[RPG] load a hand crossbow while holding a shield


Can I load a hand crossbow if I am using a shield and the crossbow? Would I be able to get multiple attacks with Crossbow Expert if I am using a shield and a hand crossbow?

Best Answer

The errata added “(you need a free hand to load a one-handed weapon)” to the Ammunition weapon property (PHB p. 146). Thus, you wont be able to carry a shield and load your weapon.

As a DM myself, I would allow you to load your weapon if you posses the War Caster feat (PHB p. 170):

You can perform the somatic components of spells even when you have weapons or a shield in one or both hands.

PHB p. 203, SOMATIC (S) says

Spellcasting gestures might include a forceful gesticulation or an intricate set of gestures. If a spell requires a somalic component, the caster must have free use of at least one hand to perform these gestures.

As I said above, I would houserule that the War Caster feat enables you to also load ammunition to a one-handed weapon while wielding a shield. Doing wild gestures with weapons in the hand to manipulate magic should have the same prerequisite as loading ammunition to one-handed range weapon (the hand-crossbow, sling and blowgun are the only one handed range weapons).

Drawing or stowing away your shield is an action, as listed in the "getting into and out of armor" (PHB p. 146).