"Dosen't kick, barely makes a fucking sound actually, but damn if it dosen't kill the poor bastard across the way dead."- Knight Corps Mercenary
The Z-23 Plasma Rifle is a bleeding edge assault type rifle recently created by the IMC that has seen only limited use in the recent Frontier conflict. It is the weapon of choice for IMC's elite black operations units and close mercenary ties, though these are mostly field tests as the weapon has yet to reach the full production phase.
The Z-23 Plasma Rifle is loosely based off the Titan scaled Plasma Railgun, looking very simmilar in most respects, and functions on much the same princable. Electromagnetic fields are harnessed by the rifles powercell and act as the catalyst for firing a powerful bolt of concentraited energy at a supersonic velocity. The Z-23 fires at a semi-automatic rate, though it can be quite rapid in the hands of a skilled soldier. With little to no recoil, due to the nature of its energy based ammunition, the Z-23 is an ideal marksman weapon and mid to long range combat solution. Its powercell can hold enough charge for eighteen shots, and each round is powerful enough to rip though Grunts and Specters with ease, though standard pilot armor provides minimal protection against it. Titans are, as with most small arms weapons, practically immune to this weapon when assaulted head on, but when utilized against exposed components (via Rodeo style attack) it can prove devastating.
Unfortunantly, the weapon is still in the pre-production phase, and suffers from various drawbacks. Aside from its instantainous fire mode (as opposed to the charge neccicary for othe energy based weapons) the weapon can overheat quickly, and its internal components are prone to shorting out given too much electronic interfierence. (such an Arc Grenade or Electric Smoke) Its powercells, though rechargeable, are also unstable. If one is damaged via a stray bullet, it could explode with enough force to incinerate the user and anyone within arms reach of him.
The Z-23 was developed by the geniouses in the IMC's R&D department, the result of years of research on energy based weaponary. By combining the man-portable powercells of the Charge Rifle and the design of the Plasma Railgun, the Z-23 was finally born. The weapon was revolutionary, giving the average infantryman, ecpecially specialists such as Pilots, the firepower to bring down an opponent at nearly any range and regardless of armor. Its main beinfit however, was the lightweight components in comparison to its stopping power. Though currently in the final stages of development and field testing, its quite likely that the Z-23 will become the weapon of choice in the hands of the galaxies riflemen.