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I gave Ian a hunting rifle and ammo to go with it and told to "use your most powerful weapon on the next battle", but he still uses his 10 mm pistol. If I take away his 10 mm ammo, he just fights unarmed. And there doesn't seem to be any option to make him wear better armor at all.

What to do? What are the limitations? What equipment will companions use, if I give it to them?

Bonus: Dogmeat can't use any gear. Any way to make him tougher?

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    According to Fallout Wikia, Ian can use only knives, pistols, SMGs. I do not have Fallout installed and I can't prove this info.
    – spyder
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 12:05

1 Answer 1

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Ian specifically can only use knives, pistols, and SMGs. I believe that's hard-coded into his AI.

Dogmeat can not be given any gear to use except Stimpaks, as he is a dog.

Sources:

http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Ian_%28Fallout%29#Notes

http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Dogmeat_%28Fallout%29#Notes

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    +1 For "Dogmeat can not be given any gear, as he is a dog"
    – user72052
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 3:13

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