Weapons and Armour

Armour in Minecraft

The main weapons in Minecraft are swords and bows, although other items can be used as weapons too.

Hand-to-hand Weapons

Hand-to-hand or Melee weapons are things you hold one end of and hit your enemy with the other. The main hand-to-hand weapon is the Sword, but Axes, Pickaxes and Shovels can be used too.


Swords are made from wood planks, cobblestone, iron, gold or diamond on a wooden stick handle:

Diamond Sword

Swords made from better materials last longer and do more damage, with the exception of gold. There is no reason to make a sword from gold. A better sword will kill an enemy with fewer hits.

Swords can be further improved by enchanting.


An axe will actually do more damage with each blow than a sword, but it is slower to use. Consider using an axe against weaker opponents that can be killed with one blow, but a sword will be better in most situations.

Axes also have a chance of disabling an opponent’s shield. This chance is improved by Efficiency enchantments and if you land a blow while sprinting.


Left-click to attack.

It is not effective to click-click-click as fast as as you can. If you click too fast, you will only deliver weak blows to your opponent. Instead, wait for a moment for your weapon to be ready for another full-strength attack. This “attack cooldown” period is about half a second with a sword, or a little over a second with an axe.

You can have an Attack Indicator on screen to help you with this - from the Options screen click Video Settings and you can choose to have an Attack Indicator either by the crosshairs or by the hotbar.

Minecraft Attack Indicator

Two locations where you can display your Attack Indicator

There are several special attacks you can do:


If you are sprinting when you hit an enemy with a sword, it will be knocked backwards. This is a good tactic to keep creepers at a safe distance.

Critical Hits

If you are falling when you hit an enemy, it causes extra damage. This can be done by jumping before you attack. You will see a sparkly pattern if you are successful.

Sweep Attack

If you are standing still or walking (not running) when you hit an enemy with a sword, you will also hit nearby enemies, knocking them back and doing them a little bit of damage. This only works with a sword, and only when the Attack Indicator is full.


Bows are your best ranged weapon. They are made from sticks and string. There are no fancy bows made from better materials, but that can be made a lot more powerful by enchanting them.

Bows in Minecraft

To fire a bow, hold down the right mouse button to draw the bow back, then release. If you draw the bow back fully, it will fire with full power. If you let the arrow go before the bow is fully drawn, both the range and the power will be reduced.


You will also need arrows! Arrows can be obtained by killing skeletons, or crafted from sticks, feathers and flint. Flint is obtained by digging in gravel, and feathers come from chickens.

How to make arrows in Minecraft

To fire a bow, hold down the right mouse button to draw, aim, then let go to fire. The longer you hold the button down, the more the arrow will ‘charge’and the more damage it will do.


To get flint, you need to dig lots of gravel with a Shovel. 10% of the gravel blocks you dig up will give you flint instead. The rest of the gravel you can replace and dig again.


Feathers come from chickens! Check out our farming guides for more information on how to get lots of chickens.

Tipped arrows

Arrows can be tipped with Potions, so that when they hit their target they will have the same effect as if the target had drunk the corresponding potion.

To create tipped arrows, you will need normal arrows and a Lingering Potion of the desired type. Lingering Potions can only be made after you have visited The End, so you will not be making Tipped Arrows early in the game!

How to craft a Tipped Arrow in Minecraft

Spectral Arrows

Spectral Arrow in Minecraft

A Spectral Arrow will cause your target to be outlined with a glowing white line, so you can see it even if in the dark, or if it goes out of sight behind a wall.

Spectral Arrows are crafted from arrows and Glowstone Dust.

How to craft a Spectral Arrow in Minecraft

Arrow selection

If you’re carrying more than one kind of arrow, how do you know what you will use when you fire your bow?

If you have an arrow in your off hand (or if you have your bow in your offhand and an arrow selected on the Hotbar) then that row will be used.

Otherwise, if you have any arrows in your Hotbar, the first one of those (the left-most) will be used. Finally, if you have no arrows there either, then the first arrow in your Inventory (counting from top left) will be used.

Other Weapons

If you have no sword, you can use any tool instead. Axes are best, but pickaxes and shovels are better than fighting with bare hands.

A bucket of water can be used to keep your enemy at a distance, and a bucket of lava has obvious value if you empty it at your enemy’s feet.

A flint and steel can be used to set stuff on fire to harm your enemy.


Armour can be made from leather, iron, gold or diamonds. Better armor will be more protective and last longer, with the exception of gold, which you shouldn’t use unless your only goal is to look nice. Armour can be improved by enchanting.

Leather armour can be dyed all sorts of colours.


A set of armour is made from four pieces: helmet, chestplate, leggings and boots. Each fits into a special slot on the inventory screen.

Gold Helmet

diamond chestplate

iron leggings

leather boots

The strength of your armour is shown above your health. Your armour will become damaged as you fight monsters, and this will reduce the protection your armour gives you.

You can repair damaged armour using an Anvil.


Crafting Shields

Shields are crafted from Wood Planks and an Iron Ingot:

Decorating Shields

Your shield can be decorated by combining it with a Banner. This will consume the Banner.

Using Shields

Using a shield will help to defend you against any attack coming from in front of you.

To use a shield, hold it in either hand and right click. (Be aware that if your shield is in your Off Hand, you may not be able to use it depending on what you have in your Main Hand).

While you hold the mouse button down, you will suffer reduced damage from attacks from in front of you, and projectiles will be blocked completely.