Sniper rifles are long-ranged and highly accurate rifles, mainly used for assassination. Small groups of snipers, and even lone snipers, can hold back the advance of an enemy force many times their number, pinning them in cover. Both Imperial and Eldar forces use sniper rifles to great effect.
Many forms of sniper rifles are longer ranged and high-accuracy variations of existing firearm types. The least advanced sniper rifles use solid bullets, but some lasguns are lengthened to allow them to be used in a sniper role.[Needs Citation]
There are several differences between solid-slug rifles and energy based rifles. Because a laser bolt travels much faster than a solid slug, a Long-Las is an instant hit weapon and therefore offers pinpoint accuracy; the major disadvantage of using a long-las is that the beam reveals the sniper's position when fired, while a solid-slug rifle offers better concealment if equipped with a noise suppressor.[Needs Citation]
Most weapons have specialist sights added on to enable them to pick out specific targets such as officers.[Needs Citation]
Space Marine Sniper Rifle
Space Marine Chapters, particularly Scouts, utilize a unique model of Sniper Rifle. A Space Marine-pattern Sniper Rifle fires a solid shell and boasts powerful telescopic sights that allows the wielder to fire at an enemy weak points and distant foes with extreme accuracy.
Needle sniper rifle
Needle sniper rifles (or Needlers) are used by some sniper and assassin units of the Imperium. Needlers fire a needle of crystallized toxin, propelled by a form of laser technology that is invisible and flashless, allowing the weapon to be used without giving away the sniper's position. The beam which propels the sliver gives the Needler unerring accuracy, driving the toxin to its target. The secondary function of the beam is to pierce any existing armour and provide an opening for the sliver to penetrate.
Needlers are silent and the sliver itself is so fine that it is not felt even if it penetrates flesh. The crystallized toxin dissolves almost immediately after penetration. The toxin is extremely fast-acting, taking effect in a matter of a few seconds.
Various types of toxins can be employed by the Needler, the most common three being lethal neuro-toxins, sedatives which induce temporary coma, and intoxicants which stupefies the victim, putting him in a completely passive state.
High-powered customized sniper rifles are the characteristic weapon of Vindicare Temple assassins, and are feared by troops for their ability to take down even the most heavily armoured infantry with a single shot. Vindicare sniper rifles can make use of anti-tank rounds to penetrate otherwise impenetrable armour.
"Ultra" Pattern Mk. IX Sniper Rifle
At just over two metres in length and weighing close to fifty kilograms, the Mark IX allows a Deathwatch sharpshooter to engage targets with incredible accuracy at very long ranges.
A highly-respected and revered weapon, it is often selected as the weapon of choice for Space Marine snipers in many Deathwatch Kill-teams. Each Mk. IX has the following integral systems:
- Tailor Made: Each Mk. IX is tailored to fit the Battle Brother to whom it has been issued. The weapon’s stock and hand guard are matched to the user's size and shooting stance, making carrying, pointing, and shooting the sniper rifle as easy and natural as pointing a finger. While this increases the sniper rifle’s accuracy, the custom furniture makes it uncomfortable and nearly impossible for anyone else to use it without serious modification. Each Mk. IX is also fitted with a special security system programmed with the owner’s genetic code. This system, composed of a sensor pad in the weapon’s stock, makes contact with a matching pad in the palm of the glove worn on the Space Marine's shooting hand. The Space Marine's genetic data is then transferred to the weapon’s cogitator and analysed. If the cogitator array senses the owner, the sniper rifle operates as normal. If anyone else attempts to use the weapon, the cogitator will disable the firing mechanism. This renders the sniper rifle unusable until the true owner picks it up again.
- 30x Scope: This powerful telescopic sight allows the sharpshooter to engage enemies at extremely long range.
- Suppressor: This combination silencer and flash concealer reduces both muzzle flash and the signature report of a needle weapon.
- Highly Accurate: With its long barrel, integral recoil compensators, and under-barrel bipod, the Mk. IX is an incredibly accurate and well-balanced weapon and its turbo-chem needle ammunition means that the weapon is toxic as well.
Mk.III Shrike Pattern
Mk.III Shrike Sniper Rifles are Bolt Weapons utilized by Vanguard Eliminators. The optical sights of this weapon can be tailored for any situation, from thermoscopic vision to precision auspex scans that can penetrate several feet of solid matter. Once locked on to, there is nowhere for an Eliminator's prey to hide. Each member of the squad carries spare magazines filled with special ammunition, tailored for every eventually. Hyperfrag rounds detonate in a shower of shrapnel, Executioner rounds are sophisticated self-guided missiles slaved to a miniaturized cogitator that can seek their target from behind cover, while mortis rounds spew self-replicating mutagenic toxins into the flesh of a target.
A large calibre anti-materiel sniper rifle with a bipod that uses the same ammunition as the autocannon meant for knocking out enemy equipment, suppressing light vehicles, and eliminating enemy combatants in a single hit.
- Eldar Ranger Long Rifle
- Eldar Needle Sniper Rifle
- Tau Rail Rifle
- Tau Longshot Pulse Rifle
- Necron Synaptic Disintegrator
- Reaver Long Rifle
- 1: Warhammer 40,000: Wargear, [Needs Citation]
- 2: Confrontation, [Needs Citation]
- 3: Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 66
- 4: Deathwatch: Rites of Battle, pgs. 138–139
- 5: Warhammer 40,000 6th Edition Rulebook pg. 55
- 6: Redemption Corps (Novel) by Rob Sanders pg 369
- 7: Codex: Vanguard Space Marines (8th Edition) pg.7