The HDW Mk.15, referred to as a "Home Defense Weapon, Mark. 15," is a series of archaic civilian-oriented rifles. Colonial interest has kept the weapon alive for centuries, driven by the rifle's designation as a "ghost gun," a weapon without serial numbers or distribution rights and exists as a free, downloadable resource to anyone with access to ChatterNet devices. More commonly recognized by its moniker, the "Colt Blaster," the Mk.15 is a commonplace firearm on distant Human colonies. Due to its long production life, the rifle has seen extensive modification and gradual evolution from its outdated production predecessor. The recent Human-Covenant War has kept the weapon relevant in the current era through the incorporation of alien technologies.
The Mk.15 is considered a favorite among price-gouged Insurrection groups and civilian militias on the fringe of Human space. It is a common firearm seen on frontier and on worlds of the Joint Occupation Zone. In the modern era, following the Human-Covenant War, the Mk.15 Colt Blaster's most prolific modern iteration, the Mk.15 NOVA rifle developed by Kendall Ballistics, was acquired by the exponentially expanding mega-corporation known as Baal Defense Solutions. Along with the weapon's copyright license and production rights, Kendall Ballistics was bought out and absorbed by BDS. Following a restructuring, the corporation is known as Kendall Home Defense LLC.
BDS along with other organizations such as the Gilgamesh Free State and other breakaway colonial governments have maintained and adopted the Mk.15 rifle series into their armories alongside more modern firearms. The Gilgamesh Free State in its own right, maintains their Mk.15 rifles in a support state, keeping them in their armories but not deploying them in a prolific manner, choosing to continue using the much more modern MA5 rifle series instead.
"I'll give you my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands."
― Popular 21st Century Weapon Slogan. Adopted by Insurrectionists in the 25th and 26th Centuries.
"What kind of skinny metal shit is that?"
― Remark by a UNSC marine after seeing a Mk.15 in use with colonial guardsmen.
Given the last few centuries of Human expansion, aspects of firearm revolution stagnated driven by the challenge of interstellar distances. Weapons similar in age to the Mk.15 have tended to drift in basic design all over Human space. The distance helped to diversify the firearms used by colonists, however, overall evolution of weapons like the Mk.15 did not occur - space still remained a distant and barely colonized frontier.
The wilderness of the galaxy held many secrets, both dangerous and opportunities waiting for refinement.
From colony to colony, different applications and cultures gradually transformed the rifle to reflect the lifestyles and needs of the settlers on these far-flung worlds. Some weapons were oriented to home defense due to the threat of frontier criminals and roaming pirates. On more wild colonies where the local fauna, either native or seeded, posed a potential threat, colonists tended to favor specialized ammunition and higher velocities to combat predatory species. While these differences created subtle changes from planet to planet, externally, the weapon changed little in appearance or usage. By the time of the Insurrections, the Mk.15 had become a firearm associated with the colonial movement.
An example of colonial application of the Mk.15 rifle series before the Insurrections took place in the military colony world of Reach where civilians in the early years, before military arms smuggling became a decently common method of firearms acquisition, would favor the Colt Blaster to hunt the planet's famous Moa, an indigenous flightless bird known for its delectable meat.
One minor factor that could have proven greatly detrimental to the weapon's reproduction so far from Earth during the early colonization days was the lack of established industry on many colony worlds. While machines would often arrive in advance of human colonization parties to colonize garden worlds for Human habitability, it did not guarantee that the resources available to Mankind in their own star system would be readily available on their new worlds as well. Oil and hydrocarbons were some of these lacking resources. While oil and long since been abandoned as a common resource for Mankind, it's byproduct was still a commonly used construction material in both tools and buildings. To negate this problem, colony ships were provided with the necessary equipment to refine other materials into the right elemental materials.
Taken from Human waste, collected excretion, and decaying bio-matter collected from onboard horticulture gardens on colony ships and the cryo-pods, raw elements were separated and reshuffled to format hydrocarbons that could be reproduced into oil-based byproducts such as rubbers or plastics. When the colonists arrived on their new worlds, using the materials native and readily available to them - they repeated the process, creating synthetic oils and bioplastics to serve their needs. This process worked in favor of the development of the Mk.15 and similar equipment used by the early colonists as they settled in on their alien worlds. This process was time-consuming and slow, however, for a long trip like colonization - it was deemed a workable process until industries on colonies could pick up the slack. The plastics and carbon-based polymers required in the development of colonial firearms like the Mk.15 were supplemented efficiently with the restructuring of elemental compounds. Eventually, the production of oil-based materials switched to mining the resources of resource-rich gas giants instead. This process proved more plentiful and cheaper in the long run.
Members of a colonial militia partaking in a training exercise with Mk.15 rifles.
The individual diversification that led to the development of hundreds of different configurations of the Mk.15 is an undeniable strength in the weapon's characteristics. It is simple and adaptable. It meets the needs required by the user, nothing more and nothing less.
Access to the interstellar communications network known as the ChatterNet helped promote the use of the Colt Blaster over most of its lifetime and made it readily available to just about anyone with the time and resources to produce the weapon. The easy availability means that the price tag, as an online-occurring resource, the Mk.15 rifle can be mass produced easily and sold for what is essentially "cheaper than dirt."
Some users of the weapon, in the case of the firearm's cost, have gone as far to say that the weapon is "the very definition of freedom." This nearly-zero price tag helped to promote the Mk.15's adoption by colonial militias and even rebel forces during the early stages of the Insurrections. The military in comparison has been using the MA5 series for so long and produced so much, any consideration for a replacement has fallen by the wayside. The Mk.15 in a lot of ways is better than the MA5 series.
Compared to its modern UNSC counterpart, the MA5D ICWS, the Mk.15 features a noticeably bare bones and reduced profile. The MA5 series is much bulkier and obstructive in comparison. Also notable is the weight difference, in both unloaded and loaded scenarios, the Colt Blaster is nearly three pounds lighter making it less of a hassle to handle over long periods of prolonged use.
The Mk.15 is also noticeably more accurate than the MA5 series at all ranges where the weapon trades less damage per round and a smaller round for a highly accurate spread. Also compared to the MA5, a higher fire rate and lower recoil can make the weapon into a potentially dangerous mix. Among modern assault rifles, the Mk.15 probably the deadliest contender with its notably higher accuracy - the weapon has been made into a proper challenger for some weapons designated in the battle rifle and designated marksman rifle categories. It's unique round size and design means it also produces a fragmentation effect with each round, creating little shotgun shots on contact.
"Did you see that? That Spartan shrugged off everything!"
― Remark by an Insurrectionist soldier when using an HDW Mk.15 against a Spartan supersoldier.
First-person perspective of a Mk.15 NOVA. Notice its custom scope and modified body. The photographer does not have any clue why the rifle user is pointing at the sky.
While being one of its strengths, the age of the HDW Mk.15 is also one of its most prominent weaknesses. It's a double-edged sword, the weapon has survived well enough over three centuries by being simple and completed the necessary tasks at hand, usually home defense and hunting. However, as time moves forward, so does the progress of technology and the machines and tools that do not adapt or change drastically to the times end up being replaced by more effective equipment. Just as the MA5 rifle series became commonplace on many Human worlds - the Mk.15 started to disappear into obscurity.
This transition, however, was based on necessity rather than gradual evolution. A drastic change in the rules of warfare signed the temporary death note for the Mk.15, putting the rifle to rest for a time.
During the later parts of the Insurrections, as the knowledge of Spartan supersoldiers became more widespread, rebel users of the Mk.15 came to the realization that their ancient cheap-production rifles were no longer enough to match the firepower of the UNSC. Government forces had changed the rules, introducing advanced powered exoskeletons and fielding intelligent and cunning supersoldiers as shock troopers, the Colt Blaster had become marginally obsolete. The weapon proved enough against UNSC regulars, but against such "freaks of nature," it just wasn't doing the job anymore. Entire portions of Insurrectionist inventories were made useless essentially overnight.
The Mk.15's smaller rifle rounds was powerful enough to breach Spartan armor at a similar rate to the Mk.15 but Spartans, as terrifying and fast as they were - could not be dealt with pinpoint accuracy. It was this situation that would push many Insurrectionist factions to turn to weapons capable of fielding 30-caliber ammunition or higher, mostly for the higher rate of fire and higher grade in firepower - not because of lack of accuracy but rebels saw putting more ammunition downrange would have a much better effect at combating Spartans compared to accurate fire - especially with the lesser discipline and training that Insurrectionist factions suffered from.
While the Mk.15s were proponents of modular systems and customization, their basic limitations such as a small bullet size helped push them out of use in the later Insurrections.
The arrival of the alien Covenant mega-theocracy also helped to put the Colt Blaster further on the backburner as the introduction of personal energy shields required a heavier bullet caliber to counteract this new alien technology. While the Mk.15 was originally very ineffective against shielded adversaries, it was still capable of breaching the energy shielding given enough ammunition much like any standard human firearm.
The later creation of the UNSC'sSpartan Branch discouraged the further development and use of the Mk.15; the mixture of supersoldiers in advanced exo-suits cloaked in energy shields turned out to be a Goliath of an opposition to the outdated firearm. This distinction made the weapon unpopular for a few years till the establishment of trade network between self-autonomous human colonies and the former Covenant races helped to blend cultures and technology. A technological renaissance ensued in the Joint Human-Sangheili Occupation Zone, the Mk.15 become one such weapon to breathe new life with the incorporation of alien technologies.
Following the resolution of the Human-Covenant War, technology and culture mixing began in an infant stage. It was clear that while Mankind had been brought to the edge of extinction, inevitable relations with their former enemies and continued enemies would occur. The Joint Occupation Zone was only the beginning of a rise in independent state and interstellar nations and with working trade routes and standing foreign policies.
Within the Joint Occupation Zone, once the former human Outer Colonies and the glasslands regions of colonized space, alien and human technology mixed including firearms technology. While controversial, the Covenant was clearly a far technologically-superior society to Humanity; human technology, however, can be described as much more refined in their scope as following the end of the Great War, a number of former Covenant species immigrated to human colony worlds and even adopted parts of human technology and culture for their own use, and vice versa for the human colonies that bartered with Covenant species.
While clearly an old design, the Colt Blaster did return to some relevance in the Joint Occupation Zone; Covenant technology incorporated into the firearm breathed new life and helped push the weapon back into prominence with the Insurrectionist movement. From the adoption of alien technology, the Colt Blaster produced a cult following on the colonial fringe - many of these Covenant-adapted human rifles finding purchase in weapons bazaars all over lawless space and Joint Occupation colony worlds.
An Insurrectionist gun bazaar following a rebel victory against UNSC forces. The Colt Blaster was among many modified weapons traded on the black market.
Before and after the Human-Covenant War, the Mk.15 proved to be a very effective though average firearm at all ranges. It's inability to defeat most shielded foes and power armor means that its capabilities as a frontline weapon - especially as time has gone on and shielding technology has become more commonplace - are fairly diminished. Even with upgrades, it's recommended that this weapon remain specific to fighting non-shielded targets. At least now it has been given a fighting chance, the new incarnations can be comparable to that of the MA5 series, simply with more specializations and a higher fire rate.
Generally speaking, the Mk.15 has always served as an all-purpose weapon, it can function at close range as a carbine and keep up with the MA5 series of rifles. The effective range of the weapon is on par with the BR55- and M392-series of precision rifles. It can fit the role of a carbine, an assault rifle, a battle rifle, or a designated marksman rifle.
Based on its initial design, the HDW Mk.15 is a conventionally-configured assault rifle, placing the magazine well and gas piston ahead of the trigger guard, much unlike the majority of firearms favored in the UNSC inventory. When first developed, inspired by its historically-significant ancestor, the Mk.15 still used a standard but improved system of smokeless powder propellant with a gas-operating system. This system was made specifically for an Earth-like atmosphere and could not perform similarly outside the Earth's atmosphere.
A kitted-out civilian HDW Mk.15. Note the familiar design to past human firearms.
New experiments with the compounds found in the rifle propellant helped the weapon function efficiently on different worlds with atmospheres other than Earth. This next to the gradual introduction of electronically-discharged ammunition helped make the weapon favorable to colonization efforts as Mankind branched out into the stars.
While further developments on far-flung frontier worlds were nothing new, the maturation of technology and systems used allowed the Mk.15 series to adopt new concepts into its design. The further development of electronically-discharged ammunition based on an electronic fuse helped usher in the use of superposed loaded ammunition, bullets that generally were stacked on top of one another and forgoing bullet casings to shrink the bullet profile and increase the number of rounds per magazine. This design would further be incorporated into other human weapons such as the MA5B, a former UNSC service rifle, which is famous for stacking sixty rounds of ammunition into a typically thirty-round magazine.
One variation of scope for a used Colt Blaster. Note the damaged holographic lens and magazine ammunition counter in the top left corner.
This addition of an electronic fuse propellant allowed the Colt Blaster to also fire at a higher velocity and function more effectively in regular environments. While most variants of the Colt Blaster have found ways to supplement casings or continue to implement them, they are not a requirement for use with the Mk.15 series with exception to vacuum-based environments like micro-gravity points around planets and in space where an atmosphere is nonexistent. Continuing to use a gas impingement system, the gas-operating system of the rifle retains a heavier mass but trades in the ability to allow better cooling like traditional weapons. It just meant that per round the weapon tends to be heavier and a warfighter would be forced to carry about less ammunition than in a traditional atmospheric environment. This addition of atmospheric adaptability made it an effective weapon for Insurrectionists as it could go places that the UNSC weapons were already able to go; the Mk.15s were notably easier to handle than the MA5-series and was favored for use against the UNSC and the Colonial Military Administration.
A particular clone of the HDW Mk.15 featured by Kendall Ballistics, a Human firearms firm, the Mk.15 NOVA has seen somewhat extensive use in the post-Great War era. Designed with an electronic fuse, caseless ammunition, and an atmospheric-sealed magazine; it has been purposely developed for space environments.
Following the combat observations of Spartan supersoldiers and a hostile first contact with the Covenant races, many users deduced that the Colt Blaster had seen the end of its lifespan, unable to counter the tough titanium alloy of Spartan armor or to puncture the shields of a shielded Covenant soldier.
A rare colonial Colt Blaster.
The eventual end of the Human-Covenant War brought about a renaissance in weapons technology. Covenant alloys and weapon concepts allowed the Mk.15 the capacity to use ammunition modifiers that were popular with the more advanced Covenant military. Taking lessons learned from the Great War, the improvements of the Colt Blaster sought to improve upon the seemingly outdated firearm.
Rounds constructed of Covenant alloys are exceptionally popular for their capabilities to take down everything from a Spartan supersoldier to a Brute Chieftain, given enough ammunition. This specific modification is generally better set for balancing damage against both energy shields and body armor. Other improvements include limited experimentation with hard light and other technology similar to the venerable Type-51 Carbine and the introduction of ammunition infused with the highly-reactive, high explosive material referred to as Blamite. Some controversy has been founded on the use of Blamite rounds as an act of cruelty and has been known to explode while in the rifle magazine, harming the user of the HDW Mk.15.
Being a mix of legacies from different eras, this Colt Blaster still features its original ejection port, charging handle, barrel placement, and style of functioning piston among its universal parts. The weapon externally has changed little in comparison to its internal advancements.
Ancient History - "In Service of Nations"
"Faun? Yeah. I saw a few of those during my deployments in the jungle. They were not the worst thing we saw though."
― URNA National Guard Soldier reflecting on the weaponry of Kolsovic terrorists.
Long before the HDW Mk.15 became an accessible asset on the ChatterNet or was associated with the moniker of "Colt Blaster," the weapon, or at least its ancestral roots, was traced from the 22nd Century during the Interplanetary Wars. Used primarily on Earth during the Amazonian Campaign, the weapon entered service with the Koslovic-aligned factions in South America and several nations on Earth, most notably, Argentina.
Fabricaciones Militares. Also known as DGFM. The original manufacturers of the HDW Mk.15, though under a different name.
Known instead during the period of the Interplanetary Wars as the FAEN-115 or the Fusil de Asalto de Empresa Nacional-115, the Mk.15 translated to, with some difficulty, the "National Assault Rifle-115." It was deployed opposite of United Nations forces for the majority of the conflict, being favored by South American nations even though the FAEN-15 took its origins from the United Republic of North America.
Designed by the state arms corporation in 2115, DFGM Fabricaciones Militares with royalties based on technology and designs inspired by former United States small arms designers, the FAEN-115 took much inspiration from the AR-15 rifle series of the United States in the 21st Century. The weapon would be nicknamed the "Faun" by UN peacekeeping forces and the UN's affiliated allies during the Rainforest Wars.
Distributed by traditional means at first, the weapon was favored by Argentina and several nations and factions in the Western Hemisphere on Earth before the Rainforest Wars. It was even adopted in small numbers by Mexico City Police Department and wholly by the United Republic of North America's National Guard.
When the Communist Kolsovics, radicalized on the Internet, started to act on their violent ideology, they adopted the FAEN-15 among their arsenals which established its historical significance for the rest of the conflict. It became a weapon aligned with the movement of terrorists. At some point following the war, the weapon was uploaded to the galactic connection system, ChatterNet, as a free downloadable blueprint for anyone that decided they needed a firearm for their purposes. Under the new name, HDW Mk.15, the weapon became impossible to regulate for the Unified Earth Government.
Colonial History - "The Colonial Scramble"
"Ghost Guns: A Societal Terror's Evolution Explored."
― Book title referencing the danger of unlicensed firearms.
A more expensive but worn variation on the standard Colt Blaster. This one, known as a "M-15 NOVA," was retrieved following the Raid on Camp New Hope on Victoria in 2531.
Referred to in technical manuals as the Home Defense Weapon, Mark. 15, the Colt Blaster has a history that dates back three centuries.
The weapon that would become known to many as the Colt Blaster did not have much relevance following its ancestor's departure from the service of twentieth-century nations. The ancestral weapon had a long, checkered history of its own, however, much of that information has been left to the deserted halls of ancient history.
The newer Mk.15 maintained a healthy following among civilians for decades to come - it became the first and one of the most circulated 3D printed firearms in Human history. Downloaded and rebuilt from the ground up, billions of times over.
The Colt Blaster served its purpose as a self-defense weapon for those that sought to live on the fringes of civilization to the fullest extent, creating a Colonial culture reminiscent of "Wild, Wild West" and reflecting entertainment trends of a "Space Western."
The HDW Mk.15 was one of many commonplace self-defense weapons that were popular with colonists on the frontier. It was the perfect home defense weapon and great for hunting live game on planets that already had indigenous fauna or were stocked by Human colonization ships generations before.
Its name is hypothetically derived from a number of places. Some adamant followers of the weapon see it as a weapon that was known to destroy "warm bodies," any living creature it came across as the bullets would rip a person to shreds at close ranges.
A Kendall Ballistics blueprint for their HDW Mk.15 clone, the M-15 NOVA. This specific model was commonly fielded by Kendall Ballistics Security Forces before being bought out by Baal Defense Solutions. The M-15 NOVA can now be found among BDS armories and units.
Academics reason it has much to do with the weapon's ancestor, tracing back to a famous weapons manufacturer on Earth, long since having been absorbed, forced out of business, or having a massive change in it marketing after some time.
While commonly manufactured, most users of the Colt Blaster found themselves producing their own from scratch - usually using a 3D printer to produce individual parts for self-assembly.
It would not be long before the weapon would be often seen clashing with itself between parties of unorganized crime and homesteaders living at the edge of civilized space. It would not be until the rise of the Insurrections that the weapon would receive a major boost in popularity.
Return to Prominence - " An Insurrectionist Favorite"
The Colonial Insurrections began from nothing, however, the economic foundations and military infrastructure needed to support a sustained conflict - especially against a military juggernaut like the United Nations Space Command were not matured yet. This logistical difficulty meant rebel cells would have to turn to what was viable on their homeworlds as the war machine that would support the Insurrections for years had not been put into place yet, civil unrest and violent squabbles against the Colonial Administrative Authority and the UNSC on occasion were simply isolated events.
The Insurgency had yet to be born and so did any form of conventional confrontation. Rebels once decided to actively resist the authority of the Unified Earth Government, took up arms by any means they had available. This included the reintroduction of the HDW Mk.15 as a mainstay in Insurrectionist inventories.
While the Colt Blaster was a common favorite for many rebels early into the Insurrections, the eventual development of a wartime economy and the required supply lines needed for a war machine, the deployment of more modern military equipment became commonplace. Trends start to shift away from the HDW Mk.15 toward more modern weapons such as the MA5 service rifle.
Rebels armed with "Confetti Makers," a replacement for the Colt Blaster later into the Colonial Insurrections.
The introduction of Spartans against the rebel forces served to shut down most use of the Colt Blaster for the rest of the insurgency. The weapon did not have the penetration power required to breach the MOLJNIR armor worn by Spartan-IIs. It was around this point weapons like the "Confetti Maker," a popular .30 caliber machine gun used by Insurrection cells, replaced the HDW Mk.15. Most notably among cells who transitioned, General Howard Graves' unit of the United Rebel Front on the colony world of Victoria in the 2530s.
This decrease in use was further supported by the arrival of the Covenant in 2525 over the agrarian colony of Harvest - knowledge of Covenant energy shields meant the typical .22 caliber rounds of the HDW Mk.15 were insufficient against more powerful Covenant troops and proved only very effective against lesser races such as the Kig-Yar and Unggoy. The Colt Blaster would remain a rebel weapon used against UNSC ground forces during and after the Great War.
Kenyan residents loot a gun store during Covenant Invasion.
While insignificant, there is an account from October 2552 that a civilian in Kenya, Africa used an HDW Mk.15 to down two Kig-Yar marksman and eight Unggoy soldiers before dying at the hands of a Covenant Energy Sword. The event was predated by a few hours when a gun retailer, Arney Antics, was looted during the Covenant attack - the looters moved to use the stolen firearms to fight against invading Covenant Forces.
Post-Great War Conflicts - "Rebel Toolkit"
In the post-Great War era, more focus was put into rebuilding rather than military ventures by the Unified Earth Government and its alien counterparts across known space. The UEG did not provide as much, the same funds to the UNSC war machine as infrastructure became a much larger focus. In 2553, the United Nations Space Command released emergency martial powers and allowed the democratic processes to return to normal.
On the surface, it appeared that there was no conflict besides the ongoing Covenant Civil War, the Great Schism, that went mostly unnoticed for the civilian population of the UEG. This alien conflict that would expand into the Blooding Years conflict, the Sangheili-Jiralhanae conflicts, and the Covenant remnant wars.
The Office of Naval Intelligence, ONI, instead was propping up proxy wars on the fringes of Human space and beyond it in former Covenant space. These unconventional conflicts at the edge of Human space where the upset the intelligence community was hoping to capitalize on: allowing the acquisition of alien technology, promote rebuilding on Human colony worlds, and destabilize any potential power that might come to challenge the fragile power Humanity had over their little pocket in the galaxy.
An "unknown combatant" armed with an HDW Mk.15.
The Colt Blaster for a time remained forgotten, lost as a memory of another time - distant in the memories of most Humans still fresh from the horrors of the Human-Covenant War. Excavators would often find the burned frames of HDW Mk.15 rifles on glassed colony worlds, left behind by refugee owners or destroyed with their owners when these rifles failed to kill the arriving Covenant ground forces. They were treated as obsolete and overlooked by most militias who had turned to the surplus of weapons being acquired from the Great War draw-down which had proven far more effective and useful against the Covenant than the previous inventories used by militias and rebel forces alike for decades.
In the Joint Occupation Zones and Glasslands regions, the Colt Blaster began to have a resurgence around 2555. Mixing of technology between former Covenant client species and Humans produced a renaissance of technology that culminated in a massive overhaul in the capabilities of the HDW Mk.15 and weapons like it. The capability for variable ammunition that incorporated Covenant technology was a game changer.
Even ONI field agents could be found on occasion to use the Colt Blaster as a substitute for their usual equipment. The Colt Blaster was the perfect "jack-of-all-trades" weapon for field agents as they were easily maintained, handled, and drew less attention than that of a new production model of a BR85N Battle Rifle or an MA5D assault rifle.
5.56mm rounds made with new alien alloys have become a requirement for the HDW Mk.15 in the Joint Occupation Zone as the different material serve as a good balance in breaching energy shields and body armor, both technologies commonplace among Covenant remnants, rebel forces, and pirates that often operated in the lawless regions of space.
Mk.15 NOVA "Nova Blaster"
A couple of variations on the standard Colt Blaster, Mk.15 NOVAs are the modernized variant of the colonial Colt Blaster featured before the Human-Covenant War. This new, modern version is designed with a reliance on electronic fuse ammunition, an atmospherically-sealed magazine, and a short-stroke piston. The weapon is distinct from its light blue discharge profile. Because the ammunition tends to ignite at a higher temperature, the fires from the rifle tend to glow with a blue hue. Otherwise, the weapon can be found in both a standard magazine or a model-specific drum magazine.
A Colt Blaster Mk.15 NOVA, modded variation.
In the post-Great War era, Kendall Ballistics attempted to sell the weapon in bulk to the UNSC Marine Corps as a gradual replacement for their Great War-era MA5Cs. The UNSCDF decided in favor of Misriah's MA5D, the evolution of the MA5C. Kendall Ballistics brought the decision before a UEG court on the grounds of a described "Misriah-exclusive weapon monopoly." The claim, built on supposed evidence of military favoritism, the case was thrown out due to the Marine Corps' after-action report detailing the weapons supposed short-comings. Final opinions remain indeterminate.
Under the current situation, Kendall Ballistics has ceased to exist. Following their costly court trial and the continued domination of the military market by core world corporations like Misriah Armories, Kendall was bought out by the rising PMC force known as Baal Defense Solutions. With both the copyright and manufacturing licenses, Kendall was rebranded to Kendall Home Defense LLC and is maintained as a subsidiary and cash-stipend for the PMC organization which has made similar incursions into colonial defense work, infrastructure development, and ship construction.
CB-BR "Burst Rifle"
The most recent version of the Colt Blaster, this version called the Colt Blaster-Burst Rifle, was created from post-Great War technology. Covenant technology was mixed with Human military designs helped develop this weapon in the Joint Occupation Zone by an undisclosed group. Similar to its predecessor, it was posted to the ChatterNet anonymously and is free to produce any individuals with the capabilities. The new variation has often been called the Colt Blaster Mk.II.
A CB-BR in the hands of a colonial militia soldier.
Some concern has been drawn to the weapon in recent years due to the notion that ONI field agents have been seen using the weapon in their operations in the Joint Occupation Zone and in lawless space. Proof of these occurrences remains uncertain. Other important details about the CB-BR is that it takes a radically different approach with its external frame. It's much bulkier than previous but maintains a similar weight. It also features a straight rather than curved magazine and has a starting magazine capacity of thirty rounds. Its ammunition type is similar to the Covenant Type-51 Carbine, using Covenant radioactive rounds fired at supersonic speeds, to breach shields and impact armor. Some Kig-Yar pirate crews have been seen wielding this weapon.
HDW Mk.15 "Colt Blaster"
The most common inception of this weapon, it is the original pre-Great War rifle that has been seen multiple times on Human colony worlds. Of all its predecessor's derivatives, this one is the truest to replication. It has barely changed over the last three centuries with exception to also being the most modified and adaptable variant of the Mk.15 family.
A civilian HDW Mk.15. Found often enough among weapons bazaars on the frontier.
During the early Insurrections, this rifle served as a popular weapon for the Insurrectionist movement, as time went on, it fell out of favor, driven by the advent of Spartans and the arrival of the Covenant. Since then, it has become a little bit of a relic - it often can be scavenged on glassed colony worlds, left to rust next to their fallen users. In the modern era, it has seen a return of interest and users, however, still quite diminished. Even with heavy modification, this specific variation does not seem capable of regaining its past following. ONI's training facilities sometimes arm its simulation of OpFor troops with this rifle. It's primary users remain militias on the colonial frontier.
There is some dispute over the versatility of Colt Blaster derivatives; in particular, the extraneously over-designed variant from the far-flung world of Jaeter. Infamous for its long designation, the "Jaeter Defense Arms-Assault Rifle-460" is a heavily modified variant of the archaic Mk.15 Colt Blaster. While the weapon incorporates the basic functionality and perks that came with the Colt Blaster platform, the Jaeter version particularly changes the outside construction and original purpose of the defense rifle.
The JDA-AR-460, commonly referred to as a "Glasslands Unicorn" for being rare outside Jaeter.
Fielded primarily by the Jaeteran Defense Force, the Assault Rifle-460 is deployed with a standard setup that incorporates a box magazine, either containing a hundred or fifty rounds of 5.56 millimeter-type bullets. Heavier than both the Colt Blaster and the MA5 series employed by the United Nations Space Command, many defense experts have questioned both the design and the reliability of the weapon; a rarity for Colt Blaster variants. Among the UNSC forces that have encountered the 460, many consider it a safety hazard due to its unique design. It's increased weight, greater length, thicker construction, and it's blocky frontside have all been considered significant downgrades from the tried and true Colt Blaster model.
Even with the controversial opinion of the weapon, both inside the defense circles on Jaeter and beyond, the weapon has remained in service since its adoption in 2556. For the Jaeter troops, the weapon makes an excellent suppression weapon and a decent marksman rifle; given these markers, it seems Jaeter is comfortable with retaining the weapon. Among the UNSC, the weapon is called a "Glasslands Unicorn" for its rarity as well as its irregular shape that has many servicemen joking that the weapon's shape alone will scare off aliens by its sheer size and perceived insanity. Among Jaeter Militiamen, the weapon has received the nicknames, the "Zipper" and the "Brick" for the unique reloading sound that is reminiscent of a coiling zipper and the blocky shape and magazine used by the weapon respectively.
The United Nations Space Command's largest intelligence organization and to some degree, the most corrupt. The intelligence department is often known as ONI is a well-established power in the UNSC hierarchy and have influence throughout Human space. While their contractors, forces, and spies favor standard issue weaponry of the UNSC due to the familiarity, they are not unable to adopt new weapons on the fly. Because of their training, many ONI field agents are greatly familiar with the capabilities and functions of the Mk.15 HDW series of rifles. During deployments outside UNSC jurisdiction or within the Joint Occupation Zone, many ONI agents will deploy with weapons of lesser quality like the Mk.15 Colt Blaster due to their common appearance and less prolific appearance. Whereas an MA5 might draw suspicion, a Mk.15 would not bat an eye. It is also notable that inside ONI reports, disputing arguments have been made that the Mk.15 family has proven to be a better combat rifle than the MA5 series, however, said article and research have been greatly buried and disappeared, whether that is by intentional means or unintentional. Many contractors under ONI's employ, such as elements of Task Force Foxhound, will use the Mk.15 rather than an MA5 in an attempt to blend into the background of the colonial frontier.
Until relatively recently, the Mk.15 was a mainstay in the arsenals of the Gilgamesh Free State. The GFS was an insurrectionist affiliated organization established in the world of Gilgamesh on the edge of Human space. It was aligned with the United Rebel Front for a period in its history. The Human-Covenant War saw many UEG colonies being outright abandoned due to their strategic insignificance and a lack of forces to defend the worlds from a vicious, unyielding Covenant onslaught. Because of this lack of oversight, the Gilgamesh Free State established its own republic and built up its own de facto military force allied with its fellow rebellious worlds.
During the Great War, the GFS equipped its forces with modified Mk.15 Colt Blasters chambered in the 7.62 mm NATO round, the favored round of the United Nations Space Command. In 2553, the Gilgamesh entered an important economic alliance with Baal Defense Solutions, a rising star among the post-Great War private military firms. With the help of this mercenary organization, the military forces of the GFS abandoned the Mk.15 rifle in favor of the more modern Misriah Armories MA5 Series that defined itself as the UNSC Service Rifle during the Human-Covenant War. The Mk.15 was dropped by the wayside, becoming an artifact of a previous era. The Mk.15 rifle continued to be used by the Gilgamesh forces, however, in a much more diminished role. This role was typically limited to police inventories, ceremonial services, and training purposes. The Mk.15 rifle remained a common staple of Gilgameshian culture for decades to come, remaining a popular weapon among militias in the lawless territories and among private citizens.
Having bought out the designers of the Mk.15 NOVA in the 2550s, Baal Defense Solutions quickly made a name for itself as a sudden corporate power on the interstellar stage. Similar to the rise of other PMC organizations like Dark Moon Enterprises, Baal Defense Solutions made a name for itself providing security contracts to organizations and colonies looking for defense forces against the under-regulated frontier space lanes. The end of the Human-Covenant War meant a rise in piracy activity and attacks Covenant remnants. Many human colonies were discomforted by the active presence of aliens in Human society and integration becoming a dangerous prospect for many, BDS ended up capitalizing on this previously unprecedented security concern. The events of the Sedra City xeno-terrorist attack in 2556 helped further the influence and prestige of Baal Defense Solutions and other private military companies.
A Baal Defense Solutions security team arrives on sight. A number of M-15 NOVAs are visible.
Baal Defense Solutions would go on to purchase Kendall Ballistics, the designers of the Mk.15 NOVA rifle and longtime small arms provider for Baal Defense Solutions. BDS had been employing Mk.15 rifles for a number of years before their acquisition of Kendall, however, due to a recent court fallout where Kendall Ballistics lost a military contract case, BDS decided to step in and consolidate the troubled small arms manufacturer. Kendall was rebranded Kendall Home Defense LLC and continued to build Mk.15 NOVAs, but, their intellectual decisions and monetary revenue flowed upriver back to Baal Defense Solutions now. BDS contractors have been known to use Mk.15 rifles as much as common UNSC firearms.
At the point in 25th Century when the Insurrections were still in their infancy, many rebel organizations lacked the support structures to construct a mature war machine and economy to fight the Colonial Military Administration and later the United Nations Space Command. More often than not, the civilian weapons common on colony worlds and found cheap on the black market were used as the mainstay of the rebel colonies. The United Rebel Front, one of the largest rebel organizations during the Insurrection was one of many groups to deploy the Mk.15 HDW rifle. The weapon was cheap and easily accessible, it meant that just about anyone could be equipped with the common though archaic weapon.
The weapon remained in service with the rebel groups for quite some time, even into the 26th Century and during the Human-Covenant War. However, the weapon began a phase-out process late into the Insurrections when the advent of augmented supersoldiers was fully realized with the SPARTAN-II Program. With advanced combat armor that could mostly shrug off the archaic 5.56 mm NATO round favored by most Mk.15 rifles without flinching, this threat of military superhumans meant larger caliber rounds with higher yields of stopping power with greater rates of fire required adoption. Many rebel forces including the one led by General Graves and the Successionist Union sect led by Colonel Watts turned to weapons such as the HMG-38 and "Confetti Maker" Squad Automatic Weapon to replace the aged and outdated Colt Blaster. This act would be further supported when the Covenant arrived bringing the threat of energy shields. In modern times, upgrades to the Mk.15 rifle has brought it back into use with some URF rebel cells. The United Rebel Front would see low levels of resurgence throughout the post-Great War period. The modernized Colt Blaster variants would become once again a prominent weapon in the rebel arsenal.
A recent, post-Great War xenophobic terrorist group, Sapien Sunrise, has been related to much anti-alien sentiment across Human space at the end of the Human-Covenant War. While not holding a majority sentiment among the UEG populace, much of their political message is supported by the public. The peace treaty and subsequent defense treaty with the Swords of Sanghelios, the successor state to the Covenant Separatists, has helped bolster their support both in the core worlds like Earth and Mars and as far out to the lawless colonies due to distrust and fear of the former Covenant member states. Sapien Sunrise members have come under fire in recent years driven by their adoption of terrorist attacks on political figures as a method to spread their message. Members have been seen carrying the Mk.15 among other weapons during their terror attacks in the Outer Colonies.
"Go for Wrangler: This is a Mk.15. Commonly used by Insurrectionists, it's an old gun. Recent upgrades in the J-OZ have made it viable for your operations. Diffuse them to your agents at your own discretion. Killing the connection, over."
― Classified ONI Section 3 Transmission to Mission Handler in the Joint Occupation Zone.
"Meet the Ugliest Beauty in the galaxy. Puts every UNSC shitface you meet into an early grave."
― Rogue CMA Major, Unverified Identity.
"We ultimately found that Misriah Armories and the defendant, the United Nations Space Command, to be innocent of any wrongdoing against Kendall Ballistics in any previously considered service weapon acquisitions. Kendall Ballistics' case against this supposed monopoly has been found to be ultimately null."
― Off-the-record, the decision on Kendall Ballistics' case of corporate favoritism against the UNSC and Misriah Armories.
Simulated Perspective from an HDW Mk.15 user. The image feature a basic Heads-Up Display Counter.
"Colt? Blaster? What does that even mean? Am I supposed to shoot horses with it?"
― ONI Case Officer questioning the popularized nickname of the Mk.15 HDW during familiarization training.
"Man, this weapon's everywhere. It's like its cheaper than dirt!"
""How old are these things?" I asked. He said, "older than your grandpa.""
― A UNSC Marine recounting a story about the Colt Blaster.
"The HDW Mk.15 is a multi-function, civilian-oriented combat rifle capable of firing small kinetic rounds at significant distances. An Insurrectionist favorite, this weapon is known for its ageless versatility and diversification. Its use of varying ammunition types makes it a viable weapon against human and alien combatants alike."
The HDW Mk.15 in some cases appears to be a clear copy of the 21st Century AR-15 series of rifles, better known as the M4 or M16. The author of this article, Distant Tide, sought to avoid making any direct reference to this family of weapons, however, still wanted to feature the AR-15 in Halo in some form. The author in no way intended to break canon or break the rules of Halo Fanon.
During the original conception, the Colt Blaster name had not been decided and a futuristic AK-47 was considered for this weapon.
This was Distant Tide's first article on Wikia and on Halo Fanon, previously, Distant Tide's only experience with the Halo Universe was through the games, novels, and what fanfiction he wrote on Fanfiction.net.
↑The Colt Blaster's age is a big part of its lacking popularity in comparison to modern weapons of Humanity and why it canonically does not appear in most Halo lore, according to Distant Tide.
↑A notable exaggeration due to the cost of production and resources, however, the analogy works in the situation where companies such as Kendall Ballistics will mass-produce and assemble the weapon under replication-distribution rights and turn a profit in large sums through colonial sales.
↑Due to this sudden logistical issue, the Insurrections came to the realization that the Mk.15 could not meet the necessities of continued war with the Unified Earth Government. UNSC Marines were noted on multiple accounts to refer to the Mk.15 as a "pea shooter" for its appearance as an insufficient weapon.
↑This is a personal explanation, nowhere in Halo lore is this suggested. The M7 SMG is a better example.