October 28th 2013
Today’s Galactic Guide details the weapons lineup of Klaus & Werner, one of the premiere gun manufacturing companies in the Star Citizen universe! If you own a personal spacecraft, you likely own a K&W gun! This guide originally appeared in last month’s issue of Jump Point.
The majority of gun manufacturers diversify their manufacturing lineups. A&R makes reactors, GreyCat makes buggies. Even Behring, considered the platinum standard for laser class weaponry, also designs shield generators. Klaus & Werner doesn’t; they make guns, and they make them well.
This simple philosophy was the brainchild of Hector Klaus, a successful weapons inventor who believed above all else that simplicity of design would triumph in a combat situation. He long advocated creating weapons with as few moving parts as possible, reducing the needed supply chain and wherever possible rethinking weapon roles. He began his career working in Behring’s famed Terra lab, where his designs were applauded but his philosophy ignored. Military contracts were most profitable when they meant that a company would continue to produce replacement parts, upgrade kits and other maintenance supplies. A chance meeting with Jassica Werner, the widow of a wealthy industrialist, lead to Klaus’ resignation from Behring and the founding of a new company based on his principles.
In the ensuing years, Klaus & Werner has become a household name. Civilian pilots of all stripes rely on their affordably priced, effective guns systems and their personal arms division has seen great success. The company has had little success in the military arena, though. Repeated bids for lucrative military contracts have resulted in only token production orders, with the Army and Navy continuing to rely on Behring and other well-established standards for their weapons technologies.
The key limitation of laser weapons is their low damage potential. Lasers charge quickly, they impact a wide variety of energy fields and armor types, and they cause “clean” hits, but despite attempts at increasing battery pools and energy generation, no one has engineered a laser that does the kind of damage that a neutron gun or a kinetic weapon can inflict. Most designers work around this limitation by increasing the range and the surgical precision of their lasers. Not Klaus & Werner: the CF-series of laser repeaters is based on an entirely different principle: deliver as many hits to a wide area as quickly as possible. Three models of the CF series, the Bulldog, Badger and Panther, currently account for the majority of Klaus & Werner’s Voyager Direct sales.
Klaus & Werner positions the CF-007 Bulldog Laser Repeater as its “beginner” laser, with a low price point designed to introduce new pilots to the repeater concept. The ultimate hope is that a pilot who picks a Bulldog as a first gun will become used to the style of weapon and opt for a Klaus & Werner gun when it’s time to upgrade, rather than switching to a Behring with wholly different firing specifications. The Bulldog features a three-barrel sequential fire design which is capable of high rates of power while maintaining a good degree of accuracy. The overall low damage rate is countered by low overall power consumption. Reviews of the Bulldog have been middling, with many recommending that those with enough credits to spend opt for a higher quality weapon.
The CF-117 Badger Laser Repeater is a mid-range repeater intended as the next step up from the Bulldog. From a technical standpoint, it is merely a better-tuned Bulldog (with some additional styling to attract higher-credit spenders).
The Badger maintains the Bulldog’s power issues, producing an overall poor power-to-damage ratio. Serious repeater advocates generally skip the Badger during their upgrade process, unless their ships are customized in such a way that the higher-yield Panther would be an ineffective choice.
The CF-227 Panther is the pinnacle of the Klaus & Werner repeater line for smaller ships. The Panther well overcomes the design limitations of the Bulldog and Badger, creating a true fire-and-forget weapon with a respectable power consumption-to-damage ratio. Pilots who can afford to outfit their ships with Panthers, both in terms of power capacity and credit balance, rarely regret the decision. The greatest limitation of this weapon is its struggle with power efficiency.
Klaus & Werner’s second, less celebrated line of weapons is its class of ballistic mass drivers. These hard-ammo ballistic weapons are capable of firing multiple types of ammunition and generally offer better shield penetration in exchange for requiring ammunition reloads. Low energy requirements are ideal for pilots hoping to conserve power and reduce EM signature. Klaus & Werner currently manufactures a 60mm hard-ammo mass driver for the civilian market, as well as several other bore ratings under restricted contracts. The major criticism of these weapons is their limited magazine space, although a number of aftermarket upgrades are available to somewhat alleviate this problem.
Although the mass driver line got off to a slow start, recent years have seen sales quadruple annually. This is likely the result of the increase in Vanduul attacks on the frontier coupled with the popular impression that mass driver-style weaponry will do more damage to a Scythe than a simple laser. While military surveys do not necessarily support this thinking, it has spread to the popular consciousness and seen frontier worlds adopting mass drivers for use in their militia spacecraft in large numbers.
Likely the most famous device in Klaus & Werner’s pantheon is the Model II Arclight, a handheld laser made famous as Kyle Fenris’ sidearm on the hit vid show The Frontier. Fenris’ reliable Arclight became so closely associated with the character that the series’ producers were once forced to torpedo a licensing deal with VOLT after fan reaction to the weapons change set off widespread reaction and crippled ratings. As such, the Model II Arclight has become extremely popular on the civilian market; it’s the gun most likely to be found under a pillow or, in plastic toy form, battling it out in a child’s game of Vanduuls and Star Heroes.
The other side to this coin is that the Arclight has become as much of a fashion statement as a weapon, with serious enthusiasts decrying it for such. Despite this, the Arclight is a high quality laser with what is arguably the best handgun-to-Optiglass link in the business. Arclights are durable and the lack of moving parts, per Klaus’ philosophy, means that they survive in a number of extreme environments that would freeze or otherwise totally disable many of their peers.