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What are the relative pros and cons between energy weapons and small guns? Such as damage, rate of fire, accuracy, & ease of finding ammo.

While playing playing the game I haven't got to a stage in any saves where either skill was maxed out, so for reference for my next play through of the game, i want to be able to weigh the differences between skills.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by WizLiz, fredley, Billy Mailman, Shadur, l I Dec 12 '13 at 13:55

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It depends on what you're fighting, and what your playstyle is. Each one is viable, it's completely up to you. – Frank Dec 11 '13 at 18:39
Editted to try and make it less opinion based. Kinda used this non-downvoted, non-closed question as a template:… – Colin D Dec 11 '13 at 18:42
@ColinD I appreciate what you're trying to do, but you're changing the intent of the question far beyond what was being asked. – Frank Dec 11 '13 at 18:53
For the record, I voted to close as "too broad", not primarily opinion-based, because I disagree with the implication that we can't provide gameplay guides. – user98085 Dec 11 '13 at 19:23
Small guns makes the enemies head go splat while energy weapons makes the enemies turn to dust. – Lyrion Dec 12 '13 at 7:28

In earlier games, energy weapons were rarer, more expensive but better than most other guns. In New Vegas, this is less true- either guns or energy weapons can be used for shooting. It's mostly a matter of preference but here are the main bullet points (pun not intended):


  • More commonly available, especially in the early game
  • Ammunition is cheaper
  • Based off Agility
  • Perks and recipes are based off Repair
  • Large variety of weapons
  • Ammo is specific to a weapon or small group of weapons. Types of ammo vary with weapon groups
  • Bulk ammo degrades weapons quickly
  • Strength requirements are higher

Energy Weapons:

  • Rare and mainly sold by two stores
  • Ammunition is more expensive
  • Based off Perception
  • Perks and recipes are based off Science
  • Smaller variety of weapons
  • Only 3 types of ammo, no counting flamer fuel. All ammo can be converted into other types.
  • Ammo crafting only uses ammo and spent ammo
  • Bulk ammo degrades weapons slowly, higher quality ammo degrades faster
  • Strength requirements are lower
  • Less recoil
  • Critical hits can disintegrate or melt enemies. Due to a glitch, this stops them respawning.
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