The Meltagun, also called a "Fusion Gun," "Melter," or "Cooker," is a powerful, short-ranged anti-armour weapon that produces an intense, energetic beam of heat in the tens of thousands of degrees Centigrade. The Melta Gun is used by the Space Marines, the troops of the Imperial Guard and other military forces of the Imperium of Man such as the Orders Militant of the Adepta Sororitas. Melta Weapons emit devastatingly intense but short-ranged blasts of heat which can melt through almost any material. Most types of Melta Weapon like the Meltagun function by inducing highly pressurised gases from an ammunition canister into an unstable sub-molecular state which produces nuclear fusion and directing the resulting energies down the barrel. Melta Weapon usage is always accompanied by a distinctive hissing sound as the Melta beam boils away the water in the air, then a roaring blast as the beam reduces the target to charred scraps or molten slag. Meltaguns are the premier Imperial anti-armour weapons, and few if any vehicles can withstand their power.
Functionally, the Meltagun has more in common with a Plasma Gun than a Flamer. While the Flamer is used to incinerate large numbers of foes at short range, the Meltagun is used to attack point targets, destroying heavily armoured vehicles at short range by literally heating the vehicle's armour into slag and melting through to vulnerable internal components. Meltaguns work by firing a blast of pure fusion-based heat energy that can vaporise most organic troops, and even melt Adamantium. Melta Weapons are often carried by tank-hunting squads and are used as a special weapon by other squads.
There is a larger version of the Meltagun, called the Multi-Melta, which has both an increased maximum range and is more effective as an anti-armour weapon compared to the standard Meltagun, at the cost of portability and ease-of-use. There also exists a pistol version of the Meltagun, the dreaded Inferno Pistol; however, the secrets of miniaturisation necessary to manufacture Inferno Pistols are all but lost to the Imperium. As such, only the highest-ranking members of the Inquisition, Adepta Sororitas and Astartes are allowed to wield such a treasured weapon. Lord Dante, Chapter Master of the Blood Angels, is the most famous user of such a potent pistol.
Known Meltagun Patterns
- Accatran Pattern Mark VIII Meltagun - A commonly used Meltagun pattern manufactured by the Accatran Forge World and utilised by the Imperial Guard regiments of the Elysian Drop Troops.
- Conflagration Pattern Meltagun - Crafted in very limited numbers by Enthor Calibos, a Techmarine of the Salamanders Chapter of Space Marines garrisoned aboard Watch Fortress Erioch in the Jericho Reach, these compact, high-output Meltaguns have gained favour among those Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch lucky enough to have wielded them. Reflecting the fine workmanship and deep love for cleansing flame of their creator, these powerful weapons have higher penetration and damage output than other Meltaguns at the expense of higher energy consumption.
- Forgebite Pattern Meltagun - Similar in function to the Vulkan Pattern, the Forgebite Pattern Meltagun is a common variant utilised exclusively by the Astartes of the Space Wolves Chapter.
- Mars and Mezoa Pattern Meltaguns - As Meltaguns are less prone to failure than Plasma Guns and work best at shorter ranges, they are also prized by raiders and corsairs where close-in fighting and boarding actions are often the norm. The Meltagun is an ideal weapon for cutting through bulkheads or armour. Most use a built-in fuel canister like the Mars Pattern Meltagun, but the Mezoa Pattern Meltagun that uses a backpack to hold the hydrogen fuel is also common.
- Traitor Legion Meltagun - The Chaos Space Marines make good use of Meltaguns, though they favour a larger version of the weapon dating from the time of the Horus Heresy that can unleash a more powerful heat beam upon a target, dealing greater damage.
- Ultima Pattern Meltagun - Another common variant of the Meltagun, the Ultima pattern Meltagun is similar in design to a Vulkan Pattern Meltagun. This particular variant has earned the nickname "Tank Killer" for its effective use against smaller armoured personnel carriers.
- Vulkan Pattern Meltagun - Meltaguns are the most common form of Melta Weapon and are found in use by many Imperial forces. They are less prone to catastrophic failure than Plasma Guns and work best at shorter ranges. An ideal weapon for cutting through bulkheads or armour, the elite Space Marines of the Deathwatch have proven to have no end of uses for it. The Vulkan Pattern Melta Gun used by the Deathwatch uses a built-in fuel canister, but versions with a backpack attachment are also common.
- Zepherus Mark I “Beamer” Meltagun - The Beamer model of Meltagun was an attempt to create a longer-range Melta Weapon that was still light enough to be easily carried into combat. Using fragments of decaying scrolls describing several ancient design patterns (and after much divination and prayer) the Zepherus pattern was developed. Though it still uses specialized gases melded and ignited into a sub-molecular thermal state, this weapon features a longer barrel with a radiation beam surrounding the gaseous discharge. This low-level radiations acts as a harmonic wavefront for the super-hot release, allowing it to strike at longer distances. The necessary tuning for the beam to match the discharge proved impractical in the field, however, and only those willing (or able) to spend many hours of difficult correction after prolonged use still stand by the weapon. Almost no fighting units still utilise them despite the superior range, and their manufacture ceased after the first production run. Now prized as trophy weapons, some still see use as part of elite mercenary groups or Inquisitorial Kill-teams.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 157
- Codex: Blood Angels (5th Edition), pg. 59
- Codex: Dark Angels (4th Edition), pg. 51
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pp. 98-99, 101
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pg. 59
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pg. 115
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 134
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 148
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 135
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pg. 136
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One, pg. 95
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 60, 94, 112, 128
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part Two, pg. 108
- Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, pg. 101
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 114
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition), pp. 39, 57
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (4th Edition), pp. 4, 9
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear (2nd Edition), pg. 26