Type-25 plasma pistol
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This article is about the model introduced in Halo: Combat Evolved. For the model introduced in Halo 5: Guardians, see Type-54 plasma pistol.
The Type-25 Directed Energy Pistol (Type-25 DEP), also known as the plasma pistol, is a Covenant infantry firearm, carried commonly by the smaller species, such as the Unggoy, Kig-Yar, and the Yanme'e, but is occasionally used by larger species such as the Sangheili and Jiralhanae; as such it is the most commonly encountered Covenant energy weapon. While weak on its own, the plasma pistol has a wide variety of functions and becomes deadly in large numbers.
Design and usage
The plasma pistol is a Covenant directed-energy weapon that was reverse-engineered from a Forerunner device. The weapon is powered by a battery cell. This battery can be recharged using a variety of power sources, including UNSC generators, provided an appropriate adaptor is at hand. Plasma pistols have a core power output of 100-150 KV at 2~3 dA, but when overcharged, the power output can reach 1.5 MV @ 2~3 dA. The Type-25 DEP is a semi-automatic weapon using a single collimator design that gives the weapon its smooth and aerodynamic, claw like appearance. The Type-25 DEP's functionality is straightforward, the rear section of the pistol has a holographic display which indicates temperature as the weapon is fired—in the center of the holographic display is a small red pad, this pad is the Type-25 DEP's safety and activation mechanism. Before the plasma pistol can be fired the user must place their thumb on the pad, the pistol then activates and can be fired. On the left side is another small red button this opens the top heating vent and allows access to the weapon's internal components.
With the dissolution of a centralized manufacturing control—as a result of the Great Schism and fall of the Covenant—new production of plasma pistols have appeared in a bewildering variety of casing styles and adornments. Much to the consternation of UNSC intelligence officers tasked with categorizing new plasma pistol variants, within this broad type classification are innumerable, different sub-classes. This is due to the Covenant's loose (by human standards) interpretation of "standardization" and disdain of serial manufacturing techniques.
The plasma pistol has two modes of fire, semi-automatic direct and semi-guided area of effect (AOE), also known as "overcharge".
Default firing mode
When rapidly tapping the trigger, the plasma pistol will fire small bolts of plasma. These bolts deal little damage to targets protected by energy shields, though still more than most bullet weapons. Against unarmored targets, though, the lethality of the Type-25 DEP is extreme. Injuries inflicted to a victim are severe third-degree burns, this level of injury causes the wound to be cauterized instantly upon impact. Body fluids would be subjected to flash vaporization, inducing a strain or a shock on the body after impact, fluids trapped in organs or arteries in addition to the rapid expansion of heat would cause ruptures or small explosions causing additional damage to the target. Near misses can also cause injury to the target, as they produce severe burns to the area they pass, this can also cause heat trauma or heat stroke from the extreme temperatures of the bolt. Should the plasma strike cover, the impact can cause splash damage by flinging heated debris, though the blast radius is smaller than most Covenant explosive weapons.
The semi-auto firing mode can be used until the weapon overheats, after which it must cool down for a few seconds before it can be used again. As the weapon approaches low battery, it may sputter and fail to fire. The Hesduros-manufactured pistols used by Jul 'Mdama's forces fire more powerful plasma bolts, with a comparable increase in energy use per shot.
If the plasma pistol's trigger is held for a few seconds, the plasma at the tip will gather into a large spherical mass. Releasing the trigger will fire a single bolt of larger size than usual. This bolt, if aimed correctly, will track its target for a short distance if they attempt to dodge. The overcharged bolt creates an electromagnetic pulse, stunning most electronics. If the target is protected by energy shields, all but the strongest shields will break, allowing their body to take damage. If the overcharge strikes a vehicle, it will be temporarily disabled and rendered helpless for several seconds. As such, even the weakest Covenant infantry can thwart an assaulting Spartan or vehicle, forcing their foe to retreat or creating an opening for their allies. Should an overcharged bolt strike an unarmored flesh target, it will result in instant death. During the Battle of Cleveland, Myras Tyla, striking an Unggoy Minor trio with her plasma pistol, disintegrated three Unggoy rapidly from a single overcharged bolt strike.
However, after the overcharged bolt is fired, the pistol will automatically overheat. Until it cools down the pistol cannot be fired in this mode, giving an opposing target enough time to counterattack. Using the overcharge frequently will also drain the battery faster than usual.
The plasma pistol is a great close-to medium range weapon. While it can't inflict high damage at long range, the plasma pistol can be used at a distance if the user fires slowly and aims carefully by leading the target. It is extremely efficient at killing "soft" targets, while dealing large amounts of damage to a heavily armored target. Its overcharge ability is extremely dangerous to shielded infantry, and to non-shielded infantry. Because of the extreme temperatures released, a vehicle running on a hydrogen engine, or one that is lightly covered, can be damaged or disabled if the overcharged bolt hits it — in addition to the high temperatures, the electromagnetic bottle containing the plasma can produce an EMP which can disable any electronic device within range. When compared with the plasma rifle, the plasma pistol's non-overcharged firing mode is far more accurate at medium and long ranges, although the plasma projectiles tend to arc downward at long range. SPARTANs and Sangheili have the ability to dual-wield plasma pistols, doubling their efficiency in close- to mid-range combat situations. If fired fast enough, the high velocity of the plasma projectile coupled with the force of the kinetic impact, can knock over, or stun infantry.
The plasma pistol, when fired continuously, or when an overcharged bolt is fired, will overheat because of the rapid cycling, loading, ignition, and release sequence of energy. To prevent the weapon from being damaged, the Type-25 DEP temporarily shuts down and opens a cooling vent to allow the excess heat to dissipate before the weapon reactivates. This process leaves the weapon temporarily inoperable. Infantry who are not aware of the function of the plasma pistol can get killed because of this. Human military experts and scientists do not understand how Covenant plasma weapons work, or how they are recharged; as such when the battery is depleted the plasma pistol must be discarded or replaced. At 10% charge level the plasma pistol will begin to misfire, this is due to the battery's inability to deliver enough energy to start and complete the ignition and release phase of operation. As such this hampers the operators use of the weapon. Continuously holding down the trigger while in overcharge mode will rapidly deplete the energy source, and if not careful the weapon can be wasted before firing a single round. Another disadvantage is its short range which is about 10–25 meters depending on the charge level.
Although the plasma pistol can strike a target at long ranges, it is not suited for long-range combat, due to two distinct properties of the weapon's operation. The first is the rate of thermal expansion which is determined by the rate of the bloom of the bolt; "blooming" is the result of plasma breakdown in the air at energy densities of around a megajoule per cubic centimeter. This effect causes the plasma to defocus and dissolve into the atmosphere. It can be more severe if there is fog, smoke, or dust in the air. As the bolt is accelerated away from the "barrel" of the weapon the plasma begins to decay as a result of the weakening magnetic field. Speed also factors in to this, the faster the bolt is accelerated, the farther the bolt will travel before the temperature of plasma begins to decay and the magnetic field becomes unstable and finally dissipates. As the bolt loses velocity it also loses kinetic damage as it travels longer distances.
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