• When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a hand crossbow you are holding PHB pg 195, Crossbow Expert

Scenario: Crossbow Expert without Extra Attack and wielding only a hand crossbow and no shield (i.e., one free hand).

On My Turn

  • I declare that I attack with a hand crossbow.
    • I am going to attack with a one-handed weapon
    • I have committed to taking the Attack Action

Question Does that allow me to first make the bonus action attack the use my (committed) Attack Action to shove, grapple, or unarmed strike?


2 Answers 2


No to all three.

While the unarmed strike is in the weapons table on (some editions of) PHB 149, the errata states that it should not count as a weapon. Therefore, attacking with an unarmed strike does not count as an attack with a one-handed weapon.

Moreover, while the grapple and shove special attacks are Attack actions, the rules regarding them make no reference to using a weapon. Because they don't use a weapon, they don't qualify for the "...with a one-handed weapon" clause.

Your Attack Action and Bonus Action attack are not interchangeable.

In order to use a grapple or shove, you have to use your action to take the Attack action, which is different from simply making an attack (PHB 195, emphasis added).

When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple. ...

Using the Attack action, you can make a special melee attack to shove a creature, either to knock it prone or push it away from you.

While you can use one of your attacks from multiattack to do these things, so that you don't have to use your entire Attack action, these special attacks only work in the context of an Attack action.

The feat allows you to use your bonus action to make an attack, but it is not an "Attack action". For an example of the distinction between an "attack" and an "Attack action", you can look to the passage on Two-Weapon Fighting on PHB 195:

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you’re holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you’re holding in the other hand.

See how there's a distinction between the Attack action and the bonus action attack?

  • \$\begingroup\$ The post-errata version of the PHB does not have an entry for an unarmed strike on page 149. \$\endgroup\$
    – nwp
    Aug 17, 2017 at 7:20
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You could (probably) attack with the hand crossbow as an improvised weapon \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Aug 17, 2017 at 9:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @NicholaiBush, No, your bonus action attack and your Attack action are not interchangeable. I'll edit my answer to address that. You should edit your question to make your intent a bit clearer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Aug 17, 2017 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Shield is capable of preventing the hit that triggered it, Extra Attack and the features that give you 1 hp when you drop to zero alter the effects caused by their triggers. This one does not prohibit you from immediately deciding to make the attack as a bonus action instead. You are however committed to the Attack Action, and the bonus action must immediately (as defined by Flurry of Blows) follow the new Attack, and the new Attack is limited to free hand or improvised weapon (butt of the hand crossbow). RP wise, Feats are supposed to represent almost super-human abilities. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 21, 2017 at 3:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NicholaiBush ...All I have to say is that the examples you cite are specifically stated in the rules, while your interpretation is not. Nothing in the rules, in the feat or otherwise, allow you to turn grapples and shoves into bonus actions. \$\endgroup\$
    – Icyfire
    Aug 21, 2017 at 4:17

I would say that:

  • RAW you can't make an unarmed strike (it's something you do instead of a weapon attack, and doesn't count as one, as per the PHB errata), but I would think most DMs would allow it;
  • RAW you can't grapple; though it's a special attack made through the Attack action and only requires one free hand, it also does not count as a weapon attack;
  • RAW you can't shove, for the same reasons as grapple.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd uphold this RAW in all three cases, too (except maybe the first for a monk or brawler). The actions involve both hands and perhaps even your whole body, so while you may hold your hand crossbow, your arm is busy with the unarmed maneuver and not free to aim and shoot. \$\endgroup\$
    – TBP
    Aug 17, 2017 at 9:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Grapple specifies that you only need one free hand. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2017 at 14:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ So a 5th level Fighter can take Attack (shove a creature and shoot it with a hand crossbow) then Bonus Action (shoot it) again) but a 5th level rogue could not Attack (shove a creature) and then Bonus Action (shoot it)? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2017 at 16:37

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