A Lightning Claw is a specialised type of Power Weapon, most commonly used by Space Marine Assault and Terminator Squads. It consists of a powered gauntlet fitted with three or four razor-sharp Adamantium blades, each a miniature power weapon sheathed in a matter disrupting power field, enabling them to carve through armour and flesh with ease. Lightning claws are often wielded in pairs and are mostly commonly used by Terminator Assault Squads. An entire squad can be armed with a pair each, but the weapon can also be used singly or in pairs by any individual with access to the Chapter's Armoury. Lightning Claws are a standard weapon primarily utilised by battle-brothers of the Adeptus Astartes, the daemon-hunting Inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus and Chaos Space Marines.
It is impossible to detail each variant pattern of Lightning Claw to be found within the entirety of the Adeptus Astartes (or even a small fraction of them), but these patterns represents the most common designs to be found in the galaxy:
- Crusade Pattern - The earliest pattern Lightning Claw utilised by the Space Marine Legions during both the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy in the late 30th and early 31st Millennia. Early models of Terminator Armour featured a single claw, allowing the warrior to carry a ranged weapon in the other gauntlet. Later configurations would specialise in dual claw-usage, but many still prefer the single claw for greater tactical flexibility.
- Angel's Talon Pattern - The Angel's Talon Pattern Lightning Claw is the most common pattern of the weapon used amongst the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes.
- Fenris Pattern - The Fenris Pattern is a model of Lightning Claw primarily used by the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter. It is a common weapon seen within the ranks of this feral Chapter whose Astartes prefer to get to grips with the enemy in brutal, close combat assaults.
- Hawk's Talon Pattern - The Hawk's Talon is a pattern of Lightning Claw primarily used by the Raven Guard Chapter and its Successors. This is a favoured weapon of the Sons of Corax, who prefer to strike their foes down from an unanticipated quarter with cold, hard efficiency.
- Raven's Talon Pattern - These unique and jealously guarded variants of Lightning Claws, each a work of art in its own right, were synonymous with the Raven Guard Legion during the Great Crusade era and often bestowed as a mark of honour to warriors amongst them. These venerable weapons are still bestowed upon the Shadow Captains of the modern era Raven Guard Chapter in recognition of the military prowess of these superb warriors, and as a sign of their elite status as Company commanders.
- Wolf Claw Pattern - Wolf Claws are a variant of the Lightning Claws used by other Space Marine Chapters. Primarily used by the savage warriors of the Space Wolves Chapter, Wolf Claws are heavily armoured gauntlets with curved, razor-edged talons sheathed in a rippling power field. Used most effectively in pairs, Wolf Claws are angled to echo the talons of the wolf. They allow the wielder to cut four times instead of once with each strike, either slashing to maximise a warrior's chance of hitting the foe or stabbing deep to ensure a swift kill.
Notable Lightning Claws
- Raven's Talons - The Raven's Talons are a pair of Lightning Claws which are said to have been personally crafted by the Primarch Corax on his homeworld of Deliverance after the Istvaan V Drop Site Massacre during the Horus Heresy. They are said to be unbreakable and to easily cut through any armour. Currently they are worn by Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike of the 3rd Company of the Raven Guard Chapter.
- Hunger and Slake - Tyberos the Red Wake is the First Captain and former Force Commander of the Carcharodons Space Marine Chapter during their unlooked-for and savage intervention in the Badab War. He is equipped with a pair of unique Power Weapons with which he has developed a murderous degree of skill. Named Hunger and Slake, each of these heavy gauntlet-like devices of uncertain origin combine barbed Power Blades and an inner maw fitted with mechanised Adamantium teeth. Their pattern and manufacture are unknown to the Tech-priests of Mars.
- Mercy and Forgiveness - This pair of murderous, Artificer-crafted Lightning Claws were favoured by the Night Lords Primarch Konrad Curze as his personal weapons. They were given the unusual names of Mercy and Forgiveness in a typical display of the Night Lords' grim sense of humor. However, what they were truly referred to by their master and owner remains, like so many other things about Curze, a mystery.
- Talon of Horus - The Talon of Horus is a large archaic Lightning Claw, fitted with an early custom-built Combi-Bolter that is currently wielded by Abaddon the Despoiler, the greatest Champion of Chaos, leader of the Black Legion and the current Warmaster of Chaos Undivided after he reclaimed it from the body of Horus himself at the end of the Horus Heresy. Abaddon currently uses the Talon as one of the primary emblems of his authority over the Forces of Chaos. The weapon takes the form of a large silver Lightning Claw with a thumb blade and an integrated Combi-Bolter that runs from the wrist to the knuckles of the claw's gauntlet. The ancient Combi-Bolter is in essence two standard pattern bolters slaved to fire together. It is bulky and somewhat crude, but very effective, weapon prototype that gained widespread use at the time of the Horus Heresy. Two belts of ammunition are fed into the weapon from the right side and the howling faces of daemons cover the casing ejectors. It is assumed that the Talon, used in conjunction with the daemon sword Drach'nyen, provides Abaddon with his ranged combat abilities and confers at least the same benefits as a standard Lightning Claw.
- The Ghost's Razors - The Ghost's Razors were a set of unique Lightning Claws and a long-cherished artefact of the Tiger Claws Chapter that was gifted to Lufgt Huron as a mark of their gratitude for Huron's absorption of their Chapter into the Astral Claws. Its strange blades flickered with a ghostly light when activated and the technology which powers the weapon was an utter mystery even to Armenneus Valthex, the Astral Claws' Master of the Forge. This archaic weapon was destroyed by a Melta-blast from the dying Captain Zhrukal Androcles of the Star Phantoms Chapter during the final assault on the Palace of Thorns on Badab Primaris at the conclusion of the Badab War.
- Tyrant's Claw - The Tyrant's Claw is the monstrous, bear-like bionic arm and shoulder that was built to replace the arm of the Astral Claws' fallen Chapter Master Lufgt Huron. The bearer of this fell weapon is Huron Blackheart, the Lord of the infamous Renegade Chaos warband known as the Red Corsairs. The Claw is a Power Fist that incorporates a built-in Heavy Flamer. The Tyrant's Claw was built from the remnants of a relic known as the Ghost Razors, which fragmentary evidence suggests was gifted to Lufgt Huron by the remnants of the Tiger Claws Chapter in gratitude to their saviour. Like its predecessor, the Tyrant's Claw is a heavily armoured gauntlet that houses a number of articulated blades. In close combat, the Tyrant's Claws are an all but unmatched weapon, as the unidentified phase-frequency disruption fields imparted to their cutting edges prove able to slice though solid matter at a sub-molecular level, parting ceramite and adamantine plate effortlessly and sundering all energy fields and force barriers they encounter. The Heavy Flamer incorporated into the Tyrant's Claw is commonly employed as a squad support weapon by Terminator units deployed into closely confined battle zones. The use of such a weapon by a Space Marine commander was an unorthodox choice, but one that clearly reflects Huron Blackheart's preference for participating at the forefront of battle and heavy assaults. The Heavy Flamer's specific pattern remains unknown, and it was likely a direct creation of Armenneus Valthex in his capacity as the Tyrant's personal armourer and weaponsmith.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 163
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 57, 59-60
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 57, 91, 105
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 84
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, Revised Codex), pg. 16
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 50
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 25, 98, 101
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 59-60
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 141, 154-155
- Horus Heresy: Collected Visions
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 161
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 119, 177
- Space Hulk (3rd Edition), pp. 20-21
- The Horus Heresy - Book Three: Extermination by Alan Bligh, pg. 275
- Warhammer 40,000: Battle Manual (2nd Edition), pg. 33
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 58, 60
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 9
- Fulgrim (Novel) by Graham McNeill