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The Most Grimdark Weapons of Warhammer 40K

4 Minute Read
Nov 2 2020

When we think of Warhammer 40,000 these are the weapons that come to mind and help us visualize the Grimdark!

Let’s do an experiment when you read “Grimdark Weapons” what five weapons come to mind? Write them down and see if your list looks like our list! If not let us know what weapons you came up with in the comments section. But for now, here are the most iconic Grimdark Weapons we think of when when it comes to Warhammer 40,000!


Look, it doesn’t matter which Bolter you’re thinking of – from the old school boltguns of the Classic Space Marines, to the Storm Bolters of the Terminators, to the Heavy Bolters of Devastators – or if you’re new school and are thinking of the Primaris Bolters and their variants – The Bolter (or Boltgun) is THE iconic Grimdark Weapon. Not only is it the standard issue for the Adeptus Astartes, it’s so iconic that it even makes it way into other games set in the Grimdark. For example a Necromunda Gang that finds a Bolter is probably doing pretty well for themselves!

Why is it so Grimdark? Well it really comes down to the payload of this weapon:

A .75 caliber weapon, the Boltgun fires a self-propelled explosive ‘bolt’ which explodes with devastating effect once it has penetrated its target, effectively blowing it apart from the inside. Finely hand-crafted by Space Marine Forges or the Adeptus Mechanicus, Boltguns are heavy, sturdy weapons with a powerful recoil normal humans would find difficult to handle.

Thunder Hammer 

Warhammer 40,000 has a TON of Power Weapons. Swords, Axes, Klaws, and yes – HAMMERS. We opted for the Thunder Hammer to represent them all for two reasons.

  1. The game is called Warhammer and a Thunder Hammer is a big Sci-Fi hammer!
  2. Power Weapons work due to a powerful disruptor Field the weapons generate. This field can rend flesh and metal with ease and it’s what really does the damage for the weapons in this category. However, Thunder Hammers have a slight tweak to their field. Where most other weapons have a constant energy field flowing when activated, Thunder Hammers only energize on impact.

Upon impact, the thunder hammer’s blue energy field explodes with a thunderous crack, more often than not smashing through armour, and leaving a smoking hole that crackles with blue sparks


Yeah – that’s Grimdark!

Harlequin’s Kiss

Have you ever read the description of a Harlequin’s Kiss? Because these weapons are the one of the most Grimdark things ever.

 The Kiss is only effective in close combat. It contains a tightly-coiled retractable monofilament wire which is around 100 metres in length. When activated (often with a forward punching motion) the wire is violently released. Capable of piercing armour, if the wire penetrates its victim it instantly uncoils and lashes around violently, liquefying bones and internal organs, and causing immediate death. The wire then retracts back into the Kiss.

Yeah…a I never want to see what a monofilament wire that “liquefy bones and organs” could do in real life. This thing works on the same principle as a Plumber’s Speedrooter – but on your insides – now THAT is Grimdark!

Plasma Weapons

The Plasma-based weapons of Warhammer 40,000 are another iconic weapon. Now, we could have got with the classic Flamer – but those are just Grimdark Flamethrowers and are a Sci-fi spin on an existing weapon. We could have gone with the Microwaving Melta-weapons but those lack a certain element of danger that Plasma Weapons have. No, when it comes to one of the most Grimdark Weapons in the game, we had to go with Plasma because of the inherent danger it has for it’s wielder.


Ahh yes. It does Get Hot.

While there are many different forms and flavors of Plasma based on the different factions, in essence, it’s all based on the same idea. They fire a highly-energized ball of plasma at a target with devastating results. But what would you expect from a weapon that is firing the equivalent of a mini-solar flare at a target?


The Grimdark’s most deadly weapon on a planetary scale. It’s not so much a ‘weapon’ per se as much as it is an Order. The Exterminatus option exist as a last resort. When you need to make sure the enemy is dead – and the planet they are on – you activate the Exterminatus.

While there are many different ways to actually kick it off for the Imperium, the basic process is the same and it ultimately leads to the end of all life on the planet. In the Heresy-Era, this was accomplished by Virus Bombing a Planet and then lighting the noxious and flammable remains on fire via Torpedoes or a blast from a Nova Cannon (sometimes multiple shots at once). This would incinerate the atmosphere and kill anything that still remained.

In modern 40k, the new Cyclonic Torpedoes do the same job as the two-part process in a single, simple package.


Does your list match-up with ours? What would you add to it?


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