots, aiming with a bow can be tough in Dark Souls 3. There are a lot of moving elements in a battle and predicting your enemy’s movements with pinpoint accuracy can be hard without using the manual aiming mechanic. 

To aim a bow in Dark Souls 3, you need to press LB for the crosshair mode and use the analog stick to move the target. After that, hold the RB button and release it whenever you want. The shot will go out as soon as the pulling animation is over.

It can be tough to understand the nitty-gritty of the bow actions. Therefore, this guide will help you by showing the step-by-step process in an easy-to-understand way.  

How To Use Bows In Dark Souls 3

A ranger is the only true “ranged” class in Dark Souls 3. The bow is the main weapon of a ranger that lets you control your aim. While the lock-on system is well-made, it does not provide nearly as much control as the manual aiming system. 

How to Aim a Bow

To aim a bow, a player must do the following:

  • Equip a bow and press the weak attack button. Alternatively, you can equip a bow in both hands for better aiming and precision.
  • You can either lock onto an enemy or press the fire button. For manual control, enter a first-person aiming mode by pressing one of the following buttons:
    • L1
    • LB
    • Left-Shift
  • Now, hold the RB button and release it at the most opportune time. 

You are not allowed to quickfire in aiming mode. Therefore, the bow will only fire as soon as the stretching animation has been completed. 

Aiming Mode: Perks & Limitations

You can move around freely in aiming mode. However, your movement speed will be significantly reduced. Rolling works in this mode but you will be unable to fire while acting. You can hit specific ‘weak areas’ on an enemy’s body by using manual aiming mode. 

Related: 8 Fastest Weapons in Dark Souls 3

With that said, you can zoom in and out by pressing the Up and Down buttons on the directional pad. If you are a PC player, simply press the arrow keys to replicate this action. You will have complete control over the arrow, but it will be much harder to hit the enemy.

Basic Workings of a Bow in Dark Souls 3 

A bow needs ammunition to function. The main ammo for a bow is, as guessed, the arrows. There are different kinds of arrows available in Dark Souls 3. Depending on the type of arrows used, your damage can be buffed to a certain degree. 

What Types Of Bows Are In Dark Souls 3?

In Dark Souls 3, there are a total of three categories of Bows. Every category comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, it is recommended to choose according to the task at hand. 

Short Bows

As the name suggests. Short bows are the smallest bows in Dark Souls 3. They can shoot faster in comparison to bigger bows. While this takes away some of the damage potential, it is still great against fighting hordes. They can also be used against slow attacking bosses to melt their HP bars. 

Long Bows

Long bows are generally better in medium to long-range combat. Their damage numbers are adequate, but they have a slower firing rate as a result. Their draw timing is greater, therefore, they are generally not recommended in PvE. This is because it is really easy to get hit while drawing a long bow.

Great Bows

These weapons are the strongest bows in Dark Souls 3. However, their enormous drawing time makes them inadequate for fighting against numbers. They are brilliant in sniping monsters, but fast paces fights are not their thing, The single-shot damage is still nothing to scoff at and a great bow can potentially kill most mobs with a single hit. 

All Bow Weapons in Dark Souls 3

There are a total of seven bow-based weapons. Each weapon comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. They can be generally categorized in the following table:

StatsBlack Bow of PharisComposite BowDarkmoon BowDragonslayer BowGough’s GreatbowLongbowShort Bow
Shot Range65385050555050
Physical Damage34558590853631
Magic Damage85
Fire Damage
Lightning Damage
Critical100100100100100100100
StrengthECECBDD
DexteritySCDCCAA
Intelligence
FaithD
Durability100100100100100100400
Weight1.01.010.013.01.00.51.0

The Short Bow, Composite Bow, and the Darkmoon Bow belong to the Short Bows category while the Longbow and the Black Bow of Pharis are Long Bows. The Great Bows include the Dragonslayer Greatbow and Gough’s Greatbow.


Ultimately, your goal should be to tinker around with the controls and learn how to aim bows properly. You can also deal a Limbshot by hitting your opponent’s arm or leg for bonus damage. Bows are a great way to progress in Dark Souls 3. Therefore, keep the hustle going O’ Ashen one.