Fallout Wiki
Fallout Wiki

The use, care and general knowledge of small firearms - pistols, SMGs and rifles.— In-game description

Small Guns is a skill in Fallout 3. This skill determines combat effectiveness with any small gun.

Initial level

"Because it's easier to have courage from a safe distance away."

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


In general, the skill raises the Lone Wanderer's accuracy and/or damage with any weapon that is affected by the skill. The higher it is, the lower the projectile spread, and the more stable scoped weapons, such as the sniper rifle or the scoped .44 Magnum, will be when aiming through the scope. At 100 points, scoped-weapons have no sway at all; however, having either arm crippled will still result in a severe sway while using the scope.

On average, increasing the skill by 5 points will increase weapon damage by ~3.5%. There is also a diminishing margin of return. In general, increasing Small Guns from 5 to 10 will increase weapon damage more than increasing it from 95 to 100.

Affected weapons

Perks that require Small Guns skill

Perk Required Level Additional Requirements
Concentrated Fire 60 18 Energy Weapons 60

Perks that improve V.A.T.S. accuracy:

  • Gunslinger improves V.A.T.S. accuracy for pistols (or similar one-handed weapons).
  • Commando improves V.A.T.S. accuracy for rifles (or similar two-handed weapons).
  • Sniper improves V.A.T.S. accuracy when targeting the head.
  • Wired Reflexes improves V.A.T.S. accuracy for all weapons by 10%.
  • Concentrated Fire increases V.A.T.S. accuracy against a body part by +5% each time it is targeted.

Perks that improve damage:

  • Black Widow improves damage by 10% vs. male humans/ghouls.
  • Lady Killer improves damage by 10% vs. female humans/ghouls.
  • Entomologist improves damage by 50% vs. insects.
  • Robotics Expert improves damage by 25% vs. robots.
  • Bloody Mess improves damage by 5% against all targets.
  • Finesse increases the chance of getting a critical hit by the equivalent of 5 points in Luck.
  • Better Criticals increases the damage of critical hits by 50%.
  • Survival Expert increases the chance of a critical hit by 1, 2 or 3%.
  • Ghoul Ecology improves damage by +5 against ghouls (bugged and affects all targets).
  • Superior Defender improves damage by +5 when standing still.

Consumables that improve damage:

Interactions that require Small Guns skill

  • An undisclosed amount is required to fix Pek's weapon in the unmarked quest The Lost Initiate - although the Repair skill and Gun Nut perk will also work.
  • 50 points in this skill are required to teach the citizens of Big Town how to use conventional firearms during the quest Big Trouble in Big Town. This is only one of several ways to complete this section, however.

Ways to increase Small Guns