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Attack modes are the different types of attacks that can be performed with a weapon. For example, a 10mm SMG can shoot in single shot, aimed shot, or burst shot. Different attacks do different damage and/or have different ranges (a spear normally has a 2 range, but when set to throw, it has 15 range). Attack mode also allows the PC to access targeted shots with applicable weapons, this is where the V.A.T.S. menu will be displayed.

Attack Modes

Different weapons have different means of attack, they are as follows -

Ranged Weapons

  • Single Shot, a single bullet or energy discharge is made, with single shot the AP use is low as well as spread.
  • Burst Shot, multiple projectiles are fired from the weapon in a rapid fire instance; the AP use is usually slightly higher as well as spread. In burst fire the chances to hit multiple targets at a distance or hit close targets consecutively is possible.
  • Aimed Shot, A single shot that can be targeted at a specific body part. Targeted shots usually the same amount of AP as a burst shot but can be aimed at weak areas of a target.

Melee Weapons

  • Swing, the held weapon is swung in a horizontal motion.
  • Thrust, the held weapon is jabbed at the target, this is best reserved for knives and spears.
  • Throw, the weapon is thrown at the target, this is only possible for spears and throwing knives

Weapons with multiple attack modes

Many weapons in Fallout and to a greater degree Fallout 2 have multiple attack modes. They are as follows.

Small Guns

Melee Weapons

Energy Weapons

Weapons with only one attack mode

Though the majority of smaller versatile weapons hold more than one method of attacking, larger weapons are ineffective at low volumes of fire.

Big Guns

The majority of Big Guns, if not all(with the exception of the Gatling Laser, Flamer, and Minigun), only feature burst fire and single shot modes. Being too big to make targeted V.A.T.S. shots, and in the case of rocket launchers and recoilless rifles, unable to make multiple consecutive shots.

Melee Weapons

Some of the larger melee weapons, such as baseball bats and sledgehammers, possess no cutting or piercing edges, making them only capable of being swung at targets.


Attack modes appear in Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics.