Star Wars fans have a lot to be excited about these days. With last year’s release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, fans entered a new era of awesomeness with new films coming every year for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, fans will continue to cherish the original trilogy, as we’ve done for 30-odd years or so. And since we are always looking for something new to learn about our favorite movie trilogy all time, we were fascinated to learn about the guns of Star Wars.
Interestingly. the website Range365.com shared a piece that correlates the guns of Star Wars to their original WWI and WWII weapons and it is fascinating. Needless to say, we learned something we didn’t know about our all-time favorite movie trilogy:
Oddly enough, Episodes 4-6 or the original trilogy, feature a good amount of not only existing firearms, but also some historic WWI and WWII vintage pieces. They’re all modified. Lucas apparently thought that taking any old gun, cutting down the barrel and stock, and putting a scope on top made it a space gun. Most are barely recognizable, but many were left fully operational and actually fired blanks on screen. Doing so made it easier for the actors to react to shooting their blasters while filming, and for the special-effects guys to come along later and add the red or green blasts over the muzzle flashes.
It’s interesting to see how many weapons of war, which are antiques by today’s standards and were pretty close to it in the ‘70s and ‘80s when the movies were made, were designed to look futuristic by subtracting a few pieces and adding some aesthetic touches. And since the studio filming for the first movie was done in England, there aren’t any American arms in the mix, which actually made the blasters less familiar to U.S. movie audiences.
So here is the list courtesy of Range365 :
1. Han Solo’s Blaster
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.
2. Stormtrooper E-11 Blaster Rifle
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.
3. Leia’s Pistol
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.