Utilized primarily in defensive situations, the phaser type-2 had several applications, from use as a weapon to use as a cutting tool, explosive device, or energy source. Storing considerable energy, most phasers were distinguished by a roughly pistol or gun-type configuration, firing a focused energy discharge in the form of a beam or steady stream.
In the nearly two hundred years since their introduction to Starfleet personnel, several models and makes have been observed.
Type-2 phasers can cause severe to deadly injuries or phaser burns.
- Lieutenant Malcolm Reed in "Broken Bow" explicitly stated that phase pistols had only two settings, while several TNG-era episodes have established phasers as having up to sixteen. Aside from this, no data or even lip service has been given as to just what differentiates a phase pistol from a phaser - it is quite possible that little or no differences exist beyond settings. The first TOS pilot, "The Cage" established the use of lasers before phasers, but is often regarded as an anachronism. The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual describes phasers operating on a "modified version of the rapid nadion effect" which "produce a pulsed protonic charge".
Models & Variations
As early as the 2260s, Federation type-2 phasers were characterized by an unmistakably gun-like appearance. Varying in color from black and white, gray and black, and gray and copper combinations, the 2260s model featured identifiable barrel and trigger structures, with an elongated handle/power pack capable of being quickly swapped out and "reloaded".
Unlike the majority of its progeny, the type-2 phaser of the 2260s - and later the 2280s - featured an integrated companion, top-mounted type-1 hand phaser. (TOS: "The Devil in the Dark", "The Omega Glory")
Type-2 phasers of this period were, like later models, capable of power adjustment. Beam intensity and even speed and motion could be altered depending on the intended function. They could be utilized to produce a cutting beam, capable of slicing through a bulkhead, or to generate a phaser "spread". The 2260s model could also be jury-rigged to serve as a power source, capable of powering a small vessel or shuttlecraft. Adjustments could be made by a small knob at the rear of the device. (TOS: "The Naked Time", "Wink of an Eye", "The Galileo Seven")
The power of the phaser type-2 of this era has been measured in thousands of lives, when large numbers of Kohms were killed on the planet Omega IV in 2268. Proconsul Claudius Marcus, of planet 892-IV's equivalent of the Roman Empire, noted that 100 men armed with hand phasers could "defeat the combined armies of Rome". (TOS: "The Omega Glory", "Bread and Circuses")
Consisting of single-piece and phaser type-1 and type-2 combination units, most phasers of this time were characterized by a dark-gray coloration, some with a number of control buttons allowing adjustments to be made for the desired affect.
Functioning similarly to the the 2260s-style type-2 phaser, the phaser-2 models of this period were powerful enough to vaporize small animals like the Ceti eel and could throw a stunned individual several feet in certain circumstances. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
By 2287, type-2 phasers had become sleek, black models with removable clips at the handle. They were stowed in equipment lockers aboard Federation starships and shuttlecraft, though they would trigger an alarm if fired at certain settings. A phaser of this design fired on stun at close range was lethal. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
- Although never shown on screen, production illustrations suggest that the type-2 phaser used in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan had removable type-1 components like the model used in Star Trek: The Original Series and the model used in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The design of the "assault phaser" from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country also included a removable type-1 located beneath the cowling.
By the next century, phaser technology as well as form had evolved. Consisting of hand held, but more ergonomic designs, the type-2 phasers of the mid-24th century retained the functionality of the previous designs, but increased the power and versatility.
The type-2 model of the 2360s had sixteen power settings, ranging from a mild stun to complete disintegration. Like earlier designs, these models could be altered for use as makeshift power sources or cutting tools, they could also be set to overload and explode with considerable yield. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "The Hunted", "Silicon Avatar")
- Level one: lowest setting, Light Stun, capable of stunning most base humanoids for approximately five minutes. According to Starfleet regulations all phasers must be stored at this setting. Possesses enough force to break large urns. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual; TNG: "Aquiel"; TAS: "The Lorelei Signal")
- Level sixteen: Capable of vaporizing rock to widen an opening in a lava tube partially blocked by rubble, or blowing large holes in walls. (TNG: "Chain of Command, Part I", "Frame of Mind")
In addition to variable power settings, type-2s can be set for a narrow (affecting a single target) or "wide" beam (affecting two or more targets over a certain area).
- During the life of Star Trek, the type-2 hand phaser would undergo several re-designs, becoming smaller and more ergonomic each time, despite later incarnations lacking the ability to sight the phaser down it's axis for greater accuracy.
- Although never shown on screen, production illustrations suggest that the type-2 phaser used in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan had removable type-1 components like the model used in Star Trek: The Original Series and the model used in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and the movies that followed.
- The design of the "assault phaser" used in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country also included a removable clip-like power pack. An examination of one of these phasers has shown that, beneath the back of the unit there IS a small, removable type-1 as well.
- Another source, Phasers.net says that the various Type-2 phaser designs seen in TNG, DS9, Voyager, and the later movies were nicknamed the "dustbuster," the "cobra," the "boomerang," and the "dolphin." The "boomerang" and "dolphin" phasers were designed with a more pronounced curve to the handle, to make them more ergonomic and permit the actors to aim their weapons correctly. The earlier "dustbuster" and "cobra" designs were often held with the muzzle pointed too high, so that the beam added in post-production had to be shown angled downward to an implausible degree to strike the target.
- As shown in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction, a number of type-2 phasers created were intended for background purposes only, and thus were made out of foam and molded directly into their holsters.
- In the novel Vendetta it is stated that a type-2 phaser has enough power for ten shots at setting level sixteen. Also, every time the phaser is fired at level sixteen, there is an automatic six-second cooldown period, otherwise the phaser will overheat and possibly explode.