The Marksman's Honour takes the form of a gold bolt shell casing, said to be the spent bolt cases from the bolter of the Primarch Roboute Guilliman, inscribed with the Space Marine's deeds and usually emblazoned with a skull motif. This bolt shell talisman is usually either hung from the belt or the boltgun of the Space Marine, though it is also sometimes worn around the neck. Sometimes the bolt shell will also include inscriptions, each one a single word or name denoting a shot or kill made by the Space Marine.
This Honour is only awarded to those that have shown remarkable accuracy with ranged weapons or consistently perform far-above-average in targeting foes. To even be considered for such an Honour, a Battle-Brother must have made a near impossible shot, such as striking a chink in a man-sized opponent’s armour at the edge of his weapon’s maximum range, snap-shooting a target while running in complete darkness, or firing through a closed door or opaque wall. All such instances are recorded by his peers, and if the Space Marine achieves enough of these exceptional shots, they are placed in the hands of his commanders so that they might examine them to see if the Space Marine's accomplishments are considered the result of luck or skill.
The purpose of this Honour, as laid out in the Codex Astartes, is to identify skilled marksmen within the Chapter to their commanders so that they might be best utilised in battle. For a Battle-Brother, this means that he is often entrusted with rare and special weapons such as plasma guns, lascannons or missile launchers where his steady aim and skilled eye can put their ancient devices to the best possible use, and many unique weapons, such as rare masterwork boltguns or artificer plasma pistols, so valuable to a Chapter that they will only ever be granted to those with the Marksman's Honour.
The other aspect of this Honour is that those that bear it are often given the privilege of engaging special targets, most notably enemy commanders or vital enemy weapons and vehicles. In fact, most Deathwatch search and destroy missions in the Jericho Reach with a high-profile target, such as a xenos commander, will include at least one Space Marine with the Marksman's Honour, to take the shot when the time comes. The Space Marine's demonstrated skill at arms also garners him a level of respect among the Adeptus Astartes, and those that understand what the Marksman's Honour represents, as having achieved a unique level of martial prowess, and can use this respect to gain influence in matters of war where his experience might give him greater leeway with his commanders.
- Cato Sicarius - Ultramarines. Awarded in battle against the Eldar during the Masali campaign.
- Severus - Ultramarines.
- 1: Deathwatch: Rites of Battle, pgs. 206-211
- 2: Insignium Astartes, pg. 62
- 3: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 22
- 4: Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pg. 111
- 5: Index Astartes: Dreadnoughts — Brothers of Renown