Being an archer in Skyrim is somewhat special.
In a game where most enemies prefer to get up close and personal, there’s something satisfying in being able to land a kill-shot from afar and enjoy seeing your opponent dying way before they even know what hit them.
It also certainly doesn’t hurt that the slow-motion animation is so awesome.
Plus, when you consider how bows in Skyrim weight next to nothing and the arrows are basically free items, there’s a lot of reasons to take up Archery in Skyrim.
Unfortunately, while Archery in Skyrim is awesome, the weapons available for archers aren’t quite so.
There really isn’t that wide of a selection for bows in Skyrim, which severely limits archers to choosing only from a select few that are deemed both good-looking and powerful enough to be worthy of the dragonborn.
Luckily, we have mods to sort this kind of thing.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best bow mods available in Skyrim, for you to use as a reference for when you need to know which bow to use.
Get “Real Bows” and “Tweaked Arrows” First
There are relatively few mods that help address bows in Skyrim and make long-range combat better if not more realistic.
Real Bows and Tweaked Arrows are two that are especially worth mentioning.
Real Bows is a mod that you can add to Skyrim that helps make all of the in-game bows more realistic.
Created by someone who actually knows a thing or two about bows, the mod is a great way to drastically improve how each bow in Skyrim looks.
On the other hand, Tweaked Arrows changes how the arrows work, including their trajectory, the arch when shot, as well as how many arrows can appear stuck in an NPC or enemy and how long they stay before disappearing.
All in all, both mods help add a bit more realism to using a bow for combat in Skyrim.
Scoped Bows and Archer Overhaul are two other mods addressing bows in Skyrim that are worth mentioning as well.
The Best Bow Mods in Skyrim
1. The Huntsman
Forgeable and looking like it actually belongs in Skyrim, this bow has been re-worked already for Skyrim: Special Edition, which means that the newer version, created by Ruddy88 should be better than the original by InsanitySorrow.
Either of the bows are fine though, regardless of which you prefer.
The Huntsman is a powerful and unique bow that grows along with the player.
In addition to its beautiful frame, The Huntsman can be upgraded multiple times by finding Upgraded Kits scattered all over the game’s world.
Also, The Huntsman’s appearance changes as it evolves as well as becomes more powerful, making sure that the bow remains as relevant from when you picked it up or forged it up until the later stages of the game.
2. Dragonslayer Bows
Realism takes quite a bit of a backseat in Skyrim, especially during the later stages of the game.
For example, at the start, dragons actually feel like the all-powerful creatures that they should be.
Taking one down requires a lot of effort.
Using bows, in particular, seem like a foolish notion as they seem to just shrug each shot off as if they were nothing.
Then, you, the dragonborn, becomes more powerful, and eventually, what used to take ages when facing off against dragons now no longer takes more than a couple of arrows.
That would’ve probably been fine and all if not for your bows and arrows looking measly and small compared to the majestic dragons that they supposedly can take down.
Even the most powerful bow in Skyrim, the Dragonbone Bow, doesn’t look menacing and capable of taking down a dragon at all.
Thankfully, someone notice, and we now have the Dragonslayer Bows.
These supersized and uber-powerful bows actually look like the kind of bows that can take down ginormous dragons in one shot.
Paired with their harpoon-like arrows, the Dragonslayer Bows feel like they should have been part of Skyrim right from the get go.
As powerful as the Dragonslayer Bows are, you might want to be careful about using them – the long draw-time means that you’ll be left vulnerable if in case you miss.
In any case, for those looking for a bow befitting that of the grand stature of the dragonborn, the Dragonslayer Bows are your best bet.
3. Dragon’s Bane
Seldom are weapon mods in Skyrim made with enough regard for the lore.
After all, why would modders go through such a trouble, right? It’s not as if Skyrim was lacking in lore in any way in the first place.
Apparently, someone did not tell TheWorldofRipX and company that.
Seeing as to how there isn’t a bow in Skyrim that had awesome power and an even better lore behind it, RipX and VenjHammet decided to create the strongest bow in Skyrim and named it the Dragon’s Bane.
Far more powerful than ever the endgame-level weapon, the Dragonbone Bow, the Dragon’s Bane absorbs health and has fire as its enchantments right from the moment that you get it.
But, it’s not just the sheer power than makes the Dragon’s Bane the best bow in Skyrim, it’s also the made-up lore behind it as well.
Supposedly owned by a powerful warrior who once used it to take down an all-powerful dragon, the Dragon’s Bane isn’t something that’s just easily found.
Instead, if you want to get your hands on it, you’ll have to find the multiple books that tell the story of this so-called warrior and his powerful bow and follow the clues before you can get your hands on the Dragon’s Bane.
Because there are no quest markets that indicate where and how you’ll find the Dragon’s Bane, you can expect quite the challenge.
Making an effort to find the Dragon’s Bane is well worth it, however, because of how borderline OP it is.
Not all from the modding community took the time to create specific bow mods for Skyrim, but several did create weapon sets that included bows that are worth picking up and adding to vanilla Skyrim if the default crop of weapons have started to bore you.
The Immersive Weapons mod adds some dozen of weapons, including bows, into Skyrim, each of which coming with their own lore.
Ars Metallica is another mod for archers, albeit it doesn’t really address bows but rather the lack of variety in the arrows that archers can craft and use for themselves in Skyrim.
The LOTRD Weapon Collection mod also adds a couple of notable weapons from The Lord of the Rings franchise into Skyrim, including Legolas’ Bow.
Other bow mods, or weapon mods in general, for Skyrim that are worth mentioning include: Unique Uniques, Warmonger Armory, Belt Fastened Quivers, as well as Zim’s Immersive Artifacts.
Being an archer in Skyrim isn’t for everybody, but for those who find this path worth their while, adding these mods can help make the journey more memorable and rewarding.
From helping you take down even the biggest dragons in one swoop, or helping your character look better as you take down one dragon after another, there’s enough variety in the bow weapon mods for Skyrim that we rounded up that there should be something for everybody.