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Type 3 phaser

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Phaser rifle

Phaser rifle circa 2367

Type: Phaser
Output: Adjustable width beam, bolt, expanding energy pulse
Manufacturer: Starfleet, Bajoran Militia, Regalians
Era: 23rd century and 24th century

A phaser rifle (often referred to as a type-3 phaser) was a rifle variation of the standard phaser used by the Federation.

24th century phaser rifles have sixteen power settings, fully-autonomous recharge capability, multiple-target acquisition, and gyro-stabilization. They are slightly less powerful than Cardassian phase-disruptor rifles, and are considered by some to be less effective as a field weapon due to their complexity, despite being more powerful than the standard phaser. (DS9: "Return to Grace")


James T Kirk with phaser rifle

James T. Kirk holds a 2260s-style phaser rifle

Phaser rifles were not standard landing party equipment aboard Starfleet vessels. Typically, rifles were equipped only when firepower heavier than that of the type 2 phaser was required. Spock for example had to make a special request for one to be brought down to Delta Vega in 2265. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

Facsimile phaser rifles were created by the Romulan Star Empire in 2367 and given to rebels on the Klingon planet Krios, in an attempt to destabilize relationships between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Both the facsimile and Federation rifles had an output of 1.05 MW. The only physical difference to the standard Federation rifle was an emission crystal efficiency of 94.1%. This was eight percent above the standard model. Another difference was that the initial output spike of the phaser beam was inverted, a sign that the power cell had been charged with a forced pulse in the terahertz range – a method used in Romulan disruptors. (TNG: "The Mind's Eye")

The 2360s version of the rifle could be modified with the use of a tracking light mounted on the central body, as well as a shoulder strap designed for ease of carrying. (Star Trek: First Contact) A phaser rifle could be set to fire an expanding energy pulse. The pulse could be set low enough to avoid damaging equipment, but high enough to affect changelings. It also heated up the air it was fired through. (DS9: "The Adversary")

In the early 2370s, the compression phaser rifle began to be distributed to Intrepid-class, Nova-class and other starships, including the USS Voyager and USS Equinox. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Equinox", "Message in a Bottle")

Picard and Data hunt Borg

The crew armed with new phaser rifles in 2373

Worf firing phaser rifle

Worf fires the EVA-type phaser rifle

More advanced phaser rifles capable of firing phaser bolts as well as the standard beam were also used in the 2370s. These rifles had a pistol grip in back and either an underbarrel grip or a second vertical grip underneath the barrel (similar to conventional firearms of times past), and were capable of being modified with various types of scopes, barrels and power cells. The rifle variant with the underbarrel grip was used during zero-gravity EVA-operations in the Borg incident of 2373/2063. This variant was also able to be magnetized against a surface, further proving its usefulness in zero-gravity environments.(Star Trek: First Contact; Star Trek Nemesis)

The new 2370s rifles were differentiated as Mark I, [1] Mark II, [2] and Mark III [3] in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction. Additionally, the new rifles were identified as compression phaser rifles in Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p.356) and in the apocryphal Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force and Star Trek: Elite Force II video games.

When Worf's rifle ran out of power on Ba'ku, he improvised and swung it as a bat at a Son'a drone, as it was firing transporter tags at Baku villagers and Starfleet crew. (Star Trek: Insurrection)

Bajoran phaser rifle, Shakaar

A Bajoran phaser rifle

Bajoran phaser rifles were used by the Bajoran Militia, based on the design of their own hand phasers. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior") Regalian phaser rifles were less powerful than their Starfleet counterparts. (TNG: "The Vengeance Factor")


Starfleet phaser rifles of the 24th century were characterized by several components: (TNG: "The Mind's Eye"; DS9: "The Siege of AR-558")




Phaser rifle prop

Penny Juday holding a 24th century phaser rifle

In the script for TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", this type of phaser is referred to as "heavy," "large," "lethal-appearing," and "lethal." Also, its discharge is described as "a deep, fiery-red beam." The rifle, while carried by Kirk, is said to be "slung across his shoulder," though this is not shown in the episode's final version, the weapon instead being carried by hand.

Matt Jefferies is accredited with drawings for the original series type 1 and 2 sidearms which fit together in a modular fashion. Said drawings also mention mysterious "UNIT 4" for which no drawing or design was ever made public nor featured in the original series. Possibly this UNIT 4 was meant to be a phaser rifle, but was never used on the show. (citation needededit)

In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", the phaser rifle's beam was reused animation from the impact of the laser cannon in TOS: "The Cage". ("Where No Man Has Gone Before" text commentary, TOS Season 1 DVD special features)

When it was announced – during the Watts riots of 1965 – that the rioters were about to move to Desilu's production base of Culver City, California, the phaser rifle from "Where No Man Has Gone Before" was one weapon that Herbert F. Solow suggested to Gene Roddenberry as a means of protection. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 89)

The phaser rifle was retired from TOS after Roddenberry decided that, in common with smoking, guns were not to be shown on the series, either. Regarding the TOS design of phaser rifle, Bjo Trimble remarked, "The gun was just a little too lethal-looking for Gene's taste and he just didn't like it." (Starfleet Access for "Where No Man Has Gone Before", TOS Season 1 Blu-ray special features)

The same style of phaser rifle went on to be featured in many images. These included not only official publicity photographs and illustrations – both of which featured William Shatner, in the guise of Kirk, holding the phaser rifle – but also photographs of Dave Rossi and Elizabeth Dehner actress Sally Kellerman individually posing with the prop. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, pp. 117, 106, 190; Starfleet Access for "Where No Man Has Gone Before", TOS Season 1 Blu-ray special features; [4]; et al.) Apparently, the phaser rifle prop ended up in Sally Kellerman's possession. [5]

Michael and Denise Okuda have been somewhat critical of the TOS-era phaser rifle. Although Michael Okuda found it "a cool concept" and particularly liked how some of the weapon's components moved, he also believed the phaser rifle had "kind of a funky design." He concluded, "I think they were right to retire it after ['Where No Man Has Gone Before']." Dave Rossi remarked on the opinions that the Okudas, who Rossi worked with on Remastered TOS, had about the weapon; "I'm told that my learned colleagues thought that the phaser rifle was a bit hokey-looking." (Starfleet Access for "Where No Man Has Gone Before", TOS Season 1 Blu-ray special features)

Dave Rossi's own thoughts on the TOS-era phaser rifle differed substantially from those of the Okudas. "I love the phaser rifle," he raved. "The phaser rifle kicks butt! And I'm bummed that it only appears in ['Where No Man Has Gone Before'], because to have a phaser gun that can, you know, take the top of a mountain off, what did the phaser rifle do?! You know what I mean? I really wanted to see this thing in future episodes. I didn't think it looked hokey at all; I thought it was cool. It was bulky and it was mean and looked good in Kirk's hands a lot." (Starfleet Access for "Where No Man Has Gone Before", TOS Season 1 Blu-ray special features)

While Voyager originally only used compression rifles, they later also used the First Contact variant – indicating that weapon had been part of the ship's stores since they left DS9 in 2371. This seems anachronistic since that weapon wasn't introduced in other productions until around 2373, after Voyager departed. Even so, Deep Space Nine used two designs (the TNG rifle and the First Contact rifle) concurrently, indicating that no one design was "replaced", establishing that Federation postings could use two types simultaneously.

According to the It's A Wrap! sale and auction, the Star Trek Nemesis version of the phaser rifle (with flashlight) uses "a pair of C123 3-volt batteries... the bulb housing is inscribed '6v Lamp, Laser Products, P60'." A Surefire brand P60 designation lamp is capable of outputting 65 lumens of light. A stunt version from Star Trek: Nemesis was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [6]

The term "type 3 phaser" was first referenced in "Phage", and later again in "Flesh and Blood".

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