The AEP7 laser pistol was put into service to replace the AEP5 model. With a generous battery size, tight shot grouping at range, resilience to extended use, and fairly decent damage output, it is a very good choice for a sidearm and is used extensively in this role by the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave in the Capital Wasteland.
As the successor to the AEP5, it boasted a redesigned focusing crystal pattern, an improved photonic focusing chamber, and selectable laser focus, wavelength, pulse energy and repetition rate. In addition, it was lighter and less bulky than its predecessor and was perceived as a step toward replacing the N99 10mm pistol with a laser weapon as the standard issue sidearm for military forces.
The AEP7 was produced in large numbers, thanks to newly developed manufacturing technologies in the USA, although logistics and supply issues in pre-War USA, caused by its prolonged war with China, prevented its wide-scale deployment.
Protectron's Gaze is a mini laser shotgun which fires a fairly tight spread of five laser beams while expending only one energy cell. This makes it similar to the Metal Blaster, a laser shotgun which can be obtained in The Pitt add-on by turning in 50 steel ingots to Everett.
It has a slightly slower rate of fire and a significantly smaller magazine (20 as opposed to 30) than the standard laser pistol.
Protectron's Gaze can fire a total of 520 shots, or 26 full cells, from full condition before breaking.
It is awarded after handing the AntAgonizer's armor to the Mechanist. The Mechanist states that the weapon is crafted from the parts of his loyal robot assistant that was killed by the AntAgonizer, the event that inspired him to become a superhero. The weapon cannot be obtained by killing him.
The spread remains consistently tight when firing outside of V.A.T.S. mode; however, when firing within V.A.T.S. mode, a registered "miss" will make the spread much wider than it is outside of V.A.T.S. mode (though some beams may still connect with the target, doing slight damage). For this reason, this weapon is often more effectively used outside of V.A.T.S. mode.
The base damage is split between each of the beams, and each beam can cause a separate critical hit doing extra damage per beam. Furthermore, a sneak attack critical will affect all beams as they are all afforded the critical damage bonus up to +120.
Although the Mechanist gives you this weapon, you will not be able to obtain it by killing him, since it's a quest reward.
When targeting armed opponents outside of V.A.T.S., stray beams may disarm them.
↑ 1.01.11.21.3Citadel terminal entry on the AEP7 laser pistol in Fallout 3.