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One-Handed (Skyrim)

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For other uses, see One-Handed.
"The art of combat using one-handed weapons such as daggers, swords, maces, and war axes. Those trained in this skill deliver deadlier blows."
Loading screen quote
"You're like me, eh? Don't fancy those clunky two-handed weapons."
Hold Guard[src]

One-Handed is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. One-Handed directly affects the damage dealt with one-handed weapons. The perks obtained in this skill tree only affect one-handed weapons. Due to a glitch, this included the Ebony Blade and Headsman's Axe, both of which are Two-Handed weapons, prior to patch v1.9.

The One-Handed skill tree allows damage output to be increased by wielding two one-handed weapons simultaneously. This is referred to as "dual-wielding." While this potentially doubles damage output, it also removes the ability to block any attacks. It is advisable, though not necessary, to back up a dual-wielding play style with defensive skill trees, such as Heavy Armor or Restoration. An exploit for "dual-wielding" is to hold both attack buttons to perform a power attack but before it is performed press both the attack buttons again, which results in a stamina-free power attack. Alteration can also bring advantages by allowing the use of various forms of mage armor.

Despite not adding towards the One-Handed skill, unarmed attacks do benefit from some One-Handed perks, including the Dual Wielding perks. Perks from other skills that affect one-handed weapons (such as the Backstab perk from the Sneak skill) do not seem to affect unarmed attacks, however.

One-handed weapons have a shorter range than two-handed weapons.

One-Handed weaponsEdit

The following are the weapons that benefit from this skill:

Craftable weaponsEdit

This is a list of one-handed weapons that can be crafted at a Forge.

Non-craftable weaponsEdit

This is a list of weapons that cannot be crafted. They are either received as a quest reward or looted throughout the world. They may or may not be unique.

With very few exceptions, many of these can be upgraded at a grindstone.


The following are the perks that become available to select as the skill is leveled up. Some of the perks listed will have more than one rank, with each rank requiring a higher skill.

Perk (Ranks) Requirements Description
Armsman (5) One-Handed

n/a, 20/40/60/80

One-handed weapons do 20% more damage (+20% per additional rank)
Fighting Stance One-Handed 20, Armsman Power attacks with one-handed weapons cost 25% less stamina
Hack and Slash (3) One-Handed 30/60/90, Armsman Attacks with war axes cause extra bleeding damage (additional ranks raise the bleeding damage)
Bone Breaker (3) One-Handed 30, Armsman Attacks with maces ignore 25% of armor (+25% per additional rank), this includes the armor provided by flesh spells and wards.
Bladesman (3) One-Handed 30/60/90, Armsman Attacks with swords have a 10% chance of doing critical damage (+5% per additional rank, does not apply to daggers)
Dual Flurry (2) One-Handed 30, Armsman Dual wielding attacks are 20% faster (35% for second rank)
Savage Strike One-Handed 50, Fighting Stance Standing power attacks do 25% bonus damage with a chance to decapitate your enemies
Critical Charge One-Handed 50, Fighting Stance Can do a one-handed power attack while sprinting that does double critical damage
Dual Savagery One-Handed 70, Dual Flurry Dual wielding power attacks do 50% bonus damage
Paralyzing Strike One-Handed 100, Savage Strike OR Critical Charge Backwards power attack has a 25% chance to paralyze the target

Skill Effect on One-Handed weapon damageEdit

The One-Handed skill directly increases the damage dealt with one-handed weapons. For each skill level, weapon damage increases by 0.5%. This increase is multiplicative with bonus damage from the Armsman perk for a total of triple weapon damage with 100 One-Handed and 5/5 Armsman. Weapon damage can be further increased by smithing and/or enchanting.

Fortify One-Handed enchantmentsEdit

One-handed weapons receive increased attack power from boots, bracers, necklaces and rings enchanted with the Fortify One-Handed enchantment. However, Daggers are uniquely unaffected by these enchantments.

Weapon-specific perksEdit

The usefulness of the weapon specific perks providing extra effects is disputed.

  • Bladesman: Critical damage is not affected by One-Handed skill, Armsman perk, or weapon improvements, and is equal to half of the weapon's base damage, rounded down. This means that with 3/3 Bladesman, a Daedric Sword will do extra 10 critical damage, 20% of the time—an average DPS increase of 2.
  • Hack and Slash: Assuming 100 One-Handed skill and 5/5 Armsman, a Legendary Daedric War Axe deals 75 damage per hit and causes 3 bleeding damage over 6 seconds (with 3/3 Hack and Slash). By the time a large amount of bleeding damage can be inflicted on the target, it will likely already be dead. Also note that for the perk to even work, the enemy must be able to bleed; it doesn't work on the undead (like Draugr) or Dwarven automatons, for example.
  • Bonebreaker: Only enemies that wear armor items have an actual armor statistic and skills—enemies like Chaurus, Draugr or Dragons, despite looking armored, aren't. Bandit Marauders, the highest leveled non-boss Bandit enemies in the game, will usually have derived physical damage resistance of 30-40% (depends on what items they spawn with), which means a 3/3 Bonebreaker will increase the DPS against them by 30-40%.


One handed tree

One-Handed perks tree

Books and questsEdit

The following books increase the One-Handed skill:

The following miscellaneous quests increase the One-Handed Skill:

Leveling One-HandedEdit

  • Before beginning to level, it should be noted that the Hack and Slash perk's effects stack, making war axes the most effective weapon against armored enemies because the bleeding damage is not affected by armor and continually stacking it will kill enemies very quickly.
  • Gaining progress towards the next skill up is determined by the base weapon damage and not the number of hits or the damage done. Thus, the best weapon to use for increasing One-Handed skill is a base Daedric Dagger, due to its damage and speed. Drinking Fortify One-Handed potions, using Fortify One-Handed enchantments, smithing weapons to legendary level and multiplying their damage by 5, or sneak attacking (which can increase attack power by 15x) doesn't increase the skill. Also, since these methods damage the target faster, using these is not advised while increasing One-Handed skill. These findings are based on extensive controlled environment testing and are accurate.
  • One of the fastest ways to increase skill is by equipping a plain Daedric Dagger, wearing the Amulet of Talos, obtaining the Blessing of Talos, using the Elemental Fury shout, and then quickly attacking Shadowmere. Three to four swings per second is possible while the shout is active.
  • Leveling from 94 to 95 is done in 170 hits with a Daedric Dagger. It takes approximately three minutes if the Dragonborn is hitting Frost or Shadowmere, and much more if hitting an enemy. Thus it is advised to make this skill a training priority.
  • Due to Mehrunes' Razor having a small chance to instantly kill any creature, this weapon should not be used when planning to level the skill by attacking followers.
  • When coming across the bear while escaping Helgen at the beginning of the game, the companion (Hadvar or Ralof) will not progress forward. Thus, an easy way to increase the One-Handed skill is by attacking him. He will never die in this way. Doing this while crouched behind him will also increase the Sneak skill as well. This can also be done in the first room in Helgen Keep if accompanying either Ralof or Hadvar. Immediately as the heavily armored Imperial dies, the key should be looted, which will cause Ralof to be stuck until the gate is opened. For Hadvar, instead of looting the chest as he instructs, the sword off of the rack next to the chest can be taken and used. Note that pulling the chain to open the door will bypass Hadvar's advice to wear the equipment in the chest, and he will continue through the keep as usual.
    • Tip: If you hit Hadvar while he is standing up his health will immediately recover to full.
  • Hitting immortal characters when they kneel due to near death condition doesn't increase the skill level. If the Dragonborn is planning to increase their skill level by this method, it's better to let them to recover, or even heal them (which increases Restoration as well).
  • Becoming Harbinger of The Companions will allow training to expert level with Athis. He can also be a follower, which allows all the gold spent training to be returned (by taking it from his inventory).
  • Another way to level One-Handed skill is by conjuring an Atronach or Familiar, then killing it over and over again (this also increases the level of Conjuration).
    • Attacking a summoned Atronach may cause it to attack. Also, as with regular Atronachs found in the open world, summoned ones can damage the Dragonborn and any surrounding NPCs when they explode on death.
  • Another method is by attacking a follower, waiting for their health display to disappear, and then repeating. Lower level skills will benefit most from this (also works with bows and two-handed weapons).
  • A good way to increase the One-Handed skill, after finishing the Dark Brotherhood quest line, is by setting the game difficulty to Master or Legendary, then summoning a Spectral Assassin. Once he is killed, after waiting 24 hours, he can be summoned again, and the process repeated. The Spectral Assassin might start to attack, but if the Dragonborn is at a high enough level, it will not matter.
  • An amusing way to level One-Handed is during the quest The House of Horrors. Either attack Logrolf the Willful with the Rusty Mace as Molag Bal intended, or, for faster results, equip a dagger in one hand and Healing Hands in the other.


  • If delving into ruins where vampires and necromancers reside, the "Savage Strike" perk is useful in these situations, as beheaded enemies cannot be raised through Conjuration, leading to fewer enemies the player character will have to face.
  • The "Savage Strike" perk will also work if a Kill Camera is activated, even with weapons that don't normally behead humans, elves, and beastfolk, like maces.
  • With "Critical Charge," if Dual Wielding, only the left or right weapon can be used for the power attack. If one tries to sprint and do a dual power attack (i.e., bring down both weapons at once), the player character stops sprinting and does the standard standing dual power attack.


See alsoEdit

Start a Discussion Discussions about One-Handed (Skyrim)

  • One-Handed and Shield Vs. Two handed weapons

    42 messages
    • I prefer to use 2h weapons on my melee (non stealth) type characters. You can easily buff up a build so that your power attacks will 1 s...
    • 2 Handed just gets the stress out. After a long day, I just wander around and charge absolutely everything.
  • Shield or Dual Wield?

    21 messages
    • I myself am a dual wielding sword user. I have 573 hours in the game and absolutely recomentld using HA and dual swords. The armor helps...
    • pitifully enough I have found myself killed at level 37 while running around with close wounds and equilibrium while getting my rejuvination up...