A blaster, also called a gun, was a ranged weapon that fired bursts of particle beam energy called blaster bolts from a replaceable power pack. The most commonly used weapon in the galaxy, blasters’ intense beams consisted of compacted high-energy particles and intense light that could kill or paralyze their target, depending on the setting. Blasters ranged in size and power from compact pistols to large, heavy rifles to starship-mounted blaster cannons. Some beings used blasters from their youth: Anakin Skywalker owned a small ion blaster in his childhood, Leia Organa was given a sporting blaster when she was a teenager, and Mandalorian children were given blasters, along with extensive training, prior to becoming thirteen standard years old. Throughout the Clone Wars, a clone trooper usually held a blaster rifle if not any type of specialist.
The terms blaster and laser were often used interchangeably in everyday conversation, both denoting the same type of particle beam weapon. However, technically speaking, the laser was a much older weapon design than the blaster, and blasters’ firing cycles had faster recharge rates than those of lasers, allowing them to attain a much higher rate of fire, though at a loss of range and accuracy.
A blaster could also be referred to as a «gun».
There was some dispute as to what size of weapon the term blaster denoted. For example, blasters were commonly thought of as handheld weapons only, but starship-mounted blaster cannons could fall into this category as well.