This weapon is good for a low-mid level melee player. The attack button can be held down and it will dismember anything in front of the player (much like a chainsaw). This makes it very good for large hordes or large, but slow creatures.
Rippers do more damage in one action in VATS than in normal combat.
Xbox 360 Sometimes, a ripper (Arcade Gannon special version) is in your inventory that is available for use and does not show up in the shop menus, but if it is dropped, you will not be able to pick it up again.