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. It's 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.

  • (Basic) Hunter Bow
  • Carja Hunter Bow
  • Shadow Hunter Bow

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
  • Lodge War Bow

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
  • Banuk Sharpshot Bow FW

Ammunition Types

Different bows fire different kinds of arrows according to their purpose. War Bows, for example, do elemental damage, which usually means lower initial damage but more damage over time, as well as certain debuffs. Hunter and Sharpshot Bows do instant damage, also called Impact, although Sharpshots do more damage and are better for removing machine components.

Ammunition can be purchased or crafted from harvested components, even in the middle of a battle.

War Bow

  • Shock Arrows: Delivers a powerful electric charge that can stun a target. Very effective against machines with Shock Canisters or shock vulnerability, like the Stalker.
  • Freeze Arrows: Can freeze a target solid, slowing them down significantly and making them more susceptible to impact damage. Very effective against machines with Freeze Canisters or freeze vulnerability, like the Ravager.
  • Corruption Arrows: Does no damage but high Corruption on impact, turning machines against each other.
    • This corruption turns machine lights green and, while the effect lasts, makes them hostile to everything, including Aloy, unlike Override which makes them fight for you.

Hunter Bow

  • Hunter Arrows: Most basic and cheapest arrow, but good for regular use. Does low impact and low tear damage.
  • Hardpoint Arrows: Upgrade from Hunter Arrows, doing medium impact and higher tear damage, making them better for tougher targets or for removing components.
  • Fire Arrows. Does some initial damage and can light the target on fire. Very effective against machines with Blaze Canisters or fire vulnerability, like the Sawtooth.

Sharpshot Bow

  • Precision Arrows: These deal high impact damage and medium tear, making them the best for sniping.
  • Harvest Arrows: Does low Impact damage but moderate Tear damage, making it good for severing parts. Their main effect is that severed parts will provide additional resources.
  • Tearblast Arrows: Does no Impact damage but very high Tear damage using a blast of compressed air. Guaranteed to remove armor and components.


  • In the original gameplay trailer, Aloy could use Explosive arrows, however these were omitted from the final game.
Ranged Weapons Hunter Bow - War Bow - Sharpshot Bow - Sling - Carja Sling - Shadow Sling - Blast Sling - Ropecaster - Rattler - Tearblaster - Icerail FW - Forgefire FW - Stormslinger FW
Melee Weapons Spear - Sylens' Lance
Stealth Weapons Traps - Tripcaster
Heavy Weapons Deathbringer Gun - Disc Launcher - Firespitter - Firestriker - Mine Launcher FW - Oseram Cannon - Ravager Cannon

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