Infantry Weapons Technology included all weapons that could be carried and employed by a single person, although its use was sometimes restricted to specialist members of attack or defense teams, as well as all types of personal armor.
Personal and ground-based weapons
Pulsers were mass drivers using gravity rather than electromagnetism to drive projectiles. A typical military-issue pulser pistol had a caliber of 3mm and a muzzle velocity of 2,000 m/s. The 'Darts', as the projectiles were known, were often fitted with explosive warheads. It was essentially unheard of for anyone to survive a pulser hit, with even a shot to the hand being powerful enough to destroy the entire arm. Pulsers and pulse rifles greatly resembled chemically-powered firearms of earlier eras, and were used in an analogous role.
Pulse rifles were the shoulder arm variant of the pulser, firing calibers of up to 4.7mm. The standard muzzle velocity for a 4.7mm pulse rifle is comparable to that of a 3mm pulser pistol, about 1,800 m/s. (JIR1) Under Manticoran law, pulsers and pulse rifles could be possessed by civilians as well as military personnel. Indeed, the Manticoran constitution strictly forbade any restriction against the possession of projectile weapons by law-abiding citizens. There were some restrictions on where such weapons could be carried, however, especially in urban areas.
Vehicle-based pulsers could achieve tremendous rates of fire, up to 10,000 rounds per second from one barrel. It is not stated how the weapon could be loaded at this rate, or how it could store the amount of ammunition it would likely require.
The Tri-barrel was a belt-fed, high-rate-of-fire infantry support pulser weapon.
- The Royal Manticoran Marine Corps version could fire one hundred 4mm explosive darts per second. (HH2)
- The Republic of Haven Marine Corps version fired 5mm darts and could fire from one hundred to three thousand hypervelocity darts per minute, as long as the ammo in the back-worn ammo carrier held out. (HH8)
Similar to pulsers, these weapons were the equivalent of shotguns. There was a muzzle choke which allowed the firer to adjust the dispersion pattern. While less powerful, flechette guns were favored for boarding actions because they were much less likely to damage the interior of a ship.
These were less common heavy personal weapons. Often employed as heavy support weapons, tripod-mounted plasma cannons were among the most deadly weapons available, being able to defeat battle armor or destroy entire squads of enemy soldiers in a single volley. Scotty Tremaine was an expert in the use of a plasma carbine.
- Plasma Rifle – A typical weapon used by the RMMC.
Much like ATGMs, these shoulder-braced launchers fired impeller drive missiles with an acceleration of 3,000 Gs. As with ship-fired countermissiles, the wedge itself was the warhead.
- Viper surface-to-air missile (HH3)
These were ultrasonic weapons, considerably less destructive than pulsers but are still able to cause massive trauma (i.e.: bruising and blunt-force nerve destruction) in those hit. Honor Harrington lost her left eye and most of her subcutaneous facial nerves to a disruptor shot, requiring artificial reconstruction.
The culture of Manticore included dueling: a person could challenge another person to a duel, and there was strong cultural pressure for the challenged party to accept. The customary weapon for duels was a 10mm semi-automatic pistol. These pistols were used instead of pulsers so that duels would be less lethal. Every starship in the Royal Manticore Navy had dueling pistols for the use by its crewmembers.
The most common form of armor were advanced ballistic textiles, a thin layer of armor would be enough to offer some protection against gunpowder based firearms. Ballistic Cloths are also used in the garments of those bonded to treecats, to prevent damage from the claws during perching.
Skinsuits offered a limited degree of protection from enemy fire, depending on their design.
The ultimate in personal defensive equipment was the battle armor. This type of powered exoskeleton was invulnerable to direct hits from chemical-explosive grenades and many light and medium caliber projectile weapons; defeating battle armor generally required a plasma or missile anti-armor weapon. Some organizations such as the Mesan Internal Security Directorate and Mesan Planetary Peaceforce also used utility armor, which offered less protection but had much longer endurance and was easier to field in confined spaces. (CS3)
- Gun control in the Star Kingdom of Manticore in the Infodump
- It resembles the powersuits in Heinlein's Starship Troopers.