40K Lore: The Lasgun – Every Guardsman’s Best Friend

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This week Loremasters, another guest lecture on one of the most indispensable pieces of equipment in the Imperial Arsenal, the Lasgun.

(Editor’s Note: Following last week’s riot, the ‘Fighting 47th’ have been assigned a punitive lecture, which we, again–without any coercion on the part of the Militarum or the Adeptus Arbites in any way whatsoever–have willingly consented to run. Transcription begins after the Arbites ‘secured the room’.)

Alright soldiers, we all know that the only thing denser than the armored plating on a Leman Russ is the skull of a raw recruit. This is, of course, why we adorn the vulnerable points of our tanks, transports, and other armored vehicles with said skulls, does that answer your question Corporal Jenkins.

And that’s why Land Raiders are indestructible. No you can’t ride in one, Jenkins. Three weeks’ KP for even thinking it.

Moving on then. In an effort to ensure that the smallest fraction of the Emperor’s wisdom passes through that nigh-impenetrable armor, today we’re going to look at the workings of the Lasgun so that you understand WHY you point the end with “this end towards traitors” imprinted on it towards whatever heretic happens to be on the other side.

The Lasgun is an energy based weapon, and is the most common and widely used type of laser weapon in the Imperium. It is standard issue for all Imperial Guard infantry and most lower-ranked officers. Lasguns are reliable, easy to maintain and produce, and are readily available on most Imperial worlds. They have longer range and higher ammunition capacity than a Laspistol (the laspistol power packs having roughly 80 shots before depletion, compared to roughly 150 shots for a lasgun), but are nowhere near as powerful as a Lascannon. They also lack the rapid-fire quality of the Multi-laser or the Hellgun.

No Jenkins, you cannot be assigned to a multi-laser team. Take three more weeks’ KP.

The lasgun uses the same basic technology and operates along the same lines as other laser weapons, emitting a beam of focused light. The high amount of energy in the beam causes the immediate surface area of a target to be vaporized in a small explosion. It is a relatively unimpressive weapon when compared to other weapons in the Imperium, but is still capable of cleanly severing limbs or piercing the power armour of a Space Marine (but only through a vulnerable spot in the armour) or even the armored hull of an Imperator Titan. Yes, a Lasgun is capable of damaging any target in the Galaxy soldiers, which makes you equipped with one of the most sophisticated and deadliest pieces of technology known to the Imperium.

Most designs have iron sights mounted along the top of the weapon. It is powered by a small, rechargeable power pack located beneath the weapon, in front of the trigger guard.

Lasgun ammunition, called “Power Packs”, are what provide the weapon’s laser emitters with energy. They come in several types and sizes. Types include: short, long, sickle-pattern, box-form, drum, and backpack. Sizes range from 1 to 5. Weapons designed for a particular size cannot use other standard sizes. “Hotshot” packs, of the same size, provide more powerful but less numerous shots. Power packs store vast amounts of energy via the use of liquid metal cores. The pack can be recharged in many ways, including sunlight or even being left slightly inside of a camp fire (although this method will damage the power pack, shortening its lifespan and increase its failure rate). It can also be “overcharged,” a trick used by Guard veterans that causes the pack to explode, turning the weapon into a makeshift grenade. This tactic is only used in last-ditch situations, as it results in the destruction of the weapon. The resultant explosion, however, is powerful enough to crack open the frontal armor of a Chaos Dreadnought.

(Editor’s note: at this point, a panicked look came across our guest lecturer, as the assembled crowd of guardspersons and loremasters attempted to jury-rig their power packs into explosives. The Adeptus Arbites attempted to intervene–though there was a regrettable loss of human life, we are pleased to report that no lasguns were actually damaged in the ensuing fracas. It is a testament to their durability and versatility that they withstood three separate Overcharge attempts. Our offices, despite being fortified to Administratum Required Specifications, sadly are nowhere near as intact. Please enjoy this excerpt from the Departmento Munitorum Equipment Requisition Forms, which, as per usual, is all that was left in the wake of the blast).

The M35 M-Galaxy Short pattern is the standard variant of lasgun.

  • Weight: 2.3 kg
  • Length: 900 millimetres
  • Magazine Type: 19 megathule range (rechargable)
  • Type of Fire: Single shot or fully automatic
  • Rate of Fire (cyclic): 220 shots per minute
  • Shot Intensity: low to high
  • Sights: adjustable, back and front sights with optional laser sight/integral optics

The Mk 4 lascarbine is the standard variant for the Catachan Jungle Fighters.

  • Weight: 1.6 kg
  • Length: 700 millimetres
  • Magazine Type: 19 megathule range (rechargable)
  • Type of Fire: Single shot or fully automatic
  • Rate of Fire (cyclic): 220 shots per minute
  • Shot Intensity: low to high
  • Sights: adjustable, back and front sights with optional laser sight/integral optics

The Lucius no.98 Pattern is the signature weapon of the Death Korps of Krieg. 

  • Weight: 2.9 kg
  • Length: 920 millimetres
  • Magazine Type: 21 megathule range (rechargable)
  • Type of Fire: Single shot or fully automatic
  • Rate of Fire (cyclic): 120 shots per minute
  • Shot Intensity: high to dangerous
  • Sights: adjustable, back and front sights with optional laser sight/integral optics

The Lucius-pattern lasgun operates in the 21 megathoule range, but is designed to draw from a standard Munitorum-issue power pack. Consequently, the Lucius lasgun discharges a more powerful shot, but drains the power pack at a correspondingly increased rate. This also puts a great strain on the weapon, limiting the rate of fire and requiring such features as additional heat sink rings lining the exterior of the barrel. Even with such considerations, an over-taxed Lucius lasgun can quickly overheat. The added danger of the weapon overheating does not perturb the famously stoic Krieg.

We’ll be back next week, hopefully.

  • MKG35

    Cool article.

  • Everyone hates Jenkins don’t they. He even got killed during the war for Konor…

  • Dhalgren Schroeder

    150 shots per power pack?? From every single story I have read featuring Lasguns, that seems way off.

  • Fredddy

    Nice article, my only complaint is about the weight. An assault rifle like this today is around 3.5-5 kgs (with a magazine full of ammo, but powerpacks tend to be heavy too). This could be reduced with composite and other more modern materials, but on the artworks lasguns are made from steel and wood and the design itself is quite bulky.

  • Drapetomanius

    Lasguns, like most 40k technology, is best kept fuzzy. The more details they go into, the more obvious it becomes that GW employs neither scientists or soldiers.