The Particle Projection Cannon (PPC) is an energy weapon that fires concentrated protons or ions at its target, causing thermal and kinetic damage. The PPC is the only energy weapon that generates recoil. Its power is comparable to a large autocannon with longer range. Because it's an energy weapon, the PPC has no ammo concerns but generates significant amount of heat. 'Mechs hit by a PPC can also suffer from overloaded sensors and other electrical side effects.
Typically the PPC and the ER PPC are the two most common variants portrayed in the BattleTech games. In the Mechwarrior series, they are represented as blue balls of energy flying towards their target. Mechwarrior 4 portrays the PPC as a bolt fo blue lightning. The Mechassault series portrays the PPC as a combination of the previous two styles. BattleTech sources portray the PPC as a blue laser.
Extended Range (ER) PPC
Originally Inner Sphere tech, the ER PPC technology was lost during the Succession Wars. A few examples have been recovered by Draconis Combine. The Clans however kept the technology steadily improved upon it. The Clans do not have a standard PPC and their default PPC is the Extended Range version. The Clan ER PPC is not only lighter but deals 50% more damage than the normal PPC, capable of stripping almost a ton of armor in a single shot. However it generates significantly more heat.
Created by Draconis Combine in an attempt to match the Clan ER PPC, the Heavy PPC is unable to match the range of the ER PPC but can match the damage and heat generated. It is significantly heavier as well.
Another Draconis Combine variant, this PPC does less damage and has shorter range but is lighter.
Yet another Draconis Combine variant, the Snub-Nosed PPC is essentially a sawed-off shotgun version of the PPC.
These PPC's are operated by tanks, static emplacements and Power Armors. It is also rarely used by a 5 man crew, with one gunner and 9 support crews. A five man model was introduced but this was also not feasible. Support PPCs pose a significant threat to light mechs.
Man-Pack Particle Cannon
This is an infantry sized PPC used by two man crews or a single infantry wearing an exoskeleton. The technology was lost in the Succession Wars.
These large PPC's are only found on space faring Warships and are only effective against objects 500 tons and above. They come in Light, Standard and Heavy versions.