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Crossbow Expert 5E Feat [Maximize Your Efficiency With Crossbows]

Crossbow Expert 5E Feat
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 10/29/2023
Est. Reading: 12 minutes

Crossbow Expert 5E is the term you’ve probably seen tossed around in countless D&D threads if you’re a novice bowman or an experienced gamer looking to up your game.

Understanding what this versatile feature offers can shift your combat strategy to a new level. Today, we’re going to take a comprehensive look at Crossbow Expert 5E and unveil everything it has in store for you.

Before we swing into action with how you can master this fantastic feature, let’s piece together what it actually is and why it’s become such a hot topic among Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts.

So whether you’re itching to optimize your archer or just curious about the hype, buckle up because we’re about to take a deep dive into the nitty-gritty of Crossbow Expert 5E.

What is Crossbow Expert 5E?

Crossbow Expert 5E is a powerful feat in the action-packed game of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).

What is Crossbow Expert 5E?

This feat allows your character to use a crossbow more efficiently and effectively, bringing a game-changing edge to your combat encounters.

Upon selecting this feature, you’re no longer hindered by the loading quality of crossbows. You can also ignore any attack disadvantages even when a foe comes dangerously close.

As if that’s not enough, you get an additional bonus action to attack with a hand crossbow once you use the Attack action during your turn. So, it’s not an exaggeration to say this feat turns your character into a walking artillery unit.

What Does Crossbow Expert Do in 5E?

Crossbow Expert 5E functions as a power booster to your character’s crossbow abilities. It turns your character into a formidable opponent on the battlefield by offering three significant benefits. Let’s dig into these details and get a clear picture of how this feature enhances your gameplay.

Ignore the loading quality of crossbows

The first thing that Crossbow Expert 5E does is to snub the loading property of your crossbows completely. Normally, weapons with the loading property in D&D can only be fired once per action, bonus action, or reaction because it takes significant time to load them. But thanks to Crossbow Expert 5E, you are no longer subject to this restriction.

Your hands suddenly become rapid-fire machines, allowing you to take multiple shots in quick succession without having to worry about reloading.

Your attack speed elevates drastically, and so does your damage output during combat sessions. Any ranged weapon, which normally would take time to reload and reposition, now works as fast as you can pull that trigger!

This ability facilitates not just explosive starts but also allows you to maintain an impressive pace throughout the skirmish, making it possible for you to dominate every round.

Ignore attack disadvantage for close-range ranged attacks

The second massive advantage provided by Crossbow Expert 5E is that it shuns the common rule where you have a disadvantage on a ranged attack roll when an enemy is within 5 feet of you.

This usually plays out when enemies come too close for comfort – they invade your personal space and interfere with making precise ranged attacks.

With Crossbow Expert onboard, no matter how close your adversary creeps, your aim remains steady and true. Your capability doesn’t mitigate under pressure, nor do foes’ strategies intimidate or hinder your performance.

Typically, in D&D, when an enemy closes on an archer, they force them onto their back foot. But not you! Whether the enemy is near or far, your marksmanship doesn’t falter, giving you versatility and adaptability on the battlefield.

Bonus action attack

The cherry on top of this fantastic feat is the bonus action attack. Here’s how it works: when you take the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, Crossbow Expert allows you to use a bonus action to fire a hand crossbow if you’re holding one.

This feature essentially gives you an additional chance to deal damage every turn, increasing your overall offensive strength. The ability to sneak in an extra shot can be a game-changer in close contests, often making the difference between victory and defeat.

Your foes are always just one critical hit away from being eradicated. One can even argue that this aspect alone makes taking up this feat worth it – such is its potency!

Crossbow Expert 5E empowers your character with supreme skills that would make even the expert archers green with envy. From ignoring loading times and maintaining close-quarters combat accuracy to providing extra attacks – it certainly packs a punch! As you master these facets, you emerge as a formidable force on any battlefield.

Also Read: Sharpshooter 5E Feat Explained [Improve Your Ranged Attacks]

Tips for Using the Crossbow Expert Feature in 5e Effectively

Trailblazing your way through the mystical world of Dungeons & Dragons can be a daunting task, but fret not. With the Crossbow Expert feature in 5E, you can significantly ramp up your offensive strategies.

Pair it with Sharpshooter

The Crossbow Expert feat becomes truly formidable when paired with the Sharpshooter feat. Sharpshooter entitles you to a significant damage boost on your attacks, enhancing your prowess in ranged combat.

It allows you to take a -5 penalty to hit for a hefty +10 bonus to damage. This mighty combo, mixed with the Combat Expert’s ability to ignore cover, grants you more hits and immensely escalates your crossbow damage rolls.

While this pair primarily requires a hefty investment of two feats, their collective impact provides impressive offense prowess that is well worth it.

Get the Archery Fighting Style

You are calling all fighters and ranges! If you want an added advantage on the battlefield while using crossbows, mix it up with the Archery Fighting Style.

The beauty of this fighting style is its effective +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons; as easy as that! The second win here is that added accuracy gains value as you level up and grow into sharper and deadlier crossbow experts.

Then there’s an added synergy element when coupled with the Sharpshooter feat, offsetting the -5 hit penalty, which helps you land bonus damage consistently.

By combining Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter feat, and Archery Fighting Style – You’re not only unleashing a storm of arrows onto enemies but have more accurate shots, thereby making every shot count.

A Look at the Crossbow Expert Rules in D&D 5e

Now that we have a basic understanding of what Crossbow Expert 5E does let’s delve further into some specific rules that govern the use of this feature.

A Look at the Crossbow Expert Rules in D&D 5e

Understanding these details can help you maximize your use of Crossbow Expert 5E, granting you a tactical advantage in various combat scenarios.

Crossbow Expert Enhances Ranged Spell Attacks

Not only does the Crossbow Expert perk make your character more versed with a crossbow, but it also enhances your ranged spell attacks.

Remember the feature that allows you to ignore attack disadvantages when an enemy is within close range? That applies to your ranged spell attacks, too.

By encompassing spellcasting, Crossbow Expert goes beyond being just an archery feat and becomes relevant to magic wielders as well.

Just imagine no more backpedaling or tricky maneuvering to fire off a ranged spell attack. You can stand your ground even when your foes are up close and personal.

The comfort that comes with this game mechanic can free up your tactical choices, allowing you to focus on what spells are best for a given situation rather than worrying about distances.

Ammunition Property Still Needs Free Hand Despite Crossbow Expert

While brandishing the crossbows like a pro adds undeniable flair to your D&D character, it is important to remember certain realities of using this weapon.

Even though the perk allows you to ignore the loading properties of crossbows and gives you an additional bonus attack with a hand crossbow, one of your hands should be free to handle ammunition.

The rule here is simple yet crucial; when using any crossbow, be it light, heavy, or hand, you must have one hand free to load shots between fires.

So, even with all its glorious benefits, Crossbow Expert does not magically replenish ammunition for endless volleys. This rule adds a more realistic touch to the game, where you must consider factors in practicalities like real-time loading while plotting your actions in a combat round.

Every time you enjoy an additional attack or successfully fire at an enemy within proximity, remember that balance is key! Armed with this knowledge of how sheathing and ammunition handling work in conjunction with Crossbow Expert, go forth and redefine the battlefield with your enhanced crossbow skills.

First Attack Allows Any One-Handed Strike

Diving further into the mechanics of Crossbow Expert 5E, it’s worth noting that for your special bonus action attack, the first attack you make on your turn doesn’t necessarily have to be with a crossbow.

The phrasing in the feat is precise in that once you take the Attack action and attack with a one-hand weapon, you can then use a bonus action to attack with a hand crossbow.

This means even if you swing with a sword, punch with your fists, or thrust with a spear as part of your initial attack, as long as it’s only done using one hand, Crossbow Expert 5E lets you follow up with an extra hand crossbow attack.

This flexibility ensures your combat style remains versatile and unpredictable.

All Crossbows Gain Advantages from Crossbow Expert

An important factor that sets Crossbow Expert 5E apart is that it benefits not just one but all types of crossbows. Whether you’re wielding a simple light crossbow or testing the limits of heavy and hand versions, every shot fired will undoubtedly pack more punch thanks to this feat.

When using Crossbow Expert 5E, all restrictions on loading vanish into thin air. Your rate of fire increases dramatically – turning you into an effective damage-dealing machine in any combat scenario.

Being able to remove the loading property from these weapons can transform your game strategy profoundly and provide added variety to tactical encounters.

Net Weapon Works With Crossbow Expert

A lesser-known fact about the Crossbow Expert 5E feat is its efficacy when using a net. Although seemingly strange bedfellows on their faces, when used together effectively, they combine into an offensively strong yet defensively practical choice for battlefield control.

According to rules laid out in D&D 5e core books, throwing a net at close range typically incurs a disadvantage due to it being classified as a ranged attack.

Thanks to the Crossbow Expert feature, you can use a net without any disadvantage, regardless of your target’s proximity. This results in improving your likelihood of restraining opponents with the net, providing a tactical superiority that can dramatically alter the dynamics of combat in your favor.

Read More: War Caster 5E Feat Explained 2024 [How To Use In DnD 5E?]

Discover the Best 5e Classes for Crossbow Expert Usage

Picking the right class in D&D is no small matter – it could significantly influence your gaming experience and your character’s abilities.

Discover the Best 5e Classes for Crossbow Expert Usage

The crossbow expert feat breathes new life into some classes, making them deadly forces on the battlefield. Let’s delve into the best 5e classes for Crossbow Expert usage.


Usually known for their brute force and close combat skills, barbarians might seem like an unusual choice for crossbow users at first glance. However, when twinned with the Crossbow Expert feat, they acquire a unique talent.

The primal path of a berserker can use bonus actions to make melee weapon attacks – this also applies to hand crossbows thanks to Crossbow Expert freeing you from melee limitations.

If you’re thinking of spicing up your gameplay with a less traditional option, nothing beats a barbarian going berserk with a hand crossbow!


Warlocks typically rely on their spells in encounters, but who says they can’t wield a decent weapon? The pact of the blade subclass plays right into the hands of Crossbow Expert usage.

With this pact, you can materialize any weapon – including crossbows! This way, when you engage in combat, you get to cast hexes and Eldritch Blasts before wrapping up with an extra shot from your hand crossbow.

A Warlock with a crossbow becomes an unpredictable powerhouse that damages not only aesthetics but also enemies’ HP pools.


Granted, wizards are acclaimed spellcasters and usually stay far from front-line combat. But have you considered making them more adaptable?

Herein lies the value of choosing Crossbow Expert as your wizarding feat. It transforms this class into flexible fighters while keeping their spellcasting prowess intact.

You can launch ranged attacks without disadvantage, even when faced with adjacent foes! A Wizards’ arsenal gets significantly more potent with Crossbow Expert, making them a versatile choice for any ensemble.


Now, speaking of classes that have an instantaneous synergy with Crossbow Expert, the first one that springs to mind is the Fighter class.

Known for their versatility, fighters already excel in using different weapons – but this feat takes their capabilities to soaring new heights. Coupling this with their Archery Fighting Style turns them into unparalleled masters of hand crossbows.

It’s the bonus action attack offered by Crossbow Expert that makes fighters impactful in every round of combat, hammering enemies turn after turn with numerous attacks. Fighters are the premier choice if you want full-fledged domination over any battlefield.

Better load your crossbow and get ready to rock those epic battles! Your choice of class can dramatically alter the way you use your weapon – so take your time and choose wisely.


Rangers, with their superb tracking skills and survival instincts, make another excellent choice for Crossbow Expert. They have a distinct advantage: most of their combat abilities heavily rely on ranged attacks.

Paired with the Crossbow Expert feat, the Rangers become incredibly efficient at dealing consistent damage. Whether it’s their Hunter’s Mark spell for added damage or their Colossus Slayer feature for extra dice rolls, every shot counts.

A Ranger with Crossbow Expert is not just a scout but also a reliable damage dealer in your party.


Typically known for unarmed strikes and martial experience, Monks might not be your first thought when we talk about crossbows.

Yet, they do bring elements of surprise to the table when combined with the Crossbow Expert 5E feat. The ability to launch additional attacks as bonus actions plays well into the Monk’s “Flurry of Blows.”

Picture this: in a combat situation, you could be landing devastating unarmed strikes one moment and delivering deadly crossbow shots the next. Now, that sounds like an intriguing battle tactic.


Rogues are renowned for being elegant and surprising opponents with unexpected tactics while enjoying a good sneak attack now and then.

The use of a hand-crossbow amplifies these traits, making them ferocious silent warriors on the battlefield – all thanks to the Crossbow Expert feat.

Using crossbows allows Rogues to strike from cover, adding bonus sneak attack damage each round without ever really getting into harm’s way.


At first blush, Paladins are more connected with swords and holy magic than crossbows; however, with the right feature choice, they can turn into formidable ranged fighters, too.

With Crossbow Expert 5E, Paladins get to harness their divine smite even at range while dealing consistent damage per round, thanks to the additional bonus action offered by this feat.

You’ll be smiting foes left and right with holy bolts of divine fury. So, if you fancy a divine twist on the Crossbow Expert theme, then a Paladin might be your go-to choice.


Upon hearing the term Bard, one usually imagines someone involved in songs and magic. But have you ever thought about a crossbow-wielding bard bringing doom to their enemies while spinning an enchanting tale?

With Crossbow Expert 5E within their operatic arsenal, Bards can swoop around the battlefield, dealing damage with the finesse of a finely tuned melody.

They can dish out inspiration to their companions while peppering enemies with relentless crossbow hits. Though not a typical choice, Bards can pivot into unexpected piercing powerhouses, leading the battle even from the backline.


As Artificers are renowned for their remarkable toolset and unrivaled versatility, it’s no surprise they’re right at home with the Crossbow Expert feat.

Their ability to infuse crossbows enhances this feat dramatically. Pairing these enhancements, such as repeating shot infusion or radiant weapon infusion, with a bonus action attack lets Artificers deal profound damage turn after turn.

Artificers become truly unique arrow-throwing powerhouses when exploiting Crossbow Expert 5E.


Here’s a curveball for you: Druids – typically embraced as nature-loving magic users – can also make innovative use of Crossbow Expert 5E.

While Call Lightning is their bread-and-butter spell during most combat scenarios, they can add diversity to their tactics by involving crossbows in rotations.

As this feat removes reloading time and allows close combat shots without disadvantage, Druids could lean towards more proactive fighting styles instead of staying entirely ranged.


With the usual stereotype of Sorcerers being commanders of chaos magic alone, one might overlook how remarkably they can exploit physical weapons – especially when given a Crossbow Expert touch-up.

A Sorcerer equipped with this feat keeps foes guessing about what’s coming next – will it be another arcane spell or a bolt to the chest? The unpredictability of this combination makes your Sorcerer character a strategic wild card on the battleground.


Clerics can take center stage with Crossbow Expert 5E. Clerics are usually frontline healers and damage absorbers, but who says they cannot be damage suppliers?

Using a crossbow doesn’t interfere with their sacred spellcasting duties – it only adds another string to their proverbial bow. The Crossbow Expert feat fits surprisingly well into a Cleric’s combat kit, diversifying their fighting tactics without jeopardizing supportive roles within the party.

Just imagine healing your comrades in one turn and taking out enemies in the next – isn’t that something even a deity could appreciate?

Explore More: Monk 5E In D&D [Class Features, Subclasses, And Strategies]

FAQs about Crossbow Expert 5E

What makes the Crossbow Expert feat valuable in D&D 5E?

Crossbow Expert eliminates the loading quality of crossbows, freeing you from melee limitations and enabling a bonus attack with a hand crossbow.

How does the Crossbow Expert feat impact my gameplay?

With this feat, you can perform more attacks per turn and eliminate attack disadvantages typically incurred when enemies close in on you.

Can any class benefit from the Crossbow Expert feat?

Yes, every class can use crossbows more effectively with this feat, although some classes might benefit more due to their abilities and playstyles.

Can I still cast spells if I choose the Crossbow Expert feat?

Absolutely! This feat enhances your ability to use crossbows; it doesn’t limit or affect your spellcasting ability.

Does Crossbow Expert apply only to hand crossbows?

While one part of the benefit applies specifically to hand crossbows (the bonus action), other aspects apply to all types of crossbows, making it versatile.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!