This list names the various types of equipment used by the Imperium
in the Warhammer 40,000
universe. Often known as wargear
, these are grouped according to their category, are discussed in detail including their in-universe specs and their in-game use. With the evolution of the Warhammer 40,000 setting over some 20 years, many types of equipment have been described in the various editions of the various games. Some of these are no longer in use in the most current editions. Whenever appropriate, the history of the weapon in-game is described, including some of the more notable units that are known to carry that weapon. Armaments, weapons
have their own, separate pages.
The Imperium is an immense, galaxy-spanning empire in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 fictional universe. There are several armed branches of the Imperium's military and police services, and much of their equipment is common to multiple branches. The armed forces of the Imperium include, but are not limited to the Space Marines, the Imperial Guard, the Adeptus Mechanicus, the three Ordos of the Inquisition, the Adeptus Arbites and the Orders Militant of the Sisters of Battle.
The information below is taken mainly from the Warhammer 40,000 rulebooks, and the Warhammer 40,000 second edition wargear book. Some of the weapons descriptions are also supplemented by information from the first edition of the Necromunda rulebook, which contains detailed writeups on the various weapons in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Specific weapon descriptions have been taken from their appropriate Codex entries, including the various Space Marine, Imperial Guard and Inquisition Codices.
In addition, some of the descriptions of the weapon effects are taken from the Warhammer 40,000 video games, Dawn of War and its expansions.
Mesh armour is a bodysuit usually made from carbon-ceramic polyfibres. Phased out of the Imperial Guard in the 31st millennium, its use is — and always was — far more common in the hive gangs. The gangs preferred them as all a ganger needed to make one was a loom, water, and some powdered bone.
Made from high-tensile padded fabric, flak armour
is usually designed as a vest or a sleeveless jacket which covers the upper torso. It is rather uncomfortable and unpopular although it is cheap to make and generally mass-produced. Really only useful for protection against shrapnel and low calibre weaponry, as its protective capabilities are slightly superior to that of mesh armour. The flak jacket may not exactly be the armour of choice for many but it is the only armour that most Imperial Guardsmen have access to.
It is equivalent to modern body armor as it only protects against small rounds and shrapnel(while still causing trauma like bruising and broken bones) but against the monstrous .75 caliber bolter rounds, high explosive mass reactive bolts, and other devastating weapons such as the pulse and plasma guns that litter the battlefield, it provides minimal protection. Even well placed shots with light weapons can easily cause damage due to its limited coverage.
Comprised of rigid plates of armaplas or ceramite, carapace armour
is made up of plates that are moulded to (loosely) fit the body. Usually a carapace suit will cover the torso and major joints with separate plates for the limbs along with a helmet, although it is also available in full body-suit form. Most wearers are in a relatively fit condition compared to other flak-wearing troopers, due to the armour being so heavy. Unlike flak armour it can realistically be expected to stop a large variety of mid-range weaponry. During periods of relative peace, and during training exercises, some Space Marines will don carapace suits -- such garb befits a Space Marine during times of wait. Space Marines Scouts are allowed access to carapace armour as they are not yet worthy enough to wear power armour and their Black Carapace (one of the 19 gene-seed implants that full Space Marines receive) has yet to have grown in so they are unable to properly interface with the armour. Carapace armour is also used by Imperial Guard Stormtroopers, Kasrkin squads and some regiments of high-tech Imperial Guard like the Harakoni Warhawks.
Possibly the most prominent feature of the Space Marines is their power armour
, a suit of ceramite plates with armoured fibre bundles and servos that replicate the wearer's movements and enhances a Space Marine's already superhuman strength, as well as allows them to easily withstand conditions and fire that could kill a normal human. The suit is coupled to the nervous system of the Space Marines via the Black Carapace. There are eight known versions of power armour in use by the Space Marines.
- *Mk I Thunder Pattern Power Armour; the first power armour created for the Space Marines. It was developed from the armour worn by the techno-barbarians that plagued Holy Terra near the end of the Age of Strife. It was used during the Emperor's campaign to retake and unite the Terran solar system before the Great Crusade. It was by no means unique to the first Space Marines - in fact, the techno-barbarian warriors the Emperor fought during the conquest of Terra wore it too, and the Emperor's forces were wearing it even before the first Space Marines were developed. However, because it was designed with Earth-fighting in mind, it is not fully enclosed, with no means to support the wearer in a vacuum. Only the upper body is powered, due in part to the fact that during the Conquest of Terra, ranged weapons were difficult to make due to technological constraints, and so a warrior's upper-body strength was his most important asset. It takes its name from the thunder symbol the Emperor had before adopting the double headed eagle.
- *Mk II Crusade Pattern Power Armour; was developed towards the end of the Age of Strife and was used during the dawn of the Imperium during the Emperor's Great Crusade to retake the lost worlds of man. It was designed as a fully enclosed suit with life-sustaining systems that now allowed the Space Marines to fight in deep space and on alien worlds with hostile atmospheres or environments. The armour was made up of circular armour rings fitted under and over each other, making this armour relatively simple to repair (similar in principle to the Lorica segmentata used by the legions of the Roman Empire). These precious relics are still used during ceremonial procedures by some Chapters and given to champions as battle armour in others. These suits are also referred to as Crusader Armour.
- *Mk III Iron Pattern Power Armour; it was soon realised that fighting in the tight corridors of spaceships was very dangerous. The Iron suit was designed to give greater protection to the Marines. The frontal armour was much thicker (thereby giving greater protection), but the rear armour was thinner to compensate. The wedge-shaped helmet (designed to deflect incoming fire) formed the basis of the distinctive Corvus beak helmet.
- *Mk IV Maximus Pattern Power Armour; this armour was to be the replacement for the old Mk2 armour of the Great Crusade; it was the first armour to incorporate many components used in modern armour. However, it was made from rare alien materials, and when the Horus Heresy broke out soon after it was issued, it was discovered that most Legions cut off from supplies could not find the materials needed to make it or repair it, and they often suffered irreparable damage by relatively minor battles.
- *Mk V Heresy Pattern Power Armour; this armour was developed as a solution to the supply problems of the Horus Heresy. It was easily made from the most basic of materials, and it was easy to maintain. Almost all soldiers used spikes to hold the armour layers together, making the studs shown universally on all examples of this armour. In time, it became traditional for the studs to be found on the head, lower legs, and left shoulderpad of the armour. Due to the sub-standard materials used in the construction of this armour variant, it had a tendency to over-heat quickly, and many Marines had to endure sub-standard performance by turning down the power output of their backpack to prevent intolerable heat build-ups.
- *Mk VI Corvus Pattern Power Armour; this classic variant can be traced back to the time of the Horus Heresy and is still commonly used in contemporary Chapters. It is characterized by the beak-like muzzle on the helmet and a studded auto-reactive shoulder plate on the left shoulder of the armour. The beak or muzzle led fans to nickname this variant "Womble armour" or "Beakie armour", and a dictionary of the Orkish language in the 2nd Edition Ork Codex listed Marines as "beakies". This was the style of the first Space Marine models released by Games Workshop and did not get its Mk6 terminology until after models with the Mark 7 styling were released. Models with this style were not part of new releases until the launch of the next range of 28 mm plastic models.
- *Mk VII Aquila Pattern Power Armour (also known as Imperator armour) is the contemporary variant most commonly used by the Space Marine Chapters. Characterized by the grim looking Vox Caster (external vocalizer) on the faceplate, and the plastron displaying the Imperialis (a winged skull), which has given the armour different names such as Armorum Imperator or Eagle Armour ("Aquila" being the name of the two-headed eagle which symbolizes the Imperium). A variant of the Aquila helmet is known to exist, yet is no different from the regular helmet, save an armoured trim around the external vocalizer.
- *Mk VIII Errant Pattern Power Armour; this is an update to the Aquila pattern armour, and is distinguished by a raised collar at the front and armoured plating for the torso cables. Full versions of this armour are almost never seen; however, it is common to find parts of it being used by officers and veterans on the battlefield.
One design feature of Mks 6 through to 8 is their adaptability; it is fairly common within most Space Marine Chapters to see a suit combining parts originally created for three or four suits, salvaged from dead brothers on the battlefield. Mk 7 armour, in particular, was created with this simple modularity in mind.
The Sisters of Battle and several high-ranking members of the Inquisition also use power armour, but they are not directly linked to their suits in the way Space Marines are, which decreases the armour's effectiveness.
Space Marine Techmarines may choose to craft a suit of power armour of extraordinary quality; such suits are referred to as Artificer Armour. Artificer Armour is crafted from the finest materials and with the utmost care. Due to this attention to detail Artificer Armour provides more protection than normal power armor but does not suffer the compromise of lessened mobility, like Terminator Armour. It is often highly decorated and embellished with ornamentation and devotional scripts. Most Techmarines wear Artificer Armour of their own crafting; it's construction a final test of their acquired skills following their tutelage under the Adeptus Mechanicus on Mars. Artificer Armour is kept in the Chapter Armoury as a reward for devoted service by a veteran marine, or as standard equipment for specialized position in the chapter. In-game Artificer armour is available to any model with access to the armory.
- See Tactical Dreadnought Armour
Tactical Dreadnought ('Terminator') Armour was developed for close-quarters fighting, where staying power was more important than maneuverability. The technology was originally developed to enable maintenance crews of space ships to operate in hard vacuum or in other adverse conditions. It was combined with power armour technology and brought about the invention of Terminator armour during the Great Crusade. It was hoped that it would replace power armour, but was relegated to its current role due to a lack of maneuverability.
It is manufactured from a ceramite plasteel alloy as an exoskeleton with servo assisted interfaces with the users own neurological and muscular systems to enhance movement. It is the heaviest armour in any Imperial arsenal, is able to withstand tremendous punishment, and serves as a solid heavy-weapons platform in open-field combat. The First Company of most Space Marine Chapters uses Terminator armour extensively, and only those Marines who earn the Crux Terminatus are permitted to wear it. It is also said that a piece of the Emperor's own armour is built into the "Crux Terminatus" but in order to put a piece into each suit, only the most minuscule of pieces is put in.
Terminator armour has been known to be incredibly resilient. In fact, at one point in Storm of Iron, a Scout Titan stomps on a Terminator, only for the Marine to crawl out of the gigantic footprint unharmed due to his armour.
Less frequently, high ranking members of the Inquisition have been known to wear Terminator armour. Notably, members of the Ordo Malleus can be seen wearing such suits.
is a general term for handheld devices used by squad leaders and officers in all Imperial fighting forces to survey friendly and enemy positions and to gain information of surrounding terrain and buildings. Generally they have a series of antennae and a small display, though some appear to have the ability to link with orbital systems on space stations and Imperial Navy ships equipped with more powerful sensors.
are mechanical replacements for injured or missing body parts. These can vary from subtle augmentations designed to replace damaged limbs or organs to radical alterations of the human body. Techpriests
of the Adeptus Mechanicus
often replace at least one of their organic limbs with bionic ones or augment their bodies with various entirely new cybernetic appendages like servo arms or Mechadendrites.
is a special fabric often used in camouflage attire by special forces of the Imperium. It changes colour to their surroundings, helping the wearer to hide.
is a collective term for a cocktail of psychoactive drugs injected into a recipient (willing or unwilling) in order to manipulate their psychological state. They are only used by a few Imperial units.
are bulky, vectored thrust engines that can be worn by a single soldier, designed to be attached to the Space Marine's, Sisters of Battle's and Chaos Space Marine's existing powered backpack. They are used to make powered jumps across the battlefield, allowing the troopers wearing them to quickly engage their foes. Jump Packs are thus used by assault troops, primarily the Assault Marines of the Space Marine Chapters, and the Seraphim of the Sisters of Battle. Jump Pack equipped infantry are often dropped from low-flying Thunderhawk Gunships and deep strike into combat, as the Jump Pack also functions as a makeshift anti-grav parachute.
Varying from a medkit to a diagnostic computer, the med-pack, generally helps a medic to heal wounded or ill troopers in a battlezone. Sometimes in particularly vicious and dangerous warzones, medics will have to scrounge for medical supplies and beg for drugs from aid stations and passing Munitorum cargo transports.
The Narthecium is a med-kit/med-pack used by Space Marine Apothecaries and are automated units. They carry drugs and equipment that are geared for the hardier constitution of a Space Marine, and thus can be dangerous to use on normal humans. They also include a Reductor, which allows the Apothecary to withdraw the precious gene-seed from a fallen Space Marine so that the Marine's gene-seed returns to the Chapter.
Sister of Battle Hospitallers have a down scaled version of the Space Marine Narthecium, usable on normal human anatomy - and, in the service of the Inquisition, for torture. Many an Imperial servant has had reason to thank the gentle touch of the Hospitaller, and many an Imperial enemy has had bad experiences with this 'gentleness'.
is a special tool used by members of the Adeptus Mechanicus
to assist them in repairing mechanical equipment. They can also be used to great effect in close combat, being roughly as effective as a Power Fist.
The refractor field
is a common sight amongst Imperial Guard regimental officers and other less elite Imperial organisations. The refractor field confers reasonable protection against most attacks, though less than styles of conversion fields. When issued to Imperial Guard officers the circuitry for a refractor field is often enclosed in a gorget
mounted below the officer's neckline.
is a powerful conversion field generator issued to Space Marine Chaplains and members of the Eccleisiarchy and Inquisition. A conversion field by its very nature provides much greater protection than a refractor field, and is thus a much rarer sight. The most common users of a Rosiarus are Space Marine Chaplains, who are gifted one on a pendant (usually a skull-cross or Imperial Aquila) by the Eccleisiarchy to show the bond between the latter organisation and the Adeptus Astartes. Senior priests and Inquisitors can also sometimes be seen wearing one of these pendants.
As an aside, it is notable that the Iron Fathers of the Iron Hands Space Marines - who embody a combined function of Chaplains and Techmarines - are gifted a Rosiarus not by the Eccleisiarchy but by the Adeptus Mechanicus, showing a stronger bond between the technologically-minded Marines with the latter organisation over the former.
The Iron Halo
is a Space Marine relic of which only one generally exists in a Chapter at any one time. It will usually be given to one of the senior Captains or other officers as a reward for exceptional service. Some chapters, like the Dark Angels and Blood Angels, issue one to each of their captains. The Iron Halo incorporates a powerful conversion field similar to that used in a Rosiarus (it provides the same level of protection) and is often seen mounted on top of a Marine's backpack.
The Storm Shield
is a hand-held shield used by both Space Marines and members of the Inquisition and their Chambers Militant, most commonly seen carried by Terminator Assault Squads in conjunction with the Thunder Hammer. It contains a conversion field of lower strength and smaller size than those used in a Rosiarus or Iron Halo, only providing sufficient area and energy to absorb close-range attacks in melee. A Storm Shield is carried like a normal medium or heavy shield, tying up the bearer's hand and forgoing the use of a second hand weapon.
The combat shield
is a cut-down, buckler-style version of the Storm Shield, but it is unclear whether it uses a conversion or refractor field. It is used exclusivley by the Space Marines, and like the Storm Shield is only useful in melee situations. Unlike the Storm Shield however, it does not tie up the user's hand (being strapped to the forearm) and allows the use of a second hand weapon or firearm.
is a device issued to some elite Imperial Guardsmen and Space Marines. It usually appears as a scope of some sort attached to a firearm. In-game, the targeter allows the player to measure the distance between the unit with the equipment and any prospective targets.
A device that produces a signal which can be locked onto by teleporting troops, thereby increasing their chances of arriving on-target, as well as the added benefit of increasing their chances of surviving.
An ancient technology dating back well before the Horus Heresy
are still used by the Imperium, but are considered rare and valuable devices. They are not fully trusted by even the most experienced Imperial commanders, as a malfunction could be fatal. They are used mostly by Space Marines to assist during certain types of assaults. Usually the devices are only present on battleships, as the transport of something even as small as a human takes immense power. Use of teleporters is almost exclusively the province of Terminators
, with a few exceptions given to specialized chapters such as the Grey Knights
. One notable instance of teleportation gone horribly wrong was during the Siege of Haddrake Tor, when the ruinous powers of Chaos
used sabotage to disrupt the teleport homers of the besieging Imperial Fists' Terminators and caused many of the First Company to be entombed in solid rock, including the Captain of the First Company, Kleitus.
A communications array, similar to a radio
, that can be as small as helmet mounted links to massive banks of equipment at the HQ. Usually a squad or platoon will have a link to HQ via one vox unit and vox-beads for trooper-to-trooper communications. Command units usually use more complex versions of vox casters -- known as master voxes
. These can receive and transmit on multiple frequencies at once, making them ideal for coordinating many squads simultaneously. In absence of any vox communications, troopers are taught to sign to each other when in battle.
Space Marines and Sisters of Battle (and high ranking members of the Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus) have miniature vox-casters built into their power armour (or cranium in the case of the Adeptus Mechanicus). Most of these are short ranged and used only for squad to squad communication.
The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer
A small book issued to all guardsmen in the Imperial Guard
that is full of prayers and descriptions of basic tasks an infantryman must perform. Regulations and forms are also part of the book to ensure each trooper has his own book. Troopers are encouraged to read and memorize most of the primer, while disgruntled regiments may refer to these books as "toilet-paper" (and occasionally use them as such). The Primer has been published by the Black Library
(but went out of print), and some sections appear to be subtle satire against the Imperium itself from a loyal, yet disgruntled guard writer, for example the sections on Duty to Commissars
. It also contains completely and utterly untrue information about the alien enemies the Imperial Guard must face.
Recently, the Black Library released The Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer: Damocles Gulf Edition
Areprint of the book with an added section concerning information about the Tau.
- The dozer blade is, as its name suggests, a bulldozer shield attached to the front of an armoured vehicle to allow it to move through rough terrain easier. In Imperial Guard armies, they are referred to as rough terrain modification and can take other forms, such as chainsaws attached to hydraulic arms.
- An electro hull is a special modification in Imperial vehicles designed to protect tanks from infantry assaulting it. Electro hulls were present during the second edition of the Warhammer 40,000 game, but were removed from the rules with the release of the third edition.
- Some Imperial vehicles have additional armour plates bolted or welded onto their hulls. These are collectively referred to as extra armour, and minimize the damage and shockwaves suffered by the vehicle and its crew whenever it is hit. In-game, this is represented by minimizing the effect of any damage to the vehicle's crew, allowing it to function in light of potentially-paralyzing hits.
- Found in Imperial Guard armies, improved comms is an upgrade to a vehicle representing improved communications equipment, such as that found in modern battlefield command vehicles.
- A pintle mount is an option to add an anti-personnel weapon to an Imperial vehicle. This weapon is used, either by the vehicle's commander/veteran guardsman or by remote control, to engage secondary targets and immediate threats while the gunner focuses the vehicle's main firepower against enemy armour or major objectives.
- Storm Bolters are the most common weapon used with a pintle mount, although heavy stubbers are also used by the Imperial Guard. The Black Templars deviate significantly from this usage, mounting multi-meltas to their Land Raider Crusaders. The Chaos Legions also use pintle-mounted weapons, usually a combi-bolter, although combi-flamers and combi-meltaguns are also used.
- Searchlights are attachments found on various vehicles of the Imperium.
- Smoke launchers are attachments found on various vehicles of the Imperium.
- Void shields are devices usually employed by warships and Titans of Imperial manufacture (some vehicles now under the power of Chaos still maintain these devices). The void shield or field is a powerful defence system that can stop all but the most powerful weapons. A void shield appears as a shimmering curtain possibly akin to looking at something through a thin layer of water. The circuitry in void shield systems create a strong smell of ozone prior to being activated. Any object coming into contact with the shield once activated is not damaged but makes a sizzling sound. Void shields (on Warhammer 40k Tabletop Titans) currently have an armour value of 12.
- Any objects, unless fired at or striking the shield with phenomenal power simply bounce off or are halted in mid-air. Organic materials, liquids or simply energy with harmful potential (e.g. a laser) are stopped or dissipated. Explosive munitions will detonate on contact. Any object caught in the field when activated is simply sliced in half. For instance, a human body caught in the beam will be sliced in half as if viewed in cross-section and munitions caught in this way are destroyed explosively. This makes the void field deadly, if impractical in offense rather than defensive situations.
- Void shields are usually layered, meaning that a Titan or Starship isn't protected by just a single void shield but by several layers of individual shields. The front shield will absorb the incoming fire until it overloads and collapses, at which point the second layer shield becomes the front shield until it collapses, at which point the third shield becomes the front shield, etc. Meanwhile the tech adepts aboard the Titan or Ship would repair and restart the downed shields and so create a new layer. Theoretically, this means that Titans and Ships are invulnerable unless the enemy can sustain heavy enough firepower to collapse all void shields faster than they can be restarted.
Note on Chaos Marines
It should also be noted that much of the weaponry and equipment used by the Chaos Space Marine
Legions also come from this list - especially the equipment wielded by Space Marines. Since the Horus Heresy
, the Imperium has made some advances in technology; thus much of the Chaos Marines' equipment is of older design, or the Chaos Marines simply have restricted or no access to some of the items listed above.
For example: while the Chaos Marines do possess plasma weapons, Storm-bolters, which were designed around the time of the Heresy, are still "too new" - the Chaos Marines possess older Combi-bolters, which are essentially two normal bolters combined into a single gun (the effect is not always as effective as the Stormbolter, but is more accurate due to "twin-linking"). This has, however, given Chaos pintle-mounted combi-bolters a special utility unknown to Imperial vehicles: the weapon can be adapted to consist of a single bolter combined with a single-shot flamer or meltagun.
Further still, the Chaos Marines have extremely limited access to jump packs (which were designed shortly prior to the Heresy), and no access to assault cannons, psycannons or the special ammunition types for bolters (except sorcerous inferno bolts), as all of these were invented after the Heresy. Furthermore, the psycannon which was developed as an anti-daemonic weapon would be unsuitable for the Chaos Legions as it is anathema to the forces they serve.
However, some equipment is replaced by similar daemonic gear. For example, some Chaos Marines can be seen with mutated wings, which act similar to jump packs. While Chaos Marines do not have Artificer Armour (a type of power armour which is well crafted so that it affords better protection), they can have their armour mutated by the powers of Chaos, creating Daemon Armour, which is similar to Artificer Armour. Lastly, the Iron Warriors Legion is known for salvaging Imperial siege equipment, such as the Space Marine Vindicator.
- Priestley, Rick (1995). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Imperial Guard. 1st Edition, Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-872372-92-9.
- Chambers, Andy; Haines, Pete, and Hoare, Andy (2003). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Imperial Guard. 4th Edition, Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-410-8.
- Chambers, Andy (2004). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Space Marines. 4th Edition, Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-526-0.
- Johnson, Jervis; Chambers, Andy, and Thorpe, Gav (2000). Warhammer 40,000 Codex: Space Wolves. Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-010-2.
Various Warhammer 40,000 articles