Let's say I am wielding a dagger and shield, and I am using the shield as an improvised weapon. Would Dual-Wielder Feat and the Dual Wielding fighting style be in effect while I am using these as improvised weapons?


3 Answers 3


According to the RAW in order to use a shield (6 lbs) and a dagger (light) weapon to attack in the same round, you would need the feat Dual Wielder.

The rules for two-weapon fighting (not the fighting style) on PHB page 195 stipulate that to get a second attack both weapons used must be light. In the weapon descriptions, the heaviest weapon that is classified as a light weapon weighs 3 lbs.

The Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style just allows you to add your stat bonus to your ability modifier to the damage from your second attack.

The Dual Wielder feat allows you to use weapons that are not light.

For clarification purposes, you must have the Dual Wielder feat to get both attacks when using the two-weapon fighting style if both weapons are not light melee weapons. (That is to say, if one or both of the weapons is not a light melee weapon then you absolutely need the Dual Wielder Feat to get the bonus attack.)

Further clarification, according to the section on two-weapon fighting (not the fighting style) in the PHB page 195 (emphasis mine):

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 you are holding in the other hand.

In other words, to get the off-hand bonus attack both the weapons you are holding must be light melee weapons if you are only using the two-weapon fighting style without the Dual Wielder feat. The feat allows you to get the bonus attack even if the weapons are not light melee weapons. So in the above question, a dagger is a light melee weapon but the improvised shield is not, therefore the Duel Wielder feat is needed to attack with both weapons in the same round.

The addition of the Two-Weapon Fighting fighting style would allow you to add you stat bonus to the damage of the second attack.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "The feat allows you to get the bonus attack even if the weapons are not light melee weapons." - This is not quite correct. Dual Wielder lets you ignore the "light" requirement - but you must still be wielding two one-handed melee weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Oct 25, 2019 at 9:12

Improvised Weapons are not a subset of Melee Weapons

Chapter 5 of the PHB (page 149) contains a list of Melee and Ranged Weapons. That is the definitive list for things that require Melee Weapon or Ranged Weapon attacks.

Dual Wielder requires (PHB, 165) with my emphasis:

You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you are wielding a separate melee weapon in each hand.

Note that it does not require that you perform a Melee Attack, but that the item must be a Melee Weapon.

An Improvised Weapon is neither a Melee Weapon or Ranged Weapon (from the list previously defined on page 165.) While you may make a Melee or Ranged Attack with one, it does not turn the Improvised Weapon into a Melee or Ranged Weapon.

Because it is not a Melee Weapon, you do not get the benefits of Dual Wielding.

Loose enough for Crawford to offer DM choice but believes it doesn't

Jeremy Crawford did give his intent, but also allowed (as always) for DMs to allow if they so choose:

Dual Wielder is intended to work with actual weapons. Using the feat with improvised weapons is up to the DM.

But his intent was clear in that it's not intended to work like. There is a second tweet about that:

Dual Wielder is meant to work (RAI) with a melee weapon or an equivalent, not something like a shield.

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    \$\begingroup\$ When he says “like a shield” that still doesn’t exclude Improvised Weapons that are similar to weapons in the weapons list. This seems especially true when he explicitly states “or an equivalent.” Therefore, the first part of your answer doesn’t seem to jive with the last tweet you linked. \$\endgroup\$
    – Digcoal
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Digcoal Crawford's tweets were to add additional Designer Intent to my answer, but the first section answers it within the rules in the PHB. But his intent is clear in that having a shield was not meant to be part of Dual Wielding (regardless of improvised weapon use or not.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m conceding the Shield question, but I haven’t read anywhere that Improvised Weapons don’t count as melee weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Digcoal
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Digcoal THey don't because they're not on the Melee Weapon list. They are Improvised Weapons (neither Melee nor ranged) that can be used for a Melee or Ranged attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Apr 5, 2018 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ You could support that improvised weapons are neither melee nor ranged using your own answer to the question here: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/119926 \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24, 2019 at 12:54

Requires Feat

A shield is not a light weapon, even when improvised as a weapon, so if this is allowed, it needs the Dual Wielder feat.

Not Rules As Intended

Jeremy Crawford says it wasn't intended to work with anything that isn't an actual weapon in this tweet.

Dual Wielder is intended to work with actual weapons. Using the feat with improvised weapons is up to the DM.

That said, nothing in the Rules as Written prevents it, if and only if, you have the Dual Wielder feat.


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