I had just gotten finished with a session of Only War today and I was doing some standard book keeping. I came to discover that my Death Korps of Krieg PC's were equiped with "Cadian" M36's instead of their characteristic Lucius pattern lasguns. I decided to do some in game logistics stuff in order to tempt my players into swapping out for some more fluffy outfitting when I became curious about which of the two options is more power game worthy. For those who don't know, the Lucius lasgun packs more damage, but lacks ammo capacity and rate of fire. The M36 is more reliable, has more ammo, and has access to semi-auto burst function, but struggles with damage-per-shot. Both have the variable settings special rule.
At first glance it would seem the Lucius is the poor mans lasgun, useful only for bypassing obnoxious body armour. However, after a good hour or two of simulating 50 one on one combats against Orks for both weapons I uncovered some interesting statistics. My hypothesis going into this was that the M36 would prove infinitely superior by virtue of the ridiculously higher rate of fire and battlefield sustainability. For play testing I decided to max out variable setting (why would you ever not do that?) I ommited usage of comrades, talents, and traits. For BS tests I went with BS of 50.
After an hour I cranked out an average of three turns to kill an ork shoota boy with the Lucius. Most of the difficulty was due to simply missing the target, which is not a problem with the firearm itself. I never saw a turn one kill (this appeared to be a result of True Grit). When it came time to test the M36 I discovered another average of three turns to kill an ork. Once again, the primary dillema was missing the target. Ultimately, the slightly lower damage of the M36 struggled on occassion to bypass the Orks toughness and True Grit, relying heavily on the abundance of dakka.
Conclusion: The Lucius and M36 lasguns are effectively equal in battlefield effectiveness: The Lucius punches through armour and toughness with ease, garanteeing to damage the enemy with every hit. Unfortunately, the Lucius is terrible in prolonged engagements due to a maximum of 9 shots per charge pack assuming one uses variable setting on maximum. The M36 proved to make up for its lack of garantee to damage by flinging so many shots that the collective cherry tapping equaled the damage that was missed out on. Once comrades, orders, talents, traits, medals, and customizations are factored in both lasgun models should be expected to decrease their turns-to-kill. The Lucius and M36 may have wildly different stat lines, but by the time all is said and done they both dish out the exact same damage.