The laser RCW (rapid capacitor weapon)[1] is a weapon in Fallout: New Vegas.


A precursor to the Gatling laser, the gun was designed to mimic a famous gun design and invoke in buyers the same rapid delivery of ordnance but instead with lasers.[2] The unique feature of this "laser assault rifle" is the addition of a "drum," which gives this weapon its unique look, high rate of fire, and name.

This drum contains a bank of 6 capacitors in a circle formation, centered around an electron charge pack (ECP). The capacitors in the drum are rotated as they fire in succession, producing a single continuous laser beam. While each capacitor is firing, the ECP is used to recharge the previously discharged capacitors.

This capacitor rotation allows the Laser RCW to operate like a multi-barreled ballistic weapon (for example, the minigun), and avoids the rate-of-fire limitations imposed by a single capacitor design. This high rate of fire restricts the Laser RCW to using only the ECP ammunition type. The single barrel is also a detriment to the long-term use of the weapon, as constant repairs are necessary to maintain the sole barrel used for directing all lasers, a problem sidestepped in more advanced Gatling lasers by having multiple barrels.


With adequate Energy Weapons skill and Strength, this weapon exhibits moderate accuracy due to a high spread for a laser weapon, making it useful for taking down enemies at almost any range. As a directed energy weapon, it has no recoil, allowing for continuous fire without muzzle climb. Using it extensively on full-auto requires large amounts of ammunition. A partial solution to this problem is to apply the laser RCW recycler modification, which recycles every fourth discharge. It also has the second-lowest critical chance of any energy weapon in the entire game.

Using true iron sights can become difficult with this weapon, as the bright pulse emitted when it fires can easily obscure the tiny field of vision that the iron sights allow. This effect is especially pronounced in low light conditions.


The laser RCW can fire a total of about 1995 times using standard packs, the equivalent of 34 reloads, or 25 reloads when modified with the recycler, from full condition before breaking.

Ammunition typeUnmodifiedW/ Recycler
Over charge132923132917
Max charge7951479510



Icon melee- Weapon name (melee or unarmed)Icon sequence- Attacks in V.A.T.S.
Icon gun- Weapon name (gun, energy or explosive)Icon action- Action point cost
Icon damage- Damage per attack (damage per projectile)Icon dap- Damage per action point
Icon dps- Damage per secondIcon spread- Weapon spread
Icon explosion- Area of effect damageAssault carbine extended magazines- Magazine capacity (shots per reload)
Icon effect- Effect damage & durationIcon repair- Durability (number of attacks before breaking)
Icon bonus effect- Bonus effectsIcon weight- Weight
Icon attack- Attacks per secondIcon merchant- Value in caps
Icon chance- Critical chance % multiplierIcon ratio- Value to weight ratio
Icon critical damage- Critical damageIcon ability- Skill required
Icon crit effect- Critical effect damage & durationIcon fist- Strength required
Icon plus- With all mods attached
Icon gunIcon damageIcon dpsIcon attackIcon chanceIcon critical damageIcon sequenceIcon actionIcon dapIcon spreadAssault carbine extended magazinesIcon repairIcon weightIcon merchantIcon ratioIcon abilityIcon fist
Laser RCW 15
Laser RCW Icon plus 15



  • The maximum attainable critical hit chance with this weapon (in V.A.T.S.) is 26%.
  • The laser RCW is one of few weapons that have their own unique reload animations.
  • Just like the .45 Auto submachine gun, when in the third person, the stock of the weapon will not be pressed against the player character's shoulder when firing.

Behind the scenesEdit

The laser RCW is based on the Thompson submachine gun.[2]





  1. A post by Josh Sawyer on the official Bethesda forums
  2. 2.0 2.1 Who thought up and/or designed the Laser RCW? That was a great way of including the Thompson without having .45 ACP in the game.
    Joshua Sawyer: I did. I thought there should be an automatic laser weapon available earlier than the Gatling laser and figured a Thompson-based SMG using ECPs could be cool. I was worried people would be mad about it since they didn't get a "real" Thompson, but it seems most people like it.
    It probably helps that it's a pretty good weapon.

    Josh Sawyer Formspring answers

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