Hand crossbow

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Version 0.19: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Name Hand crossbow
Skill Crossbows
Damage 12
Accuracy +5
Base delay (%) 1.5
Min delay 1.0 at 10 skill
Hands 1H
Size Small
Ranged? Yes
A compact piece of machinery, used for firing bolts. It takes some time to load and fire.

The hand crossbow is the smallest weapon in the Crossbows family. Unlike its larger cousins it can be operated with only one hand, allowing for the use of a shield, but it's still a cumbersome weapon in its own right. Its mindelay cannot be brought any lower than 1.0 no matter how high your Crossbows skill becomes. Regardless, it's still a potent weapon, dealing significantly more damage than shortbows or hunting slings in the early game, even if you're shooting much slower.

If you're willing to train your Crossbows skill up to 18, you may wish to upgrade to an arbalest for a very significant boost in damage output. However, doing so will require you to abandon use of a shield in your offhand (unless you are playing as a formicid).

Mundane Hand crossbow.png
Magical Hand crossbow2.png
Artifact Hand crossbow3.png


In 0.15, hand crossbows (as well as arbalests and triple crossbows) were introduced, replacing the standard crossbow.

In very old versions of DCSS, the hand crossbow was a one-handed ranged weapon which fired darts.

Axes BattleaxeBroad axeExecutioner's axeHand axeWar axe
Bows Shortbow (Arrow) • Longbow (Arrow)
Crossbows Arbalest (Bolt) • Hand crossbow (Bolt) • Triple crossbow (Bolt)
Maces & Flails ClubDemon whipDire flailEveningstarFlailGiant clubGiant spiked clubGreat maceMaceMorningstarSacred scourgeWhip
Long Blades Demon bladeDouble swordEudemon bladeFalchionGreat swordLong swordScimitarTriple sword
Polearms BardicheDemon tridentGlaiveHalberdScytheSpearTridentTrishula
Short Blades DaggerQuick bladeRapierShort sword
Slings Fustibalus (Sling bullet, Stone) • Hunting sling (Sling bullet, Stone)
Staves LajatangMagical staffQuarterstaff
Throwing Blowgun (Needle) • JavelinLarge rockStoneThrowing netTomahawk