Manufactured by General Arms, the Lawgiver is the standard sidearm issued to Judges in the fictional world of the Judge Dredd comics. 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 self-destruct in the user's hand, leaving them severely crippled or killed. 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 IEdit
The first sidearm seen used by Dredd and the other Judges. Unlike the blocky, black MK II, the Lawgiver MK I was silver in colour and much more slender, resembling a rifle scope with a pistol grip.
The Lawgiver MK I was a multi-fire weapon capable of using various ammunition types. It had two dorsal (top) and two ventral (bottom) feeding magazine wells and used 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.
- General Purpose (GP): the standard lead alloy bullet.
- Armor-Piercing (AP): a dense metal bullet meant to pierce body armor, cover, or a robot/vehicle's hardened metal chassis.
- Rubber Ricochet (RR): a rubber bullet used to shoot perps around corners and behind cover, including human hostages.
- Incendiary (I): Contains a compound that sets the target on fire and can burn or melt anything it touches.
- Grenade (G): Fires a shell that explodes into fragments. It is reserved for use on armored vehicles and reinforced robots.
- High Explosive (HE): Fires a shell that detonates, but has little fragmentation.
- Heat Seeker (HS): The Heat Seeker over-caliber round is a Semi-Armor-Piercing round that has an alloy bullet with a dense metal core that contains the sensor and 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.
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.
Lawgiver MK IIEdit
Introduced 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 Neros 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 walls. 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)': 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 (Grenade), 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.
Appearance in FilmsEdit
Judge Dredd (1995)Edit
In the 1995 film, the weapon used by the Judges was a visually modified version of the Lawgiver MK II. This weapon had its magazine in the grip rather than before the trigger. It lacked the Stun-Shot function and didn't have the ability to fire grenades from the muzzle.
The weapon also lacks the Fast Focus scope. Instead, a targeting sensor in a module mounted under the barrel is used to guide the rounds.
The movie version also had additional fire modes. The "Rapid Fire" function made firing speed similar to that of a machine gun and "Double Whammy" fired two homing shots at the same time at two different pre-designated targets.
At the Academy of Law, Judge Dredd (played by Sylvester Stallone) is seen demonstrating the Lawgiver, which has a clip of 25 rounds. The ammunition is referred to as "mission-variable" and "voice-programmed". Apparently the ammunition is a generic multi-purpose slug that turns into a specialized type (High Explosive, Armor-Piercing, etc.) when it is verbally designated by the operator. The High-Explosive round was called "Grenade". There is also a new "Signal Flare" ammunition (though it might be a different name for the Incendiary round). The anti-tampering boobytrap differed in that it gave a lethal shock rather than detonating an explosive charge.
Dredd 3D (2012)Edit
The Lawgiver in the 2012 film Dredd resembles the MK II model. The "Hot Shot" round used in the standoff in the beginning of the movie, although carrying the nickname of the Heat Seeker round, is more of a focused pyrotechnic. The incendiary round proper serves as a white-phosphorous cluster-grenade. It also has a digital screen that indicates what type of rounds are to be fired (e.g. when Dredd commands "High Ex", the display says "HIGH EX", showing that "High Ex" has been selected).