The Plasma Gun is a rifle-sized Plasma Weapon common to many of the armed forces of the Imperium of Man. It is classified as a special weapon and is carried by a variety of Imperial infantry, including Space Marines, Imperial Guardsmen and Storm Troopers. Like other infantry-carried plasma weapons, Imperial Plasma Guns are more powerful than plasma weapons used by xenos races but far more unstable as they have a chance to malfunction and even explode, wounding or even killing the wielder.
Plasma Weapons make use of hydrogen fuel suspended in a liquid state in either fuel flasks or backpack containers. As the fuel is fed into the miniature fusion core inside the weapon, the hydrogen energises into the plasma state of matter which is held in the core by powerful magnetic containment fields. When fired, the fields dilate open and the plasma is ejected via a linear magnetic accelerator as a bolt of superheated matter akin to a solar flare in appearance and temperature. For this reason Plasma Weapons are sometimes colloquially called "Sun Guns" by the common population of the Imperium. Plasma Weapons tax their cooling systems considerably, and the Space Marines push the limits of their own resilience by using hydrogen in a higher quantum state than standard Imperial patterns.
Plasma Gun VariantsEdit
- Mark II Ragefire Pattern (Standard Astartes Plasma Gun) - The most common pattern of this uncommon Imperial technology used by the Chapters of the Space Marines, Plasma Guns are often deployed in situations where raw takedown power is required against highly resilient or armoured enemies.
- Barrage Plasma Gun - These rare and venerated weapons are jealously guarded by the Techmarines of the Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach, and issued only to the most honoured Space Marines within that elite group. Barrage Plasma Guns are highly tuned, rapid-fire weapons that can lay down incredible volumes of devastating plasma energy. While their ability to fire in semi-automatic and automatic modes make them both versatile and deadly, they use an immense amount of energy and are more prone to overheating than even a typical Plasma Weapon. Deathwatch Space Marines see this as a small price to pay for the ability to spray volleys of plasma energy into charging bands of vicious xenos.
- Clovis Mark IV - The Mark IV Pattern became an accidental success of sorts, as its weaker collimation system produces smaller, more diffuse plasma spurts. Though it has lesser power than standard (and better manufactured) Plasma Weapons, the Mark IV allows the user to spray several blasts with one shot, providing effective suppressive fire against even heavily-entrenched enemies.
- Mark II Accatran Pattern (Elysian Issued) - A pattern of Plasma Gun commonly used by Elysian Drop Troops Imperial Guard regiments.
- Mark XII Ragefire Pattern
- Mark V Mars Pattern
- Mark XXXV Magnacore Pattern (Cadian Issued)
- Plasma Talon - A Plasma Talon is an archaic Plasma Weapon commonly utilised by the Ravenwing Black Knights of the Dark Angels Chapter's 2nd Company, commonly called the Ravenwing. The Ravenwing's Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes have their twin-linked Boltguns replaced with two of these weapons, which are unique to the Unforgiven Chapters. With a range between that of the Plasma Pistol and the Plasma Gun, the Plasma Talon gives the Black Knights a significant boost in firepower. In battle, the Ravenwing Black Knights drive at top speed upon their Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes towards the foe. On their approach, their Plasma Talons tear holes in the enemy lines before they ride over their quarry, cracking armour and sundering flesh with their Corvus Hammers as they go.
Chaos Plasma GunsEdit
The Traitor Legions of the Chaos Space Marines have long made use of larger Plasma Weapons containing hydrogen fuel in a higher quantum state, making them both more powerful and more dangerous to wield. The Chaos Plasma Gun and Chaos Plasma Pistol are simply more potent versions of the standard Imperial Plasma Gun and Plasma Pistol.
Xenos Plasma GunsEdit
Analogues of the Imperial Plasma Weapons can be found in use amongst the other intelligent starfaring races of the Milky Way Galaxy. Most notable of these is the Tau Empire's version of the Plasma Gun, the Plasma Rifle. It sacrifices a modest amount of strength to ensure the weapon never overheats and is a perfect complement to Tau Battlesuits, which need to move and fire at full capacity.
Outside of the tabletop games, the Plasma Gun can be seen in the computer game Dawn of War, where it can be carried by various Space Marine and Imperial Guard units. Additionally, the Plasma Gun is featured in the multi-console video game Space Marine, which inaccurately captures the way the Plasma Gun is described in the lore since its version can be fired without fear of overheating and does not need to be reloaded.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), p. 158
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 147-148
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), p. 135
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 47, 60
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition)
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition)
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project p. 136
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One p. 104
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), p. 114
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (4th Edition), p. 34
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (PC Game)
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (Video Game)