The term hand phaser refers to any type of hand-held phaser weapon, in particular to the basic, miniature, unit known as the Type 1 phaser. (TOS: "Arena", "The Enemy Within"; TNG: "The Mind's Eye")

The Original Series hand phaser was a small black device about the size of a communicator that could be separated from the pistol grip of a type 2 phaser. The production staff of Star Trek: The Next Generation found that the smaller 24th century version of the small hand phaser used in TOS was far too miniaturized to be seen on TV screens, and used it very infrequently. Besides calling it the "hand phaser" they also referred to it as "the cricket."

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