Fallout New Vegas Best Melee Weapon Guide

Last Updated on May 20, 2024 by Samuel Franklin

This guide to the Fallout New Vegas (FNV) best melee weapon details the best options for a powerful melee build playthrough. With melee being a niche build it attracts players seeking a fresh challenge for their next Mojave Wasteland adventure with a number of milestone weapons required to give you a fighting chance. For those that don’t mind the added initial challenge that a melee build has you’ll be rewarded with devastating late game power.

To help you reach this point in a melee specialist playthrough this comprehensive melee weapon guide provides players a roadmap of weapon options to take you from Goodsprings to the end game credits. This guide includes details on weapon availability through all game stages, the location to acquire each weapon and the respective strength requirements. By pairing this guide with careful choice of starting special stats, level up perks, equipment and general playstyle you’ll be setup for melee character success.

Table of Contents:
Best Melee Weapon Factors
Best Melee Weapon Summary Table
Chance’s Knife
Blood Nap
Knock Knock
Oh, Baby!
Chainsaw (GRA)
Protonic Inversal Axe
Thermic Lance


Fallout New Vegas Best Melee Weapon Factors

While damage is an obvious factor to consider when deciding on your melee weapon of choice there are other important factors that determine the FNV best melee weapons.

  • Damage: Damage is important to combat in order defeat enemies and mutants that you encounter. Damage goes beyond just the raw damage value in your inventory screen though as players also need to factor in attack speed, critical chance multiplier and the available perks that can boost damage further for specific melee weapon types. Combined these factors determine your overall potential damage per attack which will change your playstyle from hard hitting single strikes to rapid lower damage attacks.
  • Ease of Acquisition: Acquiring weapons is an important consideration as a melee weapon that you acquire from the last quest is not particularly useful to your character story progress. Weapons that are easy to acquire relative to the power level that they offer you are significantly more valuable to the player and a major factor in many of the melee weapon recommendations below.
  • Utility: Utility for melee weapons includes bonus damage against a particular enemy type, the ability to conceal the weapon for quests or roleplaying, special attack types and overall V.A.T.S. cost. Special attacks for weapons are unlocked in V.A.T.S at a melee skill of 50 although can be used outside of V.A.T.S. prior to this and can be a significant source of your overall damage.

Fallout New Vegas Best Melee Weapon Summary Table

Weapon Location Weapon Requirements Weapon Statistics
Chance’s Knife North of Goodsprings (starting tutorial location) 50 melee weapons skill and 3 strength 22 damage and bonus critical chance effect
Blood Nap Following The Launch quest in the Lonesome Road DLC 50 melee weapons skill and 4 strength 30 damage, bonus critical chance/damage and +10 sneak
Knock Knock Camp Searchlight Fire Station 75 melee weapons skill and 5 strength 66 damage
Oh, Baby! Charleston Cave 100 melee weapons skill and 8 strength 80 damage
Chainsaw (GRA) Gun Runner’s Arsenal merchants (multiple) 75 melee weapons skill and 7 strength 80 damage (no mods), 95 damage (all mods) and ignores damage resistance/threshold
Protonic Inversal Axe Old World Blues DLC (various locations) 55 melee weapons skill and 5 strength 58 damage, +50 damage to robots and +20 damage against power armour
Gehenna Gun Runner’s Arsenal merchant (Vendortron) 75 melee weapons skill and 6 strength 42 damage
Thermic Lance Various locations (refer below) 100 melee weapons skill and 7 strength 100 damage and ignores damage resistance/threshold


Chance’s Knife

Location: North of Goodsprings (starting tutorial location)
Weapon Requirements: 50 melee weapons skill and 3 strength
Weapon Statistics: 22 damage and bonus critical chance effect

Located north of your starting tutorial location (Goodsprings) players will want to venture to the tribal village map location where you can find the grave of Chance who was once a powerful member of the Great Khans to obtain this weapon.

Chance’s Knife is easily one of the Fallout New Vegas best melee weapons available given it is relatively easy to obtain at the start of your adventure. Despite being obtained early on it has significant power compared to other options available at this stage and as a result is likely to be a staple of your melee build for much of your adventure. With the right perk choice as you level up Chance’s Knife can even be your main weapon until your choice of Fallout New Vegas ending. This unique melee weapon is designed to be an improved variant of the combat knife and can maintain its power given it can be buffed further by both the Cowboy (+25% damage) and Grunt (+25% damage, Honest Hearts only) perks. In addition to this Chance’s Knife offers a bonus critical chance effect to further boost damage and can be concealed which opens up some opportunities in the broader Fallout New Vegas storyline quests or for pure roleplaying reasons.

Blood Nap

Location: Following The Launch quest in the Lonesome Road DLC
Weapon Requirements: 50 melee weapons skill and 4 strength
Weapon Statistics: 30 damage, bonus critical chance/damage and +10 sneak

Available after players complete The Launch in The Lonesome Road DLC you’ll find this in a street lamp to the left of where you leave this quest area (Courier’s Mile) so outside of completing the DLC content it is easy to obtain when you know where to look.

Unlike Chance’s Knife above which is available right at the beginning of your Fallout New Vegas adventure the Blood Nap is only acquired after you have completed a significant part of your story. With Lonesome Road intended as a pinnacle piece of content you simply won’t have many adventures left to use this unique melee weapon which is based on the Bowie Knife also added in this DLC although the raw power of this weapon makes it difficult not to include on a list of the best melee weapons in Fallout New Vegas. This power level comes from the high base value and boosts to critical chance/damage on the weapon which allow it to reach some of the highest DPS values of the melee weapon archetype. The weapon also comes with a bonus to the sneak skill although this is unlikely to be a major consideration at the stage of the game that you acquire this weapon. Important to note that unlike it’s smaller cousin above (Chance’s Knife) it doesn’t benefit from the Grunt perk as it is not considered a Fallout New Vegas combat knife but the higher base values make up for this loss of bonus damage.

Knock Knock

Location: Camp Searchlight Fire Station
Weapon Requirements: 75 melee weapons skill and 5 strength
Weapon Statistics: 66 damage

Located in the Camp Searchlight Fire Station players can use the key from Logan to visit the upstairs bathroom stalls where this unique fire axe sits next to a skeleton in one of the cubicles and it requires repair before using.

While not the strongest of melee weapon options in Fallout New Vegas in terms of raw damage this is one of the few two handed weapons available during the mid game and well ahead of similar options available at this stage. Even the base fire axe is quite deadly against low health enemies with this unique variant adding an additional 20% damage over the base version. Even against durable enemies the large nature of this weapon means that it comes with the Mauler special attack which gives you the potential for knock down chance that is a useful melee attack utility. Unlike the knife based options above so far on this list the Knock Knock has low attack speed and critical modifier so your focus will be on large single hits rather than rapid attacks.

Oh, Baby!

Location: Charleston Cave
Weapon Requirements: 100 melee weapons skill and 8 strength
Weapon Statistics: 80 damage

Available from Charleston Cave this is another weapon you are likely to come across in the mid game of your Fallout New Vegas adventure although you can bring this forward if you specifically focus on visiting this location. It’s significantly easier to locate by starting the Guess Who I Saw Today quest as this will load a Nightkin NPC next to the item although the weapon appears in the open section of the cave regardless.

Like the Knock Knock above this two handed weapon is focused on large single hit values and hits as hard as you would expect given the high strength requirements. Based on the super sledge weapon variant which are a staple weapon of high level Super Mutants players can now serve them a taste of their own medicine with this slow but deliberate melee weapon. The lack of speed on this weapon stops it from being a meta late game weapon option and it also suffers from a faster degrade pace than other options on this list which can be annoying to constantly repair.

Chainsaw (GRA)

Location: Gun Runner’s Arsenal merchants (multiple)
Weapon Requirements: 75 melee weapons skill and 7 strength
Weapon Statistics: 80 damage (no mods), 95 damage (all mods) and ignores damage resistance/threshold

Available from several merchants if players have the Gun Runner’s Arsenal (GRA) addon installed this New Vegas weapon is surprisingly powerful given it is available from NPCs. This availability includes Vendortron at Gun Runners, the arms merchant at the 188 Trading Post and Cliff Briscoe at the Dino Bite Gift Shop.

Being purchasable from merchants allows players an easy to acquire weapon option provided you can reach the respective location and the required caps. While this weapon does exist in the base Fallout New Vegas game and is still effective without the GRA DLC it earns a significant boost from this DLC due to the addition of 3 mods that players can install. These modifications decrease the weight, boosts the damage and improve the maximum durability that all help the weapon reach a new power level while reducing the repairs required. The Chainsaw is most notable though for its ability to avoid damage resistance and damage threshold that ensure it stays deadly against even heavily armoured enemies. As a result even if you don’t intend to use it as your main melee weapon having it in reserve for particular enemy encounters is an attractive option.

Protonic Inversal Axe

Location: Old World Blues DLC (various locations)
Weapon Requirements: 55 melee weapons skill and 5 strength
Weapon Statistics: 58 damage, +50 damage to robots and +20 damage against power armour

Added in Old World Blues there are a small number of these available for players to acquire and one of the few top tier weapons in Fallout New Vegas to have multiple locations. These locations include The Cuckoo’s Next, Big MT and the X-13 research facility which gives players a few options to cross obtain a Protonic Inversal Axe.

While the Protonic Inversal Axe doesn’t compete with the raw damage of the other large two handed weapons it has the benefit of bonus damage against robots or power armour users which make regular appearances in certain areas of the New Vegas game world. Like the GRA Chainsaw above this makes it an ideal weapon to bring along with you while adventuring to have in reserve for locations that have a significant number of these enemy types. The large durability is also an added bonus and particularly useful if you forget to repair it between these ad-hoc uses. The unique visual aesthetic of this weapon is also unlike other effective melee weapon options in Fallout New Vegas with a distinct dark violet blade compared to the light blue base variant of the Proton Axe.


Location: Gun Runner’s Arsenal merchant (Vendortron)
Weapon Requirements: 75 melee weapons skill and 6 strength
Weapon Statistics: 42 damage

Another Gun Runner’s Arsenal (GRA) weapon this is acquired from the Vendortron which like the Chainsaw is easy to acquire and deadly.

This flashy flame based weapon serves as a unique Shishkebab variant with upgraded damage and with the right perk (Pyromaniac) can push up against the higher melee weapons in terms of damage output. Available at level 12 the Pyromaniac perk does allow players to create a fire weapon based character with the Shiskebab also providing decent damage until players can unlock this weapon upgrade to push their damage potential further. Players do trade some weapon durability by making this switch but the Gehenna does still have solid durability when compared to other melee weapons despite what you might expect from a weapon that is literally on fire.

Thermic Lance

Location: Various locations (refer below)
Weapon Requirements: 100 melee weapons skill and 7 strength
Weapon Statistics: 100 damage and ignores damage resistance/threshold

A difficult to acquire weapon with players often having to go hunting for this weapon from various merchants or enemies (a full list is available on the wiki) with none being a guaranteed location for players.

Despite being difficult to acquire the Thermic Lance is a melee weapon in Fallout New Vegas to keep an eye out for given the massive base damage offered by this weapon and the ignore damage resistance/threshold similar to the Chainsaw also included on this list. As a result there are really no enemies in the Mojave Wasteland that can stand in your way when using this weapon which will carry you through to your choice of game ending once acquired. As if that wasn’t enough for this weapon option the Thermic Lance has an insane amount of durability so repairs are rare even when using this weapon constantly to progress the story. If you can get your hands on one or don’t mind hunting for it as a challenge this is a worthy addition to your core equipment for a melee build.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Sam enjoys the modern adventures in the Fallout franchise for their large open world settings of choice which blend RPG and FPS mechanics. He is a seasoned Wasteland wanderer where he often crafts karma driven heroes who cleanse the irradiated landscapes with traditional guns and Pip-Boy in hand. Whether it’s a highly modded rifle for use in V.A.T.S. or charging into the enemy with shotgun blasts Sam strives to not just survive the Wasteland but shape it for the better.

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