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Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game

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Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game
PC Boxart
Release Date: 1997
Developer: Interplay Productions
Publisher: Interplay Productions
Series: Fallout
Platforms: PC
Genre: Turn-Based Role-Playing

Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game, also known as simply Fallout, is a turn-based role-playing video game, the hugely influential first installment in the popular Fallout series. It was developed and published by Interplay Studios and released in October 1997.

The game is set in an alternate universe that deviates following World War II, where the United States remains culturally stagnant while developing advanced technology, resulting in a retro-futuristic world where the aesthetics and culture of the 1950s exists well into the 21st century. Despite great advances in technology, by the mid-21st century, the world is locked into a series of brutal wars over non-renewable resources, culminating in a nuclear war in 2077 that destroys much of society.

Fallout takes place in 2161 and players control the "Vault Dweller", a resident of Vault 13, part of a sophisticated network of underground fallout shelters known as "Vaults" built by the United States Government before the Great War of 2077. Vault 13's Water Chip, responsible for the processing and recycling of the Vault's water supply, has failed and the Vault Dweller is tasked to find a new one before the Vault dies of thirst. To do so, they must venture out into the wasteland that used to be Southern California and fight savage raiders and bloodthirsty mutants. Soon, the Vault Dweller finds that not just the Vault is at stake, but what's left of the Human race.

The following weapons appear in the video game Fallout: A Post-Nuclear Role-Playing Game:


Weapons in Fallout are chambered in cartridges some of which have alternative variants, such as armor-piercing (AP) alongside jacketed hollow-point (JHP) rounds which are interchangeable to suit combat against certain targets. However, due to a bug in the game engine that has not been fixed in any patches, armor class (AC) and damage resistance (DR) stat modifiers do not work properly, causing armor-piercing rounds to not have their effect applied properly. Only unofficial patches can currently correct this issue. The interchangeable ammo variant system was revisited in Fallout: New Vegas.


"Colt 6520 10mm Pistol"

Based on a fictional revolver from the cover of the comic Hard Boiled, the Colt 6520 Autoloading pistol is the first firearm given to the player, and is a relatively common to find throughout the game. Although its visual inspiration contains a revolver cylinder, the 6520 is actually a semi-automatic pistol that is fed by 12-round magazines, due to miscommunication between the game's artists and developers.

Fallout 1997 10mm pistol.jpg

"SIG-Sauer 14mm Pistol"

The 14mm Pistol is mainly fictional, but has external features similar to a Hämmerli 280; it chambers the also fictional "14mm" pistol cartridge. Lore-wise, the 14mm Pistol is a SIG-Sauer product that was imported into the US from Europe. Statistically, 14mm Pistol is relatively viable, but is beaten by other guns such as the .223 Pistol. This gun can be bought from traders such as Neil or Smitty. The only ammunition variant for 14mm is "AP" and due to armor-piercing effects not being applied correctly in gameplay, most of the 14mm Pistol's potential damage is negated.

Hämmerli 280 - .22 LR
Fallout 1997 14mm pistol.jpg

Mauser C96 "Red 9"

The Mauser C96 "Red 9" appears as the "Mauser M/96 9mm" and only one exists in the entire game. The Mauser, along with its ammunition, is only carried by Gizmo. In-game it holds 7 rounds at a time instead of the real pistol's 10 round capacity.

Mauser C96 "Red 9" - 9x19mm
Fallout 1997 9mm Mauser.jpg

Desert Eagle Mark XIX

The Desert Eagle Mark XIX appears as the "Desert Eagle .44", but its icon shows it with a non-fluted barrel meaning it was referenced from a .50 AE version. It serves as the 10mm Pistol's replacement in the mid-game, being higher-damaging and still using a relatively common ammo type. The Desert Eagle is sold by traders such as Killian and Smitty and is carried by some members of the Khans.

Desert Eagle Mark XIX - .50 AE Chrome Silver
Fallout 1997 Desert Eagle .44.jpg

LAPD 2019 Blaster

The ".223 Pistol" is based on the "LAPD 2019 Blaster" from Blade Runner and as its name suggests, chambers .223 Remington rather than the .44 caliber in the case of the real blaster prop. According to its description, the .223 Pistol was originally a rifle that was cut down to pistol size. It is one of the best handguns in the game, having high damage, range, and having the "Weapon Penetrate" perk which gives it high armour penetration; its main drawback is its low capacity, a meagre 5 rounds. It is acquired by completeing Irwin's quest in the Hub.

Original 2019 Blaster prop.
Fallout 1997 .223 pistol.jpg


12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotgun

The "Winchester Widowmaker" is a sawed-off 12 Gauge Double Barreled Shotgun (though the specific designation implies that it may have been produced in this configuration from the factory instead of being sawn down from a larger shotgun, similarly to the Ithaca Auto & Burglar). Serving as the early-game shotgun, it has decent damage but poor range. The Widowmaker is easy to find, sold by most weapon vendors and carried by the guards at Junktown.

As a note of trivia, there was a real shotgun (nick)named the "Winchester Widowmaker", though it has little to do with the in-game design - formally known as the Model 1911 SL, it was Winchester's attempt to compete with the Browning Auto-5 without infringing on any of its patents; as this included the use of a conventional charging handle (or at least one which would disconnect the bolt from the barrel), the Model 1911 SL instead used a knurled section on the barrel itself, which (thanks to the shotgun's long-recoil action) could be pulled back to cycle the action. Due to the tendency of period paper-cased shells to jam the weapon, coupled with the difficulty of getting a good grip on the barrel (especially when it was heated), it was not uncommon for users to clear jams by resting the butt on the ground and "mortaring" the barrel downwards; given that this action placed the user's face and/or torso directly in front of the muzzle, the gun going off (due to poor-quality ammo with overly-sensitive primers, the round in the chamber hang-firing, the firing pin being broken or stuck, et cetera) would bring their existence to a rather abrupt end, giving the shotgun its less-than-flattering nickname.

The screen used Zabala short barreled shotgun used by Denzel Washington in Man on Fire - 12 gauge
The Winchester Widowmaker's in-game icon; note the curvature of the grip, which lends some credence to the idea that the shotgun was always this short instead of being sawn off. Also note the rather considerable taper of the barrels just past the chambers.

"Winchester City-Killer Combat Shotgun"

The Winchester City-Killer combat shotgun is the autoloading alternative to the sawed-off shotgun. It is of a fictional bullpup design that bears a loose resemblance to the Pancor Jackhammer and feeds from 12-round box magazines. Due to these characteristics, it is a devastating weapon against close-range targets. Getting the City-Killer, though, is more difficult. It can be purchased at either the Gun Runners or Jake in the Hub.

Fallout 1997 Combat shotgun.jpg

Submachine Guns

"H&K MP9 10mm SMG"

The "H&K MP9 10mm SMG" is the later-game replacement to the 6520 pistol. Its single-shot attacks effectively outperform the 6520 and its burst mode is highly damaging which makes it an excellent weapon early in the game due to it being able to shred unarmored foes and 10mm being a more common cartridge to find. The MP9 can be found in the hands of guards or goons.

Fallout 1997 10mm SMG.jpg


"AK-112 5mm Assault Rifle"

The AK-112 is the "Assault Rifle" role weapon in the game, chambering the fictional 5mm cartridge and being fed by 24-round magazines. In-game lore states that it is an old military model that was still in service pre-War. This weapon was eventually considered aged and was scheduled to be replaced just prior to the Great War. Finding a AK-112 in the game isn't too hard, as it is sold by merchants such as Jake and Morpheus; it can also be stolen from Brotherhood of Steel recruits at Lost Hills.

Fallout 1997 Assault rifle.jpg

"Colt Rangemaster Hunting Rifle"

The Colt Rangemaster is probably the first rifle you'll get your hands on in the game, and is chambered for common .223 ammo. The rifle is good for early game usage, but after a while it is outdone by weapons such as the DKS-501. The Rangemaster can be found easily, as raiders usually carry it when you're level 3 to 7 and Kenji, the assassin sent to kill Killian in Junktown, also carries one.

Fallout 1997 Hunting riflea.jpg

"DKS-501 Sniper Rifle"

This rifle allows the user to do insane damage to the critical body areas, if the player has the stats to back it up. This is partially based on the PPSh-41, in the form of a magazine receiver and barrel design. The Sniper Rifle does not share the same reduction in accuracy when enemies are close as the Scoped Hunting Rifle. The Sniper Rifle boasts good damage, max range, and ammo for it is quite common. It has two glaring flaws however - it has a small ammo capacity, and costs an extra AP to fire. This means targeted shots, although accurate, take 7 AP to fire. The DKS-501 can be found on the robots guarding the Glow, as well as it being sold by Jake.

Fallout 1997 Sniper rifle.jpg

Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun

The Red Ryder BB gun appears under its real name. Its handguard is missing and the tube under the barrel is shorter compared to the real weapon. It has a high capacity of 100 (though the real Red Ryder holds up to 650), but deals an extremely low amount of damage, making it largely a joke weapon.

The "Red Ryder LE BB Gun" is found in the special encounter "Bob's Pre-Owned Car Mart", along with a regular version. Visually, it differs by having a longer underbarrel tube and a handguard, making it appear closer to the real BB gun. Performance-wise however, it deals massively more damage than the standard BB gun, outclassing many actual firearms in the game. In a nod to A Christmas Story, both versions do bonus damage when used for aimed shots against eyes.

Daisy Red Ryder - .177
The standard Red Ryder.
The "LE" variant.

Heavy Weapons

"Flambe 450 model flamethrower"

The Flamer is a sort of middle ground between the big guns. It has the shortest range of any big gun, but does quite a bit more damage per shot compared to miniguns. Fire resistance is often lower than Normal resistance, so a flamer can usually do more damage to an enemy in Power Armor than a minigun, and has less danger to the user compared to the BigBazooka Rocket launcher. Floaters, especially, have very low Fire resistance. The only downside to the flamer is the heavy ammo, which weighs 10 pounds for a cluster of 10 shots. The Flamer can be found on Barry the mutant, as well as being sold by Jake.

Fallout 1997 Flamer.jpg

"Rockwell CZ53 Personal Minigun"

The "Rockwell CZ53 personal minigun" is partly based on the GE M134 Minigun with a chainsaw grip in order to make it man-portable. In-game, it chambers the same 5mm ammunition used by the AK-112 and allegedly fires over 60,000 RPM according to its description. When firing, the player will do so in 40-round bursts, allowing them to fire thrice before having to reload. By the time the Great War took place, the CZ53 was already an aging design and was slowly being replaced by the more advanced Avenger miniguns which appear in Fallout 2. The CZ53 appears to be the favorite weapon among Super Mutants as it is commonly found on them, especially those located at the Cathedral and the Mariposa Military Base.

Airsoft handheld M134 Minigun with 'Chainsaw grip' to handle the recoil force - (fake) 7.62x51mm NATO
Fallout 1997 Minigun.jpg

M47 Dragon

The "Rockwell BigBazooka Rocket Launcher" is an M47 Dragon missile launcher complete with SU-36/P daysight tracker, with an exaggerated bazooka-like muzzle and no bipod. In Fallout, it is very useful, capable of doing massive damage to clustered targets from long-range. In Fallout 2, however, by the time the player finds the weapon and can access a consistent supply of ammo for it, they're likely near the end of the game, where enemies tend to wear Power Armor of some sort. Even then, the effective-yet-oddly-designed armor piercing rockets it uses can slice through most Enclave contingents with one or two blasts. Most enemies, including Deathclaws and aliens, though, have very little explosion resistance, making packs excellent targets. Using this on a locked door will destroy the door but you can still walk through it. The BigBazooka is only found on some merchants, such as Jake or Zack from the Gun Runners.

M47 Dragon ATGM with SU-36/P daysight and front shock absorber detached- 140mm
Fallout 1997 Rocket launcher.jpg

Grenades & Explosives

"Frag grenade"

One of the most commonly used throwing explosives in this game, the frag grenade bears a strong resemblance to Mecar M72 hand grenade with some external changes. Fragmentation grenades are pretty rare, but can cause great peril for weaker enemies.

Mecar M72 High-Explosive Fragmentation Hand Grenade.
Fallout 1997 Frag grenadea.jpg


The dynamite has a timer that can be set anywhere between 10 seconds and 3 minutes, in 10-second increments. Dynamite has high damage and can kill several enemies at once.

Fallout 1997 Dynamite.jpg

Plastic Explosives

The Plastic Explosives are a chunk of Cordex, a military brand of plastic explosives. This explosive is more powerful than dynamite and sports a wider blast radius. Like dynamite, it has a timer that can be set anywhere between 10 seconds and 3 minutes, in 10-second increments.

Fallout 1997 Plastic explosives.jpg

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