Here's a little FAQ detailing the best weapons in a given situation, and their locations to help you find them.
There are a lot of choices and options, as New Vegas' weapon system is surprisingly very deep. Hopefully this FAQ helps you out!
Best All-Around Gun:
When people say, "What is the best weapon?", I guess this is what they probably mean. When I think of a best all-around gun, I think of a weapon that has plentiful/cheap ammo, doesn't need to be repaired often, can be repaired easily, does fantastic regular damage, critical damage and dps, has decent range, and requires low AP in VATS.
There's a lot of excellent weapons to choose from, but in the end, it all came down to these:
1. This Machine
This weapon is easily the best general-purpose weapon in the entire game. It works in almost all situations other than sniping purposes (you use a sniper rifle for that), you almost never need to repair it, it has excellent AP/DMG ratio when using VATS (making it the best VATS weapon), it is a great mid-range weapon.
On top of all of this, you have access to HP/AP ammo for extra versatility, and with the Hand Loader perk, you can craft ammo that does +50% damage with no drawback.
This Machine is extremely easy to find. You can find it at Camp McCarran during a free-form quest called "Dealing with Contreras". That just one more reason why it's the #1 on the list:
2. Riot Shotgun
Riot Shotgun is probably the best non-VATS weapon, and does more damage than This Machine outside of VATS. With Shotgun Surgeon, Riot Shotgun is an absolute beast. Also, it's fairly easy to repair and the ammo is extremely cheap in bulk.
Dinner Bell is probably more effective than Riot Shotgun on a low-strength character though, because Riot Shotgun needs 8 Strength (make sure to get the perk to lower strength requirements if you are using Riot Shotgun!). You can probably also benefit from getting a Strength implant and wearing Power Armor.
You can acquire a Riot Shotgun from Gun Runners, or get one for free with some effort by raiding the armory in Vault 34:
Sniper Rifles? Not quite
Sniper Rifles, including Gobi, can both be used in VATS and in close range with some practice, and so those work as well. I don't include them as truly general purpose because they are harder to repair even with the Jury Rigging perk (all the repair options are hard to find or must be purchased). Still, Gobi is certainly a decent choice.
Best All-Around Energy Weapon:
The same requirements are used for this one, except for that it's energy. There aren't a lot of choices here, because the game kind of hoses energy weapon users.
1. Multiplas Rifle
This weapon is the easiest to repair and the ammo is plentiful. You can find it in many locations. Probably the easiest spot to get it is simply by stealing it from Silver Rush, among many other weapons and ammo that can be taken from there:
2. Plasma Caster+
This weapon is actually better than the Multiplas Rifle in every respect, but it's a bit more complicated to repair to be truly called a general purpose weapon. You'll need to get Jury Rigging perk so you can repair with any 2-Handed ECW weapon, or use repair kits.
You can also acquire the Plasma Caster at Silver Rush, so this place gives you the opportunity to acquire 2 of the best energy weapons relatively early in the game.
BEWARD OF BUG:
When doing the mission Birds of a Feather (a Van Graff mission receieved in Silver Rush), if you choose to save Cass, Jean Baptiste will pick up the Plasma Caster. Because of a glitch that makes his body unsearchable, if you do not acquire the Caster before killing him, it will be lost forever in his inventory! This happened to me! If that's the case, you are stuck with the Multiplas Rifle as your top weapon :/
Q-35 Matter Modulator
This weapon, while not the most impressive for base damage, has a high critical modifier and does 3x the damage upon a critical hit. So while a regular hit does 35 damage, a critical will do 126 damage.
It's one drawback though is that it's VATS cost is very high (28), so you will need take many Action Boy/Girl perks and additional energy weapon perks to make the best of it. You should also aim for high luck.
Is it worth it? Probably not, as This Machine will deal more damage in VATS with 6 attacks with no critical hits compared to the Q-35 Matter Modulator when it criticals in 2 of the 5 attacks using VATS. But if you're going with energy weapons and want a lot of LUCK, this isn't too bad I suppose.
You can find the Q-35 Modulator at REPCONN Headquarters. There's a long, complex process to acquiring it, which can be read about here:
Notes: Alien Blaster
While an Alien Blaster certainly does more damage than either of these weapons, but you have limited ammo and is hardly general purpose.
Pew-Pew, while a brilliantly fantastic weapon, uses way too much ammo to be considered truly general purpose. By all means, when a situation arises where you need this kind of fire-power and you have a Pew-Pew, use it!
Best Sniper Rifles:
If you're inclined to create a character based on sniper rifles, there are lots of options. Ultimately though, despite the stats on the the YCS/186, regular sniper rifles are best. You also have access to HP/AP ammo, which gives you lots of options.
1: Sniper Rifle+
An upgraded Sniper Rifle actually turns out to be the most effective, because you can attach a suppressor to pick off enemies without alerting them. There's also a mod to lower it's weight to just 3 pounds, which is not bad at all. Make sure your allies don't run after enemies as it defeats the purpose of using a suppressor in the first place! ;)
Like This Machine, .308 Caliber Rounds give you access to HP/AP ammo for extra versatility, and with the Hand Loader perk, you can craft ammo that does +50% damage with no drawback.
The one big drawback to Sniper Rifle+ is that it degrades very quickly, and it's not the easiest weapon to repair, even with a Jury Rigging perk (although that certainly makes it easier). It's also not the best weapon to use with VATS.
The best place to acquire two Sniper Rifles is in Vault 34's Armory. You'll be heading to the armory for lots of other quests anyway, so might as well get those Sniper Rifles!:
One way get a Suppressor is to buy one from the Gun Runners kiosk near Vegas. The other is at the 188 Trading Post's "Arms Merchant" (that's her name). Just warp there, cross the bridge and talk to her - she's by the truck during the day.
As a note, it *is* annoying to get the shops to spawn it though, as their inventory is random. So if you don't see the "Sniper Rifle Suppressor", wait 24 hours and keep checking their stock. Good luck!
2: Gobi Sniper Rifle
Gobi doesn't offer any damage increases compared to Sniper Rifle+, although Gobi is certainly better in VATs because it uses less AP per shot. Gobi's durability is also much better, which significantly reduces your repair problems. It's really a matter of taste between easy maintenance vs. suppression between these two Sniper Rifles.
You can find a Gobi at the Sniper's Nest. Not only is this hard to find on your own, you need 100 lockpicking skill to unlock the container that contains the Gobi:
Best 1HKO Damage:
Sometimes you just wanna kill something in one hit in a 1-on-1 situation. These weapons will do that nicely.
1: YCS/186 Gauss Rifle
Outside of VATS, the YCS/186 has the single most powerful shot in the entire game. It's main drawback is that you must reload it after every shot, which takes time. It also has a nasty kickback, which makes aiming the next show a problem when your targets are moving.
In VATS, it has been reported that the YCS/186 is bugged and does less damage. This often makes Gobi a superior choice to use when using VATS, at least until things get patched up.
The YCS/186 can be found very easily if you're willing to treak all the way to Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch, which is west of freeside/the strip. Once you arrive at Brooks Tumbleweed Ranch, head east from there until you see a merc camp. There should several mercs, and one of them has the YCS/186 on him:
2. Anti-Material Rifle
This weapon packs a mean punch. It's ammo type just shreads through everything, from robots to high armor targets and everything else.
One drawback with this weapon is that it takes a long time to fire again, so don't expect great DPS or a fast fight. Another drawback is that while it has a scope, it doesn't get the critical multiplier like a regular sniper rifle. It's ammo is also very rare and very expensive, which is why I list it as #2.
Probably the easiest way to acquire an Anti-Material Rifle is to go to the Gun Runners kiosk near New Vegas, suck it up, and buy it for ~6500 caps:
Best Anti-Robot Guns:
Robots have different kind of armor, and so you need specialized weapons to take them out. Regular weapons like Shotguns and the like just won't cut it.
1. Pulse Gun
This is *the* weapon to kill Robots, as it only takes 1 or 2 hits to kill a robot with it. Outside of this purpose, the gun is useless.
You can find it in Vault 34's armory, like many other weapons:
Or, you can use any energy weapon, such as Pew-Pew, Multiplas Rifle, Plasma Caster. They all work.
3. Anti-Material Rifle
A Sniper Rifle or Gobi will also work.
If you have to use pistols, there are a lot of options, with various drawbacks. By sheer raw damage, Alien Blaster easily wins... but you need to take the wild wasteland perk and it's ammo is limited. That rules it out of contention for practical use.
1. Ranger Sequoia
This probably the best all-around pistol in the game. It's ammo is not so common, but at least you can buy it in bulk from various shops. There are plenty of Hunting Revolers and other pistols which can be used to repair it as well.
You can obtain the Ranger Sequoia from Chief Hanlon at Camp Golf during the Return to Sender quest chain. This is a long chain, but this is a good reward for your effort! Make sure you turn him in so he commits suicide, then after he kills himself, go back in the room and look on the ground for the Ranger Sequoia, as it's NOT on his body, but near it!:
In terms of sheer damage, dps, critical hit chance, low spread, etc., this weapon has it all. It also uses a very common ammo type. There are two drawbacks though.
1. It's very hard to acquire.
2. It uses A LOT of ammo! 15 per shot! In practice, this means you got around 100-150 shots with it if you don't bother making or buying extra ammo and just use the ammo you find throughout the game.
You can get the Pew-Pew at Sunset Sarsaparilla Headquarters by talking to Festus and giving him 50 star battle caps:
Of course, if you need to sneak something into a casino and the like, then you definitely want this one:
Best Weapon To Conserve Ammo, Repair and Kill Trash:
Sometimes you don't want to use weapons because of repair issues, or because you don't have enough ammo. This category goes to weapons that are best to kill trash effectively using weapons that are easily repaired with cheap and plentiful ammo.
This weapon is slightly better than the Weathered 10mm, as it does more damage and has a higher critical chance. It's one drawback is that you need to progress the storyline and kill or pick-pocket Benny in order to obtain it:
2: Weathered 10mm
The one nice thing about this weapon is that it uses the most common ammo type, and you can repair it very easily. You need the pre-order DLC from eb-games/gamestop in order to use obtain it though:
Best Fist Weapons:
1: Ballistic Fist
This weapon is easily the best fist weapon in the game. When you have maxed strength and maxed unarmed skill, it does 104 damage! The one drawback is that you need a character with 9 strength to use it effectively. This is not a problem, because you'll probably want to make a character with 7 strength if you plan on using fist weapons anyway (you can get +1 strength from implants and +1 from armor).
The Ballistic Fist is also the best fist weapon in VATs, as it offers the highest DMG/AP, Pushy falling slightly behind.
The easiest and earliest ways to get this weapon is from Blake at the Crimson Caravan Company:
Or from Torres in the Hidden Valley Bunker:
This one is not as potent as Ballistic Fist outside of VATS, but it's much easier to obtain, it's free, and it only requires 2 strength to wield it.
You can find Pushy on a dead Jackal Gang member inside the Ruby Hill Mine. This is not an easy location to get to early in the game, but if you can deal with Cazadors on your way there, go for it.
3. Mantis Gauntlet
Another option is to craft a Mantis Gauntlet. This weapon doesn't have as high of DPS as the Ballistic Fist, but it does have a 3x critical modifier on it and (should) ignore target defense, making it ideal against heavily armored targets. It's best used on a character with lots of LUCK. It is also a very fast weapon as you can get in lots of attacks, but it is terrible when using VATS compared to Pushy or Ballistic Fist.
Unfortunately, people report that it doesn't work so well against Deathclaws, so you're probably better off with Ballistic Fist anyway as it's non-critical damage is much higher than the Mantis Gauntlet, at least until this gets patched.
You can learn about how to craft a Mantis Gauntlet here:
Best Melee Weapon:
2: Oh Baby!
Okay, it's done. I requested it to be sticky.
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A little note regarding Q-35. It does not do 3x the damage. At least not according to what geck says. It's critical damage is 62 and it's critical multiplier is x2. With better criticals however it would do ~x3 times it's BASE damage with a critical hit.
Also I think Sniper Rifle+ has nothing on gobi. I prefer 12.7 Gun for a silenced weapon. As for the damage, the slight increase means hardly anything since all of it's damage is done through critical hits. The point difference in geck is 2, 60/60 for gobi and 62/62 for reg.
Also if you consider chainsaw the best melee weapon. The reason I don't because it doesn't have critical hit damage. Also Chainsaw and Thermic Lance are identical in stats, completely.
Beatings will continue until morale improves!
Honestly, I just assumed that if you were going for Q-35, they would take the better criticals perk.
In terms of this FAQ, I put Sniper Rifle+ and Gobi on the same level. I guess I list Sniper Rifle+ first, but everything that is stated there applies to Gobi. At the end of Gobi's description, I make it clear that it's a matter of taste. I use Gobi exclusively personally as well.
My Music: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/443421/Ken_Egervari_-_When_It_Rains.mp3
I wonder now, if ammo modified critical damage. I should check into that. If so some weapons would turn out better.
Beatings will continue until morale improves!
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