Let’s call ourselves off duty for a bit and talk about two of my favorite subjects: “Star Wars” and guns. Today we are going to look at “Star Wars” guns and the real guns behind them. Most guns in Star Wars are based on actual firearms and dolled up to appear rather sci-fi, albeit they have a grimy, machine look to them, and the use of actual guns helped give the movie franchise that aesthetic we know and love. I’ve limited myself to the top five “Star Wars” guns because there are way too many for a single article.
BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol – Han Solo’s blaster
Han Solo’s blaster is likely the most famous of the “Star Wars” guns. He wields it often and proved to be rather effective with it more than once. The “Heavy Blaster” designation apparently makes it more effective against the useless Stormtrooper armor or something. However, the addition of an optic puts Han right alongside modern Spec Ops gunslingers in 2021.
In real life, the BlasTech Dl-44 is a mocked-up C96. The C96 is an early semi-automatic pistol that was massively successful. The pistol served in both World Wars and continued to arm nations long past its prime. This ‘Broomhandle” Mauser’s grip is readily apparent on Han’s gun. The other dead giveaway is the forward magazine and distinct configuration.
In the films, it’s adorned with a muzzle device and a scope (though I don’t think Han ever uses the scope, and a magnified optic on a fighting pistol is a bit unheard of). Han most certainly shot first, and he did it with a C96.
BlasTech E-11 Blaster Rifle – Stormtrooper rifle
The BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle proves to be terribly inefficient in the hands of Imperial Stormtroopers throughout the three original films. Maybe the helmets make it tough to use the optic. Heck, those helmets make it tough to see the tops of doorways. Maybe they should have unfolded the stocks. Whatever the reason, these short carbines seem well suited to service in cramped quarters like the Death Star.
In real life, the Stormtroopers’ rifles were built from a rather fantastic and well-made post-World War II-era submachine gun known as the Sterling L2A3. The side-loading magazine, under-folding stock, and distinctive muzzle give it away. As one of the most famous “Star Wars” guns, it’s easily more recognizable as a Stormtrooper gun than a British SMG.
For its time, it was rather light as well. Weighing in at only six pounds, it’s not hard to see why Luke could wield one with a single hand, although that’s not the suggested means to use the gun. I can’t help but feel that if the 501st used the optics and stock, they would’ve turned Luke, Leia, and Han into burning piles of flesh quite quickly.
EE-3 Carbine Rifle – Boba Fett’s rifle
Boba Fett rules; he’s always been my favorite character. As far as “Star Wars” guns go, his is unique. Mostly due to its unique thumbhole stock and sleek appearance. It’s not adorned with lots of add-ons and gadgets, just an optic. Although admittedly, when we see Boba fire it, he seems to ignore good shooting form, the optic, and the stock.
In real life, the EE-3 Carbine rifle isn’t even a real gun — it’s a flare gun! A rather fancy flare gun known as the Webley and Scott No. 1 Mark 1 flare gun. These were used in World War I and II for target marking. Pilots in World War II would use these massive flare guns to send messages to artillery crews.
The pistol grip resembles a revolver grip because Webley mostly made revolvers, and the pistol grip, hammer, and trigger all would fit perfectly on a World War I era Webley service revolver.
BlasTech IB-94 blaster pistol – The Mandalorian pistol
The crew behind “The Mandalorian” not only saved “Star Wars” but gave us one of the coolest blaster pistols from the series. “The Mandalorian” occupies the Space Western genre, and the IB-94 certainly has a Western revolver-like look to it. We see our gunslinger draw and shoot from the hip like he belongs at the O.K. Corral.
The BlasTech weapon he’s wielding is no revolver, but a very early semi-automatic pistol. It’s a Bergmann 1894, or likely a prop cast from the weapon since they are quite rare. The Bergman 1894 looks like a “Star Wars” gun without the fancy techno add ons, so it’s a natural fit. In real life, the weapon used a fixed five-round magazine and fired 8mm Bergman.
It’s an oddball weapon, but it used a very traditional direct blowback system. The rather anemic cartridges were nothing to write home about. The Bergman 1894 was rejected from German, Swiss, and Belgian military trials for being unreliable, and the Bergman 1896 proved to be more successful.
BlasTech A300 Rifles – Rebels in “Rogue One”
The Rebels in the film “Rogue One,” including Cassian Andor, mostly wield BlasTech A300 rifles and utilize various barrel lengths, accessories, and muzzle attachments. (Spoiler alert?) We see these big rifles gun down Stormtroopers at the end battle and allow our heroes to get the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance.
What’s interesting is that most “Star Wars” guns come from World War II and are dressed up to give them that sci-fi look and feel. In “Rogue One,” the base guns are very clearly AR-15s. You can spot dead giveaways in the magazines, the brass deflectors, forward assists, and more. It’s super easy to spot, and yet interesting to see modern guns pop up in “Star Wars.”
Cassian Andor, in particular, shows the versatility of the AR-15-based A300 by going from pistol to ‘sniper’ rifle. In reality, you could do something very similar with the AR-15 and swap configurations with limited effort. Although the only time it shoots lasers is with a laser training cartridge.
The “Star Wars” Guns
These are my top five, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same as your five. If you’re both a “Star Wars” fan and gun nut, let me know which guns from the franchise you know and love in the comments section.