Sharpshooter feat in DnD 5E explained

The Ranger had been waiting for hours, lying perfectly still in complete darkness waiting for the target to leave his secret hideout, or rather mistaken as secret. When he finally emerged, he was flanked by two particularly beefy bugbear bodyguards, which brought a smile to the Ranger’s lips– they loved a good challenge.

Bringing the heavy crossbow into their shoulder, they drew a line through the air with their mind’s eye, gently squeezing the trigger between breaths. The gap was maybe an inch wide and lasted for less than a second, but the bolt found its way to and through the target. By the time the bodyguards reacted, the Ranger was gone, running through the forest like a leaf on the wind.

Whether you’re building a ranged weapon using character and are looking for more damage, or you just find sniper characters really cool (like many of us do), then Sharpshooter may be for you.

Let’s break down what this feat gives you:

  • Attacking at long range doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged weapon attack rolls. This is most useful for those using weapons with shorter ranges, such as darts and hand crossbows, but allows longbow users to accurately threaten an impressive 600 feet.
  • Your ranged weapon attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover. Whilst the cover rules are not always well known or remembered, this is an important feature that allows you to fire into a group of creatures, through arrow slits, and so on without penalty. This really helps fulfill the sniper fantasy.
  • Before you make an attack with a ranged weapon that you are proficient with, you can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, you add +10 to the attack’s damage. What a lot of people think of when talking about this feat, this is a substantial damage boost that is relatively easy to attain thanks to the Archery Fighting Style. This part of the feat makes this more valuable for those that have multiple attacks, and a way to increase their accuracy.

Surely a feat that makes you unquestionably better with a ranged weapon is a great choice, right? Well, let’s find out who will want to spend an ASI on this feat.

Sharpshooter is most useful for

  • Fighters – With the most attacks of any class as standard, the Fighter can make great use of the +10 damage aspect of this feat. This is supported by two additional ASIs and access to the Archery Fighting Style, Precision Attack maneuver, and the Samurai subclass’ Fighting Spirit to increase your accuracy. For many Fighter archers, this feat is a staple feat for their build. 
  • Rangers – Similar to the Fighter above, access to the Archery Fighting Style makes using the +10 damage part of the feat much easier to use effectively. This is particularly good for Gloom Stalkers that gain an additional attack on the first round of every combat.
  • Kensei Monks – The only Monks that this is recommended for, the Kensei subclass can use a longbow for the extreme range, with Sharpen the Blade allowing them to create up to a +3 bow to help offset the -5 to hit penalty for the additional damage. If Optional Class Features from TCoE are being used, then the Focused Aim ability makes that +10 damage very reliable, so long as you have Ki that you’re willing to spend.

Sharpshooter is least useful for

  • Anyone that doesn’t use ranged weapons – Sorry, it had to be said!
  • Rogues – Between having only a single attack, which they’re dependent on hitting with to get Sneak Attack damage, this class can’t really afford to risk the -5 penalty. Rogues would still benefit from the other bullet points, but an ASI is a steep cost for just those benefits.

We hope that this article really hit the mark for you and that it has helped you decide if you’re better off setting your sights on other feats or not. If you’re trying to choose a feat for your character, then check out our feat spotlight section, or if the idea of a sharpshooting Fighter interests you, then check out our Fighter guide here.