A Power Fist (also known as a Power Glove) is essentially an over-sized, armoured gauntlet that generates an energy field around it, one that is capable of violently disrupting any solid matter it touches. It is a favoured close combat weapon for many warriors of the Imperium of Man, as well as the Forces of Chaos (particularly the Chaos Space Marines). It is especially an iconic weapon of the Loyalist Space Marines. A Power Fist is large and slow in combat, and so the bearer must be willing to risk the blows of his enemy before he can strike back. However, a Power Fist vastly augments a user's strength, much as Power Armour does due to the power provided its mechanical servos. The disadvantages of its unwieldy nature are often well worth the limitations, as the combination of the disruptive power field and sheer physical strength afforded by a Power Fist allows a Space Marine to pulverize and tear apart armour plate from even the most well-protected of vehicles, and to wound and kill colossal monstrous creatures in close combat; its brutal effects against more mundane foes goes without saying. It is most commonly found fitted to Space Marine Tactical Dreadnought (Terminator) Armour. A variant of the Power Fist is the Chainfist, which is similar to a Power Fist but has a miniature chainsaw blade attached.
Other Imperial forces also make use of the Power Fist, although less extensively than the Space Marines. The Sisters of Battle sometimes wield Power Fists, as they too are equipped with Power Armour. Senior officers and Lord Commissars of the Imperial Guard may also make use of smaller-scaled versions of the Power Fist, although its use is uncommon as it requires the officer to equip himself with a bulky exoskeletal frame, and such wargear is very rare in the arsenal of the Imperial Guard. As with much of the armament used by the Space Marines loyal to the Emperor, warriors from the Chaos Space Marines armed with Power Fists are not an uncommon sight.
Some xenos forces are also known to have analogous wargear, and among these are the Eldar. Meanwhile, the Orks use a similar (though much more crude) device known as a Power Klaw which is a servo-motored claw, large even for an Ork, with fearsome bladed fingers and sparking with discharges from an unstable disruptive field. Though more primitive in appearance, it is no less potent and is fully capable of dismembering infantry and tearing apart armoured vehicles. Uniquely, Commissar Yarrick of the Imperial Guard is famous for his Power Klaw, which he tore from a defeated Ork Warboss and adapted for his own use, as much a weapon as a symbol of his prowess in the never-ending war against the Orks.
The origins of Power Fists most likely lay in the Dark Age of Technology. By the late 30th Millennium, these deadly weapons were a valuable addition to the arsenal within the Legiones Astartes, and were utilised throughout the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy by both Loyalist and Traitor forces. In the modern 41st Millennium, this formidable close combat weapon is still utilised by the military forces of the Imperium. As is befitting for such a potent and fearsome weapon, use of the Power Fist is limited to such individuals as honoured Space Marine Captains and Chapter Masters. Sometimes, a Sergeant might be rewarded with carrying one of these mighty weapons into battle, blessed by its brutal might so that he might better vanquish the enemies of the God-Emperor. As with many weapons of this ilk created by the Imperium, wealthy Imperial Guard officers, vain Planetary Commanders and stoic Commissars carry lesser versions. However, when it comes to their efficacy, they are as a rusty knife to a well-honed blade.
Fixed to the mighty arm of a Space Marine, a Power Fist can punch through almost any defence, even hammering through the side of tanks to tear out the crew. Armed with a Power Fist, a battle-brother is deadly to anything on the battlefield, easily able to to crush foes within his grip. Equally, fortifications are little defence against an assault from a Power Fist-armed Space Marine, the coruscating gauntlet able to peel back plasteel bulkheads and batter down ferrocrete bunkers. The only drawback of a Power Fist, apart from the strength required to wield it, is that it remains a slow and prodigious weapon to use. As the disruption field pushes back against the air and the Power Armour struggles to bear the weight of the fist, its hydraulics whine and hiss. In the time it takes even a Space Marine to raise the weapon for a strike, an enemy with a blade can dart in and land a blow. In a whirling and chaotic melee, a Space Marine must endure dozens of cuts, slashes and thrusts as he methodically pulverises his foes with crippling punches and backhanded strikes.
It is perhaps due to the cumbersome and unwieldy nature of the power fist that the Adeptus Astartes are among the few soldiers of the Imperium to use it in high numbers. The protection afforded by Power Armour and the enhanced frame of a Space Marine means he is able to take the punishment before readying a killing blow. Nethertheless, the speed of the weapon is balanced against the incredible damage it can cause, and many Space Marine commanders gladly accept the sacrifice of speed if it means they only need to strike once.
Symbol of the Space Marines
Crafted on Forge Worlds and in the depths of Space Marine Fortress-Monasteries, each Power Fist is unique to the Tech-Priest or Techmarine who created it. Hours of painstaking work based on millennia-old templates and designs go into fashioning the weapons from the rare components required to grant the fist its singular strength. So difficult are some of the parts to produce, especially the shielded containment chambers of the power core and the web of field emitters arrayed across the fist's fingers, that they are often scavenged from older weapons. Many rare and exquisite examples of the Power Fist exist within the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes, such as the paired weapons known as the Gauntlets of Ultramar, worn by Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines. These ancient weapons served the Chapter Master during the Battle of Macragge, where they split the skulls and spines of countless Tyranid bio-horrors. Pedro Kantor, Chapter Master of the Crimson Fists, also famously wields a Power Fist. Painted crimson as an icon of his Chapter, Pedro put this sacred weapon to terrible use during the Rynn's World campaign, where he crushed the invading Orks of WAAAGH! Snagrod.
A well maintained Power Fist is a near priceless weapon to its owner, carefully cared for and stored with the reverence reserved for a great treasure. This respect for the weapon goes beyond simple superstition and matters of honour, and has as much to do with the impressive combat capabilities the gauntlet possesses. A Space Marine is wise to respect his weapons, lest they fail him in battle -– this is especially true of one as deadly as the Power Fist.
A Power Fist is a formidable close combat weapon capable of pulverising armour, flesh and bone with horrific ease. Taking the form of a heavy servo-powered gauntlet, it is commonly worn as part of a suit of Power Armour, replacing the ceramite plates from forearm to fist. The real killing might of a Power Fist comes not from its piston-enhanced grip, though this alone could crush a man's helmet and the skull within, but rather the disruption field that surrounds it. Backed by a Battle-Brother's strength, a Power Fist can sunder even the heaviest armour or rupture flesh as though bursting a bloody, overripe fruit. This field tears into matter at a molecular level and anything that remains for more than a moment within its grip is ripped apart in the most appalling fashion. Keeping these superior energy fields charged requires heavy cables linked to the armour's power system. The generators are also rare and difficult to maintain, making such a weapon a sign of status, even within the Adeptus Astartes.
Notable Power Fist Patterns
- Astartes Power Fist - This is the standard pattern of powered gauntlet worn by the Emperor's Adeptus Astartes.
- Chainfist - The Chainfist is similar to a Power Fist, but is outfitted with a reduced, powered chainsaw blade. The Chainfist was originally intended for breaching bulkheads on starships and Space Hulks, but it is equally adept at tearing up vehicles on a planetside battlefield. Most Space Marine Terminators are equipped with a Storm Bolter and Power Fist, but occasionally the Chainfist will substitute for a Power Fist if the situation calls for a cutting edge.
- Lightning Claw - This formidable weapon consists of a powered gauntlet fitted with three or four sharpened blades. A matter-disrupting energy field is projected around the blades, allowing them to cut through armour and flesh with minimal effort. Lightning Claws are almost invariably worn as a pair by Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines who prefer melee combat. Lightning Claws are a more specialized weapon than Power Fists, as they are extremely effective against enemy infantry but have little impact on heavily-armoured vehicles.
- Lightning Gauntlets, Acreage - Lightning Gauntlets are a primitive form of Power Fist manufactured exclusively on the Feudal World of Acreage, a world divided into innumerable feudal demesnes, where armoured nobles clash and the people suffer under an oppressive serfdom. Lightning Gauntlets are much rarer than Power Fists as they require far more skill to create. As the gauntlets cannot be swung as fast as the weapons such as a lightning chain, the kinetic effect is lessened. Still, being struck in the face by a Lightning Gauntlet is likely to do some serious damage or even kill the unfortunate on the end of the punch. A layer of the same hides used by lightning chain wielders can be found inside the gauntlets, affording the same kind of protection.
- Mezoa Pattern Power Fist - Rather than encasing an edged weapon with a power field, a Power Fist uses the energy to disrupt material in a more violent fashion. Worn as a huge glove, when the mechanically augmented fist strikes its target it can tear open even the heaviest armour and burst flesh into a shower of blood and tissue. Unless worn as part of a suit of Power Armour, a Power Fist normally requires heavy backpack-mounted power sources connected to the fist via heavy cables. The Mezoa Pattern specialises in an oversized mantle to increase punching power, and a suitably braced the user can knock through the strongest bulkheads. Most are ancient relics, with the mantle inscribed with family heraldry or iconography indicating impressive victories.
- Midath Pattern Power Glove - The Forge World of Midath is a lingering enigma for the Adeptus Mechanicus of the Calixis Sector. Some of the Lathe Worlds' earliest records speak of Midath as a grand Forge World, capable of building superheavy vehicles, voidships, and even Titan components. Such a Forge World would be a wondrous boon to the Calixis Sector, if only it could be found. The Forge World has been "missing" for as long as anyone can remember, to the point where some question whether it was ever real in the first place. There are many arguments for and against the existence of Midath, but one of the strongest proofs is an exceptionally rare melee weapon known as the Midath Pattern Power Glove. Consisting of a single sheath that extends all the way to the shoulder, the flexible golden material that makes up most of the glove is of a substance unknown to the Mechanicus. It bends and flexes without resistance, and never crinkles or ruffles, maintaining its smooth, reflective surface at all times. Once active, the glove acts much like a standard Power Fist, albeit a low-powered one, but as the power field surrounds the entire length of the user's arm it can be used to parry quite effectively. Unfortunately, it is this same power field that tends to cause damage to the human nervous system the longer the glove is activated, limiting its use in extended combat actions. Those who have studied the Midath Pattern Power Fist determined that each glove was made to order, matching the specifications of their user in every way. Who these weapons once belonged to will likely never be known, and most of the remaining Power Fists sit in the private collections of high-ranking Calixian nobles.
- Power Fist with Auxiliary Meltagun - Essentially a standard Power Fist with a built-in Meltagun, this variant pattern combines the crushing might of a Power Fist with the tank-busting potential of a Meltagun . Though the priesthood of Mars forbids the wider Imperium to innovate or adapt in all matters technological, the addition of one weapon to another is seen as a forgivable extension of the Omnissiah's will.
- Tang War Pattern - These compact, slim-fitting gauntlets are lighter and smaller than the standard designs issued to Imperial Space Marine officers. Though they are not considered unique, they are by no means common in the Imperial armed forces either.
- Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon- A Space Marine Dreadnought's primary close combat weapon has also been known as a Power Fist. Although it operates on the same principle as the infantry Power Fist, it is vastly more powerful -- the internal power generation and size of the cybernetic Dreadnought means there is effectively no limit to the strength of the Power Fist's energy field, making it more effective against heavily-armoured vehicles.
- Titan Power Fist - Titan-sized Power Fists are massive versions of the standard infantry Powerfist used by Imperial troops. They encompass an entire category of weapons that employ a Titan's prodigious strength and size to smash and tear apart the enemy. They are horrendously effective against enemy Titans and other war engines -- if the Titan can get close enough to use them. They can only be mounted on the Titan's arms. Their immense size also rules out their use by smaller Warhound -class Scout Titans, and are largely ineffective on the massive Imperator-class Battle Titans unless wielded against a Titan of a similar size.
Notable Power Fists
- Gauntlets of Ultramar - The Gauntlets of Ultramar are an ancient pair of Power Fists, accompanied by a set of ornate shoulder plates (compatible with both Artificer Power Armour and Terminator Armour) and a set of built-in Bolters. Their true origin is unknown, all that is known is that they were taken back from a fell Champion of Chaos by the Primarch Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines. Only the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, currently Lord Macragge Marneus Calgar, is permitted to wear them into combat.
- The Righteous Fist - A weapon from the first battles against Hive Fleet Dagon, the Righteous Fist is a massive pitted and scarred Power Fist reputed to have crushed the skull of a Carnifex with a single blow. Repaired by the Deathwatch Techmarines of Watch Fortress Erioch, the Righteous Fist excels at taking on large targets, where its oversized grip is perfect for massive necks and limbs.
Xenos Power Fists
- Scorpion's Claw - A Scorpion's Claw is one of the ritual weapons used by the Exarchs of the Striking Scorpion Warrior Aspect. Taking the form of a powered claw-shaped gauntlet, they are artfully crafted to visually resemble the mighty pincer of a real scorpion. This weapon is, in essence, the Eldar version of a Power Fist, giving the bearer vastly increased strength and armour penetration with no sacrifice in speed. The Scorpion's Claw also incorporates a Shuriken Catapult into the weapon's vambrace for ranged engagements, granting the Exarch a moderate amount of firepower while allowing him to wield another close quarter weapon in his other hand, and thus not hamper his close quarters prowess.
- Power Klaw - Orks use a variant of the Power Fist known as a Power Klaw, which is a large claw, often with three bladed fingers. A Power Klaw functions much like a Power Fist does for other races, and with it an Ork can tear the side from an armoured vehicle with ease and easily rip apart armour of any kind.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 163
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pp. 58-59
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 64, 105
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pg. 54
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pp. 50, 52
- Codex: Deathwatch (7th Edition), pg. 106
- Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pg. 65
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 33, 56
- Codex: Eldar (3rd Edition), pg. 35
- Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition), pp. 55, 84
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pg. 89
- Codex: Orks (3rd Edition), pg. 7
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 99
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 59-60
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pg. 97
- Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds (RPG), pg. 69
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 155
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pg. 99
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 130
- Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 70
- Warhammer 40,000: Munitorum - Power Fists
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (1st Edition), "Terminator - Space Marine Tactical Dreadnought Armour in Warhammer 40,000," by Rick Priestley & Andy Warwick, pg. 12
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pp. 79-80
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 58-60
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 10
- Emperor's Mercy (Novel) by Ben Zhou, pg. 39