An Autogun is a fully automatic Auto Weapon that fires solid-slug ballistic rounds at the intended target in rapid succession. Cheap, rugged and reliable, it can be found throughout the Imperium, where it is appreciated for its decent damage and accuracy. Its main drawbacks are its weight and the need to carry a large amount of cumbersome ammunition for prolonged operations. The latter drawback has led to the Astra Militarum being equipped with Lasguns as its standard armament since the early 32nd Millennium. Xenos races such as the brutal Orks are known to take particular relish in using several of their own crude versions of these formidable automatic weapons, known as Sluggas, Shootas and Snazzguns.
The origin of Autoguns lay in Mankind's past, to its precursors the Automatic Rifle and Assault Rifle, which date back at least to the late 2nd Millennium. Autoguns came into their own during the early 3rd Millennium. These ancient automatic weapons used large calibre, low velocity bullets which were made from brass. At the time of the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy at the end of the 30th Millennium, most members of the Imperial Army were issued with Autoguns, as the weapon proved easy enough to use and maintain for the average trooper, while at the same time being cheap and efficient enough to be furnished to the masses of human warriors. The only disadvantage of the Autogun were the nightmarish logistics problems faced in ensuring a stable supply of ammunition, and so the Autogun was eventually phased out as the standard weapon of the Imperial Guard in favour of the Lasgun by the Departmento Munitorum in the early 32nd Millennium, as both weapons were roughly equal in efficiency and ease-of-use, but the standard Power Packs that powered the Lasgun could be easily recharged in the field, while crafting more ammunition for the Autoguns proved arduous.
In the modern 41st Millennium, Autoguns are not as common as the Lasgun amongst the Imperial Guard regiments, but they are still issued in substantial numbers, especially by second or third line Planetary Defence Forces or militias. There are many different patterns and models of Autogun produced across the Imperium. The simple technology needed to manufacture Autoguns make them common on Frontier Worlds and also with gang members on Hive Worlds. These are the most commonly employed weapons in the Underhive of a Hive City. On such worlds Autoguns are made in the factories of the hive city and traded down through the hive. Crude but effective versions are made in the Underhive workshops themselves. Ammunition, spares and repair facilities are relatively easy to find throughout the Underhive, and traders always have guns and ammunition for sale.
The Autogun is a ballistic projectile weapon similar in appearance and operation to the assault rifles of ancient Terra, but the Imperium's technological advances allow these weapons to use caseless ammunition with projectiles made of metal, plastic or ceramics. The weapons are themselves constructed with plasteel, increasing their rate of fire and reliability. There are many different patterns and models of Autogun produced across the width and breadth of the Imperium. The typical Autogun may not be incredibly accurate or as reliable as a Lasgun, but will make up for it with a higher rate of fire and cheap and readily available ammunition, standardised in preloaded magazines.
As a weapon, the Autogun is comparable in effectiveness to a Lasgun but lacks some of the Lasgun's versatility, damage output and reliability. Autoguns are prone to jamming, especially in dusty and muddy conditions where intricate moving parts can quickly become fouled. A good maintenance routine is necessary for troops armed with Autoguns. In general, Autoguns and their ammunition are also heavier than Lasguns and their power cells. However, an Autogun does surpass a Lasgun with its higher rate of fire. Additionally, those hurt but not killed outright by an Autogun are more likely to bleed out from injury and succumb to follow-up infections, while a las-shot immediately cauterizes any wound it creates.
There are innumerable models and variants of the Autogun in use around the Imperium widely differing in technical specs (most autoguns are entirely non-STC constructs, so they are made according to locally developed schematics and to accommodate for locally available cartridges).
One of the best examples of such weapons is an Agripinaa Pattern Mark 2 Autogun that saw action during the Siege of Vraks as a staple arm for the Heretics' forces infantrymen. Here are its specs:
- Length: 109 centimetres
- Barrel: 54 centimetres
- Weight: 6.2 kilograms
- Calibre: long 8.25mm
- Feed: 20 or 30 rounds box magazine
- Cyclic rate of fire: 625 rounds per minute
- Muzzle velocity: 825 metres/second
Known Imperial Patterns
- Agripinaa Pattern Type II - A pattern of Autogun hailing from the Forge World of Agripinaa, this Autogun is chambered for the largest standard ballistic round in the Imperium, and possesses a simple fire selector allowing the user to fire single shots, three round bursts or fully automatic streams. The oversized rounds this weapon fires gives the model an excessive recoil and muzzle flash, but also excellent damage capabilities. To compensate for its recoil, the barrel has had a counter-weight added to try to counteract the weapon's tendency to rise off-target during automatic fire.
- Agripinaa Pattern Type III - Another pattern of Autogun hailing from the Agripinaa Forge World, the Type III is a slightly reworked version of the Type II intended to speed up production. It fires a long 8.25 calibre round, on either single shot, semi-automatic and fully automatic, with a cyclic rate of fire of 650 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 820 metres per second. It takes both a 20 and 30 round box magazine. This pattern includes a flash suppressor, but one of the weapon's drawbacks it is excessive muzzle flash on firing. There is also excessive recoil when firing the weapon in fully automatic mode due to the size of the round being fired, making fully automatic firing wildly inaccurate at standard combat ranges. The Type III version attempted to correct this by the addition of a counter-weight, a heavy block placed at the front of the fore grip, designed to reduce the weapon's natural tendency to rise off target during automatic fire, thus assisting the firer in keeping the target in his sights. While testing confirmed the counter-weight did aid accuracy, it also added to the weapon's considerable weight. This gun only includes a basic iron sight.
- Armageddon Pattern - Produced on the Hive World of Armageddon, the Armageddon Pattern is an old but proven pattern Autogun that is loud, lethal and uncomplicated; a heavy-hitter for an Autogun, it fires large calibre solid slugs from a 15-round short box magazine and can stand a phenomenal amount of abuse and keep firing. The Armageddon Pattern has become a staple of the arms trade in many sectors where there are uprisings as well as making inroads into frontier areas where its stopping power and robust design rapidly gains converts.
- M40 Armageddon Pattern - This pattern of Autogun is also produced on Armageddon, and is regularly issued to local Planetary Defence Forces and militia forces. Lightweight in comparison to other models, it only sports a 12-shot magazine.
- Hax-Orthlack Creed-9 Pattern - The Creed-9 is a compact Autogun designed for close-quarter warfare and constructed to a local variant of a long established design intended for Imperial Navy boarding troopers. Made using lightweight materials and fitted with a telescopic stock, the Creed-9 is not much larger than a military Autopistol in size and is the favoured weapon for many enforcer kill squads, as well as the private armies of numerous noble houses and Chartist Captains. Because of this "elite" role, it's common to see Creeds sporting numerous upgrades and modifications such as red-dot sights, expanded mag-ports and fire selectors.
- Urdesh Minor U90 Pattern - The U90 is a heavy duty Autogun of ancient design still manufactured on the Forge World of Urdesh Minor in the Segmentum Pacificus. Despite its retractable metal stock, the U90 is a long, cumbersome weapon. Its muzzle is unusually large to accommodate the weapon's .45 calibre rounds. This has led several Guardsmen to jokingly remark that the U90 is closer to a down-scaled Autocannon than it is to a true Autogun. The U90 offers phenomenal damage and can be fitted with several types of ammunition, including armour-piercing rounds. Standard ammunition clips used by the weapon include both the sickle-shaped 15-round magazine and the larger, 40-round drum magazines. The U90 can fire in both semi-automatic and full automatic modes. As a matter of tradition, every Urdeshi regiment carries an extensive stock of U90s as back-up weapons, which has proven its efficacy against the xenos mercenaries known as Loxatl. The U90's main drawback is that it is prone to jamming, especially with the larger magazines, but it is a risk many Urdeshi gladly take for the added firepower. As Urdesh Minor was occupied for many standard years by the Blood Pact, it is not unusual to discover the U90 in the hands of Chaos Cultists and Traitor Guardsmen within the sector of the Sabbat Worlds.
- Slugga - The most basic of Ork ballistic firearms, the Slugga is a short, stubby solid–shot pistol that would be devastating up–close were it not for the inaccuracy of the Ork wielding it. Most Sluggas inflict more wounds as crude clubs than they do as ranged weapons
- Shoota - Whilst nothing could take the place in an Ork's heart of chopping up an enemy in combat, they do have a great love for loud, noisy weaponry, and nothing so embodies this type of weapon than the Shoota. "Shoota" is a catch–all term for a variety of short to mid–range Ork firearms, inevitably capable of at least burst fire, that are cobbled together to launch of a hail of bullets when the trigger is pulled with little regard for accuracy or recoil.
- Snazzgun - The shootiest of Shootas are known as Snazzguns, ballistic weapons favoured by the most ostentatious and obnoxious of Orks, known as Flash Gitz. Snazzguns vary as much in design as Shootas, but all are lethal to the extreme. Many Flash Gitz hard-wire their Snazzguns to their primitive bionics, incorporating a variety of barrels, scopes and targeting arrays into their gear -- not that this necessarily makes them any better shots, but it does make them feel bigger and cleverer as they’re shooting. An individual Snazzgun shoots either bolts of energy or shells, but not both. Snazzguns have a random penetration value, for the velocity of their shots varies with every shot. A Snazzgun, just like a Shoota, is inherently inaccurate.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 153
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pg. 42
- Codex: Imperial Guard (4th Edition), pg. 34
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pg. 28
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pp. 89-90
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 132
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 102
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 114-115
- Ere We Go: Orks in Warhammer 40,000 (1st Edition), pg. 154
- Gorkamorka: Da Roolz (Specialty Game), pp. 54-55
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- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks, Part Two, pg. 148
- Imperial Armour Volume Eight - Raid on Kastorel-Novem, pp. 114-119
- Necromunda - Battle for Survival in the Nightmare Undercity (Hardback Rulebook), pg. 49
- Necromunda - The Game of Underhive Battles (3rd Edition), pg. 39
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 120
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pg. 71
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 56, 203
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (4th Edition), pg. 34
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (4th Edition), pg. 34
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 20
- The Guns of Tanith (Novel) by Dan Abnett, pg. 247 (French Edition)