The Vault - Fallout Wiki

We've Moved! Just as Gamepedia has joined forces with Fandom, this wiki had joined forces with our Fandom equivalent. The wiki has been archived and we ask that readers and editors move to the now combined wiki on Fandom. Click to go to the new wiki.


The Vault - Fallout Wiki
Icon info.png
This is a lore summary, presenting intradiegetic or in-universe information about the subject. For game characteristics and similar data, consult the table on the right.
Game-specific articles
Fallout 2M72 Gauss rifle
Fallout 3Gauss rifle
Gauss rifle (Beta)
FO: New VegasGauss rifle
Fallout 4Gauss rifle
The Last Minute
Fallout 76Gauss rifle
FO TacticsM72 Gauss rifle
Fallout ShelterRusty Gauss rifle
Gauss rifle
Enhanced Gauss rifle
Hardened Gauss rifle
Accelerated Gauss rifle
Magnetron 4000
FO ExtremeGauss rifle
Enhanced Gauss rifle
Gametitle-FO2.pngGametitle-FO3 OA.pngGametitle-FNV.pngGametitle-FO4.pngGametitle-F76.pngGametitle-FOT.png
Gametitle-FO2.pngGametitle-FO3 OA.pngGametitle-FNV.pngGametitle-FO4.pngGametitle-F76.pngGametitle-FOT.pngGame tile Fallouit Shelter.pngGametitle-FOX.png

Gauss rifles are infantry fielded railguns that appear in Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, Fallout 76 Fallout Tactics and Fallout Extreme.


The Gauss rifle is a coilgun, a type of projectile accelerator, which uses electromagnetic coils configured as a linear motor to accelerate ferromagnetic or conductive projectiles to extreme velocities. Though these weapons were historically suffering from a number of difficulties, focused on discharging the coils in sequence or providing enough power for the coils, these design issues were overcome by German scientists in the 21st century and entered limited service. This class of weapons is named in honor of the German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, responsible for formulating the math underlying the magnetic acceleration principle of coilguns.


M72 Gauss rifle

Fo2 M72 Gauss rifle.png

Patterned after conventional rifles, the M72 has a seven stage electromagnetic accelerator mounted onto a standard frame. A classic stock and grip are provided to make handling easier. This design uses an auto-loading 2mm EC cartridge (carrying both the 2mm slugs and the battery necessary to power it) slid into the magazine well in front of the trigger group. The combination of German engineering and attention to detail make it a tremendously powerful weapon, with the slugs capable of piercing most targets at extreme ranges.[1][2]

The rifle is a rare sight in the wasteland. Its use is restricted to the most technologically advanced organizations, such as the Enclave or select members of NCR law enforcement groups. Its little brother, the scaled-down PPK-12 Gauss pistol, is even more rare.

Chinese Gauss rifle

Gauss rifle.png

A supposed Chinese variation on the German design,[3] the scoped Gauss rifle was originally deployed in the Sino-American War. Unlike the original weapon, it features eleven coilgun stages, resulting in a higher damage output. The weapon is larger and bulkier to accommodate the increased stress put on the weapon and uses a different feed system. While the standard 2mm EC magazines incorporate both slugs and ammunition, the Chinese Gauss rifle has to be loaded with ferromagnetic slugs separately, with microfusion cells loaded into the battery well in front of the trigger group. The cell is used to power the magnetic accelerator and fire the slug and has to be replaced after each shot.[4][5]

The immense recoil generated by the weapon is mitigated somewhat by a long muzzle brake and a leather recoil pad. The bulk of the weapon also helps make it more manageable. However, the pay off is more than generous, as the sheer kinetic energy of the projectile creates a shockwave on impact, dealing additional damage to the target and potentially knocking them off balance.[6] The sheer firepower of the weapon has resulted in the design being used by the American military against the Chinese, both in the form of captured units[7] and a limited production run of reverse-engineered units.[8]

American Gauss rifle

Gameplay articles:

A design half-way between the German battle rifle and the Chinese anti-materiel gun, this type of coilgun uses a series of high-powered capacitors and hypermagnetized coils to propel the projectile. The 2mm ferromagnetic slug exits the barrel at extreme velocity, enough to destroy anything in its path. These are fed from a top-mounted drum, sitting in front of a control panel that displays the current capacitor charge level via a pair of Nixie tubes. The custom-made grip and stock help manage the weapon's mass and recoil, though it's still quite front-heavy and exposed components make it prone to environmental damage.[9]

Enhanced Gauss rifle

Gametitle-FOX.pngThe following is based on Fallout Extreme and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
Fo2 M72 Gauss rifle.png
Gameplay article:

An enhanced model of the Gauss rifle, used in the war between the Brotherhood and the Cause.

Beta Gauss rifle

Icon cut content.pngThe following is based on Fallout 3 cut content and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
Gameplay article:

A beta version of the rifle, used to test it for Operation: Anchorage. It uses the laser rifle model, deals a quarter of the damage, but knocks targets down with 100% chance.


Behind the scenes

The weapon appears to be based on a Finnish anti-tank rifle, the 20mm Lahti L-39.

See also


  1. Fallout 2 item description: "{39200}{}{M72 Gauss Rifle}"
    "{39201}{}{The M72 rifle is of German design. It uses an electromagnetic field to propel rounds at tremendous speed... and pierce almost any obstacle. Its range, accuracy and stopping power is almost unparalleled. Min ST: 6.}"
    (PRO ITEM.MSG (Fallout 2))
  2. Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel item description: "name_gaussRifle = {M72 Gauss Rifle}"
    "desc_gaussRifle = {The M72 rifle is of German design. It uses an electromagnetic field to propel 2mm steel rounds at tremendous speed... and pierce almost any obstacle. Its range, accuracy and stopping power is almost unparalleled.}"
  3. Chinese propaganda posters.
  4. Emil Pagliarulo: ""The gun energizes and magnetizes a standard projectile round; those are already pre-loaded into the weapon, and are in that giant clip attached to the side of the weapon. The player loads in the Micro Fusion Cells needed to energize/magnetize each round. We did it this way because we knew we wanted to have an Energy Weapon equivalent of the sniper rifle..." ([1][2])
  5. Weapon appearance.
  6. Weapon characteristics.
  7. The weapon is seen in the hands of an U.S. paratrooper and can be received by the player under the table from the American quartermaster in the Operation: Anchorage simulation.
  8. The weapon is found in the hands of Brotherhood of Steel Paladins in the Mojave and former Elder Elijah in significant numbers.
  9. Weapon appearance.