Using linear accelerators to launch a hypervelocity, trilium-tipped solid dart, the Rail Rifle is capable of mortally wounding even the larger Tyranid bio-organisms, though the heavy armour plating found on Broadside Battlesuits offers some protection. While loaded with over a hundred rounds, the energy requirements for firing even a single slug requires the use of an entire cartridge power cell, a fact more than compensated for by the weapon's stopping power and penetration.
Though the Tau have utilized Rail Weapons since the First Sphere of Expansion, they initially proved far too large to use as an infantry weapon. Early Tau rail weapons required substantial shielding in order to avoid flooding their Hammerhead and Battlesuit pilots with radiation. These shields were inevitable formed from super-dense metal alloys and contributed greatly to the size of the weapon. Progress on fixing this flaw was slow for many years as the Earth Caste tried to improve the design and create an infantry-portable weapon. The breakthrough finally came during the Second Sphere of Expansion when the Tau developed a new ablative starship hull material to counteract the effects of Imperial Nova Cannons. Dubbing the new material "or'es'var" or "mighty bulwark", its radioactive absorbing abilities combined with its light weight made it ideal for infantry use.
- 1: Chapter Approved 2004, Pg. 46
- 2: Codex: Tau Empire (7th Edition), pg. 117, Ranged Weapons - Rail Weapons
- 3: Munitorum: Rail Rifles (Background Book)
|Slug-Throwers||Stub gun • Hand Cannon • Stub Rifle • Heavy stubber • Shotgun • Ripper Gun|
|Auto-Weapons||Autopistol • Autogun • Autocannon • Assault cannon • Macro cannon|
|Ork||Grot Blasta • Slugga • Shoota • Big Shoota • Supa-Gatler • Gigashoota|
|Eldar||Shuriken Weaponry • Shrieker Cannon • Death Spinner • Shadow Weaver|
|Dark Eldar||Splinter Pistol • Splinter Rifle • Splinter Cannon|
|Tau Empire||Kroot Bolt Thrower • Kroot rifle • Kroot hunting rifle • Kroot gun • Rail Rifle • Railgun|