The Plasma Defender is a powerful energy-based pistol which fires superheated bolts of green plasma. It is able to punch through most critters and low-level types of armor with ease, when compared to the more commonly found and cheaper laser pistol.
In comparison to the standard laser pistol, the Plasma Defender deals more than 3 times the damage per shot and over twice as much damage-per-second (DPS). This is offset by the fact that the it consumes energy cells at twice the rate, reduced durability and has a slightly increased spread.
Additionally, it causes a large green burst of plasma upon firing which partially obstructs view, and the plasma bolts travel at a slow rate, resulting in the need to lead the shot.
In comparison to the plasma pistol, the Plasma Defender only does an additional 5 damage per shot, has a reduced critical chance and is less durable. However, it is a more accurate weapon, uses fewer action points in V.A.T.S. and has a higher rate of fire, delivering almost twice as much DPS. Unlike the plasma pistol, the Plasma Defender is not considered a holdout weapon.
Arcade's Plasma Defender is a unique non-playable Plasma Defender used by Arcade Gannon. It only differs from the standard pistol in its use of companion ammunition.
Prior to patch 126.96.36.1994, the Plasma Defender did 36 points of damage on normal and critical hits, used three energy cells per shot, and carried 48 in the magazine.
PCPlayStation 3Xbox 360 Plasma Defenders are not sold by any merchants, including the Van Graffs and the Gun Runners. This is due to their absence from a number of levelled item lists, while being present on several other lists which are not used.