STAR WARS BLASTERS: Caliber Theory And Analysis

In the decades since the release of the original Star Wars movie and subsequent episodes, “researchers” have extensively analyzed the weaponry carried by both Empire and Rebellion characters alike.  And while the technical discussions have delved into the engineering and obvious parallels to World War II era firearms, no one seems to have hypothesized about each character’s personal choices in blasters.

After all, as shooters we all have our favorite guns, and often times these choices have less to do with weight, caliber and magazine capacity and more to do with how a gun simply feels in our hands. So my guess is that Lucas’ heroes would also have an emotional attachment to the weapons they trusted to use against the galaxy’s worst villains. Of course, the opposite would be true for the Empire as well.

For those that take their Star Wars science, history, sociology and overall blaster knowledge very seriously, it’s best that you go ahead and click the back button. While I am certainly a fan, I’m going to base my firearm-blaster analysis on my personal observations alone. Yes, I know that many of the movie props were made from Lee Enfields, flare guns, STG44s, Mausers, grenade cups and more. This analysis is rooted in personality and emotion rather than science and technology.

Lastly, most Star Wars characters use a variety of weapons throughout the original trilogy. For the Rebellion, the source of their armament can usually be tracked back to battlefield pickups and stolen Imperial shipments. For this analysis, I attempted to pick one blaster that defined each character and may not necessarily be the weapon they used most often.

STAR WARS BLASTER CALIBERS

So, if blasters were firearms chambered in modern day propellant-based cartridges, what caliber would each character carry? Follow me.

Han Solo – 10mm

IMG_5262

As a smuggler traveling through the galaxy “collecting” goods and transporting precious cargo, Han Solo can have run-ins with all kinds of filth and vermin. From bounty hunters to space monsters, Solo needs enough gun to handle all of the above, but is small enough as to not slow him down.

The 10mm cartridge is a lone-adventurers dream. Full power loads have enough stopping power to put down Jaba The Hutt but allow for enough magazine capacity to take on a few dozen storm troopers on the way to the detention cell.

Like Solo’s personality, the powerful 10mm round stands alone against the galaxy’s evil dark side.

Chewbacca – .45-70

IMG_5263

This Wookie’s Bowcaster has been rebarreled and rechambered from the standard .44 Magnum pistol cartridge to the insanely powerful .45-70 rifle round. Like his human partner, Chewbacca has lived a life of self reliance and independence since leaving his fellow Wookie pack, requiring the need for a blaster that can handle almost anything as a standalone solution.

In his bandolier, Chewy carries a wide selection of loadings – from light “target” loads to heavy subsonics, the Bowcaster can be transformed into multiple platforms with a few presses into the loading gate. You did know that Bowcasters operated on a lever action, right?

Greedo – .25ACP

IMG_5264

Greedo you sneaky bastard; your cowardice lords over your weapons choices. Carrying only enough gun for personal protection and the chance close encounter with a target, Greedo prefers a blaster with very light recoil. After all, his doughy frame doesn’t react well to heavy kicks.

Don’t get me wrong, a well placed .25ACP round will still kill you dead. However, when you consider most bounty packages are paid on a ‘live vs dead’ scale, Greedo’s watered down caliber choice can serve him well monetarily.

His light, unwieldy pistol allows him to almost always shoot first.

Lando Calrissian – .40S&W

IMG_5265

A traitor carrying a traitors cartridge. Rather than pick a NATO Galactic Alliance recognized round, Lando Calrissian packs a sidearm that answers a question that no one asked. Sure, he could have gone with the vanilla 9mm, but this spineless scammer blows with the wind, often picking his weapons solely based on style and sex appeal.

I know what you all were thinking – you expected me to pick “Colt .45” for our Sky City friend. No dice; there’s too much honor in that cartridge for a man who is willing to make a deal with the Empire.

Princess Leia – .22lR Subsonic

IMG_5268

Sure she’s royalty, but operationally Leia Organa is a well trained covert spy. Along with other black ops tools and techniques, the Princess’s weapon of choice behind enemy lines is a suppressed .22 rimfire handgun loaded with hollow point/segmented rounds for extra lethality.

Much like her personality, Leia’s caliber choice is often underrated and cast off as being a small varmint round. However, at close range, with proper shot placement and a little dash of The Force, this rimfire round is perfectly deadly in experienced hands.

(Rest in peace, Carrie Fisher)

Stormtroopers – 9mm

IMG_5272

Available in mass quantities because of leftover stockpiles from centuries of armed conflict, the capable 9mm round is is a good fit for the legions of Stormtroopers sprinkled throughout the galaxy. Why not a rifle round built for use in a short carbine length gun? For one, economy – the Empire’s budget restrictions have made cost cutting measures necessary, forcing imperial quartermasters to rely on surplus stores. Second, most conflicts aboard star ships occur at distances of 100 yards or less. For conflicts on planet surfaces with longer distances, Stormtroopers are armed with rifles and light machine guns.

Boba Fett – 300BLK

IMG_5273

A bounty hunter with far more class and style than Greedo, Boba Fett is a professional soldier with roots in Special Operations. His main tool of the trade is a short barreled rifle chambered in .300 Blackout. Carrying subsonic loads suitable for stealthy short range engagements as well as supersonic rounds for intermediate targets, Fett’s caliber choice gives him wide mission flexibility.

Fellow bounty hunters have been critical of his choice in the “boutique” round, mainly because their blasters are chambered in the widely accepted 5.56 round. A series of unfortunate magazine loadout mixups have injured several of the hired gunman. Of course, all of these injuries were preventable with a simple ammunition check prior to mission departure – a sad side effect of always working alone – but it is easier for these gunmen to blame the .300 round.

Luke Skywalker – .380ACP

Star Wars

Our galactic hero, filled with an astronomically high midichlorian count, relies on a more elegant weapon for his one-on-one battles. However, sometimes a blaster is a better choice than a light saber. Still, as a wide-eyed farm boy who’s only previous experience with gunplay is blasting Womp Rats back home, Luke’s inexperience shows in his sidearm choice.

Plagued with recoil anticipation and a weak grip strength, Skywalker picked a pistol caliber almost solely based on his timidness rather than stopping power. Although his sidearm is a poor choice for battling imperial soldiers, thankfully Luke is blessed with the powers of The Force, or the movie trilogy may not have made it past A New Hope.

Jawas – 7.62 x 54r

IMG_5275

Mostly based on size practicality, the Jawas converted their bolt action battlefield pickups to short barreled rifles with directional blast brake muzzle devices. Not only do these guns match their small stature, but it also allows them to be used within the small confines of their tracked Sandcrawler transports.

Quick fact: most of the Jawa’s scavenging efforts were focused on locating proper gun solvents to neutralize the hygroscopic effects of the rimmed cartridge.

Sand People – 12.7 x 108mm

IMG_5276

In small numbers, Sand People operate only at longer distances, so they require a cartridge capable retaining energy over thousands of yards. The 12.7 X 108mm cartridge has the added benefit of the availability of both anti-personnel rounds as well as anti-material rounds. Although marksmanship has never been their strong suit, lucky shots with their long range blasters have disabled equipment like land speeders and the Jawa’s light armored Sandcrawlers.


Maybe in Volume 2, I’ll ask TFB’s Miles V. to take a deep dive into the artillery, technicals, and ship based weaponry used by both Rebellion and Empire forces in different environments.

Until then, may The Force be with you. Always.



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
[email protected]
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete
https://www.instagram.com/tfb_pete/


Advertisement

  • Jack

    That’s a little rough on Lando don’t you think? I’m not cool with rolling over on your buddy but he had himself and the rest of cloud city he had to watch out for too. No mention of redemption either? Maybe he just need some time to come up with a plan. Either way, this was a fun read!!

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Yeah. I probably was too hard on him.

  • SP mclaughlin

    .40 S&W – “This deal is getting worse all the time!”

    • Ranger Rick

      “I’m altering the deal, pray I don’t alter it further.”

      • Risky

        “I am shortening and weakening the 10mm Auto… pray I don’t shorten and weaken it further…”

  • Dougscamo

    I always figured Chewbacca as a .460 Weatherby guy…..he is a guy…..isn’t he?…..

    • Ben Warren

      I asked. According to my protocol droid, “GRAAA-AA-AAUGH!” translates loosely as “Dear heavens, my arms! That filthy fur rug ripped off my arms!”

  • Ambassador Vader

    The storm troopers had blanks.

    • LCON

      Storm Trooper guns lack sights.

  • hellofromillinois

    Poor Lando is always getting picked on. He did the right thing in the long run.

    Seems like as some poor farm boy used to killing rats Luke should be the one using a .22 LR, and Leia as the fiercely independent princess should be the one using something more sophisticated like the .32 or .380 ACP.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I actually like Lando. He’s a character. But he’s a 40sw guy.

      • QuadGMoto

        I don’t know about that. Lando strikes me as the guy who would keep a pistol deeply hidden so as to avoid marring his smooth, sophisticated image. I could definitely see him with a S&W Bodyguard or Sig P238 in .380.

      • LCON

        you know. I think Giving Han 10mm And Lando .40sw kinga works as they are both the rogue mercenary types. they both Cheat at Cards, Cheat at Women, Cheat at money and yet both are redeemable at the end of the day.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          I like that.

    • QuadGMoto

      That pistol she wielded at the beginning of ANH was definitely a silenced .22.

      By the second movie she had moved up to a 6.5 Grendel.

    • AHill

      I agree with Lando always getting undeserved flak. I read an interpretation that Lando went from the immature outlaw man-child like Han and who won cloud city at cards to a true “grown-up” who eventually took his responsibility to the residents of cloud city seriously. Thus despite having personal ties and history with Han, he had to put all the people who he was duty bound to protect on the city over his own desires and gave Han up to save not himself, but his “constituents”.

    • pun&gun

      Leia’s blasters in ANH and ROTJ are both stated in reference materials to be target guns, so the .22LR concept fits pretty nicely.

  • Don Ward

    Dafuq? All of this is wrong.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Pretty sure you are right.

      Wait.

      Nope. This was 100% correct.

  • MrPotatoHead

    Han Solo would be a 44 Magnum. That’s what the ’44’ stands for in DL-44…

    • Anonymoose

      More like ,44 Auto-Mag. It had that 70s/early 80s appeal.

    • pun&gun

      This. They used a semi-auto as the base so the prop would look futuristic, but if the franchise had been set in a universe with real guns, he’d have had a .44 Magnum revolver.

  • Major Tom

    Rebel troops aboard the Tantive IV (Leia’s ship in A New Hope) were equipped with Kolibri pistols. That’s why they got slaughtered so badly by Imperials despite having a set up defensive position on their airlock. The few casualties they did inflict would be due to luck.

    • Mazryonh

      Because having properly armed and armoured marines onboard would be too warlike for a diplomatic vessel.

  • Bierstadt54

    Lando was better than that, but I agree with the .40 S&W for him. I find it funny you pick the .380 for Luke. It’s not a bad pick, but the reasoning should be more about how he doesn’t really need a blaster and just keeps something he borrowed from Han until he drops them altogether.

    A few others:
    Rebel Infantry on Hoth: 30-06
    Rebel Strike Team on Endor: 5.56
    Rebel General on Hoth: .45 Colt
    Admiral Piett: .32 ACP
    Rogue Squad: .45 ACP

    • Ark

      .45 ACP is definitely the official caliber of Rogue Squadron.

  • Marc

    You dissed the Skywalker. Weak grip? He wields a light saber for goodness sake. Also, him being a farm boy, he has no idea what a .380 is. For Luke; .357 magnum it is.
    This was indeed a fun read.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Yeah. Good point. I was picturing the goofy kid at the beginning who never had a use for a pistol. Just daddy’s side by side.

      Correction. Uncle’s side by side.

      • Richard

        Or uncle’s daddy’s.

  • tiger

    I will agree on the Stormtroopers. Ever notice Nazi bad guys all have MP40’s most of the time in film? What does Jar Jar carry? .45colt/.410 gauge????

    • QuadGMoto

      Jar Jar carries a Nerf gun. That’s all his family and the Council would ever trust him with, especially after he shot Uncle Jinks in the leg with his pellet pistol.

      • Richard

        Until he got that taken away for his shenanigans, then he was given a rape whistle like in the other guys because he couldn’t be trusted with a wooden holster stuffed either.

    • Sulaco5

      I would picture Jar Jar carrying a .32 caliber M1895 Nagant…Leia more like a .32 PPK, suppressed of course!

  • Don Howard

    jawas clearly use .303Brit . . .

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      IF you followed traditional logic and reasoning, yes. However this is the work of my twisted logic.

      • Don Howard

        I can’t even follow my own twisted logic

      • 3of11

        Jawas would never stoop so low as to salvage “garbage rod” Mosin Nagants!

  • zmd

    “His light, unwieldy pistol allows him to almost always shoot first.”

    Almost?!

    • Major Tom

      He didn’t the one time it mattered.

      • Richard

        Until the restoration that we all like to pretend never happened.

    • MrPotatoHead

      There is no “Han shot first.” In the original, Greedo never fired. Han killed him dead with a shot from under the table. So Han shot ONLY!

  • Admiral Ackbar

    “It’s a trap(door)” for me!

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Solid.

  • .45

    The only problem with Luke using a 380 is that in the films, heck, even in the picture you show, he uses the same pistol as Han. I think it is more of a “my buddy swears by this and he’s a smooth dude, so even if I can’t handle it well I’m going to use it” kind of thing.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Think of it like a Glock. Han has a G20 but Luke has a G25 (the non-US .380 one). They almost look the same…

      • .45

        Think of it like a Glock? No, I’ll think of it like you’re wrong. ;D

        Now, how about Star Trek next? Kirk seems like a .45 ACP kind of guy, but Picard could maybe go for a .380?

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          Fine…

          But Kirk carries a cerakoted gold Judge. Big blast, lots of of pomp and circumstance. Ladies love it.

    • pun&gun

      Han’s DL-44 was pretty heavily modified to get more power out of each shot. The base DL-44 was probably powerful as well, but not to the degree that Han’s was. I’d have gone .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum for Han and Luke, respectively.

  • Avery

    Tusken Raider rifle caliber makes even more sense given that .50 BMG would probably the only thing that could take down a Bantha.

    Given what we’ve seen in The Force Awakens, I’d put Chewie’s bowcaster more like a 12 gauge shotgun given it’s range of capability, from buckshot to solid slugs to mini-grenades.

  • tiger

    Indiana Jones proved you never bring a sword to a gunfight.Webley rules!

    • ostiariusalpha

      .455 Webley is definitely the cartridge of choice for ol’ Ben Kenobi.

      • Mazryonh

        According to OB1, blasters are “so uncivilized.”

  • Richard

    The Lando one is perfect.

  • Jim_Macklin

    What, no 40 mega-watt laser blaster?

  • Uncle Owen

    .380? No Luke is more likely to have used a .58 caliber Tennessee long rifle. At least prior to leaving Tatooine. I’m pretty sure the Empire would confiscate any arms beyond a black powder muzzle loader from law abiding moisture farmers.

    • Mazryonh

      That sounds like it might be enough to dissuade Jawas pilfering for parts, but not concerted Tusken Raider attacks. Then again, there was a novelization of Episode 1 claiming that Anakin’s life was spared in his boyhood by a group of Tusken Raiders for having rescued one of their disabled, so perhaps the Tuskens and moisture farmers have come to a “catch me red-handed and I’ll leave without your goods; kill one of us and we’ll kill you all” understanding.

  • Jim_Macklin

    Why does Chewbacca’s particle beam weapon have a bow, but no arrows? Oh Yeah, it was made in Britain

  • SlowJoeCrow

    I look forward to the heavy weapons discussion, and my non canon weapon, the nerf gun. This is a heavy crew served weapon that fires an angry adult nerf 1500-2000 meters, although range and accuracy are variable due to the tendency for the ammunition to thrash around in flight.
    In retrospect this is a bit like the cow catapult in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but I was only thinking about the nerf pun at the time.

    • Y-man

      You forgot about the Pig cannon from District 9!

      • Tassiebush

        Now I’ve got to watch it again.

      • SlowJoeCrow

        I don’t remember that, but I’ve only seen District 9 once.

  • Nicholas Mew

    I had a very good laugh with this article. I look forward to the next one. 🙂

  • Warren Ellis

    Considering Leia’s pistol is described, in the Legends EU continuity at least, as a sporting blaster for formal duels and as an acceptable choice of self-defense for nobility (I guess magnum equivalents would be slumming for someone of her stature?), would that be considered a .22 LR type as mentioned here?

  • Fruitbat44

    While extremely silly, and leaving me with the feeling that someone has too much time on their hands – this really made me smile. 🙂
    Thanks for posting it.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Sometimes I need to break away from scouring the internet for new releases and get a little funky/creative with some original content.

  • marathag

    If you’re wondering how he eats and breathes

    And other science facts,

    Just repeat to yourself “It’s just a show, I should really just relax”

  • Tinkerer

    Damn you, Pete! Now I want a C96 chambered in 10 mm!

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Annnnd… you’re welcome.

      • Mazryonh

        Would Han Solo have gotten a Schnellfeuer version? Who knows what kind of groupings you’d get with bursts from that, even with the holster-stock attached?

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          Have you seen Han’s manly forearms? He’s rock steady as it is.

          • Mazryonh

            Up until his stint in LA 2019. He was certainly not a crack shot in the first Blade Runner movie.

  • Tassiebush

    I found myself wandering off topic thinking that one of those sandcrawlers would be pretty cool!

  • Herschel Walker

    Interestingly, any caliber penetrates Storm Trooper body armor with ease, so take your pick!

    • Mazryonh

      My guess is that Lucas based the Storm Trooper body armour off of ballistic armour in the 1970s, which was primarily useful against fragments but not useful against rifles or magnum handgun cartridges. So while the Storm Troopers got a high-tech survival suit capable of keeping them comfortable in many planetary environments and resistant to fragments/low-power blasters, their opposition just upgunned to keep their advantage. It’s not like the Storm Troopers ever had a manpower problem.

  • Mazryonh

    Han Solo always appeared to be a bit too attached to his DL-44 blaster. I agree with the author’s assessment Han would have wanted something capable of putting down anything a smuggler might encounter at close range short of an armoured vehicle (enough to even give a giant Space Slug some stomach trouble), but you see in the movies he doesn’t use other blaster weapons very much, even while on the commando mission you see in Episode 6. I suppose it was because George Lucas wanted the DL-44 to be Han’s “hero gun” but someone used to the smuggler’s life should logically have been used to grabbing whatever blaster was handy and capable when the situation called for it, and a pistol can’t do as much as a rifle. Han isn’t even seen to my knowledge to have a backup blaster weapon.

    As for Luke’s “weak grip strength”, is the author basing that off Luke’s duel with Darth Vader in Cloud City, before they both leave the Carbonite Freezing Chamber?

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      It was a little jab at him being bested by his own dark side father in ESB.

      • Mazryonh

        I had in mind the little “spinning twist” move that Vader does in the Carbonite Freezing Chamber part of the duel that ends up temporarily disarming Luke.

  • AD

    I stopped reading when you mentioned Midichlorians.

  • Cottersay

    Wow, Greedo was a dame!