The subject of this article originates from non-canonical sources. To find out about what is considered "canon" see LOTR:Canon.
The crossbow is a ranged weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a wooden stock. The string, along with its missile (referred to as a bolt), is drawn and then held taut by a mechanism featured on the weapon's stock until it is fired by a trigger lever.
Tolkien never mentions this device in the book, but they are shown being used by Uruk-hai in the movies, notably during the battle at Helm's Deep. Instead, the Uruk-hai used heavy longbows like the one used to kill Boromir.
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit
In the The Two Towers, the Uruk-hai use crossbows at Helm's Deep. Jackson commented that the reasoning behind this non-canonical decision stems from the need for the Uruk-hai to pose a threat to the defending army before coming into melee contact, and the use of bows didn't fit the Uruk's lumbering nature. Jackson also comments that the use of a conventional crossbow would have broken the flow of the battle due to the incredibly long reload time; for this reason, the Uruk-hai make use of a pump-action type of crossbow, which allows it to be fired and re-strung in a matter of seconds. This idea was suggested by illustrator John Howe.
- In Battle for Middle Earth and it's sequel The Battle for Middle-Earth II, the Uruks are a playable race and the Uruk crossbowman is a deadly fighting unit.
- In The Lord of the Rings Online, there are usable crossbows.