The Plasma Gun is a rifle-sized Plasma Weapon common to many of the armed forces of the Imperium of Man. It is classified as a special weapon and is carried by a variety of Imperial infantry, including Space Marines, Imperial Guardsmen and Storm Troopers. Like other infantry-carried plasma weapons, Imperial Plasma Guns are more powerful than plasma weapons used by xenos races but far more unstable as they have a chance to malfunction and even explode, wounding or even killing the wielder.
Plasma Weapons make use of hydrogen fuel suspended in a liquid state in either fuel flasks or backpack containers. As the fuel is fed into the miniature fusion core inside the weapon, the hydrogen energises into the plasma state of matter which is held in the core by powerful magnetic containment fields. When fired, the fields dilate open and the plasma is ejected via a linear magnetic accelerator as a bolt of superheated matter akin to a solar flare in appearance and temperature. For this reason Plasma Weapons are sometimes colloquially called "Sun Guns" by the common population of the Imperium. Plasma Weapons tax their cooling systems considerably, and the Space Marines push the limits of their own resilience by using hydrogen in a higher quantum state than standard Imperial patterns.
Imperial Plasma Gun Variants
- Asandre Pattern Plasma Gun - Following its acceptance of the Imperial Creed, the world of Asandre underwent a period of radical technological advancement as Jollus Marquette brought the planet into the fold of the Imperium of Man. With the help of adepts of the Mechanicus, Asandre’s already burgeoning industrial capacity was vastly improved and turned to manufacturing arms and military equipment. Among the weapons manufactured on Asandre are plasma guns modelled on the venerable Mezoa-pattern. Unfortunately, some defect in the plans and schematics provided by the Tech-Priests resulted in unforeseen fluctuations in the weapon’s power output, resulting in somewhat irregular blasts. The defect has been noted by the adepts assigned to Asandre, but the manufactorums continue to produce these plasma guns nevertheless.
- Barrage Plasma Gun - These rare and venerated weapons are jealously guarded by the Techmarines of the Deathwatch of the Jericho Reach, and issued only to the most honoured Space Marines within that elite group. Barrage Plasma Guns are highly tuned, rapid-fire weapons that can lay down incredible volumes of devastating plasma energy. While their ability to fire in semi-automatic and automatic modes make them both versatile and deadly, they use an immense amount of energy and are more prone to overheating than even a typical Plasma Weapon. Deathwatch Space Marines see this as a small price to pay for the ability to spray volleys of plasma energy into charging bands of vicious xenos.
- Clovis Mark IV - The Mark IV Pattern became an accidental success of sorts, as its weaker collimation system produces smaller, more diffuse plasma spurts. Though it has lesser power than standard (and better manufactured) Plasma Weapons, the Mark IV allows the user to spray several blasts with one shot, providing effective suppressive fire against even heavily-entrenched enemies.
- Dekker Pattern - The Dekker Pattern Plasma Gun features a twin core design.
- Mark I Apollo Pattern Plasma Gun - First adopted by the Blood Angels Chapter, the MK I Apollo Pattern Plasma gun was created design by one of their less known Techsmiths. The weapon gained popularity with other "fire-based" Chapters, like the Salamanders, when it was shown to have a "molten lava"-like effect when fired on most worlds. While the blue-white coils burn hotter than standard blue plasma weapons, resulting in a longer damage over time effect, they are also prone to overheating faster.
- Mark II Ragefire Pattern (Standard Astartes Plasma Gun) - The most common pattern of this uncommon Imperial technology used by the Chapters of the Space Marines, Plasma Guns are often deployed in situations where raw takedown power is required against highly resilient or armoured enemies.
- Mark II Accatran Pattern (Elysian Issued) - A pattern of Plasma Gun commonly used by Elysian Drop Troops Imperial Guard regiments.
- Mark IId Accatran Pattern (Special Issue) - The Accatran Pattern Mk IId was issued en masse to Death Korps of Krieg regiments during the Orphean Salvation Campaign to allow for greater firepower against the Necrodermis of their Necron foes.
- Mark XII Ragefire Pattern
- Mark V Mars Pattern
- Mark XXXV Magnacore Pattern (Cadian Issued)
- Phased Plasma Rifle - As one of the more dangerous special issue weapons within the Crimson Guard, the Phased Plasma Rifle does away with many of the drawbacks common to Imperial plasma weaponry, all but eliminating the needs for recharge and significantly reducing the excess heat that conventional plasma weapons tend to generate.
- Plasma Talon - A Plasma Talon is an archaic Plasma Weapon commonly utilised by the Ravenwing Black Knights of the Dark Angels Chapter's 2nd Company, commonly called the Ravenwing. The Ravenwing's Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes have their twin-linked Boltguns replaced with two of these weapons, which are unique to the Unforgiven Chapters. With a range between that of the Plasma Pistol and the Plasma Gun, the Plasma Talon gives the Black Knights a significant boost in firepower. In battle, the Ravenwing Black Knights drive at top speed upon their Mark IV Raven Pattern Assault Bikes towards the foe. On their approach, their Plasma Talons tear holes in the enemy lines before they ride over their quarry, cracking armour and sundering flesh with their Corvus Hammers as they go.
- Selvanus Pattern "Sentinel" Plasma Rifle - A Cerix Magnus design perfected by the dogmatic scrutiny of Selvanus Binary, the Sentinel pulse rifle eliminates the usual drawbacks of plasma weaponry firing smaller pulses of plasma rather than the usual large bolts. As a result, this weapon features a higher rate of fire than standard Plasma Guns. Designed in tandem with the Praetor Armour of the Ebon Guard, the Selvanus-pattern also features sophisticated built-in targeting systems. Many Askellian collectors go to great lengths to acquire one.
- Mark III Belisarius Pattern Plasma Incinerator - A Plasma Incinerator is a new type of Imperial Plasma Gun developed for use by the Primaris Space Marines by Archmagos Dominus Belisarius Cawl. Imperium-produced Plasma Weapons all fire searing bursts of energy, but the Mark III Belisarius Pattern Plasma Incinerator is the most advanced of its kind, firing a potent armour-melting blast with no risk of overload for the first time since the days of the Horus Heresy. The same cannot be said when the Plasma Incinerator is fired on its deadly overcharged setting, however. The Mark III Plasma Incinerator is the preferred weapon of Primaris Space Marine Hellblaster Squads.
Chaos Plasma Guns
The Traitor Legions of the Chaos Space Marines have long made use of larger Plasma Weapons containing hydrogen fuel in a higher quantum state, making them both more powerful and more dangerous to wield. The Chaos Plasma Gun and Chaos Plasma Pistol are simply more potent versions of the standard Imperial Plasma Gun and Plasma Pistol.
- Reaper's Tongue Plasma Pistol - The Reaper's Tongue Plasma Pistol is often carried as a hold-out weapon by Chaos Space Marines. The weapons rate of fire is increased, allowing for a semi-automatic fire rate, but each round packs less punch than a standard plasma pistol.
Xenos Plasma Guns
Analogues of Imperial Plasma Weapons can be found in use amongst the other intelligent starfaring races of the Milky Way Galaxy. Most notable of these is the Tau Empire's version of the Plasma Gun, the Plasma Rifle. It sacrifices a modest amount of strength to ensure the weapon never overheats and is a perfect complement to Tau Battlesuits, which need to move and fire at full capacity.
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 158
- Dark Heresy: Enemies Within (2nd Edition) (RPG), pg. 44
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 147-148
- Deathwatch: Rites of Battle (RPG), pg. 135
- Codex: Dark Angels (6th Edition), pp. 47, 60
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition)
- Codex: Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Imperial Guard (5th Edition)
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition)
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Project, pg. 136
- Imperial Armour Volume Five - The Siege of Vraks - Part One
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pg. 104
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 170
- Only War: Shield of Humanity (RPG), pg. 127
- Rogue Trader: Faith and Coin (RPG), pg. 83
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pg. 114
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (8th Edition), pg. 60
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (6th Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (4th Edition), pg. 34
- Warhammer 40,000 Munitorum: Plasma Gun (Digital Edition)
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (PC Game)
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine (Video Game)
- Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade - Rogue Trader Store: Apollo Pattern Plasma Gun
- Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade - Rogue Trader Store: Reaper's Tongue Plasma Pistol