The personal phaser is the smallest of the standard-issue weapons used by most Starfleet personnel,
and serves a variety of functions.
The term 'phaser' is an acronym for PHASed Energy Rectification. Personal phasers were first developed by
Starfleet in the 23rd century as a defensive beam weapon for use by personnel heading into uncertain
situations. There are three classes of personal phaser. The Type 1 is a hand-sized unit, easily concealed;
it is ideal for use on diplomatic or sensitive missions, where it would be unwise to appear heavily armed.
Type 2 phasers are larger, more powerful weapons issued to personnel going into hostile environments. The
Type 3 phaser rifle is only issued in special situations.
The Type 2 phasers of 2266 were mostly casing, incorporating the smaller Type 1 phaser giving it a greater
power output. This model of the Type 2 could not function without the Type 1 plugged in. The Type 2 phaser
of the 2270s were elongated and less bulky with a wider beam emitter. This Type 2 model also could also
detach from the hand grip unit. In the late 2280s a new Type 2 phaser was designed that, unlike previous
models, did not break down into a smaller Type 1 unit. It was constructed of a black metallic material, and
had a much smoother finish than its predecessors. This model also featured a removable power pack that
slotted into the handle which was marked with an identification tag.
All phaser types are capable of firing beams of varying power. The settings include 'stun,' which
renders an organic target unconscious; 'heat,' for warming objects such as rocks for use as heat or light
sources, as well as a cutting tool; and 'disruption.' This last setting destroys objects and almost any known life form. In Type 1
and Type 2 phasers, energy is stored in a sarium krellide cell. This can be recharged aboard ship
through standard power taps, or in the field using portable bulk sarium krellide units. If desired, the
phaser could be set to overload, which caused it to glow red and produce a high-pitched whine. The resulting
explosion would destroy the phaser and anything in the immediate vicintiy.
Energy from the power cell is modulated by three interconnected parts: the beam control assembly (the
operation buttons), the safety interlock (to personalize the user), and the subspace transceiver
assembly (which limits the power of shipboard firings). Once the energy has passed through these
control mechanisms, it is routed into the prefire chamber. It is held here until the trigger is
depressed, at which point the energy is passed to the emitter crystal. There it is converted into a
tuned phaser discharge and released according to the setting.
"HOW PERSONAL PHASERS WORK" - JULY 1999 ISSUE 3 STAR TREK: THE MAGAZINE
"PHASERS: 2266" - JANUARY 2001 ISSUE 21 STAR TREK: THE MAGAZINE
"PHASERS: 2271" - DECEMBER 2001 ISSUE 32 STAR TREK: THE MAGAZINE
"PHASERS: 2287" - MAY 2002 ISSUE 36 STAR TREK: THE MAGAZINE
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