A Plasma Rifle is a Tau Plasma Weapon that delivers pulses of searing energy and superheated matter that has been transmuted into a gaseous plasma state that carries an electrical charge. The plasma "bolts" fired by these weapons generate the destructive heat of a small sun; impacting with the fury of a supernova and scything through steel, flesh and bone as if they were nothing.
Whilst Plasma Weapon technology is employed by many of the main spacefaring races of the 41st Millennium, the Tau favour a form of technology in their Plasma Rifles that uses lower overall temperatures of plasma gas. This exchanges a degree of damage output for increased safety for the user by almost completely eliminating the risk of a potential catastrophic overheat of the weapon. Nevertheless, Tau Plasma Rifles are still extremely effective against targets such as heavy infantry, and are able to melt even Ceramite with ease. The Tau Plasma Rifle can be considered the equivalent of an Imperial Plasma Gun.
Notable Users of the Plasma Rifle
- XV8 Crisis Battlesuit – Plasma Rifles are most commonly used by the Tau as Battlesuit weapon systems for XV8 Crisis Battlesuits. Often equipped for Battlesuit Teams that are expected to encounter heavily-armoured foes, Plasma Rifles are devastating weapons easily capable of felling even Space Marine Terminators.
- XV88 Broadside Battlesuit – XV88 Broadside Battlesuits can be upgraded to replace their secondary twin-linked Smart Missile Systems with twin-linked Plasma Rifles.
- XV104 Riptide Battlesuit – XV104 Riptide Battlesuits can be armed with twin-linked Plasma Rifles as a secondary weapon system.
- TX-42 Piranha – A TX-42 variant Piranha can be armed with twin-linked Plasma Rifles as its primary armament.
- Drone Sentry Turret – Drone Sentry Turrets can be armed with twin-linked Plasma Rifles as their primary armament.
- Codex: Tau (3rd Edition), pp. 17, 30
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition), pp. 27, 40
- Codex: Tau Empire (6th Edition), pp. 41-42, 66, 100, 103
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pg. 82
- Imperial Armour Volume Three – The Taros Campaign, pp. 173-174, 177, 190
- Rogue Trader: Tau Character Guide (RPG), pg. 37
- Warhammer 40,000 Wargear, pg. 26