"IT'S NOT A LASER! IT'S A LITTLE LIGHT BULB THAT BLINKS!"
- – Woody, Toy Story
"What do you call a Lasgun with a taclight mounted under the barrel? Twin-linked."
- – Any 40k player ever (Hilariously, GW has caught onto this. Even more hilariously, on Regimental Standard they've got an in-universe nod where any Guardsman who makes this joke is sentenced to flogging)
"The Demolisher, the Vanquisher, even the mighty Deathstrike Missile Launcher pale in comparison to the sheer firepower of trillions of lasguns unleashing hell in unison!"
- – Captain Garius Septus of the 263rd Maccabian Jannissaries
The humble (and we DO mean humble) Lasgun is the most "standard-issue" armament of an average Imperial Guardsman in Warhammer 40,000 setting. Given the incalculable number of Guardsmen under arms and the sheer scale of the Imperium itself, it is safe to say that a lasgun is probably the most common weapon in the entire galaxy that isn't some underhive piece of junk like stub guns, knives or other miscellaneous weapon. (Or something slapped together by an ork, but that's another topic in and of itself.) On the tabletop it shares the same rules with autoguns.
The name is rather obviously a portmanteau of "laser" and "gun", but argument rages over how the word is meant to be pronounced. Many claim that the "las" should be pronounced "layz" (or in other words say that it's pronounced with a long "a", as the first part of "laser"), but others contend that this sounds retarded, and "lazz-gun" (or a short "a" sound, as in "glass") is a better pronunciation. According to Games Workshop, its name is pronounced "Laze-gun"; however, Jeremy Vetock and Duncan Rhodes both say "Lazzguns," so it really is a toss up. (And unimportant).
It is almost universally described in the fluff as discharging with a sharp crack (caused by the beam ionizing the air it travels through), but some authors describe the lasround as either a "bolt" as in Star Wars or as a "beam" as in Dawn of War. Other features of the weapon have greater variation - some Black Library works and items such as the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer describe the weapon as possessing a fully automatic firing setting; this feature is represented by Rapid Fire rule on the tabletop, but not represented in Dark Heresy, which can be explained away by virtue of the fact that there are many different patterns of Lasgun produced throughout the Imperium.
There is also some dispute as to the color of the "beam". Some fluff claims it to be blue, while games like Dawn of War portray it as red or something of a reddish-yellow. The popular Gaunt's Ghosts series of novels by Dan Abnett say that the Imperial weapons fire blue "beams", while the Chaos weapons fire red ones. In order to fix this mess, we have proposed a Scientific fact on the issue...
- The Fact: the energy of each individual photon is determined by its frequency (i.e. colour); power output is energy per second, meaning the same power output is achievable with either more photons per second at a lower frequency (bright red) or fewer photons per second at a higher frequency (dim blue). In either case, the colour is also dependent on the gas it is traveling through, as the amount of energy transferred to the surrounding medium via Compton scattering depends on the mass of each gas particle, while the brightness depends on the amount of gas particles, so the laser would look different on different planets. Regardless, a fired lasround would never look like a glowing projectile "bolt" to any camera (such as a human eye) operating at a frame rate lower than approximately a billion frames per second, so those depictions can safely be assumed to be heresy. It would look like an actual pulsed laser, i.e. a "beam" that visibly spans the distance from the weapon's muzzle to the impact point, for the duration of the pulse. The popular visual idea from other popular sci-fi weapons that fire glowing projectile bolts are not lasers at all, instead being described as magnetically-contained plasma bolts. It should also be taken into account that since damaged caused by a laser is higher the greater the photons-per-second impact the target location, and the Imperium’s advanced skill with laser technology, it may be possible that various patterns of lasgun might combine two or more or even all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum to maximize photons-per-second. This would also influence the color of the laser and would change how the above factors influence the color. Easy way to think is: Lasgun = Red, Hellgun = Yellow/redish Lascannon = Pale Blue or just think of all of them as white or gold (white because whole spectrum, gold because holy light + religious fanatics)
- 1 Why the Lasgun sucks
- 2 Why the Lasgun is still being used
- 3 Uses for the Lasgun
- 4 Other laser weapons
- 4.1 Laspistol
- 4.2 Lasgun
- 4.3 Suppression Laser
- 4.4 Hotshot Laspistol
- 4.5 Hotshot Lasgun
- 4.6 Hotshot Volley Gun
- 4.7 Mining Laser
- 4.8 Long-Las
- 4.9 Lascarbine
- 4.10 Auxilia Lasrifle
- 4.11 Blast Pistol
- 4.12 Digital Lasers/Digital Weapons
- 4.13 Las-Lock
- 4.14 Mitralock
- 4.15 Lascutter
- 4.16 Lightning Gun
- 4.17 Multilasers
- 4.18 Heavy Mining Laser
- 4.19 Lascannon
- 4.20 Corve Las-Pulser
- 4.21 Las-Ripper
- 4.22 Las-Talon
- 4.23 Laser Destroyer
- 4.24 Neutron Laser
- 4.25 Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery
- 4.26 Sabre Neutron Blaster
- 4.27 Heavy Laser Destroyer
- 4.28 Arachnus Blaze Cannon
- 4.29 Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannon
- 4.30 Arachnus Storm Cannon
- 4.31 Helfrost weapons
- 4.32 Laser Destroyer Array
- 4.33 Superheavy Laser Weapons
- 5 See also
Why the Lasgun sucks
See Also: Lasgun Patterns
The lasgun is rather pathetic compared to the mainline arms and armour of most of the other armies of the setting, useful only by virtue of the fact that Guardsmen come in ridiculous numbers (except in comparison to Tyranids, Chaos Cultists/Zombies, or Orks) and the application of statistical probability. The weapons are often derisively referred to as "flashlights," based on their individual uselessness, although this is arguably more of an example of how ridiculously tough everything else is in the setting.
Truthfully, the lasgun is very effective against any target equivalent to an unarmored human. The 6th Edition rulebook describes the lasgun as severing limbs at close range but further away it only goes about as deep as the liver, explosively flash-boiling said liver and all other squishy bits in the laser's path. That sounds awesome, until you remember that there are foes of the 41st millennium that are either equipped with armour capable of deflecting heavy stubber and bolter shell impacts, biology robust enough to shrug off a heavy stubber hit without armor, or if you’re REALLY unlucky, those enemies that have both of the aforementioned traits. Because of the way that a lasgun's beam explosively flashes when it strikes a target, virtually any level of armor protection will greatly diminish the effectiveness of lasgun weaponry. Indeed, power armor is designed to shrug off the explosive flash-effect of energy weapons like the lasgun. A lasgun hit might briefly stagger an armored Space Marine, but the chance of a single hit incapacitating him is remote.
In other words, being a hand-held rifle of moderate tech designed to be wielded by un-augmented humans, the firepower and capability of a lasgun somewhat pales in comparison to many of the weapons wielded by mankind's enemies. In addition, while the effectiveness of a lasgun is comparable to an autogun (which are basically AK-47s in SPACE), the lasgun requires a somewhat higher level of industrial technology to construct. Therefore, while the lasgun is very common some Imperial worlds can't construct them locally. Finally, it can also be assumed that certain atmospheric conditions, especially those with a high percentage of airborne particulates, would greatly degrade a lasgun's effectiveness at range.
According to the Gaunt's Ghosts series the lasgun has an appreciable amount of recoil, which is fucking stupid. The entire point of why a handheld laser weapon is that there would be next to no recoil, because you aren't firing a physical projectile, which makes it easier to use. The entire point of the lasgun is the fact that you can round up a bunch of Feral Worlders, given them lasguns, point them in a general direction and watch things die with little to no training makes stubbers more or less obsolete, similar to how firearms made crossbows obsolete and crossbows made most compound bows obsolete. Not to mention if a lasgun had appreciable recoil, it wouldn't even be a lasweapon in the first place (because photons have next to no mass), but some kind of particle gun like a Tau Pulse Rifle or one of Mass Effect's Thanix cannons.
Why the Lasgun is still being used
The lasgun is derisively known as a "flashlight" by most players, including Guard players themselves (including the Guards themselves actually, that's a joke among them). However, within the context of the 40k setting the lasgun is reliable, durable, extremely common, and quite accurate. It should be noted that the lasgun is described as being able to destroy a slab of cement, which means that it is quite a bit more powerful than most 20th-century small arms. From a production standpoint the lasgun (and its power pack) requires a somewhat more advanced industrial base to construct than the autogun. In return, however, you get a compact infantry weapon that can fire over a hundred shots on a single power pack, has virtually no moving parts, and largely removes the logistical headache of constantly restocking physical ammunition supplies. As long as a Guardsman has access to a power source that the lasgun's power packs can accept, he can, given time, replenish his "ammunition" as long as his equipment remains functional. When cut off, guard units can even place their power-packs directly in fires to charge them, but this is an extreme measure since it’s frowned upon by the Mechanicus and will heavily reduce the pack’s lifespan. But a possibly useless power-pack is better than a certain bayonet charge.
Getting shot by a laser, even if you are protected, would at least flash a decent portion of the surface of what is hit into plasma. Explosively. So, most human-sized targets too tough to be penetrated by a lasgun would at least be stunned/stopped for a moment (in theory). Therefore, the lasgun actually has pretty good utility given the enemies the Imperium faces. Furthermore, lasers damage just about anything to some degree when powerful enough. This means that a lasgun can theoretically kill anything in the universe... eventually. Just like the Commissar told you! And in Dark Heresy they're even better, because their reliability, availability and plentiful ammunition become real considerations and the foes that an agent of the Inquisition is likely to face are more likely to be humans rather than transhuman nonsense. So lasguns are rather more useful than they are in the tabletop wargame.
One last thing about Lasguns is that they can be used as last-ditch grenades by basically making the entire power pack empty into the gun without ever actually firing it. It turns the Lasgun into an explosive comparable in power to a Krak grenade. In theory, the resulting blast can fracture even vehicle-level armor (it should be noted that this happened to a dreadnought whose front armor was already cracked from being hit by anti-armor weapons). In practice, this technique is rarely utilized because it's a desperation tactic, and in any event, only seasoned troopers would likely be aware that it's even possible. (This might have been thrown in as a callout to the Vorkosigan series, where this is an advanced technique taught to Imperial Military veterans and ImpSec (spies) agents... and then used to go fishing for lulz after too much maple mead. Let's go with that, it's more awesome than the alternative.)
In all seriousness, a lasgun is a deadly weapon when in the hands of someone competent. As being an effective combat weapon goes, anything not too heavily armored, like Traitor Cultists, Eldar Guardians, Ork Boyz, Tyranid Gaunts, and other Imperial Guard style forces are bound to be ridden with Laser holes quickly and efficiently. The Vostroyan Firstborn, for example, are renowned for their precision with their lasguns and rewarded with high kill counts against everything from Orks to traitors. Elysian Drop Troopers are similarly known for exceptional marksmanship bred via necessity wherein they maximize lethality with minimal shots. It is only against heavily armored foes that a Lasgun falters. Power armor is able to shrug off las-bolts like there's no tomorrow when they hit its reinforced ceramic layers, but the wearer is not invulnerable: helmet lenses, articulations, and joints are still vulnerable to a well-placed las-bolt and a point- or near-point-blank shot at maximum power from a lasgun can penetrate certain areas of a Space Marine's helmet (or armor in general) and turn his brains into impromptu house paint. Pray to the Emperor and get really lucky, and you will take down even a Chaos Space Marine (or equivalent) with your humble lasgun, And of course, enough hits will saturate the suit and turn it into a space marine cooker. (though Space Marines are also known to die after being poked (stabbed) by enough pointy (sharp hard) sticks on occasion after all or being stomped on by enough human beings at once, plot willing.) And given the Imperial Guard's numbers, they will always get some lucky shots, through sheer volume of fire. The closer you are to your target, the more penetration you get. Tough targets in 40K like to get up close and personal and by that point, lasguns can go right through them to blast their squishy innards. Machines also get fucked over by lasers because it's electromagnetic (photons, duh).
In the end, a quote from Black Crusade (RPG) sums up the lasgun perfectly: "The Legionnaire that scoffs at a lasgun has not charged across an open field against a hundred of them." Of course, in Black Crusade a Legionnaire in power armor is almost impossible to wound with a lasgun unless they score a Righteous Fury/Zealous Hatred ("critical hit"), which even then only causes minimal harm. But for representing Imperial Guard squads/platoons as enemies for Traitor Astartes player characters in Black Crusade, that is what the Horde rules are for, which allows representation of dozens of lasguns combining concentrated fire and becoming a very, very serious threat even for a Traitor Legionnaire. Las weapons are also a game changer in AA warfare. The whole problem of AA is to hit a fast-moving object in a three dimensional space. Las weapons negate this by virtue of the las beam moving at the speed of light. This shows as everything flying in the 40k battlefields is clearly quite well armored. And remember, hit the marine in the eye, and they drop like a fly. Now if only they didn't run at light tank speed. But that's what the 49 other guys in your platoon are for, thank you for your service Guardsman. Bottom line, don’t fuck with the Imperial Guard...
TL;DR Because of how photons affect matter, lasguns can damage anything so if you’re not wearing armor usually mounted on tanks, the lasgun will ruin your day. If you get up close, the lasgun will penetrate that armor anyway. Their precision is almost perfect, too. So, it’s basically the perfect infantry weapon.
Uses for the Lasgun
- Warming soup
- Cigarette lighter
- Changing TV channels
- Selling to buy a new weapon
- Pissing off Thunderhawk pilots
- Shining in enemies' eyes
- Throwing at people (may cause more damage than shooting it at them)
- Burning ants
- Laser sight for a boltgun
- Aide during PotentiaPunctum presentations
- Light shows
- Igniting gas stoves
- Laser tag for kids (who are probably more dangerous than the gun itself)
- Magic shows for kids
- Lighting candles on birthday cakes
- A Laser pointer
- Hair removal
- Tattoo removal
- Entertainment for your space-kitties
- Shooting bottles
- Hitting your officer's pipe (Warning, will result in BLAMing)
- Substitute baseball bat
- Salvaged for actual useful stuff
- Horsie rides
- Marital aid
- Wall decoration
- Coat stand
- Creating a makeshift rave
- Pretend guitar for when you gotta shred that awesome solo
- An extension device for your more dangerous bayonet. (This use is recognized and approved by Regimental Standard)
- Choppa in the hands of an ork boy
- Larping and cosplay
- Grave marker/headstone
Other laser weapons
The lasgun also comes in carbine, pistol, bullpup, sniper ("long-las"), and light machine gun varieties, and the Imperium fields many other weapons based on the same technology, such as the hellgun (a powerful lasgun powered by a backpack power pack), the mighty lascannon, the even bigger volcano cannon and turbo-laser, the even even bigger Defense Laser, and the very much bigger still laser weapons mounted on starships. Must be a different type, though, because a broadside from a Retribution class battleship can devastate half a continent depending on the calcs. A single barrage from an Imperator class Titan can devastate an entire city with weapons as strong as modern day nukes. Keep in mind how large an Imperial city is. So, far stronger than modern nukes.
Oh, and multilasers.
See main page, Laspistol
You know'em, you love'em. There really isn't a point in repeating what has already been said since you are on a page talking about this wonderful piece of Imperial equipment other
then than putting it in the Lasgun family. Of course there are certain modifications that may breach the line on what may count as a Lasgun. But overall, it is cheap, effective and put a lovely little dent to most light infantry contrary to popular belief.
Just don't try and attempt go all Leeroy Jenkins on this thing. The Lasgun is a light assault weapon, not a Titan-busting Volcano Cannon.
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The Suppression Laser is a type of Lasgun often used by gang members in the underhive of a Hive World. As its name suggests, a Suppression Laser is a laser shotgun that has a stupendous level of firepower. Within the tight confines of a underhive, the large spread of lasers makes the Suppression Laser a popular piece of weapon, especially among members of House Van Saar.
Because it is a shotgun, the Suppression Laser exchange the reliability, range and accuracy of the Lasgun with balls-out power. The Mechanicus equivelent of this is the Mitralocks.
On Necromunda tabletop, the Suppression Laser is a laser version of a different weapon, but in this case it is 10 credits more than the humble Shotgun, but for no perceivable benefits. It can’t even use any of the cool ammo that Shotguns can get.
See main page, Hellpistol
The Hotshot Lasgun's little brother, also known as Hellpistol (although there do remain some canon conflict about these two weapons designation). Hotshot Laspistols are typically hand-crafted, rather than mass-produced in factories, and many of them are hundreds of years old and have acquired histories over the course of centuries of use in combat. Unless otherwise specified, a Hotshot Laspistol remains the property of the Departmento Munitorum, though an individual can be awarded one for heroic deeds. A Hotshot Laspistol fires a higher-intensity shot than a laspistol, therefore, despite its higher penetration it will cauterize the wound it causes and prevents too much blood from being shed. For this reason, Hotshot Laspistol are preferred for use as execution weapons for officers and commissars, as a shot to the condemned soldier's head will prevent any blood from staining their uniform.
See main page, Hellgun
A variant of the Lasgun, also known by the far cooler name "Hellgun" (although there do remain some canon conflict about these two weapons designations since they have different art, different models, and are used by different units in both the lore and in the models...so yeah, probably totally different things), the Hotshot Lasgun and Hotshot Laspistol are weapons used primarily by the Stormtroopers (and presumably other arms of the Imperial war machine). In some canon sources, these are juiced-up versions of the Lasgun charge pack inside a normal Lasgun, or in other canon sources, the entire weapon has a beefier build with better conduits and optics to survive the prolonged increased strain of a higher power throughput. They are designed to be used by elite troops or officers, who are generally better shots. Instead of the Hellgun's design approach of using lots of batteries and a heavy-duty build to attain higher cyclic fire rates, Hotshots use a super-concentrated laser blast to achieve the same kind of armor-penetrating power. It seems to have just enough penetrating power to be able to pierce most forms of space marine power armor. Or at least as deep as a non-explosive bolt shell would.
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Hotshot Volley Gun
Another variation of the Hotshot category of Lasguns. These weapons are borne into battle by Tempestus Scions to deal with armored enemy infantry. The Hot-Shot Volley Gun is a larger version of the Hot-Shot Lasgun that "incorporates penitent-class heat sink arrays" which means that they "can maintain a punishing rate of high powered fire".
Think of them as a fully automatic LMG version of the regular old Hotshot Lasgun. As you can imagine, the sheer amount of Dakka means that they are more likely to be situated within the heavy weapons category then the normal Hotshot Lasguns. They are known to fire with a distinctive spitting howl. In UA these babies are carried by Airborne kasrkins and they're able to take down necron destroyers and their equivalents in no time.
The real life equivalent would be the the light machine guns of WW1 and WW2 (like the Lewis Gun and the BAR) and the modern Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) concept, having the same ammo as the standard rifle (either a short round like the 5.56 NATO for logistics or a long one like the 7.62 NATO to drop what you hit, though recently mid points like the 6.5 Grendel seem to be picking up steam, though the obvious next step is caseless ammo when it becomes practical). If the Lasgun is a M16 with 5.56 shots and the Hotshot Lasgun is a 7.62 M14, then the Hotshot Volley gun is an MK48 M249 variant or a M240 firing 7.62x51 ammunition...but translated into their future, grimdark space variants.
Mining Laser is not formally a weapon, but a tool for breaching tunnels in the mining process. In some cases though the Mining Laser can be used as a weapon, often by Genestealer Cults. For example, Dvarlock pattern Mining Laser, founded and identified by Tempestor Gulack of the Kappic Eagles have been modified so it can blast the hole through a meters-thick bulkhead with a single pull of a trigger. It also features three hand-grips, indicating its use in combination with a tertia pattern servo-arm (or the extra arms of a Genestealer Hybrid).
There is also the Heavy Mining Laser which is a heavier variant of the standard version, used on Goliath Rockgrinders (More can be read below). Although to be honest, it is only 'heavy' because it is on a turreted mount, other than that there is very little difference between the Heavy Mining Laser and the regular old Mining Laser.
It is fucking irritating in Space Hulk Deathwing, where it will be the number one cause of bullshit deaths.
In the good old days the Imperial sniper rifle was the poorly named 'needle rifle' which was in fact a kind of laser weapon. Well, partly. It had two parts to each shot. It fired a narrow beam laser to burn through armor, and then it fired a 'needle' bullet; a spike of some kind of metal filled with horribly poisonous toxins. With the armor removed first, the spiky bit all but ensured a kill if you hit, spurting deadly death juice into your unfortunate body. Sadly they weren't especially well conceived weapons (hitting the same spot with two different weapons, one that responds to wind and gravity, and the other that doesn't is something of a challenge) so they've pretty much been written out of the setting these days as being too expensive for regular use. Now the term "sniper rifle" is used fairly loosely in the Imperium; many sniper rifles are simply over-powered lasguns called long-las rifles, while many others (such as those used by Space Marine Scouts) are high-velocity slug-throwers which have more in common with autoguns than they do with energy weapons. Then there are other more exotic variants firing poisoned darts or even stranger payloads, such as the aforementioned needle rifle (which Ratlings still prefer) or the Exitus Rifle that fires straightup death. All of these variants have pretty much the same effect on the target, unless you play older editions or use special characters who have rules that say otherwise. Or play Dark Heresy.
However, since you are on the Long-Las category, we might as well talk about it. The Long-Las is a sniper variation of the Lasgun with a much longer barrel for increased range and accuracy, and also to prevent overheating. However the barrel makes a Long-Las up to twice as long as a standard Lasgun and thus difficult to use in close quarters.
Within the Imperial Guard the Long-Las, formerly known as the Sniper Variant Lasgun, is issued only to those Guardsmen with the necessary marksmanship skills and knowledge in stealth and scouting operations. It uses the XC 52/3 strengthened barrel, longer and thinner than normal models, and lacks a charge setting slider, instead using hotshot power packs. It's also much quieter than other lasguns and features a flash suppressor to dampen the revealing flashes of its shots (even though like other lasguns its laser beam is visible). However the increased wear on the barrel from using the overpowered energy packs means more frequent barrel changes than is usually required for normal lasguns. You may be wondering why the IG does not use a shorter, thicker heavy barrel version with improved cooling as standard issue for all Guardsmen to kick serious ass. Ask your local Commissar for a detailed explanation.
During the Great Crusade the Lascarbine was the great grandfather of the Lasgun. Basically the same weapon as the Lasgun in a smaller package. They were standard issue among the Imperial Army.
In modern WH40k, a Lascarbine is designed for use by special operations units and is usually employed by Drop Troopers or scout units of the Imperial Guard such as the Elysian Drop Troops. Catachan troopers also use those.
The Auxilia lasrifles were the primary weapon of the Solar Auxilia during the Great Crusade and Horus heresy eras. And as befitting weapons from a time when Imperial Technology had not yet sunk into the abyss, they have better range compared to their inferior knockoffs. These weapons have the option of taking Blast-chargers, which turns the lasrifle into a miniature lascannon, though on the roll of 1 the charger melts in its operator's hands, preventing the player from using them for the remainder of the game (the gun can still fire after 1 turn of cooling off). They also come standard with Collimators, which switch out Rapid Fire for Heavy 2, making any opponent think twice about about charging a squad of Solar Auxilia. As if a Super Heavy tank as a Dedicated Transport wasn't enough reason to stay out of range. They were produced on selected few Forgeworlds (despite being the go-to armament of 20% of Imperial Army) to begin with, required advanced technology to make and specific combined-armed tactics (a big no-no for Imperial Guard thanks to a certain genius) of Solar Auxilia cohorts to use effectively, so were shifted out of production in favor of a basic flashlight.
Not to be confused with the Phosphor Blast Pistol, another 30k era weapon that fires completely different rounds. Nor the Dark Eldar Drukhari Blast Pistol which also fires completely different ammunition
Basically a souped-up las-pistol that explodes in the user's hand. Their description makes them seem like laser revolvers used by officers of the Solar Auxilla, to mirror when an officer during the 19th century was issued a sidearm. This gave him a faster-firing gun compared to line troops who had to use lever and bolt-actions, which is similar to the Blast Pistol's apparently faster rate of fire.
These bespoke weapons like the Hotshot Laspistol and Hellpistol were able to fire only a handful of shots before reloading, but their damage output rivals that of arcane Volkite Weaponry. Due to this, Blast Pistols were seen as an emblem of wealth and prestige, and many were works of art in their own right, and thus they also became a widely used form of decoration and reward for extreme gallantry and commendation within the Solar Auxilia regiments.
On table top, Blast Pistols are 6" S5 Las-pistols with Twin Linked and Gets-Hot for two points. Twin linked counteracts Gets Hot, but if you want a good pistol just spend the extra 8 points on a Plasma Pistol.
Digital Lasers/Digital Weapons
These are actually melee weapons. However there isn't really anywhere else to put them. In 40k they are exclusively made by Jokaero. During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy they are weapons of unknown Xenos origin. This section describes how the Imperium at large uses them.
Digital weapons are best described as a small laser used by Space Marine officers. It allows them to re-roll one failed hit during the Assault/Fight Phase, which is decent. However, it is not anywhere near as cool as when they are used in Black Library books or the weapons stated to be used by the Jokaero. Only the Xenos monkeys have them on the table top in 8th edition.
30k Digital Lasers are as usual better than the 40k version. Rather than just Space Marines, Inquisitors and the occasional gun/chain/power sword toting hero, every officer had access to them. They are short ranged but deadly weapons that are "small enough to be concealed in a ring, gauntlet, sword hilt or helm." So they should be as strong as a single Hot Shot Lasgun, Lasrifle or Las-Lock beam.
In the Horus Heresy game a Digital Laser gives the model one additional attack, so the officer doesn't have to give up their sole ranged weapon for an extra melee hit. One would assume either weapon would also allow an extra ranged attack with the same strength and AP as a Hot-Shot Lasgun or Archaeotech Pistol, like how the Servo Harness gives Techmarines extra ranged and melee weapons. However, Games Workshop and Forge World aren't nice enough to give players an option that would be useful in more than one situation without making them pay extra real life money for it first.
Las-lock is like a granddad to "modern" Lasgun. While very few Guard Regiments still use it in-universe in 40k (see Only War by FFG), the Las-Lock is popular with the Mechanicum in 30k. Tech Thralls are thus far the only known Mechanicum troops to carry las-weapons (on tabletop, but many las weapons are used by Skitarii and servitors in fluff), but oh boy, aren't they numerous. Las-locks sacrifice rate of fire and range for more damage per shot, making it a worse version of the Hot-Shot lasgun with higher Strength, but with miserable AP of 6 and 1 shot max. Not sure how this particular AdMech weapon fares in fluff, though. Since it’s AdMech, large, and has a ton of thick cables attached, it probably hits extremely hard.
There is also the Mitralock, a laser shotgun with reduced range. Both have the option to upgrade to Induction chargers increasing their shots to two.(represented as Assault 2 in game.) While still allowing them to Assault with no penalty. This turns them into a high risk unit for any opponent dumb enough to charge them.
In terms of tabletop, the Mitralock is the Scattergun of the Las Family. It is an 8" range Las-lock, but it gains Shred. It also has Induction Chargers which is an optional attachment to both Las-locks AND Mitra-locks (HH3, p. 221) it upgrades them to Assault 2. Meanwhile, the name is most likely a reference to the French term for grapeshot (Mitrailleuse).
Lascutters are a powerful but extremely unwieldy type of Laser Weapon. Originally industrial tools used for cutting through armored bulkheads and dense ores, these weapons make use of disruption field-assisted short range laser arcs. They were later utilized for warfare, being used in sieges where they were able to breach enemy fortifications and if necessary become devastating close-quarters weapons. On the table top, these thing suck. Only Breachers can take them. The Cumbersome rule reduces the model's WS1 and can only make a single attack. Take Graviton guns instead.
It's very stupid for Genestealers (who are heavily armed terrorists with tanks at best) to have superior weapons than Space Marines. They should have stats more in line with the Saturnyne Lascutter from the Adeptus Titanicus datasheet. With both a melee and ranged profile. Since the Saturnyne has a short range of 18 inches. The Lasercutter's beam should be shorter than a Meltagun with damage between that of a Lascannon or Autocannon.
Despite the name, Lightning Guns are a type of laser weapons used by the AdMech. Whilst they do use electromagnetism (which is all photons, so duh it’s a laser), most of the killing power is from the pew pew lasers. Lightning Guns are Great Crusade era weapons used by various Adeptus Mechanicus troops, most notably Thallax.
This aptly named weapon takes the form of a baroquely designed carbine connected to a micro-reactor or power core. It fires an ionizing las-beam along with a powerful phased discharge of electromagnetic particles (since electromagnetism is, y’know, light, but it would still operate as advertised). The ensuing effect makes the weapon able to overload mechanical targets in addition to its effectiveness against organic enemies. Essentially, it's an electrolaser.
See main page, Multilasers.
The Multilaser is basically just a Hellgun that's been modded for more Dakka, being a pretty good weapon against most non- to lightly-armored targets (infantry, Taurox-equivalents, skimmers, etc.). Gets a bad rep due to C.S. Goto, but it’s actually pretty awesome and the Guard should learn to spam them. Waaaaay cheaper than heavy bolters, after all. Because laser.
Heavy Mining Laser
The aforementioned Heavy Mining Laser. As previously mentioned, it is basically a Mining Laser on a turret. Like its smaller brother, the Heavy Mining Laser is used primarily to bore through rock and other quarry within Mining and Forge Worlds of the Imperium. However it can also be used to cleanly bore through the side armor of a Leman Russ and a Space Marine if needed. Rules of the Internet, Rule 40,000: if it exist, the Imperium will weaponize it.
The Genestealer Cults have exploited its power because of this. The only difference between the regular Mining Laser and the Heavy Mining Laser is in its power supply. The regular Mining Laser carries its own portable power supply which makes it mobile but at the cost of a shorter battery life (eg: less 'shots') and a shorter effective range. The Heavy Mining Laser on the other hand, is connected to a much larger and thus, powerful power supply which allows for a longer battery life and a longer range.
See main page, Lascannon.
The Corve or Corvae Las-Pulser is a type of Laser Weapon used by the Adeptus Custodes. They are the giant Lascannon mounted on top of the giant Dreadnought-like spear. It was equipped to the Dreadspear of the Custodes Contemptor-Achillus class Dreadnought.
The Corve is a 36" S9 AP2 Heavy D3 weapon. It is an upgrade for the Agamatus jetbikes and found as part of the Contemptor-Achillus's Dreadspear, and most of the reason for it's 40 point upgrade cost. The Pulsar is one of the few weapons that Custodes have as a counterpart to Lascannons.
Essentially a weaker version of the Las-Talon.
A Las-Ripper is a type of heavy Imperial Laser Weapon usually deployed on the Primaris Space Marines' Astraeus Super-Heavy Grav Tank. Las-Rippers are used as sponson weapons on Astraeus grav tanks, where they serve as the vehicle's standard anti-personnel weapons for close and messy encounters.
In terms of crunch, as previously aforementioned, the Las-Rippers are a weaker version of the Las-Talon. Although it is not a bad weapon per se, it suffers from the fact that there are much better weapons that the Astraeus could be equipped with.
Most often, the Las-Ripper is replaced with the more powerful Plasma Eradicators. This have got to do with the fact that the Plasma Eradicators are understandable more powerful per shot, but what is unusual is that the Eradicators have more range and is cheaper than the Las-Ripper of all things.
One of the primary weapons of the Repulsor and a discount Lascannon.
The Las-talon is a specialized type of Laser Weapon that can only be found on both the Stormhawk Interceptor air superiority fighter used by the Adeptus Astartes and the Primaris Space Marine Repulsor armored transport.
The Las-talon fires two potent blasts of laser energy in rapid succession, ensuring a clean kill against even the heaviest armored targets. Unlike other laser weapons, the Las-talon is relatively short-ranged, with its damage heavily reduced at great range.
And as you know, it is basically the big brother of the Las-Ripper.
The Laser Destroyer is an Imperial laser weapon mounted primarily on the Destroyer Tank Hunter, capable of destroying enemy tanks from long range. The Laser Destroyer however is a highly-complex system which all but a few Forge Worlds can no longer reproduce; even those who can create new ones must hand-craft each one through a painstakingly slow process. The result has been that these weapons and the vehicles which use them have become incredibly rare amongst the Imperial Guard. The chance of receiving any replacement for lost or destroyed models is very slim, often leading to recovered tank destroyers instead being fitted with another weapon.
During the invasion of Armageddon, though, a number of Chimeras were refitted with Laser Destroyers and re-designated APDS-6a 'Defenders' as an effective stop-gap measure against the Orks.
A Neutron Laser is a heavy weapon utilized by the forces of Adeptus Mechanicus' Skitarii Legions as a primary weapon for Onager Dunecrawlers. A Neutron Laser is the last word in battlefield anti-tank weaponry.
With a stabilised neutronic coil arc reactor as its power source, a Neutron Laser is able to fire a beam so devastating that it not only is able to punch through the thickest of armour, but also sends a blast wave of electromagnetic energy that scrambles circuits and synapses alike when it strikes its target.
It doesn't seem to suffer as much of a backfire feedback that usually plagues its larger brother. So that's a plus.
Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery
Not to be confused with the Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannon.
The Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery was a Laser Weapon system that was used by the ancient Deredeo Pattern Dreadnoughts of the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. As one might expect, it is developed by Arachnus which also produce the Blaze Cannons used by everyone's favourite golden bananas.
The Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery was a set of two massive, twin-linked Lascannons that has been suped-up and overcharged, taking up both the Deredeo's weapon mounts.
Far more powerful than any other pattern of Lascannon regularly fielded by the Legiones Astartes, the Arachnus could inflict devastating amounts of damage with each hit, far more than any standard Las-weaponry.
The Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery is still found in use by the various Space Marine Chapters and possibly the Traitor Legions that still maintain functioning Deredeo Dreadnoughts in the 41st Millennium.
On the tabletop, one must remember that this isn't twin-linked Lascannon, but it does fire 2 S10 AP2 shots, and if its shots score a penetrating hit on a vehicle the shot has a 50% chance of having it count as two penetrating hits instead of one.
Sabre Neutron Blaster
The Sabre Neutron Blaster is one of the three primary weapons that the Sabre Strike Tank could be armed with. Unlike the Volkite Saker which deals with mass infantry or the Anvilus Snub Autocannon that targets light armour. The Sabre Neutron Blaster is specifically designed to turn superheavy tanks inside out.
Nothing more than the Neutron Laser Projector's little brother. The Sabre Neutron Blaster was constructed in the same manner as the larger neutron cannon employed by the Sicaran Venator, the intense radiation emitted by the capacitors and charge packs of the cannon is so deleterious that it will eventually degrade the Sabre's own control systems.
Rules-wise, the Sabre Neutron Blaster is a relatively short-ranged ant-tank weapon. At only 24", you are not hitting far. But if it hits, it hits hard. S9, AP1, Heavy 1 weapon with Concussive and Shock Pulse rules. This thing can stun-lock enemy vehicles while carving a new rear hole.
Heavy Laser Destroyer
The bigger, badder brother of the regular Laser Destroyer.
The Heavy Laser Destroyer is a type of heavy Laser Weapon with powerful anti-armor capability. It is commonly mounted on the Space Marine Repulsor Executioner tank, with a smaller variant found also mounted on the Gladiator Lancer Tank. The larger chassis of the Repulsor mounts much larger and more powerful generators which could release a more potent shot. Of course, this means that the barrel needs to be strengthened and lengthened to accommodate the high heat dispersal.
Crunchwise, this is a new Primaris weapon found on the Repulsor Executioner and the Gladiator Lancer. The Executioner's is a 72" range, Heavy 2, S12, AP-4 and D3+3 weapon whilst the Lancer is a slightly weaker 72" range, Heavy 2, S10, AP-3, Dd3+3 weapon, nevertheless, they are both dedicated tank killers, though it is an expensive weapon.
Arachnus Blaze Cannon
The Arachnus Blaze Cannon is a type of Laser Weapon used by the Adeptus Custodes. This weapon was a development of standard Imperial las-technology, but with built in esoteric and powerful components which could never be replicated en masse.
The Blaze Cannon is mounted on the Coronus Grav Carrier.
On tabletop they are basically the bastard offspring of Multi-lasers and Lascannons, they have two firing modes. One is Burst for infantry shredding, the other is Concentrated for Vehicle killing with AP1 and Exoshock, which gives you an automatic second Penetrating hit which ignores cover saves on a 4+ after you score one (so you roll to hit, roll to penetrate, enemy rolls invulnerable/cover, and only then...)
The Blaze Cannon itself is a S6 AP5 Heavy Bolter, or 48" S8AP1 Heavy 1, Exoshock: In all honesty, the Burst mode is rather shitty, but Concentrated is essentially a Lascannon with nasty special rules.
Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannon
A larger version known as the Arachnus Heavy Blaze Cannon also exist.
This time it is mounted on the Caladius Annihilator and it is basically a twin-linked Lascannon on steroids.
On tabletop they are basically the bastard offspring of Multi-lasers and Lascannons, they have two firing modes. One is Burst for infantry shredding, the other is Concentrated for Vehicle killing with AP1 and Exoshock, which gives you an automatic second Penetrating hit which ignores cover saves on a 4+ after you score one (so you roll to hit, roll to penetrate, enemy rolls invulnerable/cover, and only then...)
The Heavy Blaze Cannon itself is a 48" S8 AP3 Heavy 4, or 72" S10 AP1 Heavy 1, Exoshock: Optional turret replacement for the Caladius.
Arachnus Storm Cannon
The big honcho mounted only on the biggest of Dreadnought walkers.
The Arachnus Storm Cannon is a large gatling-style Laser Weapon used by the Adeptus Custodes. Seeing as how it is a double-barrelled gatling weapon, there must be one hell of a cooling system to prevent this from melting the golden gunstick into a golden beatstick. Although, give how its godfather, the Arachnus Magna-Blaze Cannon, have a stupidly expensive cooling/containment system, I guess something like the Storm Cannon is just as capable in preventing a meltdown. It is most typically mounted on the Telemon Heavy Dreadnought. The Golden Bananas just wanted to have an oversized Multi-Laser and the Emprah delivereth.
On tabletop, the Storm Cannon is a 48" S7 AP3 Heavy 7, or 72" S9 AP1 Heavy 2, Exoshock: the Telemon's big Gatling gun and perhaps the most versatile of the Arachnus weapons. This is a must take if you are facing armies with a large amount of vehicles.
Laser Destroyer Array
Laser Destroyer Arrays are a special type of lascannon array. Instead of firing in a single, solid blast the laser destroyer would fire short pulses microseconds apart from its various barrels, acting as a sort of long-ranged drill. On the plus side this means they're more destructive (never a bad thing) as it allowed them to bore through everything, on the downside it's apparently more of a pain in the ass to fire and reload them, going by their tabletop stats and they're nowhere near as portable. Note that despite sharing the name, they are not the same as laser destroyers.
In 7th edition (and Horus Heresy) this gave you a single lascannon shot which was Ordnance instead of Heavy and AP 1 instead of 2. It dealt with vehicles better but similar lascannon arrays fired 2 shots instead of the one (both are twin-linked) so if you had to decide on the two then you had to make a choice, quality hits or quantity of hits? There was a way to up the shot count, but only if you took a Vindicator Tank Destroyer. If you stayed motionless and/or declared to overcharge it after remaining motionless, you could add +1/+2 to its shots respectively, and after it fired you'd do the equivalent of a Gets Hot roll. In practical terms if you were playing 40k you were free to remove whatever vehicle your opponent fielded that you didn't like, whereas if you were playing Horus Heresy you'd wish Flare Shields weren't a thing as you still couldn't kill that Spartan.
In 8th edition the Laser destroyer is hilariously powerful, being S 12, AP -4, D6 damage but before you roll for damage, roll a D6. On a 1-2, it's still just D6 damage. On a 3-5, it's 2D6 and on a 6, it's 3D6. Ever wanted to cripple a Knight, Land Raider, monster or just remove that one character who accidentally got a little too close in only one shot? Now you can. It's also surprisingly cheap meaning you can spam the fuckers and potentially forget about taking lascannons entirely. Also hilarious is that the Rapier Laser Destroyer has actual combat stats, and not the kind that are explained away via its crew steering it into the enemy, but literal stats as somehow the thing attempts to hurt the enemy by poking it with its barrels (presumably). Despite being (technically) a vehicle its pokes are also weaker than the Guardsmen who push it around, being S3 whereas these macho-men are S4.
Superheavy Laser Weapons
See main page, Superheavy Laser Weapons