Auto Weapons are ballistic ranged weapons which use solid-slug ammunition and thus are the equivalent of Third Millennium military-grade firearms. They are found in pistol, rifle or cannon form.
Auto Weapons are still popular amongst soldiers of the Astra Militarum; and the Autogun was the standard-issue weapon for the troops of the Imperial Army and the Imperial Guard alike until the start of the 32nd Millennium. While Autopistols and Autoguns are similar to their laser variants (the Laspistol and Lasgun), Autocannons are very unlike Lascannons. Autocannons are rapid-fire ballistic heavy weapons designed to eliminate heavily armoured infantry or light vehicles, and are often used by the Imperial Guard's Heavy Weapons Squad in battle, due to their versatility and reliability.
There are also Auto Weapon sniper rifles which use solid slug ammunition -- although, like other Auto Weapons, they are restricted by their use of heavier ammunition. The advantage the Sniper Auto Weapon has over its photon-based counterpart is that fewer enemies will recognise the report of the rifle, as opposed to the Long-Las' distinctive ruby beam.
Auto Weapons are still used throughout the Imperium of Man and are similar in operation to twentieth and twenty-first century fully-automatic ballistic firearms. They use solid ammunition rather than the easily rechargeable power packs of the more common Imperial laser weapons, meaning Auto Weapons are more likely to run out of ammunition in a protracted battle. The strong point of Auto Weapons is that they use relatively basic technology, are inexpensive and are capable of being produced in large numbers even on low-technology worlds.
Types of Auto Weapons
The Autogun is an automatic ballistic firearm similar to a twentieth and twenty-first century automatic rifle in appearance and operation. Unlike the 2nd and 3rd Millennium versions, Imperial Autoguns use small calibre, high velocity caseless bullets which are made from metallic or synthetic materials encased in solidified propellant. An Autogun works by using a solid hammer and striker to ignite a sensitive chemical in the round, which in turn ignites the main charge and forces the solid projectile through the barrel. The reactive force of the bullet's expulsion, which may be assisted by gas redirected from the barrel, opens the breech and resets the hammer. The new round is then removed from the magazine and repositioned by the mechanism as it is pushed back into the battery by mechanical force. This cycle will repeat several times per second until the magazine is empty or the trigger is released, barring malfunction. Autoguns often find their way into the hands of all forms of planetary militia, some Planetary Defence Force regiments, and are the standard firearm used in less advanced human cultures across the galaxy.
The Autopistol is a rapid-firing automatic ballistic pistol which is intended to be fired in short bursts. As the name implies, an Autopistol is the pistol version of the Autogun. It is similar to twentieth and twenty-first century machine pistols and submachine guns, sacrificing controllability in sustained fire, accuracy of the weapon itself, and projectile speed and weight for the purpose of making the weapon compact and light. Autopistols are still in use throughout the Imperium due to the fact that they can be easily produced on low-technology worlds. Some Imperial Guard regiments, including the 8th Cadian Regiment, often equip their troops with Autopistols as sidearms, improving their combat firepower. In other quarters, it is felt that only the Imperial Guard's officers should be equipped with pistol weaponry, so such equipment is reserved for Guardsmen of and above the rank of Lieutenant.
A Heavy Stubber is a fully automatic slug-firing ballistic weapon based upon an old artillery design, and is fairly common and reliable. Its high rate of fire makes up for its lack of strength and armour-piercing abilities. It is an ideal support weapon for low-technology worlds that cannot maintain laser weapons in working order due to technological or resource limitations. Heavy Stubbers are often pintle mounted and used as close defence weapons on Imperial vehicles, when the rarer Storm Bolters are not available. It is often seen as a pintle-mounted armament on many Imperial Guard vehicles and is used for anti-infantry and light anti-aircraft fire. Some Imperial Guard regiments use Heavy Stubbers as heavy weapons for their infantry squads.
One of the few Imperial weapons intentionally crafted for use by the massive Abhumans known as Ogryns, the Ripper Gun is a short range Auto Weapon that fires several Shotgun shells at once to compensate for the poor aim of the average Ogryn. It is in essence a very bulky and sturdy Autogun chambered for the large-gauge shotgun shells. The Ripper Gun can fire either a single heavy shell or a hail of shots, and possesses a hardwired burst limiter to prevent the Ogryn from emptying his weapon the first time he pulls the trigger. This is something Ogryns find amusing, but as they often fail to remember to switch magazines, this habit leaves them without a ranged weapon. Ripper Guns are also built unusually robustly, so that the Ogryn can use them as convenient clubs in melee without damaging the weapon.
An Autocannon is a self-loading heavy ballistic Auto Weapon that fires a high velocity hail of solid 20 millimetre to 40 millimetre shells that is used by the military forces of the Imperium of Man. It is an ancient weapon, but has nevertheless remained a widely-used piece of wargear throughout the Imperium's history. These rapid-firing weapons can lay down a burst of fire to cover advancing troops, or strafe enemy-held positions. Autocannons are considered ideally suited for attacking enemy vehicles and fortifications from long range. They lack the heavy punch of a Lascannon, but can fire more shots and are less prone to overheating, though the need to carry large amounts of ammunition is a distinct disadvantage. This weapon is also very large and ungainly. This bulk, combined with the serious recoil it creates, often restricts an Autocannon to a vehicle mounting or to use by dedicated heavy weapons teams. Like its ancient counterparts, an Autocannon is usually mounted on a weapon carriage or a vehicle because of its high weight and recoil. Astartes, with their superhuman strength, have been known to use Autocannons as man-portable heavy weapons. Due to their high rate of fire and sufficient killing power, they are effective against heavy infantry and light vehicles. Autocannons are used by the Imperial Guard, Space Marines, the Witch Hunters of the Ordo Hereticus and the Chaos Space Marines.
The Battle Cannon is a larger and heavier version of an Autocannon. It fires a large, high-explosive shell, which causes far more damage and explodes over a wider area than that of the smaller Autocannon. Due to its massive size, it is only mounted on Imperial vehicles or special weapons carriages. It is the standard weapon of the Imperial Guard's Leman Russ main battle tank. The Battle Cannon is a fairly conventional 120 millimetre smoothbore cannon. The standard munition is an Armour-Piercing High Explosive (APHE) round capable of penetrating all but the heaviest armor with ease but also containing a substantial impact-fused explosive charge with a large blast radius. This makes the Battle Cannon an effective dual-use armament capable of taking out light and medium vehicles as well as groups of heavy infantry.
Macrocannons are the largest member of the family of Auto Weapons and it has been used as a main armament on the warships of the Imperium of Man since the time of the Great Crusade in the late 30th Millennium. A Standard Template Construct (STC) technology, Macrocannons effective range is far greater upon warships due to the lack of gravity and atmospheric drag. These massive ballistic weapons are deployed in batteries, and destroy their targets through the delivery of powerful broadsides of shells fired in volley to overwhelm their enemy in a barrage of destruction. Macrocannons are giant, edifice-size weapons covered with gantries, cranes, power lines and pipes manned by a crew that stands hundreds strong. Macrocannons can also be deployed to serve as potent artillery weapons by Imperial ground forces, though such instances are rare as these weapons are not very mobile, and their range and accuracy drops tremendously when deployed within the confines of a gravity well and atmosphere, to the point that their massive firepower can present as much danger to friendly forces as to the foe.
Ork Auto Weapons
Ork Small Arms
- 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 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. However, when targeting equipment or bionics are used with the snazzgun, it loses the Inaccurate weapon quality instead of gaining any bonuses to hit.
Ork starships are more heavily armed than Imperial vessels of comparable size. Massive batteries of Macrocannons dot the hulls of every Ork warship, turrets and barrels protruding from every gap in the ship's hull that are capable of battering through an enemy vessel's Void Shields and ripping large chunks out of its hull. In a matter of minutes, an Ork vessel can unleash thousands of shells at a target, filling the void around an enemy ship with debris, shrapnel and unexploded shells. Above all other weapons, Orks favour massive shell-hurling Macrocannons, referred to collectively as "Gunz." Grouped together into batteries, these weapons fire volley after volley of solid shot and explosive shells, overwhelming any enemy in a torrent of destruction. However, these weapons do not always work as desired, sometimes misfiring or jamming. They may also be deactivated for repairs or "improvements" by a bored Mekboy. The following is a list of the most common "Gunz" found aboard Ork spacefaring vessels:
- Gunz - The most common Ork Macrobatteries are referred to simply as Gunz. Though this encompasses any number of different types of ship-based weapons, most fire ballistic projectiles of some sort or another. It is fairly common for Orks to loot weapons from defeated vessels, so many Gunz are "improved" versions of standard Imperial Macroweapons. The Ork inclination towards firepower is such that any gap in the haphazard armour plating of a Greenskin warship is soon filled with a Gun.
- 'Eavy Gunz (Kannonz) - Alongside more conventional Macrocannons, the Orks commonly employ short-ranged but extremely powerful ballistic cannons called 'Eavy Gunz or Kannonz. Firing dense slugs of scrap metal massing thousands of tonnes, as well as jury-rigged plasma bombs, these shells quickly become inaccurate over long range. Nevertheless, they cause terrifying damage at close range. Often rebuilt from the largest broadsides of Imperial Cruisers, these guns protrude menacingly from the scowling armoured prows of Ork Kill Kroozers, ready to unleash salvoes of heavy explosive shells. Kannonz often have extra-long barrels, so the shells will fire further.
Chaos Auto Weapons
Solid Projectile Weapons
Commonly known as slug-throwers, these weapons are exceedingly common throughout the galaxy. Chaos Cultists, Hivers and scum often make use of such weapons due to their ease of manufacture and availability. Most alien races have their own versions as well, as it's a fairly simple technology that is easy to manufacture. People of all types commonly carry one kind or another for their basic protection or livelihood:
- Autogun - Autoguns are cheap and easy to produce weapons, popular when Lasguns are not available. A typical weapon may not be incredibly accurate or as reliable as a lasgun, but will make up for it with a high rate of fire and cheap ammunition. Most autoguns fire solid low-calibre bullets from standardised magazines, and the design is ubiquitous enough that many xenos have their own variants.
- Autopistol - A common weapon for hivers and scum, the Autopistol is a pistol capable of a high rate of fire and access to a variety of ammo types.
- Heavy Stubber - The Heavy Stubber is a popular weapon amongst military forces and gangers alike, as, like most solid projectile weaponry, they are easily maintained and reasonably reliable. Heavy stubbers are large, belt-fed heavy weapons, often with long vented barrels. Though not as devastating as a heavy bolter or autocannon, they lay down an impressive rate of fire and can shred infantry and unarmoured vehicles. Heavy stubbers are typically employed with a bipod or tripod mount to avoid the punishing recoil, though some tough individuals may be able to carry them with extensive bracing harnesses or suspensors. Many patterns use an ammunition belt of 100 rounds, though this often requires a loader to ensure the feed doesn’t jam. However, heavy stubbers can also be purchased with a smaller drum magazine of 40 rounds that does not require a loader.
- Autocannon - An Autocannon is a crew-served heavy weapon, a selfloading high calibre cannon that uses dense solid shells to punch through armour. Though unable to fully penetrate the Ceramite of Space Marine Power Armour, they decimate light to medium vehicles and see widespread use in the Imperial Guard and many renegade armies.
- Reaper Autocannon - The Reaper Autocannon is a double-barrelled variant of the standard Autocannon. This weapon was designed during the Great Crusade for use as a heavy support weapon for the Terminator Squads of the Space Marine Legions. The weapon features two barrels and is capable of a high rate of fire but requires the incredible strength available to those who wear Terminator Armour to use, as the recoil was too great for even Power Armour wearing Space Marines to use the weapon effectively. The weapon usually features a large blade on the end of the barrels that can be used in close combat if needed. By the time of the late 41st Millennium, the Reaper Autocannon is no longer used by the forces of the Imperium who replaced it with the more effective Assault Cannon, although it is still a relatively common sight amongst the fragmented warbands of the Traitor Legions. The Reaper Autocannon is usually found being used by Chaos Terminators, but it also employed by Defiler and Blight Drone Daemon Engines, Helbrute walkers, and the mighty Decimator super-heavy tank.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 153, 155-156
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition), pp. 73, 78
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pp. 64-65
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition), pp. 81-82
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition), pp. 42, 68
- Codex: Imperial Guard (4th Edition), pg. 34
- Codex: Imperial Guard (2nd Edition), pg. 28
- Codex: Orks (4th Edition), pp. 46, 89-91
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 132-133
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 102
- Dark Heresy: The Book of Judgement (RPG), pp. 63-64
- Dark Heresy: The Inquisitor's Handbook (RPG), pp. 114-118, 120-121
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 149
- Gorkamorka: Da Roolz (2nd Edition), pg. 54
- Only War: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 177-178
- Only War: Hammer of the Emperor (RPG), pg. 112
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks - Part Two, pg. 149
- Imperial Munitorum Manual (Background Book), pp. 63, 70
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 120-121
- Rogue Trader: Hostile Acquisition (RPG), pp. 48-49
- Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pp. 17, 34-35, 48, 75-76, 85
- Warhammer 40,000: Battle Manual (2nd Edition), pp. 37, 44, 51, 56, 64
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader (1st Edition), pp. 75, 85
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition), pg. 56
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 28
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (4th Edition), pg. 29
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition), pp. 14, 20, 27, 34, 54
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (4th Edition)