Like this year, May 25, 1977, kicked off Memorial Day weekend and crowds lined up for the most epic space western ever made, "Star Wars." Although set in "a galaxy far, far away," most of the blasters in the intergalactic blockbuster were based on very real firearms. 

Our friends, the scruffy nerfherders over at the Internet Movie Firearms Database, have long ago done the research on the hardware involved in the movie and much of the lore is well known. With guns provided by the famed Bapty prop house in the UK as the production was done in Europe and on location in North Africa (err, Tatooine), most of the blasters were plain jane guns in Bapty's armory that had been visually modified, courtesy of the nearby B&Q hardware store. 

This included some oddballs such as Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)'s "DDC Defender" which was in fact a Soviet-made Vostok Margolin TsKIB .22LR target pistol with a muzzle attachment, and the "BlasTech SE-14C" flashed briefly at the Mos Eisley cantina ("I don't like you, either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems"), a gun crafted from a Swiss Rexim-Favor Mk5 sub gun. Not a lot of brandishing laws on desert planets located in the galaxy's Outer Rim.

As Bapty worked on a lot of war films, and the 1970s was perhaps the apogee of milsurp availability, the Imperial Stormtroopers were well-equipped with light machine guns from the WWI/WWII era including the "BlasTech DLT-19" heavy blaster rifle (German MG34 with some paint and rails added), the "BlasTech T-21 light repeating blaster" (Lewis gun sans characteristic drum mags), and "RT-97C heavy blaster rifles" (German MG15 fitted with an absolutely unusable rimfire scope). 

The "BlasTech E-11 blaster rifles" likewise used by the white-armored troopers and upcycled by our trio of Rebels aboard the Death Star were thoroughly British, being made from modded Sterling L2A3 sub guns outfitted with machine gun sights from Lend-Leased Sherman tanks. Likewise, the Rebel soldiers armed with "BlasTech DH-17s" aboard Leia's Tantive IV Alderaan cruiser in the opening scene were also cloned from Sterlings. 

And of course, we have to address that legendary Stormtrooper accuracy. 



Some more common guns hiding in the background were Solo's BlasTech DL-44 blaster pistol ("Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid"), which is probably the most famous of all the guns in the franchise. Based on a "Broom handle" C96 Mauser, visually modified with a World War II-era German MG81 machine gun muzzle device and a Hensoldt & Wetzlar Ziel Dialyth 3X riflescope from the same era.


C96 Mauser
Under Han Solo's DL-44, which he carried throughout the franchise, is a Broom handle Mauser, one of the first successful semi-auto pistols. (Photo: Chris Eger/


A few years back, famed speed shooter Jerry Miculek got his hands on a similarly tweaked C96 that he used to check off the Kessel Run Drill in 0.8 seconds.



Speaking of Solo's blaster-- which shot first in his abbreviated meeting with Greedo no matter what anyone else says on the matter-- the lima bean-tinted Rodian bounty hunter was packing a "BlasTech DT-12" which is actually a Ruger Mk I .22LR outfitted with a finned flash hider and targeting devices that didn't seem to help him when it came to draw speed. 


Greedo brought a hacked Ruger Mk I to a one-sided blaster fight at bad breath distances in a "wretched hive of scum and villainy." Still, it is probably one of the most attainable of Episode IV guns.


Ponda Baba, the Aqualish squid-faced fella who got to show off what a lightsaber can do when it comes to in-field amputations, had a DL-12 blaster pistol, which was actually an Armalite AR-7 .22LR with part of a patrol mortar shell fitted over the muzzle. 


The neat little AR-7 has often appeared in various forms in sci-fi films and shows over the years. 


The two "CEC AG-2G quad laser cannon" mounts on Solo's second-hand Millennium Falcon smuggling freighter, were clearly an ode to the ball turrets seen on WWII-era bombers such as the Sperry A2 ball turret of the type commonly mounted underneath either a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress or the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, although Luke and Han had much more space in which to work. See what we did there?



Finally, and almost forgotten, the desert-dwelling scratch and dent salvagers known as the Jawas toted "Ion blasters" which were actually cut-down Lee-Enfield rifles fitted with grenade launcher cups as they "Utinni'd" random droids. 

Anyway, have fun on your way into Tosche Station. Watch out for Womp Rats this time of year.