May 4 a tribute from a Navy Gunner

HAHA – enjoy!

Han Solo’s Blaster

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Han Solo’s Blaster

Han Solo’s blaster was made from Mauser C96.

One of the most famous and recognizable weapons from the “Star Wars” universe is the BlasTech DL-44 blaster pistol, otherwise known as Han Solo’s blaster. Luke Skywalker carries a similar one in “Empire Strikes Back.” The blaster is a dressed up Mauser C96 “Broomhandle” pistol. The blaster version has a scope offset on the right side, and a conical muzzle device added, as well as a few embellishments to the frame and magazine well.

Everyone’s favorite Scruffy Nerfherder actually carried different versions of the blaster through the original three movies. In “Empire,” the barrel was shortened and the muzzle device was shaped differently and colored silver. The scope was also shortened and changed in shape. For “Return of the Jedi,” the muzzle device and scope were changed again, although slightly. Throughout all three films, the Mauser’s distinctive wooden handle that gave the gun its nickname remained unchanged.

Stormtrooper E-11 Blaster Rifle

Stormtrooper E-11 Blaster Rifle
The E-11 blaster was carried by all Imperial Stormtroopers in the three original films. web photo

Perhaps the most often-seen weapon in the trilogy, the E-11 blaster carried by Imperial Stormtroopers were actually made from British Sterling L2A3 submachine guns, and not much was changed. A shroud was added to cover the barrel vents, a dummy scope was perched atop the receiver, and an extremely shortened magazine was added, which can be seen protruding from the left side of the normally positioned magazine well.

The blaster rifles are always seen with the Sterling’s stock folded beneath the weapon. In “New Hope” and “Empire,” there are several instances where you can see blank casings being ejected from the Sterlings. For “Return of the Jedi,” the E11s were made from non-firing Sterling replicas and no blanks were used during filming.

The Sterling replaced the British Sten in 1953, even though the Sterling was invented 10 years earlier. Chambered in 9mm and firing 550 rounds per minute with its distinctive side-feeding magazine, the Sterling stayed in service until 1994 when it was phased out by the L85A1 assault rifle.

Leia’s Pistol

Leia’s Pistol
Leia’s blaster was actually a .22LR target pistol. web photo

The Cinnabon-haired space princess that has deservedly haunted many a geek’s dreams hit the screen as Leia Organa when she was only 21. The most famous image of her from “A New Hope” is undoubtedly the shot with her long-barreled Defender Sporting Blaster that she uses to fight off Stormtroopers before being captured at the beginning of the first film. She uses a similar blaster again on Endor in “Return of the Jedi,” but with a shorter barrel.

The long, thin appearance of the small-caliber Russian Vostok Margolin .22LR Target Pistol lent itself well to a sleek, alien blaster that looked natural when wielded by someone of Carrie Fisher’s stature. The real gun is a simple blowback pistol with a fixed barrel, which makes it conducive to target shooting. Today, it’s highly sought by collectors—not gun collectors, “Star Wars” collectors.

Boba Fett’s Blaster

Boba Fett’s Blaster
Boba Fett’s sawed-off blaster wasn’t a gun at all…not really. web photo

The universe’s coolest bounty hunter, Boba Fett, had the coolest gun in the series. His short blaster with a full stock looked menacing and as if it had been cut down in the dim light of a space freighter’s cargo hold. I always thought it looked like some kind of outer-space version of a sawed-off shotgun–only this one didn’t start as an actual gun at all, but as a Webley & Scott No.1 Mark 1 37mm flare gun.

Some embellishments are added to the smooth barrel, and the muzzle is plugged to give it a blaster look. A scope is also mounted to the top, albeit backwards. It’s the same blaster Luke cuts in half with his lightsaber before sending Boba Fett to a gruesome death in the belly of the Sarlac in “Return of the Jedi.”

Fans of Mandalorian armor need not mourn, however. Reports say the next “Star Wars” anthology film (that’s what Disney is calling the upcoming supplemental films that don’t fall in with the new trilogy) will focus on the origin story of Boba Fett and reveal that he didn’t actually die in that pit. Maybe we’ll get to see how he got his blaster, which is still just as cool now that we know it’s a flare gun.

Rebel Soldiers’ BlasTech A280

Rebel Soldiers’ BlasTech A280
The BlasTech A295 blaster rifles were used by rebel forced during the battle of Hoth. 

In “Empire,” many of the soldiers fighting for the Rebel Alliance, especially in the battle on Hoth, carried BlasTech A295 blaster rifles. These were non-firing weapons made from casts of WWII-era German Sturmgewehr 44 rifles. Gamers know this rifle well–it was the overpowered, full-auto rifle in a score of WWII games, though the actual weapon was put into production too late in the war to be distributed to German troops in any significant numbers. The STG44 is a selective-fire weapon considered to be the first assault rifle; it saw the heaviest use on the Eastern Front and was considered a formidable, though complicated, weapon.

You can see Rebel soldiers using similar blasters in “Return of the Jedi” on Endor, but they are actually BlasTech A280s, which were made from casts of M16s.

Imperial Sandtroopers’ Big Guns

Imperial Sandtroopers’ Big Guns
The Sandtrooper’s heavy gun was actually one of the first machine guns to wreak havoc on the battlefields of WWI. web photo

On Luke’s home planet of Tantooine, we got a look at Imperial Sandtroopers for the first time. They’re basically Stormtroopers with more gear and an orange or grey shoulder cover to denote rank. They carry the fierce-looking T-21 Light Repeating Blaster. This is another real-life gun hardly changed for the movies; it was actually a WWI-era British Lewis Machine Gun.

For the big screen, the Lewis’ integrated bi-pod and attachment point is removed, and some ribbing is added to the air-cooling shroud near the muzzle and by the receiver on the grip. The pan-shaped magazine is removed and replaced with a horizontal carry/firing support handle.

Though invented by an American in 1911, the Lewis was introduced by the Brits in WWI in .303 caliber and saw service with various armed forces through the Korean War. It was also produced by Savage Arms, chambered in .30-06. Often used as an aircraft machine gun in the First World War, it’s usually seen in this role with the cooling shroud on the barrel removed. For the film, the distinctive shrouds were left in place.

DLT-19 Heavy Blaster Rifle

DLT-19 Heavy Blaster Rifle
Another Imperial gun was taken from the battlefields of WWII. web photo

This is the standard heavy weapon of Imperial Stormtroopers, though it isn’t featured too often or prominently. The prop people didn’t really do much to conceal what these blasters really are: another German weapon from WWII, the MG34 General Purpose Machine Gun.

Almost nothing was changed, except a portion of the original barrel shroud is covered; the wood stocks are painted black, and Stormtroopers carry them with no drum magazine attached. It certainly seems like it’s better suited to spout lasers than spit out 7.92 x 57mm Mauser rounds at 900 rounds per minute, thought that’s just what it does.

 

Until next time!

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