I would have loved to jump on this earlier. Alas, thems the breaks. I just want to say to whoever it was a page and a half ago that suggested that the battlesuits provide additional combat ability, that's false. While it isn't apparent in the current codex, go pull out an old 3rd edition one and it will actually tell you what stat upgrades the suit provided and why. Stealths gave just +1S, while Crisis's due to their larger size gave +2 S, +1T, and +1W. No mention of close combat stats. Those are tied purely to being the Shas'ui\Shas'vre rank. Now, why did GW see fit to write the fluff that the Tau, a ranged combat species, should advance in close combat as their ranks improve rather than ranged combat is a little baffling to me.
is there mention of tau carrying any type of close combat weapon at all, i mean there's the butts of there rifles but even a bayonet on the end of a rifle is better than that (guard)
Well, they have the bonding knife and honour blade. Obviously they know what a knife is. And I doubt you'll see a Tau housewife at home blasting bread into slices with a pulse pistol
. Most close combat weapons are a variation on a club or a knife, I'm positive the Tau know what both are. While I don't think they attach it to their gun, I'm sure Shas have knives issued as survivalist gear, if not as close combat weapons.
As to the actual root of Tau cc woes, I think there are a few reasons. Primarily there's the physique & psychology, but as that's been heavily vetted, I had an alternate idea. Has anybody considered that the Tau in close combat might actually be too preoccupied with their guns? Looking at the models, they're nearly as long as the firewarrior himself, and can't exactly be useful in combat the way a bolter could be. I could imagine that Tau being charged might look something like an old (Pardon the American reference) Revolutionary War charge. They're shooting down to the last second, some are reloading, both get cut down by people ready for close combat. Others are trying to fumble with their weapons to get a shot off before their head is cut off. I could see the Tau attempting that in lieu of actual hand to hand combat.
I still think Tau need stand & shoot xD.