Yesterday, I was defending a settlement, and found that one of the turrets was firing incendiary bullets. When I went to fix it, I realized that it had "Mk 5" written on one of the wings, and even the word "incendiary" on it. I then realized that the settlement was full of "Mk 7", "Mk 3" and "Mk 1" turrets.

I did not level up any science or gun perks, and I can say that every turret I deployed was the same standard "Mk 1". Curiously, the turrets seem to level up in places close to where the raiders appear. I've seen "Mk 3" and "Mk 7" in a lot of settlements, but Mk 5 only in one.

How do turrets level up?

  • Did a cleanup of your question.. I took out "I also realized that there were anything other than Mk 1's at Sanctuary." as this makes no sense, and I am unsure what you were trying to say.
    – user106385
    Dec 2, 2015 at 1:25
  • I just wanted to remark that there are only "Mk 1" turrets in Sanctuary. I didn't realized that I had so many grammar mistakes until I saw the editions :)
    – Jade
    Dec 2, 2015 at 17:59

7 Answers 7


Doing some research on the matter, I find the reports to be conflicting; However, it appears that turrets do not level up. Instead, they spawn at a particular level, randomly. Furthermore, it appears you can have Mk 1, Mk 3, Mk 5 and Mk 7 turrets.

Discussion and research in this Reddit thread suggests that each settlement has a "maximum level", in which the turrets will spawn. It is reported that this maximum level increases, the further you are from Vault 111. This is most likely the case, with an emphasis on how far you are to the south-east. The farther south-east you are, the harder the encountered enemies are. The harder the enemies are, the tougher your turrets need to be, to help push them back.

What I can confirm, which appears to be the best course of action in aiming for the best defense, is that you can still rig which turrets you build. As detailed in this Steam Guide, entitled "Get The Best Turret For Your Settlement", the turrets level generates randomly when you select it from the workshop menu.

As such, you can move between the Machinegun Turret and Heavy Machinegun Turret, and each time, the selected guns level will randomly generate. By rotating the turret to the left, you can see what number is written on its wing, before you build it. If it is not the highest desired level, simply move back and forth between your defense options, until the desired level spawns.

  • 30
    Random turret levels seems like a really, really dumb mechanic.
    – Nelson
    Dec 2, 2015 at 8:10
  • 8
    So does coupling game mechanics to fps, but hey it's bethesda.
    – Gigala
    Dec 2, 2015 at 11:21
  • I also read the Reddit thread that you mention but even that if it made sense to me since the difficulty level increases as you go away from Vault 111, I remembered to see "high level turrets" in relatively low level areas. I've been checking in-game for a while now and I can confirm that low level areas have just "Mk 1" turrets, and that the level is generated in the very moment you select the turret to be placed (canceling and creating again will indeed change the level)
    – Jade
    Dec 2, 2015 at 18:20
  • I also think that the high level turrets to be in active places of the settlement has just been a coincidence
    – Jade
    Dec 2, 2015 at 18:22
  • 2
    I suspect the distance isn't discrete either. At Egret Tours Marina, I had a real hard time getting MK7 turrets until I went to the southeast corner and tried to build a gun outside the buildable area. This had a much higher chance of being MK7. When I got a 7 here, I'd place it just inside the buildable area, then try to get another one. Then I moved all the guns to where I needed them. Other settlements may be on the boundary between gun levels and have similar exploits.
    – user137
    Feb 8, 2016 at 14:38

Others have basically answered the question, here I am gonna provide some explanations for the mechanism.

In Fallout 4 (same for Fo3, FNV, Skyrim, etc.), the map is divided into different "Encounter Zones", and for each zone there are parameters controlling the minimum and maximum levels of NPCs spawn there. This means the turret level you can get depends on the zone that your settlement is in.

Nonetheless, if you are willing to use console command (PC only), then you can spawn turrets of desired level in any settlement. The command to be used is PlaceLeveledActorAtMe (detailed explaintion here). To do the trick, you need an ActorBaseID of the turret:

Machinegun Turret         B3036 
Heavy Machinegun Turret   1167A8 

and an EncounterZoneID whose level threshold is high enough (Here is a complete list of the EncounterZoneID), 1FA57 (Spectacle Island) suffices since you can build a Mk7 turret there normally. Now for example, command

player.PlaceLeveledActorAtMe 1167A8 3 1FA57

will spawn a Heavy Machinegun Turret MK 7 right next to your character, you can then use the building menu (the turret has to be in the settlement area, of course) to move it to any desired place.


The only decent thread I could find on the subject links the turret version to the average level of the enemies in that area. Basically, the turrets scale with the area you are in. So in the settlements that are far away from Vault 111, you will get the higher versions of the turrets, while the closer settlements like Sanctuary will usually only have the Mk I versions.

The subject is discussed at the bottom of this Reddit thread.

  • 1
    It is important to note that being in a higher level area does not automatically give you higher level turrets. It is still random, and you can still spawn Mk 1s (tested).
    – user106385
    Dec 2, 2015 at 2:16

They work randomly, but 90% of the time it depends on the level of technology you build them around. For example if you build them in a blank field they will most likely be level 1, less likely - level 3. If you build a fusion power generator leave the settlement then return and build turrets around the power generator they will be 90% level 7, less likely - level 5.

Build them then delete the power generator and you will have a bunch of level 7 turrets. I have noticed though that the random level 5 turrets pop up more if they are facing things in your settlement that can be broken or destroyed like plants or power generators, etc. Like the game is trying to save you from yourself by not having explosions aimed at them.


My personal experiences contradict the statements regarding distance and randomness being the factors involved, I had rank 5 and 7 turrets at "Sanctuary". I believe my "Gun Nut" and "Armorer" perks may have affected my turret placements, but also I was a high level, 49.

It seems silly to potentially randomly generate rank 5 turrets at low level or depending on settlement area.

Also to note, I had a Super Mutant raid at Sanctuary, with high level Super Mutants using Missile Launchers.

  • 1
    I realise, now, that your saying 'Ive noticed X and Y' as opposed to 'to do X, you can do Y'. Perhaps you had meant to post this, as a comment?
    – user106385
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:42

It seems to me, that the higher your defence level for the settlement, the higher the number. Once I hit #7, I could switch them all out to #7. I honest don't think they're any more powerful.


It is true that the closer you are to Sanctuary, the lower the number on the Heavy Machine Gun Turrets, and the higher the number the more powerful they are, mk7 has explosive rounds, the mk5 has incendiary rounds, still not sure about the mk3.

However, one thing I have learned is once you get a mk7 to spawn in a multi #ed settlement, if you stand right next to an originally spawned mk7, you can spawn the mk7s, two at a time (rinse and repeat) all day long.

This method probably also works with the mk3 and the mk5 but I haven't tried it.


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