Almost as soon as your crawl your aching bones out of the vault and into the Commonwealth wasteland of Fallout 4, you’ll need to start blasting, punching, baseball-batting, and generally kick-butting your way through all sorts of enemies. At first, you’ll be able to get by with the standard fare: 10mm pistols, clubs, and such – but if you want to go toe to toe with some seriously pissed-off super mutants, you’re going to need to pump your guns up. That’s where the crafting system comes in.
Now, to craft properly, you’re going to need a few things. First, you’ll need crafting materials. You can pick these up throughout the wasteland (Sanctuary is a good place to start) – they come in all forms, from car parts to furniture to broken-down old weapons. You’ll also probably want to take the Gun Nut perk, because it gives you a wider range of modification options when you’re bolting stuff onto your weapons. Finally, you’ll need a trusty workbench; this will appear in your stronghold when the time is right (we don’t want any spoilers, now do we), and should be pretty obvious.
Once you’ve gotten all your ducks in a row, it’s time to start putting said ducks to work killin’ stuff. Open up your workbench to display your inventory of gear next to potential mods and upgrades for any given item. For the sake of this article, let’s imagine you’re going to work on a gun (one of the nice things about Fallout 4 is that upgrades can turn even the basic, starting weapons you get into world-enders that will last you the whole game). Now, let’s talk about what each of the upgrades does – remember, kids, you need to have crafting materials in order to be able to make upgrades, so if you don’t have anything available in your inventory, go gather!
Barrel: This is the front part of your gun, that points at the bad guys. Barrel upgrades tend to focus most on range and accuracy of the weapon, so barrel upgrades are good for assault rifles and sniper rifles, especially – anything that helps you stay away and hit your target from a distance. Of course, if you’re building grampa’s blunderbuss, go for barrels that increase shotgun spread and damage. It’s up to you… but there are usual better ways to achieve shotgun effects than barrel upgrades.
Receiver: This is the only part of a gun that has moving parts. It is where the cartridge enters the chamber, gets hit by the pin, and shoots the bullet into the barrel. In Fallout 4, receiver changes tend to make drastic, systemic changes to your weapon, such as increasing its overall weight, fire rate, and even things like its value. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, focus on your receiver upgrade first, but understand that these upgrades are almost always tradeoffs. Powerful Receivers, for example, will increase damage – but also increase weight.
Sights: Everybody should know what these are. You look through them to see what you’re shooting at. In-game, these float between cosmetic and functional, as they actually do appear on the gun in the game world, and can affect how it looks, and what you see when you pull up the iron sights. Most sights upgrades affect accuracy (no surprise), so don’t sweat these too much; they don’t make huge differences to the gun’s stats.
Magazine: Usually located on the opposite end of the gun from the sights, the magazine holds the things that actually do the killin’. These can alter a variety of things, depending on the type of weapon – especially the weight and firing rate, and seem to have a heavier effect on energy-based weapons than on physical ones, so play around and see what works best for you.
Stock/Grip: This is the back (or butt) of the gun, along with the part that you actually hold onto while you’re shooting. These upgrades tend to use tons of materials (especially wood and metal), so make sure you’ve got plenty if you want to make the upper-tier ones. They affect accuracy and weight quite a bit, as a rule – and also affect the physical look of the gun a lot.
Muzzle: Sometimes, you’ll get the chance to put something on the very end of the gun barrel, which is called the muzzle (like a dog’s face, for some reason). These upgrades tend to be honest-to-goodness alterations to the gun, not just modifications to its characteristics. So, for example: You could add bayonets or recoil compensators to the end of your gun to give it melee capabilities, or make it easier to shoot in close quarters, respectively. You could also put a suppressor on it, to make stealth assassinations easier. The muzzle is really where you’re going to make your bones in terms of not just making the gun better, but truly making it an extension of your play style. Save your best materials for this segment!
You can check out Fallout 4 and mod your guns to your heart’s content, right now, on Xbox One.