Manufactured by General Arms, the Lawgiver is a voice-activated machine pistol that serves as the standard sidearm issued to Judges. Several designs have been produced, and each is a multi-faceted weapon capable of firing a variety of ammunition from a single cartridge. Due to the high rate at which Judges are killed in the streets of Mega City One, each Lawgiver is equipped with several security features to help prevent one of these illustrious weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
Each Lawgiver has a sensor on its grip that is programmed to recognize the palm-print of the authorized user registered to the weapon. If anyone else, including another Judge, attempts to use the weapon it will not function. The MK will simply not function, the Mk II will detonate, and Mk III & IVs will use electric shock neutralize the unauthorized user. However, recognising that this feature may interfere with a Judge performing their duties in the field, the Justice Department does maintain instructions on how to bypass the security feature. This information is only accessible by Senior Judges and above, and was demonstrated by Judge Dredd when one of his partners was killed during an investigation.
Lawgiver MK I
The first sidearm seen used by the Judges. The Lawgiver MK I is a multi-fire weapon capable of using various ammunition types. It has two dorsal (top) and two ventral (bottom) feeding magazine wells and uses four double magazines that held 12 rounds on each side (24 per magazine, for a total of 96 rounds). Magazines had to be manually selected and the shooter had to pick between ventral or dorsal feed. Each magazine has a digital counter at the bottom that gives the ammo count in the magazine.
- Armor-Piercing (AP): a dense metal bullet meant to pierce body armor, cover, or a robot or vehicle's hardened metal chassis.
- General Purpose (GP): the standard lead alloy bullet.
- Grenade (G): Fires a shell that explodes into fragments. It is reserved for use on armored vehicles and reinforced robots.
- Heat Seeker (HS): The Heat Seeker over-caliber round is a Semi-Armor-Piercing bullet that has a lead alloy sheath over a dense metal core (which contains the sensor). It also has finned control surfaces on its tail to alter its course in flight. It could lock on and track targets by their heat signature. It screwed on to the end of the barrel with a magnetic clamp; this automatically locked out the magazines and rendered it unable to chamber and fire the weapon's other ammo types. Judges carried them in a special long pouch on the back of their gloves and carried 3 rounds per glove.
- High Explosive (HE): Fires a shell that detonates, but has little fragmentation.
- Incendiary (I): Contains a compound that sets the target on fire and can burn or melt anything it touches.
- Rubber Ricochet (RR): a rubber bullet used to shoot perps around corners and behind cover. It is useful in hostage or riot situations or when incapacitating a perp who is not guilty of a capital crime. The round, although "less lethal", can still injure or even maim or kill its target.
Standard loadout would be 2 "General Purpose" / "Armor-Piercing" magazines, 1 "Incendiary" / "Rubber Ricochet" magazine, and 1 "Grenade" / "High Explosive" magazine. Mixture is usually based on preference, experience, and mission type - but all six types have to be in the loadout.
The bullets are gyrojet projectiles fueled with Argon-88b, an unstable element. The 9-step dial on the side of the weapon shows the round's set velocity level ("1" being slowest and "9" being fastest). This can be automatically set by the gun's targeting computer or manually reset by the shooter. The bullets have a maximum range of 5 kilometers.
At the back of the breach is the "Fast Focus" scope. It aims through the bore to provide the Judge with an exact sight picture. It has a visual range of 200 to 2000 meters and has Tele-Visual, Night Vision, and Infra-Red imaging modes. The HUD in the aiming reticule gives the shooter the target type (human, machine, or robot), velocity level (1-9), ammo type chambered (GP, RR, HE, AP, I, G, or HS), and current magazine capacity (0-12 shots). Target selection was done by a button on the grip controlled by the ring finger and the scope's fine tuning could be done by a wheel on the grip controlled by the little finger.
The Mark I weapon had a strobe-light accessory that could either temporarily blind opponents in low light environments when set on a low cycle or induce seizures when set on a rapid cycle. This feature was discarded on later marks, perhaps because it would harm innocent bystanders.
Lawgiver MK II, Mk III & Mk IV
Lawgiver Mk IIIntroduced in 2120, the introduction of the then-new Lawgiver MK II was a bittersweet occasion for the members of the Justice Department.
Many of the first examples had been sabotaged by Nero Narcos, the leader of "The Frendz" crime syndicate, as part of Operation Doomsday. When they received a remote signal, the processors on the new weapons were deactivated. This made the palm-print function not recognise the Judge it was issued to, causing its self-destruct bomb to detonate. This maimed and killed scores of Judges and is seen as the opening event of the Second Robot War (2121).
It was a distinct improvement over the earlier model. All the ammunition is now stored in a single bulk magazine rather than a series of small magazines. Ammo types received a number designation (#1-6) and could be manually selected by using a dial on the side of the gun (replacing the velocity dial on the MK I) or by using a vocal command. Unlike the semi-automatic MK I, the MK II is capable of automatic fire.
The Lawgiver MK II is capable of firing the following different types of ammunition:
- Standard Execution (SE): ammunition used in response to generic situations.
- Armor-Piercing (AP): ammunition used to deal with Robots or lifeforms wearing body armor. Armor-Piercing rounds are also powerful enough to go through cover or multiple unarmored perps.
- Ricochet (R): rubber-titanium ammunition used to shoot perps around corners and behind cover. Can be used in standoff situations to allow Judges to shoot around hostages.
- Incendiary (I): partially explosive chemical rounds that ignite whatever target they hit.
- High-Explosive (HE, Hi-Ex): these rounds can be used when a situation calls for a forced entry into an area and there isn't time to wait for heavier reinforcements.
- Heatseeker (HS or "Hot Shot"): rounds that lock on and seek targets by their body-heat. Can be used in combination with Incendiary rounds.
- The Grenade bullet was replaced by a larger clip-on Fragmentation grenade shell.
- PSI Division Exorcists carry Exorcism rounds instead of Heat-Seekers.
Additionally, this model of Lawgiver also has an built-in Stun-Shot system, which runs off an internal battery pack. It fires a Neuro-Electric Energy Pulse that scrambles the target's nervous system, causing them to faint. The pulse has no lasting side-effects, though it may cause heart failure, epileptic seizures, or permanent Central Nervous System damage. A depleted battery pack can be recharged at a station house or from a Lawmaster's power system.
The MK II also has the capability to fire clip-on Fragmentation, Stumm Gas, or Tranq Gas grenade shells. They can be fired in either indirect- (arced trajectory) or direct-fire (flat trajectory) mode. The MK II can also fire a drug-filled Hypodermic Needle (Hypo) round. It operates and functions much like the earlier MK I's clip-on Heat Seeker round. It must be aimed by the operator as it doesn't have the Heat Seeker's lock-on function.
The MK II Lawgiver is also equipped with a "Fast-Focus" viewfinder to facilitate rapid targeting. It also has a built-in motion tracker (useful in total darkness or while blinded) that uses optional audible pings and tones to inform the operator of the location of nearby moving targets.
A silencer is issued that attaches on the muzzle; this renders the round subsonic and dissipates muzzle flash. When the silencer is equipped, the gun's voice module is muted to avoid alerting the target or giving away the Judge's position. While it is used, the Mk.II, III and IVs cannot use Rapid Fire mode and cannot attach Grenades or Hypo-Needle rounds.
Lawgiver Mk III
The Mk III is identical to the Mk I,with the exception of a disabling taser charge instead of the exploding fucntion.
Lawgiver Mk IV
The Mk IV is the weapon issued to the mutant zone deputies, and the city auxiliaries. The Mk IV can fire the standard execution rounds, and rubber ricochet rounds. To visually distinguish them from the Mk II and IIIs, they are colored grey instead of black.