Again, are you using the combos ? They do massive damage compared to your normal damage...
I can kill enemies with a skull (=> very dangerous enemies for your current level) by abusing it ^^
do a combo, jetpack to regain stamina (avoid ranged hits) then do a combo again.
Yep, and they do help with the otherwise pitiful damage but it still takes a long time to take down anything because I constantly have to break the combo due to a lack of stamina. It really doesn't help that one failed dodge roll can result in death, and that the entire approach of timed attacks goes out the window the instant you're fighting more than one enemy because you're spending most of your time avoiding getting hit yourself.
I can kind of see where the devs were going with this system but it's not something I particularly enjoy, and having combat this unforgiving seems like a weird choice for an open world game. I bought Elex because it seemed like a cool world to explore, and it is, but combat feels like a very risky, very tedious chore that just gets in the way of things.
At first, yes, it's dangerous, tedious and feels very risky. It's the point. You're practically naked with a metal stick. What do you expect.
Go fight a bear with a stick and come back to tell me how it went...if you survive, that is.
Go back to it with an assault rifle and i'm pretty sure the result would be different ;)
You need to fight back from "stripped, naked drug addict" to "well equiped warrior with no drug problem".