The Hellpistol, also known as a Hot-shot Laspistol, corresponds to the Laspistol the same way the Hellgun corresponds to the Lasgun -- it is a more deadly weapon and only slightly heavier than the Laspistol. However, it is also more expensive in terms of the materials and manpower required to manufacture it. Hellpistols are usually found in the company of elite Imperial Guard Grenadier or Storm Trooper Sergeants, although higher-ranking Imperial Guard officers also have access to this weapon by virtue of their higher grade. Storm Troopers normally wear a large backpack which contains the power source required to provide the increased damage output of both Hellpistols and Hellguns.
These weapons hit harder and cut through more armour than the standard Lasgun. Their prohibitive manufacturing requirements, reliance on bulky backpack power units, and less reliable nature keeps them from being issued en masse to Imperial Guard regiments. However, Hellweapons (or "hotshot las-weapons" as they are also known) are still favoured by the Imperial Guard's elite Storm Troopers -- as well as any number of agents for the Throne -- as more powerful versions of the standard Laser Weapons favoured by the Imperial armed forces. For example, within the Calixis Sector, Calixian Storm Trooper companies prefer to equip their forces with the Cadian Pattern Hellweapons. Constant warfare means these weapons have been enhanced to the point that they can cut through something as tough as Astartes Power Armour, making them extremely popular on the front lines.
While Hellguns are rarely seen in the Imperial Guard outside of elite Storm Trooper units, Hellpistols can be seen among many of the officer corps and Inquisitorial agencies where the extra power they provide over a standard Laspistol often means the difference between the life of an Inquisitor and his or her failure of the Emperor of Mankind's trust. Storm Troopers normally wear a large backpack which contains the power source required to provide the increased damage output of Hellpistols and Hellguns. Like other Laser Weapons, the Hellpistol will cauterize any wound it creates and so it is sanctioned by the Commissariat for use as an execution weapon by Imperial Guard Commissars for use on those troopers and officers of the Guard who fail to perform their duty to the Emperor. Lord Castellan Ursarkar E. Creed of Cadia is known to carry two custom-made Hellpistols at all times.
The standard Laspistol can be considered a semi-automatic weapon in which one pull of the trigger produces one shot, whilst the Hellpistol is fully automatic in the sense that it will continuously fire high-powered las beams as long as the trigger is depressed. Most Hellpistols are handcrafted weapons rather than the products of Forge World assembly lines and have seen standard decades or even centuries of use in which they are passed down from user to user. For this reason, a Hellpistol is always considered to be the property of the Imperial Departmento Munitorum and not its current wielder.
Notable Hellpistol Patterns
- Cadian Pattern Hellpistol - Manufactured in the manufactoria of the Fortress World of Cadia, the Cadian Pattern Hellpistol is one of the most commonly seen variants of the weapon on the battlefields of the late 41st Millennium.
- Lucius Pattern Hellpistol - Lucius Pattern Hellweapons use a 10 kilogram backpack power source rather than a standard plug-in power pack, even for the smaller Hellpistol. Larger power packs mean greater power behind each shot but make reloading more impractical, which is a trade-off most users of the weapon are willing to make. Hellpistols can also be linked to the larger backpack power sources used to fire the Lucius Pattern Hellgun.
- Voss Pattern Hellpistol - Utilising advanced techniques of manufacture and internal gyro-stabilisation, high power "Hellguns" are the chosen weapons of the elite Inquisitorial Stormtrooper and Imperial Guard Grenadier forces. Costly and difficult to manufacture, the primary source for these weapons in the Calixis Sector is the Takara Fane of Gunmetal City on the world of Scintilla. Hellguns and even their pistol counterparts are far more energy-hungry than standard Las Weapons and are fed from power capacitor backpack units. They may use standard Las weapon charge packs in place of the backpack, but then consume four charges per shot.
- Codex: Imperial Guard (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex), pg. 50
- Dark Heresy: Ascension, (RPG) pg. 138
- Imperial Munitorum Manual, pg. 64
- Only War: Core Rulebook, (RPG) pg. 176
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook, (RPG) pg. 119
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (4th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Wargear (2nd Edition)