Battlefield 3 Aftermath XBOW tips and Standard / HE / BA / Scan Bolt Guide

Battlefield 3 crossbow - xbow

One of the most anticipated additions to the Battlefield 3 Aftermath DLC is the XBOW, or crossbow. This weapon comes in two variants – the Crossbow and the Rifle Scoped Crossbow. Each can be used with four different types of ammo or “bolt” – the standard bolt, HE bolt, BA bolt, and scan bolt. The crossbow gets a total of 10 rounds of each type and can be resupplied with an ammo box.

First off, you’ll need the Aftermath DLC to get the XBOW. Premium members have access to this automatically. Otherwise, you can purchase the Aftermath DLC individually for $15.

To use the XBOW, XBOW scoped, and the different types of bolts you need to complete assignments. Here are details on how to unlock the two versions of the XBOW and the three additional bolts:

Unlocking the XBOW
Battlefield 3 crossbow - xbow

  • Complete “Sticks and Stones” Assignment: Win three rounds of the new Scavenger game mode (tip: look for normal, not high ticket count servers to save time getting wins)

Unlocking the XBOW Scoped
Battlefield 3 crossbow - xbow scoped

  • Complete “Sticks and Stones” Assignment
  •  Complete “This is my Boom Stick” Assignment: Get 50 carbine and 50 assault rifle kills
  • Complete “Go Play Close Quarters” Assignment: Get a total of 150 meters worth of headshots with sniper rifles, assault rifles, and carbines (tip – play the Scrapmetal or Operation 925 maps as they have longer open areas)

Unlocking the Scan Bolt
Battlefield 3 crossbow xbow scan bolt

  • Complete “It is Ok to Thank Me” Assignment: Get 20 spot assists, Designate 10 vehicles, Get 1 designated assist (tip – play a vehicle-heavy map such as Kharg Island where other players are likely to destroy vehicles you designate with your soflam or tank CITV station)

Unlocking the BA Bolt

Battlefield 3 crossbow - xbow scan bolt

  • Complete “It is Ok to Thank Me” Assignment
  • Complete “Stay Away from My Tent” Assignment: Get 50 kills with sniper rifles, get 10 headshot kills with sidearm

Unlocking the HE Bolt
Battlefield 3 crossbow - xbow HE bolt

  • Complete “It is Ok to Thank Me” Assignment
  • Complete “Stay Away from My Tent” Assignment
  • Complete “A Good Demo Man” Assignment: Get 5 kills with hand grenades, get 5 kills with underslung grenades, get 5 kills with C4 (tip – play Close Quarters or Team/Squad Deathmatch to get these kills more quickly)

Equipping the XBOW

Although the XBOW is a weapon, it’s equipped as a gadget and not a primary or secondary weapon. It can be used with any class. This means you can equip the following:
Assault: Rifle, pistol, XBOW, defibrillator
Support: LMG, pistol, XBOW, ammo box
Engineer: Carbine, pistol, XBOW, repair tool/mines/EOD bot
Recon: Sniper rifle, pistol, XBOW, radio beacon

This makes the crossbow a great gadget as you still get to keep your favorite weapons and most of the best gadgets.

Changing Bolts

Once you have the XBOW equipped, you can cycle through the type of bolt you’re using by using the firing mode button or key. This is done by pressing down on the D-pad on PS3 and Xbox 360 or the “V” key on PC.

Standard Bolt Tips

The standard bolt works against infantry only. It is much a slug for a pump action shotgun – standard bolts are a one-shot kill to the torso from close range, but a 2-shot kill from medium to long range. There is considerable drop, so try not to go for long-range shots. The XBOW has a very slow reload speed, so you’ll want to switch away from the XBOW to your main rifle or pistol after firing a shot if there are still enemies nearby.

Scan Bolt Tips

The scan bolt will spot all enemies within a 10 meter radius of where it hits. These enemies will stay spotted both on the minimap and on your screen (3D spotting) for several seconds. Aim for a wall or obstacle in the middle of where you expect enemies to be. If you’re approaching a building, try firing into the doorway or a window to spot enemies inside. The scan bolt will do a small amount of damage against infantry, but it’s very minimal so avoid using it for combat.

BA Bolt Tips

The BA bolt, or balanced bolt, is for long-range. This bolt has very little drop, so it can be used much like a bolt action sniper rifle. This makes it a good combo with the scoped crossbow. It does a bit less damage than a standard bolt so it still takes 2 torso shots to kill at range. Still, it’s a one-shot headshot kill even at long range. This is a much better choice than the standard bolt in hardcore mode, since it will kill with one torso shot but has less drop. Stick to the standard bolt for close range maps but use the BA bolt for more open maps.

HE Bolt Tips

The HE bolt, or high explosive bolt, is the only bolt effective against vehicles. It’s not as powerful as an RPG, SMAW, or C4, but gives the assault and recon classes a way to defend themselves against vehicles. The drop is high on this weapon so it is not effective at long distances, but it is easier to hit vehicles than with an M320. Speaking of the M320, it does similar damage against vehicles. Here’s a list of how many shots it takes to kill various vehicles:

2 shots: Attack helicopters, scout heli’s, transport heli’s, jets, boats, Humvees and other unarmored cars
4-5 shots: LAV, Mobile AA, Mobile Artillery
4-10 shots: Tank

The damage varies against armored vehicles. As with other explosives, hitting the rear of a tank will do the most damage. Keep in mind that while it takes 2 hits to kill a jet or attack/scout heli if it has full health, the HE bolt does nearly enough damage to destroy them. So if you see a smoking or burning heli or jet, you’ll be able to destroy it with one HE bolt hit. It’s not easy with due to the drop of this bolt, but it gives Assault, Recon, and Support players a way to take out aircraft on foot. Similarly, if enemy armor is already damaged, one shot from your HE bolt may be enough to disable or destroy the vehicle.

Once you get used to the slow reload of the XBOW and cycling through the different bolts, it can be a very useful gadget to equip. Once you’ve unlocked all the bolts, give each of them a try to find out which suits you best for different maps and situations.

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