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I have searched for the words Hand Crossbow and Crossbow Expert but didn't find this Q&A, which is awkward as it's cited many times.1

The Crossbow Expert feat states:

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.

A hand crossbow is a one-handed weapon, so if you attack with it, can you attack again with the same hand crossbow as your bonus action?


1 As I said, the answer itself is cited in many other questions, but I didn't find any question that actually asked it. I think the question itself is useful so people can easily refer to it, and possibly we get less "dual-wielding crossbow expert" questions with answers clarifying that they don't need the second crossbow.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Best equipment for Crossbow Expert for highest total damage in rounds 1–3? \$\endgroup\$ – András Jun 22 '18 at 8:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @András the questions are very different, although related. This one isn't even an optimization question, it's simply asking about how the rules work. Many answers for many hand crossbow questions include the answer for this one, but I didn't see any question actually asking if you can do it. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 22 '18 at 8:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint I believe the 'duplicate' here means 'has the answer here' and not 'it's the same question'. \$\endgroup\$ – FenrirG Jun 22 '18 at 8:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FenrirG Well... check this meta: Should/can we change the Duplicate notification? - your comment is a very solid example for why I wanted to change that notification. Note that the flag for duplication does state "This question has already been asked and has an answer somewhere else". \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 22 '18 at 8:56
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Official

Yes, it is confirmed by Crawford

@mpetruzz @mikemearls Crossbow Expert does allow a character to shoot a hand crossbow as an action and again as a bonus action.

Note that later, Crawford himself states that this is simply "how it is written" and that it is "murky"

@MLenser The feat is, without a doubt, murky. It's on my list of things to clear up in a future printing. @mikemearls

This tweet answer was later included in the Sage Advice Compendium

Does Crossbow Expert let you fire a hand crossbow and then fire it again as a bonus action? It does! Take a look at the feat’s third benefit. It says you can attack with a hand crossbow as a bonus action when you use the Attack action to attack with a one-handed weapon. A hand crossbow is a one-handed weapon, so it can, indeed, be used for both attacks, assuming you have a hand free to load the hand crossbow between the two attacks.

House-ruling

Ultimately, it's up to DM's discretion if it should be allowed or not. Mearls states

@GX_Sigma @Eoffram_Troyas @Wizards_DnD I'd rule it should specify a different weapon, not same weapon twice

However, note that Mearls is not the official rules guru for 5e - Crawford is - and the SAC is an official document. This tweet doesn't change the fact that the official answer is still: yes.

For balancing purposes, this is essentially giving an early Extra Attack to, for example, fighters that wouldn't be using their Bonus Action at 1st level anyway. It even adds the dex modifier to the second attack.

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If you read the entire text of the rule:

Crossbow Expert

Thanks to extensive practice with the crossbow, you gain the following benefits:

  • You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient.
  • Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged attack rolls.
  • When you use the Attack action and attack with a onehanded weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a loaded hand crossbow you are holding.

The "loading quality" is:

Loading. Because of the time required to load this weapon, you can fire only one piece of ammunition from it when you use an action, bonus action, or reaction to fire it, regardless of the number of attacks you can normally make.

This would suggest that loading is not an issue at all. I.e. "You ignore the loading quality of crossbows with which you are proficient."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 18 at 12:01
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Regardless of what either Crawford or Mearls has said, I note that this question is often misrepresented. The text of Crossbow Expert is not:

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.

It is:

When you use the Attack action and attack with a one-handed weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack with a loaded hand crossbow you are holding.

If you used the hand crossbow in an attack action, the weapon would be unloaded. Therefore you can not meet the prerequisites of the bonus action and can NOT fire the hand crossbow in a bonus action attack.

Weird how the word "loaded" is so important to the feat yet seems to be omitted so frequently.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is omitted because it was erratta'ed out. media.wizards.com/2017/dnd/downloads/PH-Errata.pdf \$\endgroup\$ – Black Spike Jan 4 '20 at 22:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Even if it hadn't changed in errata (as Black Spike points out that it has), the Ammunition property states: "Drawing the ammunition from a quiver, case, or other container is part of the attack (you need a free hand to load a one-handed weapon)." Nothing in the question assumes your other hand is occupied, so you'd reload the weapon as part of the attack. (This may be why it was errataed - "loaded" is unnecessary.) \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 5 '20 at 9:05

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