Last but certainly not least, we have the Bow, the third of the Gunner weapons. The Bow is extremely different from both the Light and Heavy Bowguns. First of all, the Bow has infinite arrows . Yep, you’ve got a bottomless magazine. Instead, you can coat the arrows with finite numbers of coatings that you make by combining empty phials with a variety of items. Coating the arrows will change their characteristic. Unlike the bowguns, Bows do innately have elements or statuses attached. Note that not all bows can equip all coatings, and you will want to check weapon status. Power coatings are particularly valuable so a bow that cannot use Power coatings is at a slight disadvantage.
Each Bow has a different type of shot. Rapid shoots multiple arrows in one attack. Pierce will go through the monster, similar to Bowgun Pierce shots. Spread will shoot multiple arrows but unlike Rapid, they’re in a, well, spread. Can trip players if you don’t aim properly. Heavy is a new type of shot that drops much more rapidly than other types of shots. It deals the most damage though and is great for partbreaking, but can be more difficult to aim.
Similar to some melee weapons, you can charge up your attacks on the Bow. Check the Charge Shot section of a Bow’s information to see what types of shots are shot at different charge lebels. For example, a level one Chaos Bow’s level 1 charge will be a Rapid, but its level 2 and 3 attacks are Spread. Rather than wasting Coatings, use a few choice charged attacks.
|Can hit the monster from afar with powerful charged hits!||Gunner armor defense is half the defense of Blademasters|
|Different coatings at a lot of versatility to even just one Bow||Coatings can be resource-intensive to keep in stock|
|Weapon is light so you have lots of mobility||Overdependence on Power Coatings can leave certain Bows biting the dust|
|R+X+A||Unsheathe directly into a charged shot attack|
|R||Normal shot attack, hold and release for charged shot attack|
|X||Allows you to aim more precisely. Press X again or B to cancel out of aim mode|
|X+A||Equip selected coating|
|A||Press while charging for an Arc Shot. Press after firing a normal shot for a Power Shot. Press standalone for a very weak melee attack that deals cutting damage|
|B||Backhop. Press R right after for a free level 3 charged shot|
The Power and Arc shots are special shot types that all bows can perform (but not all styles). Arc Shot sends the arrows flight up and then they rain down in a spot in front of you. Make sure you know the distance that the arrows travel or else you might miss with your Arc Shot entirely! Arc Shot is a great way to break horns and backs that are otherwise above your reach, such as Zinogre’s horns and Duramboros’s humps (the former is a small target, though). Power Shots fires off a simple shot that is very powerful. Do this right after firing off a normal shot (by pressing A), whether it’s charged or not.
Guild Style is the only style that has access to both Arc and Power Shots. You can equip two Hunting Arts.
Striker Style preserves all attacks and combos except you lose Power Shot. Power Shot is more useful and easier to find windows for use than Arc Shot, but in exchange, you can equip three Hunting Arts so be sure to equip some that can dish out damage.
Aerial Style loses your backhop in favor of the aerial somersault, and also you lose Power and Arc Shots. Instead, if you successfully vault off a monster, press A for an instant level 2 charge attack. Or press R for a diagonally aimed level 2 charge attack followed up by A for a melee swing attack with an arrow. This seems cool but when on the ground you can perform level 3 or even level 4 normal shots (level 4 requires an armor skill) so thus you are losing two major special shots in exchange for middle-ground damage. You can equip one Hunting Art.
You lose the Arc Shot and regain your Power Shot. Additionally, similar to Aerial Style you lose the backhop in favor of the forward evasive roll. Should you perform a perfect evade, you can press R for instant access to a level 3 or level 4 charge. Since this is Adept Style, pressing A while pressing R will result in a charged Power Shot for massive damage. Or you can do the standard charged shot - power shot combo. You can equip one Hunting Art.
Since the Bow charges, Focus is near-mandatory to help speed up charge time. It’s very noticeable, the difference between Focus and no Focus, so be sure to find a way to fit Focus. Certain Bows can charge beyond level 3 into level 4, you will need Load Up to unlock this. Evade Extender can be situationally useful to increase the distance of your backhop (applies to Guild and Striker Styles only). Finally, if you really need the help, consider Trajectory (also known as "Deadeye"). More useful than Trajectory, however, are skills that increase your attack, critical hit damage, etc. Peak Performance greatly boosts your Attack if your HP is full, and give that you are usually out of a monster’s range, is very viable.