When sorting weapons by damage in Fallout: Shelter, weapons that have a damage range (as the Enhanced Sawed-Off Shotgun, which does 6-8 damage) are ranked higher than fixed damage weapons with the same expected average damage (such as the Rusty Laser Pistol, which deals 7 damage) when sorted by the STATS column.

For example, I currently have the following weapons in this order when sorted by stats:

Enhanced Sawed-Off Shotgun: 6-8

Rusty Laser Pistol: 7

Sawed-Off Shotgun: 6-7

Enhanced Hunting Rifle: 5-7

Rusty Sawed-Off Shotgun: 6

This could be as simple as the sorting algorithm just being made that way (sorting by average damage first, and then maximum damage to settle ties), but I would argue that fixed damage weapons are actually better (given the same average damage), as they would bring more consistent victories in situations where you on average win.

I considered that the random number picked within the damage range would be affected by the dweller's stats (so having high perception, for example, could increase the average damage slightly for a non-fixed weapon), but this seems unlikely, considering the simplicity of the FO:S combat system.

Is this purely an artifact of the sorting algorithm, or is there some reason for why damage range weapons are (on average) better than fixed-damage ones?

  • The random damage range being effected by luck might be a thing but I'm not aware of any way of actually measuring damage done and so on so I have no idea how you might test this and come to any useful conclusion.
    – Chris
    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:38
  • I would argue that having a chance to get 8 damage is better than consistent 7 damage. I'll take the trade off of the possible 6 damage if that makes a deathclaw dead a room faster when the average is higher than 7 in a fight. That's to show that thinking a consistent damage weapon is actually better might not be the best approach. Aug 25, 2015 at 12:35
  • 1
    @JonathanDrapeau I guess it depends. If it's the case that doing 7 damage makes you dead every time, and landing a few 8's cause you to win, then I agree. It may also be the case that you need on average 6.8 to kill it before you die, and in that case the consistent 7 would be better. But yes, I agree that there may be advantages in specific situations. I think it's generally a bad idea to gamble when you're winning, but if you're behind, increasing the variance may help.
    – Svj0hn
    Aug 25, 2015 at 12:58

1 Answer 1


My impression is that the list is sorted by maximum damage first, then by minimum damage. The minimum damage value is used as tie breaker. It just happens that, for fixed damage weapons, the minimum and maximum damage values are the same.

If you invert the min/max damage values for each weapon so that the max value is shown first, and represent fixed damage as a min/max range with the same value repeated, we get the following list:

Enhanced Sawed-Off Shotgun: 8-6
Rusty Laser Pistol:         7-7
Sawed-Off Shotgun:          7-6
Enhanced Hunting Rifle:     7-5
Rusty Sawed-Off Shotgun:    6-6

According to this interpretation, the rank of a weapon does not depend on whether it is a fixed or range damage weapon. It just depends on its max/min damage values.

  • well, we don't really know if average is included or not, since we don't see 8-5 or 7-4 on the list.
    – Sconibulus
    Aug 25, 2015 at 19:07
  • @Sconibulus - I agree. Without a lot more evidence or access to the source code, we can only guess. Since it's not relevant to the answer, I've edited that bit out. Thanks!
    – Ricardo
    Aug 25, 2015 at 19:28
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    This appears to be correct. I saw one example of it by observing that Lincoln's Repeater (4-9, avg 6.5) was sorted above Rusty Laser Pistol (7, avg 7), even though the average is lower (and thus is arguably worse).
    – Svj0hn
    Aug 26, 2015 at 7:01

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