Fallout 4: Top 10 Weapon Types Ranked

We ranked the top 10 best weapon types in Fallout 4, giving tips for using them and which weapons you should obtain.

Fallout 4 Top 10 Weapon Types Ranked

Each weapon type in Fallout 4 offers unique advantages and disadvantages, catering to different playstyles and combat scenarios. Whether you prefer the precision of rifles, the brute force of heavy weapons, or the close-quarters lethality of melee weapons, there’s a weapon type to suit your needs. When it comes to perks increasing your weapon damage, your modifications like receiver, grip, stock, and suppressor influence which is activated. For instance, an automatic receiver will trigger the Commando perk, whereas a semi-auto receiver with a marksman stock will trigger Rifleman. Thus, weapon modification becomes critical to maximizing your gun’s potential and activating the proper perks. In our top 10 best weapon types in the Fallout 4 guide, we aim to give you a ranking, notable weapons, how to get them, and build options.

This build guide has been updated for Game version 1.10.980 on PC and Free Next Gen Update on PlayStation and Xbox.

What are the Top 10 Ranked Weapon Types in Fallout 4?

Rifles are the best weapon type in Fallout 4 in range, accuracy, damage, and modification potential.

Rifles are viable at every level in Fallout 4, whether you exit the Vault or use the Gauss Ballistic rifle with one-shot potential at level 40+. Our second choice is heavy weapons because of the area damage and multi-kill potential. Moreover, Heavy Weapons got two additions in the Next Gen update, including the Tesla Cannon and Heavy Incentrator. These are two of the best weapons in Fallout 4 but require players to be level 30+. Plasma weapons are a third option, which do both ballistic and energy damage and have various weapon upgrade options.

The 10 best weapon types ranked from best to worst in Fallout 4:

  1. Rifles – best overall due to availability, damage, and weapon modifications
  2. Heavy Weapons – the best for massive kills and AOE damage
  3. Plasma Weapons – an upgraded laser gun doing both ballistic and energy damage
  4. Melee Weapons – unique playstyle with high-risk, high-reward
  5. Pistols – the best overall lightweight weapon at medium range
  6. Laser Weapons – great weapon at lower levels
  7. Radiation Weapons – situationally strong against humans, weak against others
  8. Unarmed Weapons – weaker than melee due to lack of customization and range
  9. Shotguns – a fun weapon style meant for up-close damage only
  10. Pipe Weapons – an entry-level weapon type designed for beginners

10 Pipe Weapons

Pipe Revolver Pistol - Fallout 4

Pipe weapons are the most common and easily modifiable weapons in the game. While they lack the raw damage of other weapon types, they are abundant and can be upgraded significantly. They are great for early-game encounters and players with intelligence perk Gun Nut. Pipe Weapons’ weakness is that other weapon types on this ranking have more damage or modification potential. However, we suggest obtaining a Pipe Pistol or Pipe Rifle early in the game and upgrading until a higher level. For pistol users, use a comfort stock, whereas rifleman perk players will want a marksman stock.

Notable Pipe Weapons:

  • Pipe Rifle
  • Pipe Bolt-Action Rifle
  • Pipe Pistol
How to get Pipe Revolver in Fallout 4

If you want to collect a Pipe Pistol early in Fallout 4, travel to Bedford Station southeast from Sanctuary. You can find the pistol on the second floor of the wooden building in front of the desk.

9 Shotguns

Fallout 4 Justice Shotgun

Shotguns excel at close-range combat, delivering massive damage to enemies within a short distance. Unlike other weapons, shotgun builds are widely customizable and have various perk options. The rifleman perk is active on a shotgun as long as it has a semi-automatic receiver, while automatic receivers use the commando perk. Moreover, all shotguns benefit from the Luck Bloody Mess perk. You can add a suppressor to a shotgun (yes, it’s odd) and gain the Mister Sandman sneak damage increase.

The weakness of shotguns is their limited range and accuracy. They are meant for up close and fade in power in the wide open area. Ideally, you want to pair a Rifleman Sharpshooter build with a Shotgun to have a close and long-range weapon combo that both benefit from Rifleman perk.

Notable Shotguns:

  • Combat Shotgun
  • Justice
  • Le Fusil Terribles
How to get Justice Shotgun in Fallout 4

The Justice shotgun is a unique variant of the combat shotgun that can stagger enemies. Travel to the Covenant, which is southeast of Sanctuary. Look for an NPC named Penny, which can sell you the weapon.

8 Unarmed Weapons

Fallout 4 Power Fist Melee Weapon

The Unarmed Weapon combat style is for players who prefer to get up close and personal without using traditional weapons. Unarmed builds can be incredibly powerful with the Iron Fist and Rooted perks. Unarmed builds differ from melee and have limited weapon choices by only using your fists and knuckles. The best of these is a Power Fist weapon that can do extra damage with each punch. The upside of Unarmed builds is that they don’t require ammunition or weapons to deal with significant damage. The downside is almost zero range, and it’s much harder to play as a beginner with limited knowledge of encounters. We ranked unarmed weapons 8 out of 10 on our weapon type list because melee weapons have more variety, range, and better damage in Fallout 4.

Notable Unarmed Weapons:

  • Power Fist
  • Deathclaw Gauntlet
  • Knuckles
How to get Power Fist in Fallout 4

The Power Fist melee weapon can be obtained at Swan’s Pond by searching Swan’s body. Swan’s Pond is near Vault 114 and Hubris Comics, where you can obtain Grognak’s Axe.

7 Radiation Weapons

Gamma Gun - Fallout 4

Radiation weapons like gamma guns are particularly effective against human enemies. However, they are less effective against irradiated monsters like ghouls and super mutants. They are niche weapons but can be devastating in the right circumstances because they can do area damage (AOE) and stun. Additionally, they are extremely limited throughout Fallout 4 and are situationally dependent. We would rank the radiation guns higher if they came earlier in the game and had more usage against multiple enemy types.

The best combination is a Gunslinger Pistol build with a Gamma Gun. You combine a Gamma Gun with the Deliver Pistol and only use Gamma when you need human crowd control or multiple kills.

Notable Radiation Weapons:

  • Gamma Gun
  • Lorenzo’s Artifact Gun
  • Radium Rifle
How to get Gamma Gun in Fallout 4

To obtain the Gamma Gun, travel to the Crater of Atom, where you will find the Child of Atom cultist. You can obtain a gun from them. The unique version, Lorenzo’s Artifact gun, is a reward from Jack Cabot for completing the quest for the secret of Cabot’s house. You can find Jack Cabot’s house just south of Bunker Hill.

6 Laser Weapon

Fallout 4 Righteous Authority Laser Rifle

The strengths of Laser weapons are ammunition availability, weapon upgrade options, and range. The Laser Gun can be customized similarly to the Pipe Gun. Swap out your capacity, barrel, stock, and sights to gain a variety of perks. Pistol Gunslingers want a Comfort grip, while Rifleman and Snipers builds want a Marksmen Stock with a Sniper Barrel. The ammunition, fusion cell, is widely available; thus, laser weapons are effective at the beginning of Fallout 4. Moreover, you can upgrade them with Intelligence perks, Gun Nut and Science. Science specifically unlocks powerful weapon mods later throughout the game. Therefore, one Laser Gun can carry you through 30+ levels and fits a variety of builds

The weakness of laser weapons is that their base damage is lower than that of ballistic and plasma. Moreover, Laser Weapons don’t have the same end-game potential once fully upgraded.

Notable Laser Weapons:

Fallout 4 Call to Arms location Paladin Danse

Righteous Authority is a unique variation of the laser gun personally modified by companion Paladin Danse. Complete the Call to Arms quest by finding Paladin Danse at the Cambridge Police Station.

5 Pistol

The Deliverer Pistol - Fallout 4

Pistols are lightweight and have a faster draw speed compared to other weapons. They are perfect for close to mid-range combat, providing quick follow-up shots and decent damage output. The Gunslinger perk boosts pistol damage significantly, making them a viable choice for agility builds that rely on speed and critical hits.

The downside to Pistols is they don’t have as long a range as Rifles, and you need specific mods on the Grip to activate the Gunslinger perk. Laser and Plasma guns can technically be a “pistol” once you apply a comfort grip. However, the damage won’t compare to later game weapons that can be modified to have a scope, suppressor, recoil stock, and advanced receiver.

We recommend Pistols for players who enjoy one weapon type for medium-range combat and want lower weight so they can all haul more junk back to settlements.

Notable Pistols:

How to get the Deliverer Pistol in Fallout 4

To obtain the Deliverer pistol, complete the Tradecraft quest that Desdemona gave you with the Railroad. The Railroad can be entered via the Old North Church, northeast of Diamond City. This quest will begin immediately after the Road to Freedom, and it’s suggested to at least work with the Railroad to obtain this weapon.

4 Melee Weapons

Fallout 4 Grognak's Axe

The melee build, playstyle, and weapon types are a favorite of Bethesda games due to their damage, speed, and fun factor. In Fallout 4, Melee weapon types are just as deadly and valuable, thus we rank them 4 out of 10. Similar to Unarmed Weapons, Melee uses the Big Leagues perk and has more variety in weapon types. Additionally, some melee weapons have up to a 10-meter range and can use VATS automatic targeting with perks like Blitiz in the agility tree. Lastly, you can sneak around with Pickman’s Blade and stab enemies unsuspectingly with a 10x sneak multiplier!

However, the major downside is the lack of range. In the open field, Melee weapons can be brutal unless you have situational awareness and are familiar with the encounters. Moreover, your build will need high endurance, power armor, or both to survive the brutal incoming damage you sustain. But melee weapons are fun, effective, and an enjoyable experience in Fallout 4.

Notable Melee Weapons:

Fallout 4 How to Get Grognak's Axe

You can get Grognak’s Axe by visiting Hubris Comics and unlocking the display case inside on the first floor. You can find Hubris Comics just northeast of Trinity Tower. Moreover, when you first visit, expect to face some ghouls before you can take the time to explore the store.

3 Plasma Weapon

Fallout 4 Experiment 18-A stats tooltip

Ranked 3 out of 10 on our best weapon types list, Plasma weapon deals energy and ballistic damage, making them unique in Fallout 4. Plasma Gun base damage is higher than normal Ballistic and Laser weapon types. However, these won’t show up throughout the beginning of Fallout 4, nor will it be easy to upgrade without a heavy investment into intelligence and science perks. The plasma gun doubles the base damage of a laser gun while retaining all the weapon’s strengths. You can swap out stock, sights, barrel, and capacitor for your favorite perks (Gunslinger or Rifleman) and gain massive base damage.

However, the ammunition isn’t nearly as abundant as the fusion cell for laser rifles. Moreover, you will need a massive investment in weapon crafting perks to see the optimal damage from Plasma weapons. We suggest Plasma Weapons for players using Laser Gun and upgrading after level 30.

Notable Plasma Weapons:

How to get Sentinel Plasmacaster in Fallout 4

The Sentinel’s Plasmacaster can be obtained by completing the quest of a New Dawn and siding with the Brotherhood of Steel. After this is done, visit Teagan, where you can purchase the weapon aboard the Prydwen. If you don’t wish to side with the Brotherhood, Experiment 18-A can be obtained from the institution, though it will need to be modified. Additionally, Plasma guns will start appearing at higher levels, and even the base Plasma gun can carry your damage from level 40 and beyond.

2 Heavy Weapons

Fallout 4 How to Get Tesla Cannon

The second best weapon type in Fallout 4 is the heavy weapon due to raw damage, multi-kill potential, and crowd control. Heavy weapons come in various types, including laser, energy, explosive, and ballistic. They are situational weapons due to their enormous weight and limited ammunition availability. Players will want to understand each weapon’s perks to optimize their builds. For instance, the Fat Man’s heavy weapon uses heavy gunner, demolition expert, and Bloody Mess perks. If you select all three perks, you will benefit from each, stacking in effectiveness.

The downside of Heavy Weapons is their limited ammunition and massive weight. For a survival build, playing survival difficulty, it’s tough to lug around a 20 lbs. or a great weapon. Moreover, the ammunition will be plentiful past level 50, but heavy weapons can be brutal to sustain early on. If it weren’t for these two issues, we’d rank them number one.

Notable Heavy Weapons:

Fallout 4 Best of Three map location of Gunner with holotape

The best overall heavy weapon is the Tesla Cannon, which was introduced into the base game after the Next Generation update. Complete the Best of Three quest to obtain a Tesla Cannon. After you’ve reached higher levels, you will receive a Vault-Tec distress signal and track it to a Gunner body near the Glowing Sea. Follow the quest chain to get your Tesla Cannon and enjoy one of the best weapons in all of Fallout 4.

1 Rifle

Fallout 4 The Last Minute Gauss Rifle

The best weapon type in Fallout 4 is Rifles because of their versatility, availability, and end-game potential. Rifles come in various forms and damage types like Laser, Plasma, Ballistic, and Radiation. For a weapon to gain the Rifleman perk, you must have a Marksman or Recoil stock modification. The strength of the Rifleman perk is that it only requires Gun Nut level 1, and it forgoes the need for science and 5+ perk points to modify weapons. Additionally, you can stack perk bonuses like Rifleman. Bloody Mess, Mister Sandman, and Ninja. However, the Sniper perk, ranked 2 at level 13, is the best perk. Sniper rank 2 can knock down enemies with Scoped rifles. Crowd controlling a Deathclaw at 200 meters makes even survival mode easy, and one of the reasons we rank Rifles as the best weapon type.

One could argue that Rifles don’t have the full upgrade and end-game potential as heavy weapons. However, the Gauss Rifle begs to differ; dealing ballistic damage using 2mm EC rounds, this weapon has some of the highest damage in Fallout 4 with insane range. As you progress, take the Science perks and Gun Nut maxing out this rifle and enjoy the VATS headshot potential!

Notable Rifles:

Fallout 4 Last Minute The Castle Map Location

The best Rifle to obtain is the Last Minute unique variant of the Gauss Rifle. Complete the Gold Guns quest with the Minute Men and enjoy a Gauss Rifle that deals 50% more limb damage.

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