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The Melee Weapons skill determines your effectiveness with melee weapons, from the simple lead pipe all the way up to the high-tech super sledge.— In-game description

Melee Weapons is a skill in Fallout: New Vegas. This skill determines combat effectiveness with any melee weapon and combat effectiveness with non-explosive throwing weapons.


Example: A starting Strength of 5 and Luck of 5.

As this skill increases, so does the damage inflicted with all of these weapons, both in and out of V.A.T.S. mode.

Special Attacks

When the player character has 50 Melee skill points, they have access to special melee moves which consume a certain amount of AP for a variety of effects in V.A.T.S.

  • Most one-handed edged weapons (such as combat knives) have the Back Slash special attack.
  • Most one-handed blunt weapons (such as the lead pipe) have the Lights Out special attack.
  • Most two-handed melee weapons (such as the sledgehammer) have the Mauler special attack.
  • Staff-like weapons (such as baseball bats) have the Grand Slam special attack.
  • There are a variety of other attacks, some unique. Only thrown melee weapons and the broad machete have no special attack.

V.A.T.S. vs. real-time

It is possible to execute all special melee moves outside of V.A.T.S., although the animation can look different in first-person view than in third-person view. It is not required to have 50 points of the skill to perform the moves. To perform any special move described above, initiate a power attack (hold attack button) while moving forward. However, executed outside of V.A.T.S. they don't have any special properties but have a benefit of a standard power attack: doubling weapon base damage.

Unlike in Fallout 3, a potentially significant amount of damage can be taken in V.A.T.S., heightening the danger of meleeing in it, as one cannot dodge or block while in V.A.T.S. However, all melee weapons, except thrown, do twice as much base damage.

Ways to increase Melee Weapons

Note: Only items adding +5 or more are included.

Affected weapons

Perks that require Melee Weapons skill

Perk Requirement Level Additional Requirements
Cowboy 45 8 Guns 45
Super Slam! 45 8 Strength 6
Unstoppable Force 90 12 Strength 7
Ninja 80 20 Sneak 80

Notable Melee Weapons skilled characters