You swing harder, not better. Your attacks are very brutal, but lack finesse. You rarely cause a good critical hit, but you always do more melee damage.Fallout 2 In-game description

Heavy Handed (called Brutal in TORN) is a Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout Tactics, Lionheart, and TORN trait.

Fallout, Fallout 2, TORNEdit

You get +4 points of Melee Damage, but your critical hits have a -30% modifier to the critical hit tables.

Fallout: New VegasEdit

Your Melee and Unarmed attacks do more damage, but less critical hit damage.

More specifically, your Melee and Unarmed damage is increased by 20%, but your Critical Hit damage is reduced by 60%, but only for those two weapon types. However, since you inflict more damage consistently with Heavy Handed, Critical Hits are less of an issue, unless one relies on sneak attack criticals as a major source of damage or if the character criticals often due to perks, Luck, and high weapon modifier.

Weapons most useful with Heavy Handed

Heavy Handed with CriticalsEdit

Assuming a Critical Hit chance of 7.5% (base 5%, multiplied by a machete's x1.5 Critical Hit chance), a player will Critical Hit once out of 13 to 14 swings, on average. So, a machete's damage with and without Heavy Handed should work out to the following respectively:

  • Without Heavy Handed: 13 swings * 11 damage + 1 crit (+11 damage) = 154 damage
  • With Heavy Handed: 13 swings * 13.2 damage + 1 crit (+4.5 damage) = 175 damage
$ \text{Base crit} \times (1 - \text{Heavy handed} ) \times (1 + \text{Better crits} ) = \text{Crit damage} $

Example: Using a cattle prod.

$ 5 \times 40\% \times 150\%=3 $

As with most percentages in Fallout: New Vegas, however, the penalty functions as a multiplier instead of just subtracting from the base. Therefore, when combined with perks such as Better Criticals, Elijah's Ramblings or Just Lucky I'm Alive, the final critical damage dealt will be 40% * 150% = 60 rather than 90% or 72%. However, since critical hits are considered before Damage Threshold whereas damage buffs like this perk are considered afterwards, the benefit will be lower in practice.

See also

Fallout TacticsEdit

You get +4 points of melee damage, but your critical hits have a -20% modifier to the critical hit tables.


Gametitle-LHThe following is based on Lionheart and is not part of the Fallout franchise.

You do +2 points of damage in melee combat (hand-to-hand or non-ranged weapons). Your critical hits have a -30 modifier to critical chance. This trait cannot be selected with Finesse.

Gametitle-LHEnd of information based on Lionheart.
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