"He threw a glance up into the blasted spires of the collapsed building and saw a dark shape moving against the night sky; the H-K's turret.  Its searchlights swept down through the ruins.  Reese checked the "Pulse Remaining" level on his Westinghouse M-25.  The rifle had only one plasma pulse left.  Take a shot.  Blind the son of a bitch.  Resse aimed up at its eyes, the infrared lenses of the gun mount.

Reese flipped up the rifle's flexy sight -Oh, shit, faster, faster- stared into the CRT scope- Move, Goddamnit, move- and squeezed off a burst of high-energy plasma.

The H-K's ultra-high sensitive lens exploded into a shower of glass and melted microchips.

Then the gleaming black monster fired.

 Reese and Ferro dove out of the building as the H-K vaporized what was left of it.  But Reese had blinded it on one side.  Good.  And now I'm gonna kill you, he thought."

-Frakes and Wisher, THE TERMINATOR

M-25 Series Weapon System Specifications


Westinghouse High Energy Arms Division
Tulsa OK, USA,
North America

Also available in template form at any Series III or higher construction facility


02:10:1990 to 08:11:1997 A.D. by Westinghouse HEAD (WHEAD) 
High production carried out from 1998 to 2010 by SKYNET.
Limited production batches manufactured by SKYNET from 1998 until 2029 A.D.

Model A1 production run from inception to 1993 A.D.  Improved Gain Model A2 production run from 2008 A.D.  High Gain model A3 production run from 2011 A.D. until 2018 A.D.  Replaced in service by M95A1 weapon system at that time.



Personal, fully portable very high energy weapon system - standard American combat rifle


Enduralloy components mated to carbon fiber and moly fiber carrier, misc. plastics and metals with superconducting filaments.


Level III magnetic field containment of refined hydrogen fuel excited with thermal rapid pulse chemical high energy laser ignition system.  High percentage of component mass of plasma pulse cartridge forms core of pulse and transitory lining of magnetic bottle during pulse initialization.


7mm / 4mm magnetically stabilized and insulated smoothbore


3.35kg, unloaded. Loaded box magazine of 40 plasma pulse cartridges weighs 1.5kg
Battery (charged or discharged) weighs 1kg

Total loaded weapon weight: 5.85kg


Length overall, 1.05 meters (1050mm)


M109T5 PPC plasma pulse cartridge, 7mm x 50mm, loaded into staggered box magazine

Type 3AM8 very high density crystal matrix battery, provides power for 120 shots (3 magazines)


40 round box magazine, standard.  Optional 60 round staggered box magazine and 120 round drum magazine.


60 pulses per minute (ppm) initial, 30 ppm sustained given cooling cycle.  Onboard diagnostic and safety interface systems prevent weapon overheating by locking out firing system if core temp rises beyond acceptable levels.  Semi-automatic cycling only.


0.32 Mj phased plasma bolt, flow wash temp at +4500 degrees


Staged hand-off coils accelerate bolt to a velocity of 9000 meters per second (9.0kps).


2000 meters (bolt integrity destabilizes and cohesion factor approaches .85% dispersal).  Bolt reaches maximum range in 0.22 seconds.


750 meters (at this point bolt begins to lose cohesion, dispersal factor starts to rise).  Bolt reaches effective range in 0.083 seconds.


Contact hit produces 5mm diameter entry point forming destructive tunneling of target material through kinetic energy and super thermal contact.  Upon negative penetration or contact with a superior surface, bolt will destabilize into high speed thermal tributary fragments with a one meter lethal splash radius.  Laser excited, magnetically accelerated 5mm x 400mm pre-emptive phased conversion thermal bolt will penetrate 4cm of case hardened steel up to effective range with loss of overall penetration commensurate with range after that.  Immediate transfer of thermo-kinetic energy to soft target tissues and standing fluids rated at greater than 95% with high speed liquid to vapor thermal expansion.  High duration of residual thermal effects noted in hard surfaces struck by plasma fire.  Explosive displacement of up to one cubic meter of material may result from bolt impact with material having trapped water or water vapor inside (porous rock, concrete, masonry, etc.) with lethal spall out to one point five meters from point of explosive decoupling of material cohesive structure.


Consistent Damage Index of 95 / 3.5 representing at effective range the 5mm x 400mm bolt will penetrate 95cm of standard ballistic gelatin with a wound channel radiating out 3.5 cm from the point of impact narrowing from that radius in accordance with depth and tensile strength of target material as the bolt loses temperature and velocity.  This index rating does not take into account any standing liquids such as water or blood that may be encountered as such liquids will be instantaneously vaporized thus greatly increasing the wound channel radius through flash heating causing high velocity steam expansion and lethal bursting of soft tissues over a large volume of body area.


When SKYNET leveled the world, personal energy weapons were available in large percentages to the American military forces and to a much lesser extent to the Russians and the Chinese.  It wasn't a matter of "if" high energy weapons would replace traditional projectile weapons on the battlefield so much as it was a matter of "when" and America seemed to have the lead not only in research but thanks to the sharing of reverse engineered technology through DARPA, industry giants Westinghouse and General Dynamics were already ramping up production of their combat and support high energy weapons to replace the traditional Colt M16 and the Browning M2HB HMG.  America was the only standing First World army that had any large armounts of these weapons in their arsenals and newer designs were on the drawing boards.  By 1997, Russia wasn't far behind in producing their first prototypes and China was trying its best to steal either of the other two countries designs since its own designs were still lagging farther behind than the Chinese would care to be.  

Most scientists agreed in 1986 that the first working field issue prototypes of high energy weapons would probably appear within the next decade, give or take a handful of years either way.  These scientists couldn't have known the snowball effect of the technological windfall that had fallen into America's lap courtesy of the T800's debris.  It was a perfect time, as far as the American military industrial complex was concerned, for such a windfall of high, near miraculous technology to become available.  During a time when America was decidely pulling ahead of both Russia and China in the Cold War arms race, the windfall of technology, no, the avalanche of ever developing technology derived from the debris of the T800 and Cyberdyne Systems' lead as well as cooperation through DARPA with the American military industrial complex, pushed America decades ahead of its two rivals.

The unexpected destruction of most of the human race in 1997, of course, stalled any further development of these new types of high energy weapons and, except for the American designs, destroyed the research and development facilities where these advanced weapons were being tested in both Russia and China.  The American High Energy Testing Center (HETC) at White Sands survived the exchange with little damage, thanks in part to SKYNET's protection of what it considered a critical and core asset of its future expansion ability, thus the designs as well as the research data on these weapons became SKYNET's spoils of war.

SKYNET was very careful in its initial exchange to destroy what it could of anything that could be used against it, namely strategic assets (long range missiles, ICBMs, big nukes and any orbital weapon systems) as well as the theoretical and practical technology centers of the Russians and the Chinese.  The fact that most of these centers were located near large civilian and industrial complexes made collateral damage to those secondary targets an added consideration.  The return exchange from Russia and the very limited exchange from China wrecked wide spread devastation over American high density population centers but for the most part spared not only those areas that had been key in the construction of SKYNET but also those areas which could quickly be brought back online after the exchange.  SKYNET protected its assets with ballistic interceptors and its own emplaced, high energy weapons both ground mounted at Cheyenne Mountain and in orbit above (part of the overall SDI project).  This allowed SKYNET to recover a large amount of military industrialization in the years immediately following the exchange, industrialization that SKYNET used to quickly produce a large standing military force and furthermore to equip that force with the best weapons and defenses ever devised.  SKYNET's rapid spool up to an automated industrial conglomerate was key to its plans and tantamount to the early critical successes that SKYNET enjoyed in the first decade after the War.

SKYNET, as part of its core operations, had been programmed with all the theory, research, application and science of American designed personal high energy weapons and it continued to develop this chain of technology as rapidly as it could, realizing the potential advantage.  As SKYNET learned and developed at an incredible rate, so did it's ability to research and develop practical as well as theoretical technologies.  Three years of research into magnetic fields allowed SKYNET to produce smaller and smaller magnetic bottles for the containment of plasma reactions.  This led directly to the advent and introduction of the subsequent generations of compact, high energy weapons.

The first truly portable infantry-class personal high energy weapon, the M-25 plasma rifle, was developed at the Tulsa, Oklahoma Westinghouse High Energy Advanced Designs facilty in 1990 A.D.  After Judgment Day, the M25 (and later variants) was considered acceptable, at the time, for use by SKYNET's ground forces and mass production began in late 1998 A.D.

The operation of the M-25 plasma weapon was simple. A magazine held a power cell and a small amount of refined hydrogen fuel. When the trigger (firing actuator) was pulled, both hydrogen and energy were siphoned off from the magazine and fed into their respective parts of the weapon. The hydrogen was injected into a magnetic bottle where it was compressed by powerful magnetic fields. The siphoned energy from the magazine powered a rapid flex high energy pulse laser to nearly instantaneously superheat the compressed hydrogen to a highly volatile, excited plasma state, producing an ionized gas with a temperature of several thousand degrees. The magnetic bottle was then opened on the 'barrel' end and a series of staged magnetic fields both guided and accelerated the superheated plasma bolt down the barrel.  A high intensity infra-red pilot laser in the weapon vaporized a line of sight path through the atmosphere to the target a microsecond before the actual bolt was produced, resulting in less atmospheric diffraction of the bolt and tighter cohesion of the plasma packet.  The plasma bolt followed the pilot laser beam at a muzzle velocity in excess of 8500 meters per second, packing a considerable amount of kinetic energy as well as thermal energy upon impact.  With the trigger held down, this routine happened several times a second, allowing rates of fire equal to the best large caliber automatic rifles.  Excess temperature was a problem, and full automatic fire often resulted in overheating and premature weapon shutdown, with some extreme cases resulting in weapon damage or even catastrophic detonation of the fuel cell on weapons with low serial numbers and early batch production codes.  Cyclic fire selectors were built into the design, allowing for single shots or short bursts and offered the weapon time to cool to safe operating temperatures in part to .  Heavier weapons were built with integral cooling systems and thus were capable of higher rates of sustained fire.

Personal body armor was easily penetrated by the super hot plasma bolt which could burn its way through more than a half meter of case hardened steel (one quarter meter of composite laminate) in an instant. Organic targets struck by the bolt suffered severe kinetic damage from the hyper velocity impact of the semi-solid bolt as well as massive collateral and thermal damage from rapid fluid expansion, bolt dispersion and subsequent plasma splash over. The high temperature plasma effected super heating of standing body fluids, resulting in massive steam explosions which could explode apart a living person or neatly amputate and cauterize a limb. Near misses produced horrible third degree burns.  A close hit against a more substantial material (such as armor plate or a concrete wall) produced a 'splatter' effect where some of the plasma became deadly, high speed super hot fragments. Modern personal body armor (Kevlar) proved to be useless as protection against plasma weapons with heavy vehicular composite armor such as Chobham and other late development laminates providing largely diminished and only somewhat effective protection.

Weighing in at only a kilo more than the standard issue American M16A2 5.56mm assault rifle, the M-25 was housed in a polymer one piece stock, in a compact bullpup configuration. The magazine (battery and fuel cell) for the M-25 was only slightly twice the weight of a standard 30 round M16 magazine.  In 2001 A.D., the M-25 was supplemented by the M-25A1, a product improved model with slightly longer range and superior cooling capacity.  By 2006 A.D., the M-25A1 PI Product Improved "phased" plasma rifle began showing up in the hands of armed human resistance and was much more effective against general combat Machines.  The A1 model also included a better designed anti-thermal bloom deflector just ahead of the forward hand grip which greatly reduced collateral plasma bloom flashback during sustained fire.  Several shipments of M-25A1 plasma rifles, produced at the A888 manufactory macro-plant in Tulsa, OK, were hijacked by coordinated human Resistance elements early in 2007 A.D.  These weapons were then used against SKYNET's forces in a variety of operational theaters and priority fronts in the Midwestern United States.

Throughout the War, from 2006 A. D. until the destruction of SKYNET in 2029 A.D., the M-25 plasma rifle, M25A1 phased plasma rifle (and later the M25A2j phased plasma rifle) variants formed the mainstay of human weapons put into use against the Machines.  Human modifications to the M-25A1 and A2 series included reworking the upper stock for the addition of various mechanical and digital vision enhancement devices (most notably the TI M12 described below) as well as using a clip to hold an extra magazine to the side of the magazine already inserted (thus allowing for quick change during combat by dropping the spent magazine, flipping it in your hand then slamming the fresh magazine back into the weapon) and the inclusion of fore and aft swivels for combat slings.  Some resistance fighters mounted flashlights or infra-red spots under the fore grip of their weapons, especially veterans with some years of experience in the field.


Kyle Reese shown with M25A1 phased plasma rifle with Flexy Sight, and combat sling. He is engaging a T800 infiltrator in an underground safe house and has just ejected his spent magazine. He is seen reaching for a fresh magazine of single-use power cells from his combat webgear, moving also to take cover as he reloads but never taking his eyes off of his target.