I’ve mentioned, time and time again, that I am a fan of science fiction. So today, instead of dissecting and nitpicking some sci-fi movie, I’d like to take this opportunity pay tribute to the creativity and style that this particular genre has produced over the years.
And since I also have a soft spot for good looking weapons, I figured we’d kill two mutated birds with one laser blast. With that in mind, I present to you:
Travis Tee’s Top 5 Sci-Fi Handguns
Now, before we begin the list proper, let me clarify a few things.
Firstly, while I will make arguments to support my choices, this is in no way an objective list. It’s all my personal opinions and preferences, and you are more than welcome to disagree.
Secondly, my criteria is practicality and appearance, rather than how iconic or powerful the weapons are, and how good or bad the user is.
So, let’s begin.
5: Deckards Gun (Blade Runner)
This pistol, unofficially known as the LAPD 2019 Blaster, the M2019 Blaster or the Steyr Pflager Katsumata Series-D Blaster, is the signature weapon of Rick Deckard (and presumably the LAPD in general). As for its placing on the list, it gets high marks for its unique, interesting appearance, so much so that accurate replicas and reproductions can sell for hundreds of dollars. However, it does suffer from firing cartridges, which is odd, considering how it’s almost universally referred to as a “blaster“. I’ll get into this in more detail later, but suffice to say that this makes the gun somewhat impractical, compared to other entries on the list.
4: Moses Brothers Self-Defense Engine Frontier Model B (Firefly)
We move from a gun where nobody seems able to agree on an official name, to a gun with a name nobody can be bothered to remember, with most just calling it “Mal’s Gun“. Seeing as Firefly was pretty much a space western, it’s not surprising that a custom made weapon for the show would be similar to an old west revolver. And seeing as I am a big fan of old west weapons, it’s equally unsurprising that this should inch ahead of the LAPD Blaster. Of course, it suffers from the same problem, being loaded with cartridges, which prevents it from climbing higher.
3: DL-44 Heavy Blaster (Star Wars)
Interestingly, another weapon used by Harrison Ford on the silver screen. The DL-44 carried by Han Solo is on of the most iconic handguns of the entire genre. Its easily recognizable silhouette is a result of it being based on the Mauser C96, also known as the ”Broomhandle Mauser”. And unlike the previous entries on this list, this is a genuine blaster, in that it fires energy projectiles (in this case plasma) rather than bullets. This means that shots fired from it are, if not outright unaffected, at least far less impaired by gravity, cross winds or drag than bullets fired from a normal handgun. For all intents and purposes, they keep going until they hit an obstacle or they dissipate. This makes them more accurate, with the only drawback probably being that they are slower. This, coupled with the rugged style, lands the DL-44 on third place.
2: A180 Blaster Pistol (Star Wars)
Another weapon from the Star Wars franchise, this time the A180 Blaster Pistol from the spinoff/prequel/sidequel Rogue One. Keen-eyed readers will notice that, much like the previous entry, it is based on a german handgun. In this case, it’s the Luger P08. The A180 is a less powerful blaster, compared to the DL-44, but is more compact as a result, while shots fired retain the same positives. All this, and the horribly unfair fact that I prefer the Luger over the Mauser C96 on a simply aesthetic level, means that it snatches the second place on the list.
Now, before we reach the #1 spot, let’s look at a few honorable mentions, handguns that I’d like to spotlight, but which didn’t quite make the list, for one reason or another.
Westar-34 Blaster Pistol (Star Wars)
Carried by Jango Fett, these pistols, despite a uniqe look, simply never caught my interest in the same way the other entries did. They also seem an odd choice for a famed bounty hunter. I guess it makes sense that, despite his flaws, his son Boba Fett at least had the good sense to switch to a rifle.
The Samaritan (Hellboy)
An incredibly impressive looking handgun, but it did not make the list for three reasons. Firstly, it’s too big for anyone other than Hellboy to use. Second, it only holds four bullets, which is a bit impractical. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, while there are a few sci-fi elements, Hellboy doesn’t really count as Science Fiction…
Zat’nik’tel (Stargate SG-1)
This is a handy-dandy, if rather unattractive little piece. It can stun, it can kill, and it can disintegrate enemies. However, from an aesthetic point of view, it’s very much hit and miss for me. It just never impressed me enough to consider it for a place on the list, I’m sorry to say. That said, I know for a fact others like it, so it deserves at least a mention among the others.
Noisy Cricket (Men in Black)
This unassuming little thing is perhaps the antithesis of the first spot. Not so much impressive as odd looking, the noisy cricket is powerful enough to blow up… pretty much anything you aim it at. The downside is that it’s so powerful, it launches the shooter backwards at high velocity. This makes it, to put it simply, effectively useless.
Phaser (Star Trek)
One of the granddaddies of sci fi weapons, this is essentially the swiss army knife of the genre. It can stun, it can kill, it can blow stuff up or even be made into a makeshift bomb. So why is it not on the list, you may wonder?
Well, just LOOK at it. It’s absolutely hideous. It doesn’t matter which version you pick. They may get plenty of bonus points for practicality, but the fact remains… it’s a tool. No care or concern or passion has gone into their design. Function over fashion, which disqualifies them from this list.
So, with the honorable mentions and snark out of the way, let’s get to the first spot.
1: Particle Magnum (Stargate Atlantis)
This gun, carried by Ronon Dex, who we have discussed once before, is resting at the number 1 spot for a very simple reason: This is what happens when Mal’s gun fucks a phaser. It has a stun setting, a kill setting, a blow-stuff-the-fuck-up setting… Even that impromptu mine aspect could probably be done by overloading the energy cell. Speaking of, according to concept art, the energy cell is rechargeable, though the method isn’t made clear.
But what it has over the phaser is its appearance. It looks great! Its design brings to mind an old black powder revolver, specifically the colt 1860 Army. And like I said earlier: I’ve a soft spot for old west weaponry.
Practicality and style. Both criteria, and the Particle Magnum aces both of them. I think Teal’c said it best about the gun.
I would very much like to have a weapon such as this!
So those are my personal picks when it comes to Sci-Fi handguns. Like I said, you are free to disagree with my picks, and I would love to hear of your handguns of choice, and the arguments for why you prefer them.