The Imperium’s small arms are based off STC designs dating back millennia. Many locally produced firearms, even designs are old as muskets, have their roots in the STC database. This common STC heritage gives a continuity to many of the weapons found the Imperium, with the noticeable divergence appearing on isolated worlds. The core of the Imperium’s arsenal is covered here.
= Heresy =
The Autogun is a class of fully automatic firearm. Within the Imperium they are only found in local armies with access to good supply lines such as the PDF (Planetary Defence Force). The Imperial Guard does not use the Autogun, preferring their standard issue Lasgun. Autoguns are effective weapons, very good at punching through some of the standard issue human ceramite armours, and an effective anti-human (i.e. traitor killing) weapon.
This weapon concept was inspired by based on the Heckler & Koch G11 Rifle with Caseless Ammunition. The forerunner of the common Autogun/ Autorifle found in the Imperium.
This weapon is the penultimate lethal weapon (the last being gas-dynamic laser) to be used by humans in warfare before the complete change to non-lethal technology. It is a very ancient design, some 35,000+ years old and predates the Dark Age of Technology, recorded under ‘ancient history’ in data recovered from Mars.
The AR series
The AR series was a modular design housing, able to take variable internal components such as various barrel calibres and mechanisms all designed to fit within the standardized space layout. It is a highly robust and simple design (the AK-47 of caseless ammo weapons)..
The AR series used the standard 3.5 mm fin stabilised penetrator (flechette) round with discarding sabot. On impact the razor sharp stabiliser fins maximise the damage area, slicing an eight pointed star pattern into the target, before braking off and spreading out into the body as shrapnel.
The wound inflicted has a very distinctive star pattern entry wound, and a huge exist wound.
Against hard armours the narrow penetrator pierces the armour and the fins break off. In doing so, they slow the Penetrator, often reducing its speed to the point where it becomes lodged in the body: imparting its stored energy.
A variant of the round included a stun charge capable of incapacitating a foe with only glancing hits. The charge of 25W is powerful enough to stop a human heart. With weapons killing or rendering them incapable of action was pretty much assured on a hit (shock like this is very good vs armoured targets).
The ubiquitous Lasgun is the primary weapon of the IG. It is basically a ‘streaming stun gun’, delivering an incapacitating shock to insurgents, to enable capture and later interrogation by the Inquisition. The Lasgun is designed with peace keeping in mind – but even peace keepers have to kill. The Lasgun has a secondary mode that is a lethal high energy ‘pulse’ setting that packs quite a punch. The electroshock is about 30W and good enough to stop the heart of most humans, and the ‘exotic’ laser can defeat lesser armours to deliver that shock. The extreme wavelength of the laser gives it unusual penetrative powers, and can create an ionisation tunnel thorough armour to deliver the shock. It can also super-heat the water in the body to cause an explosive expansion of stream. This can cause serious wounds (combined with the electroshock it can hurl targets quite a distance).
The last mode of the Lasgun is a low power ‘laser disrupter’ mode. This is use to mess with the vision of a charging enemy protected from the stun effect (i.e. inside a car etc.), and overload some auto-systems. The prime use of this is to stop vehicles at road blocks.
All these modes allow the IG to be far more decisive in scenarios where civilians are involved. It has also lead to the IG view that it is better to ‘stun first and ask questions later’. The concept is expanded into the maxim ‘stun everyone and let the Emperor sort them out’ ethos of crowd control. However, the stun effect can be lethal to children and the elderly, and trigger happy Troopers have caused incidents where the vulnerable have perished (due to the shock effect even on the non-lethal setting). Lasguns have also been used in war crimes, torture, and abuse. The most notable is the practice of ‘execute and revive’, and the use by ‘gangs’ (rogue element within the IG, or AWOL) to capture victims at long range.
The Lasgun is seen as a weapon of Imperial oppression and the pre-eminent weapon in psychological warfare. It causes great fear among civilians; who often see the IG as having no impediment to using it. The IG are quick to stun anyone, even over minor infractions, and some seem to enjoy it. The oppressed take the view the IG are ‘looking for an excuse to use the weapon’.
Note: Some Lasgun have the pulse mode disabled due to excessive civilian deaths. Without the pulse setting the Lasgun can be ineffective against determined or protected enemy combatants.
Tech note: The Lasgun may use electromagnetic radiation that can penetrate and be based on a ‘graser/ gaser’, (a gamma ray laser), x-ray laser or ultraviolet laser as an ionising medium. If so, this is why it will penetrate armour, go through mirrors etc. Running with this idea, I would speculate that in strict STC designs the graser is not powerful enough to debilitate a target immediately on it’s own, it is the electroshock that stuns and stops the target dead in their tracks. It would cause ionisation damage at higher energy levels, but this could be somewhat mitigated due to the secondary shock effect and the associated lower energy level needed to pull it off. In this concept the Lasgun is a relatively low power weapon compared to regular laser weapons that uses brute force photon energy to destroy targets. It only takes around 25W of electroshock to stop the human heart.
Wounds: Even peripheral strikes to limbs from a Lasgun will stun and take a person down. On the pulse setting a strike would stop the heart and render the person disabled via spasm; locked up in excruciating pain before loosing consciousness and dying. High powered Lasgun (hot shot?) may cause explosions of super heated steam to erupt from the strike zone creating large ragged holes in the flesh of the target, and induce radiation sickness.
This is not a ‘humane’ weapon.