Sleep Arrow

The Sleep Arrow goes by many names, but it all comes down to one thing–put the target to sleep as quickly as possible. This trick is focused on injecting the target with some form of tranquilizer similar to those used on wild animals.

Note that this trick is different from the more often seen sleeping-gas arrows because it has a single target. This works to prevent collateral damage. It also concentrates increases the amount of sedative to increase effectiveness.  It should be noted that for most depictions of this trick a shot should be lethal; a tranq dart needs some sort of guard to ensure that only the needle enters the target.

This is another weapon seen in several video games and magical versions are common.


  • Type: Non-Lethal Arrow
  • Frequency: Common
  • Effects: Injects target with powerful sedative putting them to sleep.
  • Also Known As: Tranquilizer Arrow, Sedative Arrow, Sleep Dart Arrow, Knockout Arrow
  • Variations: Hypodermic Arrow

Reality Check

Tranquilizer darts are not generally included in military or police less-than-lethal arsenals because no drug is yet known that would be quickly and reliably effective on humans without the risks of side effects or an overdose. This means that effective use requires an estimate of the weight of the target to be able to determine how many darts (if any) can be used. Shooting too few would result in partial effects only, while too many can kill the target. According to James Butts, former Chief of Police of Santa Monica, “Tranquilizing agents don’t affect everyone uniformly. Therefore you cannot predict whether or not you have a sufficient dose to tranquilize the individual. Second, any tranquilizer will take time to enter the bloodstream and sedate the individual. If someone is advancing on you with a deadly weapon or a threatening object, there’s no way a tranquilizer would take effect in the two to three seconds it would take someone to seriously injure you.” [Wikipedia]