The thermic lance is an industrial metalworking tool which can be used as a melee weapon. It is heavy, but deals considerable damage. It is considered a piercing weapon and therefore ignores the target's Damage Resistance and Damage Threshold. It is very durable, and also resists damage to itself if hit when used defensively (taking only 0.5% of normal durability damage). However, due to its automatic attack-type it will degrade at a faster rate than other weapons when used.
Unlike most melee weapons, holding down the attack button when wielding the thermic lance will cause continuous damage to targets in contact with the tip. While it has a relatively low critical damage rating and critical chance multiplier, both are offset by its automatic operation, which gives approximately 5 chances per second to inflict a critical hit.
The thermic lance's V.A.T.S. attack animation is unusual, due to the automatic nature of the weapon type. The attack is initiated but the automatic damage is not applied, nor does the target act as if harmed, until the end of the attack when the damage is finally applied. It also has a slight knockback effect.