The best 5 sci-fi guns ever

Zeke 'Dawg' Atkinson and Sethemeyer P. Godwynn
Everyone likes guns and blowing stuff up and nobody blows stuff up better than the heroes of science-fiction movies. Here are the top 5 iconic sci-fi sidearms from film and TV in no particular order by people who can’t count.

Deckard's gun - Blade Runner

Deckard, the main character in Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ has one of the coolest sidearms ever to appear in a sci-fi movie. The ‘Blaster’ was made from a Charter Arms revolver with a bolt from a rifle attached to the top. Various other bits and bobs were added, including a grip the size of a small wardrobe. It shouldn’t have been this cool but it managed to be more than the sum of its parts and the end result is an iconic slice of coolness that blows everything else away—figuratively. How it’s meant to work is anyone’s guess but it seems to be intended to be a revolver with an additional explosive-grenade launcher on the top. 

They tried to update and improve on this in Blade Runner 2040-something but the results were just as boring as the movie.

Batman's gun - Batman

Batman doesn’t use a gun, but if he did, it would be on this list, so we’ll just put it here anyway.

Phaser - Star Trek

It wouldn’t be possible to narrow it down to just one specific version of the Phaser, as every single one is a different kind of awesome. The original series had a small removable module that our peace-loving heroes could hide in their belt for when negotiations took a turn for the awkward. It bolted into a sort of backwards handgun thing that established a look that was subtly different from anything else. 

When it came time to update it, The Next Generation turned it into a sort of ‘dustbuster,’ which completely set the new design apart from the original and helped to establish the identity of the show. Along the way they added the ‘Assault Phaser’ to ‘The Undiscovered Country’ made from a Beretta 93r, which was the best looking—and least Star Trek—of the lot. 

Fun fact! Commander Scott (‘Scotty’) was the only Star Trek officer in any series that understood basic trigger discipline. No wonder Captain Kirk left him in charge all the time.

M41A Pulse Rifle - Aliens

Aliens had a unique visual style and the Pulse Rifle helped create that grungy and believable aesthetic. 

The rifle fired caseless ammunition, had a 100-round counter and a built-in grenade launcher. It was built from a Thompson sub-machine gun and a Franchi Spas shotgun for the launcher. The overall look was mirrored in the Sulaco, which took design-cues from the assault rifle to really hammer home the message that this was a ship full of people who were bottle-fed as infants. 

Despite being the weapon of choice for bug-hunts, they proved far less effective when hunting actual giant alien bugs. Even so, they’re one of the most iconic weapons ever featured on the big screen.

Auto 9 - Robocop

Robocop was a subtle blend of law-enforcement officer and murder-bot with enough power to crush every bone in your hand, punch a man clean through a wall, bend gun-barrels (and the laws of physics) and rip your neck out with retractable spikes. The only thing he needed was a gun so huge that it removed all question of whether there was anything left below the waist. 

The Auto-9 was based on a Beretta 93r, a pistol chambered for 9mm Parabellum that was capable of single shots and 3-round bursts. The prop had a massively extended barrel and custom cladding to make it look as brutal as a German love poem. 

Because of its iconic look, it’s one of the most memorable weapons to ever grace the cinema screen. 

Lawgiver - Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd began life as a satirical statement about government abuses of power and the encroaching threat of fascism. Of course, now that’s just a daily fact of life. 

Judge Dredd dispensed his questionable brand of justice through a Lawgiver, doling out a variety of dramatically hilarious ways to brutally end the lives of his suspects. It fired armour-piercing bullets, rubber shots, multiple rounds, explosive and incendiary and never ran out of bullets until the writers decided it should. It had a targeting array that looked straight down the barrel, would self-destruct if an unauthorised user touched it and was capable of selective fire. 

This pistol did it all!  

This was the coolest sidearm ever issued to a comic-book character and both movie versions got it horribly wrong. Sylvester Stallone’s blinged-out prop completely forgot to be iconic and just went with looking like a completely ordinary gun with bits stuck on it. The later version with Karl Urban made a slightly better hash of it, but it still looked like a Glock with bits of lunchbox glued on. 

Looker - Looker (1981)

Looker, the 1981 film is a slightly odd movie about a Hollywood actress being forced into plastic surgery in a quest for perfection under threat of being replaced by CGI, before CGI was even a thing.

It featured a pistol that fired a beam of light that temporarily shut down your brain, freezing you in position and giving the illusion of invisibility to the person wielding the pistol. This was all well and good but the climax of the movie features a fight between two people shooting one another with these weapons. It’s a bizarre sequence of time-lurches that’s unlike anything else ever seen. 

I add it to the list just out of sheer spite. 

DL-44 Blaster - Star Wars

Just about every gun in Star Wars was awesome, with the possible exception of the Bespin security guard weapons which were just airguns with the front sight turned upside-down. 

Most of the weapons used were real firearms with various modifications added. It might not always have made perfect sense but it gave the movie an authentic look and feel, at least until the prequels when the Jedi were equipped with ‘Ladyshave’ communicators and the Naboo soldiers pointed hair-dryers at each other. 

But the best of the best was the DL-44 blaster, as used by Han Solo—and everyone else. This iconic handgun was built on a Broomhandle Mauser, a pistol ideally suited to standing in for Judge Dredd’s Lawmaster but ruthlessly ignored. With the addition of a machined alloy cone on the muzzle and a non-functional pistol-scope, it became the most memorable thing ever to end up in Luke’s hand—except parts of his sister that most definitely didn’t belong there. 

Orgazmo gun - Orgazmo

From the makers of South Park (who else) came a 1997 film about a man with a gun that fires… orgasms. 

This really happened—I didn’t make this up. 

An arm - Upgrade

The movie ‘Upgrade’ was a modern cult-classic that harkened back to the days when people writing and directing films knew how to direct and write films. It’s a cyberpunk cautionary tale about the dangers of allowing too much technology into our lives and features some very interesting ideas and technology. 

The antagonists feature guns literally built into their arms—they point their palms and blow stuff up. We couldn’t imagine anywhere better on a human body to hide a gun no matter how hard we tried—and we tried really, really, really hard. 

There are probably dozens more, such as the Sandman’s guns from Logan’s Run, but these were the best we could think of without doing any actual research work. We deliberately ignored the ‘Noisy Cricket’ from Men in Black because it was just a silly joke that looked like something that had fallen down the back of a shelf in Poundland.

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2 thoughts on “The best 5 sci-fi guns ever”

  1. The God Emperor

    Well you got that wrong, it’s the Bolter from Warhammer 40k. (A mini missile launcher that fires variable mass reactive ammunition. Put enough of the right type of Bolt in it, and it can kill Gods.)

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