Imperial Guard Symbol

The Icon of the Imperial Guard

The Imperial Guard utilises a wide variety of wargear created in the massive foundries of Hive World manufactorums or the cathedral-factories of the Adeptus Mechanicus Forge Worlds and supplied to the Guardsmen by the sub-department of the Adeptus Administratum known as the Departmento Munitorum. Although much of the equipment and weaponry can vary depending on the world on which it was produced, its basic functionality always remains the same.

Ranged Weaponry

Las Weapons

  • Lasgun: The standard issue weapon for the Imperial Guard across the board, and that which all subsequent Laser weaponry is based off of. While relatively weak compared to the other basic infantry weapons, such as the Bolter and the Pulse Rifle, the Lasgun is still powerful when deployed en masse, and they are devastating to lightly armored infantry. Hundreds of variations on the basic design exist, such as the sturdy and reliable MK36 used by the Cadian regiments, to the ornate and hand-crafted weaponry of the Vostroyan Firstborn and the Accatran MKIV, valued by drop troops for its compactness and utility at short range.
  • Laspistol: The pistol version of the lasgun, it has a shorter range and is thus usually favored by officers and command advisors who are not usually in the thick of things as much as the common soldiery. Laspistols are also favoured as back-up weapons by Special Weapon and Heavy Weapon operators.
  • Lascannon: One of the most powerful anti-tank weapons utilized by the Imperial Guard, the Lascannon is always either vehicle mounted, as is in the case of the hull mounted Lascannon on the Leman Russ battle tank, or lugged around the battlefield by a two man fireteam. It is relatively stable compared to some of the more exotic anti-tank methods, such as plasma and meltaguns.
  • Hellgun: A more powerful version of the Lasgun. Also known as a "hot-shot" lasgun, the hellgun is powered by an external energy pack to provide increased armour piercing power, making this weapon considerably more expensive to produce and, as such, it is mainly used by Stormtroopers to provide a little extra punch to their already considerable firepower.
  • Hellpistol: A smaller, hand-held version of the Hellgun. Mainly used by Stormtrooper sergeants and, rarely, Inquisitors, the Hellpistol is somtimes also favoured by the odd senior officer or Commissar.

Kinetic Weapons

  • Autogun: A basic slugthrower rifle, the Autogun was the standard-issue rifle of the Guard until the 32nd Millennium. It is still favored by some regiments, and is heavily used by Planetary Defense Forces and backwater regiments with less access to Las technology. It is also a favorite of underhive gangers.
  • Autopistol: A basic slugthrower pistol, this was phased out of standard Imperial service around the same time as the autogun, but is still occasionally used as a sidearm by vehicle crews and Titan operators. Some regiments still issue Autopistols to the rank-and-file troopers as sidearms and their use is detailed in The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer.
  • Autocannon: A large bore slugthrower cannon, this light anti-armor weapon can be mounted on a vehicle or, more commonly in the case of the Imperial Guard, manned by a two-man crew. The Autocannon fires multiple rounds of solid ammunition, designed to mow down groups of infantry and take out light vehicles.
  • Shotgun: An uncommon sight in the Guard, but nonetheless a weapon that is still utilized by the more veteran soldiers of a regiment as assault weapons due to their mean punch at very short range. Shotguns are often used by Imperial Navy personnel to fight within the confines of spaceship corridors, without damaging the hull.
  • Heavy Stubber: An archaic piece of equipment, the Heavy Stubber was once, long, long ago, known as a machine gun. It is still used with a pintle mount on many Imperial Guard vehicles, due to the increased range it has over the more modern Storm Bolter. Many Planetary Defense Forces use it instead of Heavy Bolters because of the more common availability, and the troops of the Death Korps of Krieg commonly uses it in weapon emplacements.
  • Punisher Gatling Cannon: A recent addition to the imperial guard armory and pours out more ammunition than anything else in the Imperium of Man, this gun is based on killing infantry and to clear the way of infantry for other tanks. Due to the fact that it is new it is very rare and is only seen on the battlefield with punisher variants of the Leman Russ, but of course, due to their firepower, there is a high demand for these beasts.
  • Exterminator Autocannon: This has a higher rate of fire than the standard autocannon and comes twin-linked, this is a fairly rare sight and is only seen on the Leman Russ Exterminator.

Plasma Weapons

  • Plasma Gun: The Plasma Gun is an extremely unstable weapon that is just as likely to blow up in the operator's face as it is to unleash a lethal beam of white-hot plasma energy. It is still used by the Guard against extremely heavy armor, bunkers, and stationary gun emplacements, as they have no shortage of men.
  • Plasma Pistol: A more compact version of the plasmagun, the Plasma Pistol is just as unstable as its larger counterpart, but puts the power of a tank in the palm of your hand. Despite the inherent danger, it is a favoured weapon of Guard officers.

Melta Weapons

  • Meltagun:The Meltagun is a slightly more stable anti-tank weapon. Instead of utilizing plasma to kill a target, melta weapons use a two part injection system that forces a mixture of pyrum-petrol gas into a sub molecular state, creating an extremely volatile mixture that will literally vaporise pretty much anything, reducing them to nothing but molten slag. It is considered a mark of courage to bear such weapon in the Imperial Guard, as meltagun toting soldiers are often expected to attack heavily armored targets, destroying them in a matter of seconds.

Flamer Weapons

  • Flamer: The Flamer is a large weapon the fires liquid promethium at a target in such a way that the promethium ignites upon contact with the air, allowing the nozzle to be swept back and forth in a slow, deliberate motion. Devastating against lightly armored and closely packed troops.
  • Heavy Flamer: The Heavy Flamer is a more powerful version of the standard flamer, most commonly mounted on vehicles. The Death Korps of Krieg however, uses this as a man-portable heavy weapon operated by a two-man team.
  • Inferno Cannon:  The Inferno Cannon is more powerful than the Heavy Flamer and is a common sight on the Hellhound, as it has a longer range than any of the Flamer weapons of any race and is unrivalled for the amount of damage it can dish out.

Bolt Weapons

  • Boltgun or Bolter: While the Bolter is normally only seen in the hands of the Space Marines, it is possible for an officer or a veteran to get his hands on such a fearsome weapon, sized for an unaugmented human. Fires a mass-reactive, explosive bolt with a depleted deuterium core that detonates on contact with the target as its standard issue ammunition.
  • Bolt Pistol: Favored by Imperial Guard officers because of the added punch offered by such a weapon, the Bolt Pistol has a shorter range than a Bolter, but operates in much the same way.
  • Heavy Bolter: A fast-firing, anti-infantry weapon, the Heavy Bolter gives the Imperial Guard the ability to take down more heavily armoured foes without wasting autocannon or lascannon rounds. It truly shines when directed at large masses of infantry, such as an Ork WAAAGH! It is also commonly mounted on vehicles to provide some anti-infantry protection.
  • Storm Bolter: A much more uncommon sight in the Imperial Guard than the Heavy Bolter, the Storm Bolter is normally only seen in its pintle-mounted variant, mounted on the top of a tank. However, it is also possible for officers and some veterans to get their hands on one, but that is a rare occurrence, as the weapon's bulk and ferocious recoil makes it almost impossible to wield efficiently without the assistance of Power Armour.

Missile Weapons

  • Missile Launcher: Missile Launchers are simple devices normally used in teams of two guardsmen, although modified sentinel-mounted versions do exist. It can be armed with either Frag or Krak Missiles. Frag Missiles allow for the explosive blast wave to spread in a manner similar to the effect of a Frag Grenade, making them useful for taking out lightly armoured infantry, whereas Krak Missiles concentrate the explosion in a small, contained area, making them extremely effective tank killers.

Sniper Weapons

  • Sniper Rifle: Imperial Guard Regiments use many different kinds of sniper rifle, ranging from lasguns modified with longer barrels and over-powered energy cells (referred to as a long-las) to needle-rifles, which fire small darts containing deadly neuro-toxins. Sniper Rifles are issued to a regiment's best marksmen, or used by the abhuman Ratlings. Most sniper rifles are equipped with telescopic sights and mufflers to allow the user to fire from long range without his position being revealed by the crackle of gun fire.

Grenades, Explosives and Destructive Devices

  • Grenade Launcher: The Grenade Launcher is a versatile semi-automatic weapon designed to fire grenades into enemy formations at short range. Grenade Launchers can be loaded with both Frag and Krak Grenades to accommodate variable battlefield situations.
  • Frag Grenades: Also called fragmentation grenades, these small metal spheres are designed to explode after a preset delay when the triggering mechanism is activated discharging shrapnel into a radius referred to as a kill-zone. They are commonly used to rout enemy troops out of bunkers, or to pin down enemy troops in preparation for an assault. Frag Grenades are standard issue equipment and are made available to all Imperial Guard infantry squads, as well as Storm Troopers and Veteran squads.
  • Krak Grenades: These small explosive devices give a soldier the ability to neutralize light armour, technical vehicles or fortified positions. The operator must attach the device to the intended target, so he must be within reach of it. Krak Grenades are standard issue equipment for Imperial Guard Storm Troopers and Veterans.
  • Melta-Bombs: Large grenades based on Melta technology, Melta-Bombs are designed to neutralize heavy armour or fortified positions, much in the same way as Demolition Charges except without the wasted exothermic reaction. Melta-Bombs instead focus the energy from the micro-nuclear Melta reaction into a concentrated point burning through the intended target.
  • Demolition Charges: A generic term used for large packs of improvised explosives wired to detonate in unison, they function similarly to Satchel Charges allowing soldiers to destroy high value targets in a large area. The operator must be extremely close to use them, as the device must be thrown. There is considerable risk involved with using Demolition Charges.
  • Snare Mines: Sometimes referred to as claymore mines, Snare Mines are explosive devices intended to ambush light targets while the enemy is unaware of their presence. They are normally carried by forward scouts and veteran troopers and consist of a shaped explosive charge and a range finder. Snare Mines are normally planted in tactical positions and used to ambush or disrupt enemy advances.

Melee Weapons

  • Close Quarter Weapons - All Guardsmen are issued with either a Trench Knife or a Bayonet to fend for themselves should an enemy get close. However, inventive Guardsmen do not hesitate to use their standard-issued Picks, Shovels or even the butt of their Lasguns to crack open an assailant's skull.
  • Chainsword or Chainblade: The standard close combat weapon of both the Imperial Guard Officers and the Space Marines, the Chainsword, despite being a simple metal construct on a battlefield full of powered gauntlets, daemon-cursed broadswords, flaming axes, and plague-ridden knives, still constitutes a viable threat. Its industrial diamond teeth are designed to slice through Power Armour and its lightweight construction allows a skilled operator to fight with another weapon, usually a pistol of some kind, in his other hand. Some variants of the Chainsword exist, such as the Chainaxes so beloved of the Chaos Space Marines dedicated to the service of the Blood God Khorne.
  • Eviscerator: A large, two handed version of the Chainsword, the Eviscerator is used exclusively by Imperial Priests of the Adeptus Ministorum. This device is much heavier and has a longer blade then its cousin the Chainsword, transforming its wielder into a greater threat on the battlefield at the cost of not being able to use a sidearm.
  • Power Weapon: The officers of the Imperial Guard use a variety of powered weapons to defend and attack in close combat, be they swords, axes, maces, or even clubs. These weapons deploy a potent high energy gravitic field around the 'blade' of the Power Weapon, which serves to disrupt solid matter, making them capable of destroying conventional weapons and defeating even the most advanced armour. These weapons are extremely rare in the hands of even the elite of the Imperial Guard, as most were manufactured long millennia ago, before the Horus Heresy.
  • Power Fist: Some officers crave close combat so much, that they entomb their arms in giant metal gauntlets called Power Fists to grant them superhuman powers in hand to hand combat. These gigantic fists allow their bearers to attack even vehicles and know they have an extremely good chance of winning.

Infantry Equipment

As well as their weaponry, Imperial Guardsmen are issued with a variety of other equipment upon recruitment. Although the equipment issued varies among the regiments, the following list contains the most common equipment.


  • Flak Armor: The basic armor worn by all soldiers of the Imperial Guard, Flak Armour provides protection from low velocity or indirect projectiles, but pretty much all other armor is highly preferable. Flak Armour is usually made from synthetic fibres or light-weight threaded alloys and leaving the wearer free to move.
  • Carapace Armour: Carapace Armour consists of a series of rigid plates, molded from either Armorplas or Ceramite. It provides a better protection than flak armor, and is used extensively by Stormtroopers. Officers also seem to prefer this due to the superior protection it provides. Some regiments of the Guard are outfitted exclusively in this, due to their proximity to a Forge World, or the fact that they were raised from a more affluent world that can afford such protection.

Specialised Equipment

  • Auspex or Surveyor: An Auspex or Surveyor is a small, hand-held scanner device, usually incorporating a passive radar or infrared motion-detector. Used by officers and vox-operators to help direct the course of a battle. Also used by Storm Troopers when they are hunting for a target.
  • Vox-caster or Vox-box: One of the most important pieces of equipment available to the Imperial Guard, the Vox-Box is a rugged, portable radio transceiver that allows the commanding officer of a force to keep in touch with his subordinates. Almost all Imperial Guard units are capable of carrying a Vox-Box in one way or another. Vox-casters are also commonly mounted on tanks to allow the commanding officer to take advantage of the armoured vehicle's increased power capacity and use the improved communications the voxcaster offers to call in reinforcements.
  • Camo Cloaks: Imperial Guard scouts and snipers will often wear Camo Cloaks to conceal themselves from the enemy. Constructed from the synthetic material Cameoline, Camo Cloaks blend with the surrounding environment, making the wearer extremely hard to view from long range.
  • Medi-Pack: More advanced versions of the standard medi-kit carried by all troopers, medi-packs contain the necessary supplies to cure or heal most types of battlefield wounds and are often carried by specially-trained troopers in command squads.
  • Refractor Field (Conversion Field) Emitter: Carried only by extremely high-ranking Imperial Guard general officers, Space Marines, the agents of the Inquisition or members of the Ecclesiarchy, Refractor Field Emitters, also known as Conversion Field Emitters, generate a protective gravitic energy barrier around the wearer, granting them protection from almost all forms of energy-based and kinetic attacks.

Standardised Equipment

The following equipment is issued to all Imperial Guardsmen upon recruitment.

  • Combat Knife or Bayonet: Thousands of variations of the combat knife exist, ranging from short, serrated blades to the straight blades carried by the Tanith First and Only and the very large blades used by the Catachan Jungle Fighters. They are commonly used as hand-to-hand weapons or bayonets.
Gas Mask

Gas Mask with Mark VIII filter

  • Guard-Issue Medical Supplies: All guardsmen are issued with very basic medical supplies, including bandages, swabs and basic med-kits containing oils and salves. The Medical Supplies are used to heal small wounds obtained from shrapnel, dangerous terrain features and bruises sustained during hectic battlefield manouveres.
  • 9-70 Entrenching Tool: Basically an over-glorified spade, the 9-70 is used to create impromptu emplacements and barricades during battles.
  • Gas Mask with Mark VIII filter: An emergency device used in case of sudden gas attack, the gas mask consists of a simple face-mask attached to an advanced filter system designed to filter out harmful toxins in the atmosphere and allow the Guardsman to breathe without risk of injury. Some regiments, such as the Armageddon Steel Legions, use more advanced respirators in a permanent manner, usually during protracted engagements in areas with unbreathable atmospheres such as the polluted hive-world of Armageddon.
  • Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer: Issued to all Guardsmen upon recruitment, the Uplifting Primer is published by the Departmento Munitorum. The book contains invaluable advice on a score of relevant topics. These include details on the regulations of the Guard, the correct procedures required to use common Guard weapons and basic battlefield tactics like how to maintain a Lasgun, engage an Ork in hand-to-hand combat and other crucial survival skills. It is not unheard of for Commissars to execute Guardsmen who deface or fail to produce their Primer on command.


  • Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (4th Edition)
  • Codex: Imperial Guard Codex (4th Edition)
  • Codex: Imperial Guard Codex (5th Edition)
  • Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, Damocles Gulf Edition
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