Sharpshooter is a feat that experienced D&D players will be very aware of. Whether they played a ranger who specialized in those long distance shots or you found yourself the victim of a DM using it against you, this is a feat that has a huge impact on any given game.
Sharpshooter is not only one of the strongest feats in 5E D&D, but it is considered mandatory for any build focusing on ranged attack. This is a top priority feat for most rangers and any ranged valor bards or fighters.
Although niched to range attack, for players who keep every single part of this feat in mind they are going to have no problem striking terror into enemies from a distance.
Breaking Down the Sharpshooter Feat
The sharpshooter feat is what takes someone trying to be an archer and makes them a long distance martial legend in the D&D world. If you are playing a class that relies on distance attacks, taking the sharpshooter feat is MANDATORY.
Directly from the Player’s Handbook:
You have mastered ranged weapons and can make shots that others find impossible. You gain the following benefits:
- Attacking at long range doesn’t impose disadvantage on your ranged weapon attack rolls.
- Your ranged weapon attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover.
- 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.
Player’s Handbook, p. 170
If your first thought was that this feat sounds mandatory for the most common build for the ranger class (archer) and all other distance martial fighters then congratulations, your ability to see the obvious is still completely intact 🙂
Benefit #1: Long range attacks no longer create disadvantage.
Ranged weapons have two numbers: the range at which they can be used, and the “long” range where they can still reach but you’re rolling at disadvantage. Because of this very rarely do players take that shot at very long distance and it’s even rarer that they make it.
Since sharpshooters are no longer at disadvantage, for all intensive purposes their range doubles, which is a powerful outstanding feature.
Benefit #2: Ranged attacks ignore 1/2 cover and 3/4 cover.
Cover is great for PCs who want to hide from incoming death and destruction. When trying to hit a PC with a +2 or +5 AC bonus it can be a pain. Sharpshooter just ignores all of it. If you see a piece of a hiding wizard, it’s not an 18 AC in three quarters cover, it’s that base 13 AC (or whatever) which is a very powerful benefit.
Benefit #3: If you’re proficient with your ranged weapon take a -5 penalty to hit to add +10 damage to a successful attack.
+10 damage is considerable at any point. While the -5 penalty means early on this isn’t a great option, for a player who has a high hit rate late game or has advantage, it’s worth the roll. Add in hunter’s mark and colossus slayer and suddenly you’re adding all kinds of damage to a single arrow shot, even assuming it doesn’t crit.
5E Classes That Should Take the Sharpshooter Feat
Class-wise, considering 95%+ of all ranger builds are for archers (we’ll call that the Robin Hood/Legolas Effect), they’re an obvious one for this feat. If you start as a variant human ranger, this should be the feat you take. For all other class combos, this should often be taken in lieu of DEX during the first ability score improvement.
While rangers are the classic distance martial class, it comes down to what your main focus will be. If it’s distance fighting, then sharpshooter needs to be the way to go. Even crossbow expert builds grab sharpshooter as part of the total package for creating a powerful ranged combatant who can strike fear into enemies from insane distances.
Or multi-class with rogue to create a long range sneak attack they’re not likely to forget.
5th Ed Classes that should always take the Sharpshooter Feat: Ranger, any other class build focusing on ranged martial attacks with bow, crossbow, or sling attacks.
5E Classes That Should Consider Taking the Sharpshooter Feat
There are a few niche builds that should also look at the sharpshooter feat. Again, if the builds of these classes are specifically made for them to be ranged then kick your build up to the first section that makes this a mandatory must have feat.
So what classes most commonly fall into this group outside of ranger?
Fighter is the first one. Archery based fighters can be terrifying, especially at high levels with the ability to attack four times in a single turn at level 20. Or EIGHT times in one turn if they action surge. That’s a lot of arrows from potentially 600 feet away.
Bard (College of Valor) is another interesting build that can be made into a pretty capable archer. Not to the same level as the ranger or fighter, IMO, but it was a creative build that came out and does have some merit to it…though I prefer my bards casting spells to control the battlefield.
Rogue can use this feat, especially if they are used to using crossbows and using these ranged attacks as opposed to getting up close and personal with the daggers. This isn’t nearly as common, but rogues do get an extra ability score improvement so if you wanted to increase options for effective assassination, this could certainly help with that.
Especially to rogues who are proficient with dangerous poisons at high levels.
5th Ed Classes that should consider taking the Sharpshooter Feat: Fighter, Rogue, Bard (School of Valor – only if you’re intentionally building a “Bard Archer”)
5E Classes That Should NEVER Take the Sharpshooter Feat
Any other class. This is a niche feat. It’s not there for the rogue who might occasionally take a long distance shot or the low-level wizard out of spells. They have other feats and ability score improvements that are far more important for these classes.
If you’re not building a ranged fighting character then you can ignore the sharpshooter feat and probably should.
5th Ed classes that should never take the Sharpshooter Feat: Artificer, Barbarian (though I supposed you could build a ranged barbarian but…why?), most Bards, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Final Feat Grade for 5E Sharpshooter
Sharpshooter Feat Grade: A
Is the 5E Sharpshooter Feat Worth It?
Sharpshooter is one of the strongest feats in all of 5E and is absolutely mandatory for any build that focuses on a long bow, short bow, crossbow, or firearms. While most narrow focused feats don’t get this high a grade, sharpshooter is so freaking powerful that it would be foolish to grade it any lower.
The difference between a character’s ability and effectiveness pre-sharpshooter and post-sharpshooter is so obvious: it’s a night and day difference. If you’re not playing a ranged combat character then don’t worry about it. But if you are focusing on ranged attack and damage then this shouldn’t even be a question.
You need the sharpshooter feat. Period.
Sharpshooter Feat FAQ
What book is the sharpshooter feat in?
The sharpshooter feat is located in the original Player’s Handbook, on page 170 of the original PHB for 5E.
Is the sharpshooter feat OP?
In general, the consensus among DMs and players is that sharpshooter is very powerful, but not OP. While it can situationally give a player a huge advantage, it’s a necessity for ranged combat classes and has ways clever DMs can mitigate some of the benefits when needed, preventing it from being fully overpowered.
Does sharpshooter double on a crit?
A critical hit involves double rolling of a damage die. Since the sharpshooter feat doesn’t add damage it is unaffected by critical hits, and does not affect crit hits in any way, either.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years.