Fallout 76 Combat Guide – Melee, Ranged, Explosive, V.A.T.S.

Fallout 76 Combat Guide

In this Fallout 76 Combat Guide, we will guide you on different aspects of combat in Fallout 76. Combat is a vital mechanic in Fallout 76 and you will spend a lot of time fighting with enemies, critters, robots, and mutants in Fallout 76. To survive these combat scenarios, you must have an in-depth knowledge of everything that is related to combat.

We have curated this Fallout 76 Combat Guide in which we will detail every type of combat scenario that you might come across in Fallout 76. We will detail Melee, Ranged, and Explosive combat and will share some tips and tricks on how to master these combat types. We will also detail the advanced V.A.T.S. featured in Fallout 76 so you can make the most out of it.

Combat Guide – Fallout 76

Our Fallout 76 Combat Guide details everything that you need to know about combat in Fallout 76.

Melee Combat

Melee Combat might look out of question in the wastelands but it can still save your life in tons of places. Not all of the enemies in Fallout 76 have ranged attacks so you can personally get up close and personal with these enemies to land some melee attacks on such enemies. There are plenty of melee weapons in the game to choose from such as pitchforks.

You can also use your own fists in melee combat and the damage dealt to your enemies will depend on your strength. If you have high strength, then your melee damage will be quite high otherwise the enemies will break through your fists and land their own hits. If you lack strength or are generally not good with your fists, we recommend that you stick to melee weapons.

You can also charge your melee attacks and land a Power Attack. These are more powerful attacks but they require more time to build up and you might end up getting hit in the meantime. Landing such a hit will deal massive damage to enemies and cause them to be staggered which gives you enough time to move in for another hit.

Pressing the block key right before an enemy’s blow lands will allow you to block the attack and stagger the enemy instead of allowing you to make a hit. If the block is perfect, you might not take any sort of blocking damage from the hit at all. Another great way to confuse your enemies is to use sprint at the right time.

If you want to use melee against ranged, wait until your enemy is reloading, confused or busy elsewhere. Run up to them using sprint and surprise them with your melee attacks and do not give them time to recover from the attacks. Just make sure that you do not run out of AP while attacking.

Ranged Combat

Ranged Combat is the combat that will be most utilized by you while playing Fallout 76. You will have a great time collecting ranged weapons of different caliber and using them to take out your enemies from a safe distance. Each ranged weapon has its strengths and weaknesses. You can choose from a variety of weapons in Fallout 76. For a detailed guide of weapons, check out our Fallout 76 Weapons Guide here.

You can choose to fire from your hip or aim down the weapon sights for more accuracy. Sometimes you might need to fire blindly from your hip as you will need to suppress your enemies who ambush you or surprise you. Aiming down the sights provides you more control over your guns but aiming down takes a little down during which enemies could potentially damage you.

If you have a shotgun, then it is best to use it in hip firing mode as the weapon spread is enough to cater for missed shots. You can also crouch to increase your accuracy. In Fallout 76, you can deal additional damage effects to your enemies depending on the ammo type that you use. This works both ways around. Your enemies can also inflict these effects on you.

These special damage types include

  • Energy: Damage done by energy weapons such as laser, plasma, or electricity rifles or pistols.
  • Poison: Poisoning is caused mostly by melee attacks by claws or spit attacks.
  • Radiation: This type of damage is caused by radiation. Nearly everything in the wastelands will have some level of radiation. Some areas are more heavily affected so you will need special equipment to survive in such areas.
  • Ballistic: Normal bullets, shells, and gun damage done to enemies.

Explosive Combat

The easiest way to get rid of large enemy groups or heavy enemies is by blowing them up. You can use grenades, rockets or mines to blow up enemies. You can lay down mines to make traps for your enemies while some enemies can also la down mines for you to block potential escape routes.

Grenades can be thrown towards enemies while you will need to place mines around the area where you want to set them up. Another thing to keep in mind is that these explosives will also damage you. If you throw a grenade and it fails to go ahead and lands in your feet, crouching will not help. Run away from there.

Stealth Combat

Another useful way to avoid trouble is by using stealth in Fallout 76. If you practice stealth, it can save you a lot of trouble in the game. You can crouch and then move around to sneak. It is that simple. You can also use your environment to your advantage in such situations.

Hide in dark areas, keep out of sight of enemies, move around their backs, stay still, make less noise, and distract enemies are all different strategies that you can use in Fallout 76 to be as stealthy as possible. If you use Power Armor or any sort of heavy armor, you will not be able to use stealth too well as you will still make too much noise.

While you are sneaking around, your current stealth status is shown in the middle of the screen. Hidden means that no enemy knows about your location. Check the brackets around the word Hidden for the proximity of your cover being blown. The farther the brackets, the safer your cover is.

Detected means that enemies are aware of your presence. Caution shows that enemies are well aware and are looking for you. You can go back to Hidden status as well if you are careful and remain undetected. Danger means that you are no longer sneaking or in stealth mode and enemies will start shooting at you.


V.A.T.S. or Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System is an advanced combat mechanic of Fallout 76 and a very useful one as well. To understand how well this system can help you in combat, you will need to understand that this system works on three skills. Perception, Agility, and Luck. Perception is your hit chance, Agility dictates Action Points while Luck determines the speed of refill of your Critical Hits meter.

While in V.A.T.S. mode, you will be shown enemies with an outline and as you aim over a specific enemy, you will be shown their weak points, and chances of landing Critical Hits on certain body areas. As you unlock better perks, this combat system will allow you to target limbs automatically, provide different AP bonuses, and give you detailed enemy information.

Be very careful while using V.A.T.S. as it will quickly drain all your AP. It gives you great benefits in combat but you also need AP for many important actions such as sprinting. The yellow meter is the Critical Hit meter and as you land hits, it fills up. Once full, you can land a Critical Hit to eliminate the enemy instantly or deal massive amounts of damage to them in one hit.

If you want to use V.A.T.S. often, we recommend that you maximize it with chems and special perks that enhance the V.A.T.S. Using perks that increase your AP is also recommended. Some perks will also help you refill the Critical Hit bar quickly or fill it quickly while you land successful hits. For more information on perks. Check out our Fallout 76 Perks Guide here. (In progress)

For additional Fallout 76 guides, make sure to check out our Antibiotics Guide, Deathclaw Eggs Farming Guide, Fact Finder .44 Pistol Guide, Wastelanders Romance Guide, Wastelanders Allies Location Guide, Wastelanders Hunter for Hire Guide, Wastelanders Strength in Numbers Quest Guide, Weapons Guide, Perks and Special Attributes Guide, Workshops Guide, Power Armor Guide, Camping Guide, Apparel Guide, Best Characters Build Guide, Aid Items Guide, Main Quests Guide Part 2, Main Quests Guide Part 1, Chemistry Guide, Cooking Guide, Crafting Guide, Event Quests Guide, Daily Drop and Repeatable Quests Guide, Nukes Guide, Diseases and Mutations Guide, Miscellaneous Quests Guide, Magazines Guide, BobbleHeads Guide, Power Armor Locations Guide, Side Quests Guide, Beginner’s Guide, Aluminum Farming Guide, Final Word Weapon Guide, Weapons and Armor Mod Guides, and 8 Basic Steps After Setting Out the Vault in Fallout 76 Guide.

This concludes our Fallout 76 Combat Guide. If you want to add anything to this guide, feel free to use the comments section below.

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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