Beyond the Stars
Handheld Laser Weaponry
Firearms technology is still the galactic standard. Contrary to ideas of “ray guns” in future tech, the use of laser technology for handheld weaponry has never panned out in any meaningful way.
The biggest problem has been trying to miniaturize the generators needed to produce weapons able to output enough energy to do significant damage. Starship-based laser weaponry relies upon excess energy from the drive core; obviously, a personal weapon cannot rely on such a large and heavy power source.
The second problem has been the danger in such a weapon. The kinds of energy needing to be created to power such a weapon are unstable without appropriate dampeners and regulators, which are again hard to miniaturize. This means that with enough of a malfunction, a laser weapon could possibly explode with enough force to obliterate several city blocks. Even without a malfunction, a laser weapon could easily leech huge doses of radiation, slowly but fatally poisoning its wielder.
Finally, the third problem is cost. There have been several successful handheld laser weapons that have been created, but the cost to overcome the two above issues is so astronomically huge that the advantages of laser weapon technology simply do not meet any rational standard of cost-benefit analysis. That the largest handheld weapons tech buyers, the Galactic Army, do not purchase laser weapons in bulk ensures that the only people with laser weapons are extremely rich hobbyists who don’t plan on actually using them in battle, but instead as an illustration of their wealth.