Phasers are the most common and standard energy weapon in the arsenal of Starfleet and several other powers. Phasers fire nadion particle beams.

Description and UsesEdit

The phaser beam can stun, heat, kill or disintegrate living creatures. Phasers can damage shields or other systems or even cut through a hull. Phasers can also be used to cut through walls and burrow through rock. The beam can be focused to a single spot or widened to impact a large area.

Plasma is passed to a phaser emitter resulting in a discharge of nadion particles. Residual particles can be found in places where a battle has recently taken place. The disruptive effects of nadion discharges are moderated to produce varying effects (discussed below), ranging from benign to extremely destructive.

The Starfleet-issue personal phasers come in three types: The phaser type-1 (hand phaser) is small and can be concealed easily. The type 2 phaser is larger and hand-held. It has a longer hand grip or a pistol grip, depending on the model. The phaser type-3 is also known as the phaser rifle. It has a longer barrel, a stock, and some models have a second grip. This weapon can fire beams or bolts. Over centuries of use, there have been several models of the lightweight and effective phaser rifle.

Beyond these, phasers are usually mounted devices, such as the phaser type-4 used on Starfleet shuttlecraft and other small vehicles, all the way up to the large phaser banks and phaser arrays of starships and space stations. Various classes of banks, arrays and emitters exist, such as the more powerful phaser type-8 and the phaser cannon.

Hand phasers can be made to overload, either deliberately or by sabotage. Phasers in the process of overloading emit a distinctive high-pitched whine. The weapon will release all of its energy in an explosion capable of doing considerable damage to its surroundings. In 2266, Lenore Karidian attempted to murder James T. Kirk by hiding an overloading phaser in his cabin. In 2269, Kirk, McCoy, and Sulu were almost killed while on the Kalandan outpost planet, when its defensive computer fused the controls on Kirk's phaser, causing it to overload.

Personal phasers are also used by Starfleet personnel as tools and not just weapons. The phaser can be used to heat rocks and stones for warmth. Worf also used his type-2 phaser to open a tunnel on the Cardassian planet Celtris III.

Different models of phaser make different sounds when fired, depending on the model and setting. Federation phaser fire typically makes a high-pitched "whistling" or "tearing" sound, for example. A knowledgeable person can use the sound to differentiate between types.

n the alternate reality created by Nero's incursion, handheld phasers of the late 2250s emitted bolts of energy rather than the steady streams of energy generated by phasers of the prime reality. In addition, these phasers had a rotating nozzle which flips when set from stun to kill or vice versa.


The phaser design commonly used by Starfleet in the 23rd century and beyond was preceded by phase weapons, including the phase pistol and phase cannon, and were immediately preceded by types of laser weapons, such as the laser pistol.

Phaser technology was introduced by Starfleet as early as 2233; the USS Kelvin was equipped with ship-mounted phaser weapons. Phaser rifles were used as early as 2265, although at that time they were not part of a ship's standard weaponry, as officers were still armed with laser pistols.

In the 24th century, regenerative phasers were designed to function in the presence of duonetic fields, plasma fields, and other environments in which a normal phaser would not operate. As a historical note, the weapon was chosen instead of the TR-116 for such operations.

Side-arm SettingsEdit

The 23rd and 24th century phaser includes several settings. Setting number one is also called the base cycle stunning force. This minimal setting causes only a stun effect to the average humanoid lifeform. A hit will leave the target dazed and unable to think straight for a moment. When used at close range, a phaser set on stun is still capable of inducing sufficient trauma to kill if fired at a vital organ such as the brain. Two phasers set on setting one fired simultaneously can break large objects into pieces, such as the urns of Taurus II.

Setting 3.1 is enough to cause a changeling to experience similar discomfort. Setting 3.4 or 3.5 was determined to be a stun setting that would effectively stun and force any changeling to revert back into the gelatenous state. A wide-field stun setting is used when large groups need to be stunned with a single shot. Some stun settings can also cause unconsciousness. Although mostly harmless when used at these low settings, multiple phaser stuns like this can result in injury and death. There is a heavy stun force setting and a maximum stun setting also known as full stun charge.

A phaser can be used to heat several substances, such as rocks or even coffee Phasers can be used to melt certain ores from solid to liquid. They can be used to quickly boil tens of meters of ice. Settings 6 and 7 cause severe burns to the flesh of humanoids. Setting 7 is also powerful enough to vaporize noranium carbide.

One-quarter and level 10 are names of the kill setting for humanoid forms. The kill setting has a distinct sound from the stun setting. To a humanoid infected by a neural parasite, the kill setting only causes unconsciousness, due to the high levels of adrenaline in the targets body. Cutting settings can be used to slice off segments of a steelplast wall, a standard starfleet corridor wall or even to slice off body parts.

The normal maximum setting on a hand phaser will vaporize a humanoid lifeform or a human size android. This is also called disintegration. When used as a means of suicide, the phaser will also disintegrate along with the person shooting at himself. There is also a maximum setting that can set parts of clothing or humanoids on fire. Against a Horta, even when set specifically for silicon, the maximum setting will only hurt it. Disruptor-B is another maximum setting for the type 2 phaser. It is also called the disruptor effect setting. This setting was assessed to be the most effective against gaseous dikironium.

The standard level 16 setting on a type 2 phaser can be used to vaporize tunnels through rock, large enough to crawl through. The level 16 wide-field setting can easily destroy half of a large building with a single shot.

Types of Phaser WeaponEdit

There are several numbered types of phasers of increasing size and capability: Types 1, 2, and 3 are personnel phasers, and types 4 and above are ship-mounted weapons.

  • Type 1 phaser is a small concealable sidearm weapon.
  • Type 2 phaser is a larger sidearm-type weapon. A sleeker and more compact version was introduced in 2368.
  • Type 3 phaser is a rifle-sized weapon.

These main types and technologies are further classified to distinguish the many variations.

Starship PhasersEdit

The phasers mounted aboard starships are considerably more powerful than those used by Starfleet personnel, owing to the increased power reserves available. Early phasers, such as the MK IX/01 type found on the USS Enterprise, were mounted in banks of one or two emitters, firing in either proximity blasts or beams. The ship's phasers also have a stun setting, and can be set for a wide-beam.

It was possible to configure phaser emitters to fire laser pulse beams, photon pulses and pulse compression waves. In the alternate reality created by Nero's incursion, phasers aboard the USS Enterprise were used to fire bolts resembling proximity blasts. In 2233 starships such as the USS Kelvin had different ship-mounted phaser emitters for the bolts and beam blasts.

Types of Starship PhaserEdit

  • particle phaser - used on transport ships from Boreal III
  • phaser bank
  • phaser array
  • phaser cannon - used on Defiant-class starships
  • phaser type-4 - used on type 6 shuttlecrafts
  • phaser type-8 - used on Excelsior-class starships
  • Galor-class phaser bank