The 10 best ‘Star Wars’ weapons (that aren’t a lightsaber)

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The lightsaber is one of the coolest fictional weapons of all time and dominates any discussion on the best Star Wars weaponry. But the galactic armory is bristling with cool toys beyond lazer swords: a dizzying array of blasters and rifles, brutal clubs and staffs, weaponry designed specifically to counter Jedi, and some more imaginative stuff that doesn’t neatly fit into any one category.

Other than lightsabers we’re also excluding larger weaponry. A TIE Fighter or X-Wing (or their respective cannons) are weapons as is the Death Star itself, though this article focuses on armaments able to be wielded by an individual. So, with examples taken from across the length and breadth of a galaxy far, far away, here we go:

10. Z6 Riot Control Baton (The Force Awakens)

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Wielded by First Order stormtroopers, the Z6 Riot Control Baton is a reminder that not all cool weaponry needs to be lethal. A trooper thrusts the weapon forward to extend the conductor contact vanes and then dramatically spins it into position. You might question whether these theatrics are strictly necessary, but this is a weapon designed to intimidate as much as hurt.

The Z6 proved its worth in The Force Awakens, demonstrating that it’s capable of blocking a lightsaber strike, its spinning style making it difficult to defend against, and ultimately delivering a brutal electric shock to Finn. It’s also something of a ceremonial weapon for the First Order as rivalries were settled with duels with these weapons – the most significant being Captain Cardinal and Captain Phasma squaring off in the novel Phasma.

9. A-180 Blaster (Rogue One)

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Star Wars is full of variants on the blaster pistol, with Lucasfilm’s prop department taking pride in giving many characters their own modified pistol. One of the finest is the A-180 used by Jyn Erso in Rogue One. This weapon was stolen from Cassian Andor, with Jyn keeping it at her side right up until her death on Scarif.

The A-180 is notable for its modular nature, able to be quickly reconfigured into a blaster rifle, sniper rifle, or ion launcher depending on what sticky situation you find yourself in. That versatility makes it perfect for agents like Andor and Erso. Though, to be totally honest, the main reason it’s on this list is that its chunky practicality and unfussy materials make it look really cool.

Expect the A-180 to reappear later this year in the Disney Plus show Andor, where we should get scenes to show off its modular capabilities.

8. Electrostaff (The Clone Wars)

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For a non-Force user, squaring off with a Jedi is a fearsome prospect. The deck is stacked in their favor: they can deflect blaster bolts, wield a weapon that can cut through almost anything, have telekinesis, and usually have some kind of unconscious precognitive ability. The Electrostaff is designed to nullify some of that, it can block a lightsaber strike and its charge is intended to simply stop the target’s heart.

Electrostaffs were mass-produced during the Clone Wars and were most notably wielded by the fearsome anti-Jedi IG-100 MagnaGuard droids. Programmed with combat abilities intended to counter every known Jedi saber form, they proved a lethal adversary. As a measure of what an Electrostaff can do, an IG-100 was able to corner Obi-Wan Kenobi (at the time arguably the Jedi Order’s most talented swordsman) using one. If it can get Obi-Wan on the ropes at the height of his Jedi career, the Electrostaff is more than worthy of praise

7. Krrsantan’s Knuckle Dusters (The Book of Boba Fett)

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Wookiee bounty hunter Krrsantan is arguably a weapon in his own right. After fleeing Kashyyyk in disgrace he became a gladiator and competed in brutal pit fighting matches where he showed no mercy to his unfortunate opponents. Recognizing they had a moneymaker on their hands his sponsors decided to splash out on enhancing Krrsantan’s fighting capabilities. This involved modifying his skeleton to increase his strength, durability, and tolerance to pain – but also injecting his knuckles with metal filing and then grafting electrified spiky knuckle dusters to them.

We saw these in action in The Book of Boba Fett, with him using them to take down Fett himself and later using them in battle against Trandoshans, sending them flying through the air with each blow. During the battle for control of Mos Espa he even managed to briefly breach a battle droid’s shields using them, though the effort looked excruciating.

Fan response to Krrsantan was very positive, so expect him to return in future Disney Plus shows to smash some poor opponents right in the snotbox with these.

6. Z-6 Jetpack and Missile Launcher (The Empire Strikes Back)

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The Mandalorian armory will make a few more appearances in this article, but one of their signature pieces of equipment is the Z-6 jetpack, which not only allows skilled Mandalorian warriors to fly through the air but can be loaded with a missile capable of taking down an entire ship. The Z-6 is only capable of carrying a single missile at any one time, meaning it’s generally used only when absolutely necessary. Its best on-screen use was in The Mandalorian, with Fett using it to bring down two fleeing Imperial dropships from long range.

But it’s not cool just because it goes bang very loudly, it’s because the Z-6 makes a statement about who the Mandalorians are. Walking around with a high explosive missile makes you a tempting target for any sniper, as it’s possible for a blaster shot in just the right place to set it off. But that first shot better be on target, because you won’t get a second.

5. E-Web Heavy Repeating Blaster (The Mandalorian)

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When you absolutely, positively have to kill every bounty hunter in the room, accept no substitutes. We’ve seen heavy blaster cannons in Star Wars since the prequel era, but the E-Web variant is definitely the best. Intended to be mounted on a tripod and used by a two-man crew, it requires a separate generator and cooling system to function at full efficiency. But when it’s in action it’s perhaps the most destructive infantry blaster cannon around.

The E-Web’s most prominent appearance in live-action is in The Mandalorian‘s first season finale, in which it gets an introductory monologue from Moff Gideon establishing its fearsome credentials. We’ll quote it in full because it’s just that badass:

“Members of my escort have completed assembly of an E-Web heavy repeating blaster. If you are unfamiliar with this weapon, I am sure that Republican Shock Trooper Carasynthia Dune of Alderaan will advise you that she has witnessed many of her ranks vaporize mid-descent facing the predecessor of this particular model. Or perhaps the decommissioned Mandalorian hunter, Din Djarin, has heard the songs of the Siege of Mandalore, when gunships outfitted with similar ordnance laid waste to fields of Mandalorian recruits in the Night of a Thousand Tears.”

The E-Web is not supposed to be used unmounted, though this didn’t stop Din Djarin from grabbing it and laying waste to Gideon’s troopers. Even so, the Achilles Heel of the weapon quickly revealed itself, with Moff Gideon firing at the generator and almost killing Din Djarin in the subsequent explosion. There’s a reason everyone is so scared of this thing.

4. Whistling Birds (The Mandalorian)

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We’re struggling not to make this list mostly Mandalorian weapons, but they have so many cool bits of tech it’s hard to resist. Introduced early on in The Mandalorian, the Whistling Birds are a unique mini-missile system stored in the vambrace armor. Generally used as a surprise attack, the projectiles zip around in a 360 radius and home in on opponents with lethal accuracy. As they move they make the telltale whistling sound that gives them their name, though judging by the havoc they cause only the warrior using them will be around to appreciate it.

But their lethality and surprise capabilities aren’t the only reasons it’s special. Each whistling bird projectile contains a tiny amount of Beskar. This incredibly valuable metal has religious significance to the Mandalorians, who use it to forge their armor and other armaments.

In most cases Beskar’s significance means they’re the most important possessions a warrior can own, so the Whistling Birds expending Beskar makes them a true weapon of last resort. A particularly thrifty Mandalorian might be able to recycle them, though this would require digging them out from the bodies of your victims (this is probably against some obscure Mando commandment or something anyway).

3. DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol (A New Hope)

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Han Solo’s DL-44 is the most iconic blaster pistol in Star Wars. First introduced in A New Hope, Han underlined his affection for the weapon with the memorable line:

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

First given to him by Tobias Beckett in Solo, Han went on to modify his DL-44 to suit his skillset. The biggest alteration was removing the blaster’s motion-sensitive barrel scope, intended to increase accuracy for basic users. Han was a natural crack shot and didn’t need the assist, removing it so as to make the weapon able to be drawn and fired quickly. This simple mod saved his life on many occasions, perhaps most notably allowing him to get the drop on Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

Han wielded the weapon throughout the original trilogy, where it proved able to punch through Stormtrooper armor. Han even tried to take out Darth Vader with it in Cloud City, though here it met its match as Vader telekinetically redirected the plasma bolts and snatched it from his hands.

By the time of The Force Awakens, this DL-44 was practically an antique and had long been superseded by other heavy blasters. But Han stuck with what he knew and died with the pistol on him, with both his body and this blaster being destroyed when Starkiller Base was destroyed. RIP to one of the greats.

And also Han Solo.

2. Wookiee Bowcaster (A New Hope)

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Wookiees are renowned as skilled warriors and their bowcaster stands out as one of the best weapons in the Star Wars franchise. Most of the weapons on this list are made by specific manufacturers and modified, but the bowcaster differs in that its design and materials are specifically tailored to the Wookiee that wields it. Common to all are two polarizing orbs at the tips of the bow. These generate a magnetic field that fires a very powerful bolt – making it more akin to a railgun than a blaster rifle.

Though they have a slower rate of fire than your average blaster rifle, bowcasters are much more powerful as the projectile is a metal rod enveloped in plasma that travels “at a high percentage of the speed of light”. For Wookiees this makes it an invaluable tool for hunting ferocious Kashyyyk wildlife and, of course, fending off heavily armored Imperial troops.

Its power also means most humans cannot cope with the weight and recoil, though Han Solo was able to wield one in The Force Awakens (presumably his long years with Chewie gave him the opportunity to get used to it). Chewbacca’s own customized weapon is also worthy of note, with him cannibalizing parts from a Stormtrooper rifle and adding an autoloader to fire more quickly.

1. Amban Phase-Pulse Blaster (The Mandalorian)

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This disruptor sniper rifle is Din Djarin’s signature weapon and though it’s a fairly recent addition to the Star Wars arsenal, we think it’s the greatest (non-lightsaber) weapon the franchise has ever seen. Heavily modified by Din, this long-barrelled gun has a distinctive fork-shaped resonator tip and an advanced magnification scope ideal for long-range combat.

When fired at full strength it completely disintegrates its target, as some unfortunate Jawas discovered when stripping the Razor Crest for parts. Naturally a complete disintegration isn’t always ideal for a bounty hunter needing to prove they’ve completed the job, so it’s also capable of a paralyzing electrical pulse allowing for easy capture of the target.

Sadly this beautifully crafted and deadly weapon is no more. After proving crucial to success in many of Din and Grogu’s adventures it was on board the Razor Crest when Moff Gideon destroyed the ship with an orbital laser blast. We suspect Din won’t be without a similar weapon for long though, as when it comes to style, precision, and sheer destructive capability nothing comes close.

As a fun little addendum, the Amban has its origins in one of the most reviled pieces of Star Wars media. Boba Fett made his debut in an animated sequence in 1978’s The Star Wars Holiday Special, wielding a very similar-looking rifle. The Mandalorian‘s prop designers took note and used that weapon as the basis for this, perhaps proving once and for all that a silk purse can indeed be made from a sow’s ear.