A simple short selfbow made from a single piece of wood.
The Short bow is a light, single-shot ranged weapon in RimWorld which deals a moderate amount of damage per shot; slightly longer time between shots; slightly longer range and moderate accuracy.
It takes 4 shots to the torso to kill an unarmored human with a short bow, or around 7-8 shots against a human with a normal armor vest. The short bow can also instantly cripple digits and eyeballs, and cause lethal brain damage if the victim's skull is unprotected. Limbs can be crippled in 3 shots against an unarmored human.
The short bow, being a weak weapon, is best used in the hands of your worst shooters with short bows so that your good shooters have decent weapons for decent damage output, while the archers may occasionally get a hit in.
However, if you are lacking on better alternatives, since the short bow has a slightly longer than typical time between shots, is single-shot in nature and has a moderate-long range, it's best to pair the short bow with a competent shooter to make the most of it - not that it's worth pairing anything more than a mediocre shooter with such an underpowered weapon beyond the early game. A healthy level 7 traitless shooter, level 3 careful shooter or level 10 trigger-happy can somewhat efficiently use the short bow up to 20 cells. However, a level 12 traitless shooter, level 9 careful shooter or level 15 trigger-happy shooter is advisable to efficiently use the short bow up to its maximum range of 29 cells.
On average, the short bow is best paired with a careful shooter until level 10, and with a trigger-happy shooter beyond that point.
Short bows can be purchased from neolithic war merchants and orbital combat suppliers, or obtained from the following raider kinds:
- Archer - 88.5% (normal quality on average, 50-180% health)
Conclusion & Comparison
As mentioned several times in the main section of this page and will be plainly stated here: the short bow is the least powerful weapon in the game. However, it'll do in a pinch in very early-game scenarios where you have more shooters than there are ranged weapons to go around. If you're playing with the 'Lost Tribe' scenario or have researched 'recurve bow', then a recurve bow is going to deliver so much more combat performance than the short bow for only 10 more wood.
The only other possible strength that the short bow has is a fairly decent range of 29 cells, but its accuracy drops off very quickly so it won't be very effective beyond 24 cells.
Compared to low-tier modern firearms, a normal quality short bow is comparable to an awful quality revolver with 40% health, or an awful autopistol with 30% health; the short bow may have vastly superior accuracy, but the firearms' significantly shorter time between shots more than compensate for said accuracy deficit. Even a legendary quality short bow is going to be consistently outperformed by said firearms at shoddy quality and in mint condition.
The graphs assume a normal quality short bow against an adult human that's out in the open in clear weather. For DPS, projectile speed has also been factored into the equation, with the weighting based on the base amount of attacks that it'll take to put the aforementioned target into pain shock.