- "They have two settings: stun and kill. It would be best not to confuse them."
- — Malcolm Reed, 2151
The phase pistol was a type of phase-modulated energy weapon, a personnel sidearm characterized by a focused energy discharge in the form of a steady stream or a phase pulse. It was introduced in 2151 for use by Starfleet personnel as a replacement to the EM-33 pistol. MACO utilized a different model of phase-pistol.
- In ultimately unused dialogue from the first draft script of Shadows of P'Jem (written while the episode had the working title "Untitled Andorians Return"), this type of weapon was defined as a "phased-energy pistol" and a "defensive weapon."
Starfleet phase pistolEdit
The phase pistol was equipped with two settings: "stun" and "kill". The former could also be used to ignite a fire. The temperature to which the weapon was capable of heating a liquid was at least 398 degrees. It could be utilized in clearing obstructions of rock and earth, and as a cutting tool, its beam capable of slicing neatly through an enormous root. By cross-polarizing the power cells to increase particle yield, the weapon could be modified to be more effective against shields. A phase pistol could also be set to overload and function as an explosive device.
Although phase pistols handled similarly to an EM-33, they were different in that they did not require the user to compensate for particle drift, but to instead point straight at the target. The effects of a phase-pistol hit also differed from those experienced with other weapons of that era. 22nd century Suliban and Coridan weapons inflicted identifiable wounds, tearing through clothing and into the victim's flesh. The phase pistol, however, was capable of having an effect more comparable to an electric shock, capable of causing severe injury without breaking, burning or otherwise damaging the skin. Along with the beam, a pulse would surge through it, causing more damage. It was also capable of making the rounds harmless for training purposes, possibly by setting the weapon to stun. However, it was possible for phase pistols to inflict wounds.
Crewmembers from Enterprise first used phase pistols in April of 2151, when Captain Jonathan Archer infiltrated a Suliban helix. Aboard the helix, Archer was able to stun a Suliban soldier before having his own phase-pistol turned against him by Silik. Due to bizarre temporal effects within the helix's temporal chamber, however, Archer was able to literally dodge the phase-pistol beam and escaped relatively unharmed, while the beam's presence in the chamber caused a large shock wave to surge through it, as Silik had said it to be unwise to use the weapon in that room. Enterprise carried a total of fifteen phase pistols on the ship during 2151.
Ensign Masaro committed suicide with a phase-pistol in 2155. Starfleet phase pistols were used as late as 2161, when an away team from Enterprise fought against a group of aliens on the planet Rigel X.
MACO phase pistolEdit
MACOs used their own model of phase pistols as their primary sidearm as well. The pistols were similar in appearance to the EM-33 pistols and were designed to fire blue phase pulses, essentially bolts of energy, instead of beams like those fired by their Starfleet counterparts. The pistols were also equipped with both "stun" and "kill" settings.
In 2154, Talas was shot with a MACO phase pistol set to kill. Although she was only grazed, she, being an Andorian, was especially susceptible to phase-pulse infection, and subsequently died of her injuries.