Fallout 4 is nearly upon us, and it’s plain to see from the trailers that it’s loaded with all manner of weapons for our dismembering pleasure. With all the lead and lasers flying through the air, we couldn’t help but reminisce about some of the weapons that have defined the Fallout series. If you have the Gun Nut perk, this one’s for you.
As one of the first weapons obtained in the original Fallout, the Colt 6520 10mm Pistol set the benchmark for all other Fallout weapons to follow. A little oversized for a one-handed weapon, the 10mm gave a real sense of post-apocalyptic gunslinging, fitting perfectly with the psychotic raiders and asymmetric Mad Max-style leather jackets. The ability to use either hollow point or armour-piercing bullets was also a really cool and innovative step forward for gaming, even if the AP ones weren’t much good.
The 10mm Pistol changed to a new N99 model in Fallout 3, switching out the long barrel and stylish finger grips for a more boxy, weathered look. While the Colt 6520 was fairly easily outpaced in the first few Fallouts, the N99 10mm Pistol remains an effective weapon throughout most of both Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Its reasonable accuracy, stopping power and high rate of fire make it a solid medium pistol, and the ability to find or make a silenced version makes it invaluable for those rare Wasteland occasions where stealth is a better option than widespread carnage.
Technically a cut-down rifle, the .223 Pistol is as tough a small gun as you can get in the original Fallout without upgrading to lasers. Able to blast alarmingly large chunks out of raiders, this gun is the hand cannon to end all hand cannons. Though it only holds five shots, if your aim is true, five is enough to get you through most of the game.
Such was the popularity of the .223 Pistol that Fallout: New Vegas introduced a similarly designed successor, cheekily named That Gun. A 5.56 Pistol designed in a very similar fashion, That Gun didn’t quite live up to its predecessor’s legend, sporting a fairly average damage output for such a heavy handgun. Even so, it was worth having just to see the iconic weapon in your digital hand one more time. Let’s hope Fallout 4 brings back the .223 Pistol in all its glory!
It’s hard to imagine this pocket chainsaw getting much use before the bombs fell, unless Pre-War gardeners really took their jobs seriously. As melee weapons go, it’s hard to go past the Ripper’s ability to completely ignore your enemies’ damage resistance, though the raw power of the Super Sledge is definitely a contender.
Even though melee weapons have never been the most practical choice in Fallout, there’s no denying that the Ripper is TERRIFYING. While its massive AP cost in VATS makes it a little less useful some situations than other melee weapons, when you’re being swarmed by a lot of weak enemies, the Ripper will carve through them like a turkey dinner.
Deathclaws have been terrorising wastelanders with their speed and ferocity since the very first Fallout, so getting to weaponise one of their dismembered claws is a most satisfying triumph. It’s more than a trophy, however; the Deathclaw Gauntlet tears through enemy armour like paper, making it the perfect close-range weapon against those troublesome Enclave.
Though the Deathclaw Gauntlet only appears in Fallout 3, the Honest Hearts DLC for Fallout: New Vegas featured a spiritual successor made from the savage paw of a Yao Guai, the mutant teddy bears of the wastes. Who says animals never carry any useful loot?
I’ll always remember the day I got my very first Winchester P94 Plasma Caster in the original Fallout (then called the Plasma Rifle in-game), and proceeded to turn the entire population of Adytum into puddles of green goo. When it comes to long-range, high tech weaponry, this bad boy leads the field. You could even get a turbo version to really deal out the damage, and critical hits were absolutely devastating.
New Vegas saw the return and renaming of the Plasma Caster, and it very much lives up to the legend. The unique version, The Smitty Special, trades damage per shot for more than doubled rate of fire. The result? Your enemies awash in a practical urine stream of plasma.
What do you get when you combine the power and accuracy of an anti-materiel rifle with the rate of fire and ammo capacity of a light machine gun? A quick run to the end credits, that’s what! The Bozar might sound like a lovable dope, but it’s really pure death at wholesale rates.
Fallout 2 gave us this beast somewhat by accident, intending it as a pure sniper rifle but misattributing the stats. Though only able to fire two bursts before reloading than the standard three, each of those bursts held 15 armour-penetrating bullets dealing up to 35 damage EACH. No power armour, no deathclaw hide, nothing could stand against the Bozar, but as it was quite well hidden, I actually played through Fallout 2 a couple of times before I even knew it existed.
The Bozar returned once more in Fallout: New Vegas, albeit as a late addition in the Gun Runners’ Arsenal DLC. No longer quite the powerhouse it once was, the new Bozar retained its accuracy and rate of fire, but lost a little damage so as to not to be entirely OP.
When it comes to excessive force, it’s hard to top a mini-nuke to the face. The Fat Man will kill pretty much anything in a large radius, including NPCs, followers, and you if you’re not careful. Inaccurate at range and its ammo in desperately short supply, the Fat Man is more of a novelty than a staple weapon, but even so, there’s no better way to end a fight than with a smoking mushroom cloud rising up in your wake.
The Fat Man was introduced in Fallout 3 along with an even more wasteful version, the Experimental MIRV. This exercise in overkill fires not one, not three, but EIGHT mini-nukes at once. You might only have the ammo to fire it once, but chances are, that’s all you’ll need. New Vegas kept the ludicrous fun going with Esther, a unique Fat Man with a built-in shield adding damage resistance and radiation resistance to the player. The addition of unique (and non-finite) mini-nuke ammo types in the Gun Runners’ Arsenal DLC makes Esther as close to a practical weapon as possible.
Aliens may not have caused the atomic devastation that ended the world, but if the Alien Blaster is any indication, at least a couple were hoping to capitalise on it. This energy pistol might have a charmingly retro design, but it fires a bolt of purple lightning that – with a bit of luck – can kill anything but a boss in one hit. The tradeoff is its wide variance damage output and extremely short range, making it mostly useful for taking out charging deathclaws and super mutants.
One of the rarest weapons in all of Fallout, the Alien Blaster has almost always only been available in special encounters, most of which involve a crashed alien spaceship. Fallout 3 went all out on its version, making every single hit a critical. The downside is that instead of regular power cells, this version of the Alien Blaster has its own unique and painfully finite ammo. Even so, its light weight makes it a great choice for a fallback weapon, letting your shoot your way out of a certain death situation, no matter your foe.
Did we miss your favourites? Maybe you’re a fan of the Switchblade or Railway Rifle. Whether you love this list or hate it to the point of printing it out and eating it with your morning bowl of Sugar Bombs, let us know in the comments below!