The saga started by George Lucas is the science fiction film series that has most marked popular culture, and this includes its famous “blasters”, that is, weapons that fire lasers.
What many people do not know is that most of the weapons in these films are simple modifications of real weapons, some of them well known. Let’s see some examples.
DL-44 blaster pistol / Mauser C96
The famous Han Solo gun, also used by Luke Skywalker in “The Empire Strikes Back”, is called the BlasTech Industries DL-44 blaster heavy pistol in the Star Wars universe. In some cases it appears with telescopic sight and in others without it.
It was made from the German semiautomatic pistol Mauser C96, whose production began in 1896.
This gun was used in the First World War. The most common had a caliber of 7.63 mm and had chargers of between 6 and 20 cartridges. 9 mm versions were also made.
E-11 & F-11D blaster rifles / Sterling submachine gun
Another of the most famous weapons of Star Wars is the blaster rifle BlasTech Industries E-11, which used the assault troops of the Galactic Empire, including the famous 501 Legion. It is the weapon that made the imperial soldiers famous for their poor marksmanship.
In this case, the real weapon is British: the Sterling submachine gun, created in 1944 to replace the famous Sten submachine gun (used by United Kingdom paratroopers – and which was also used, for example, in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, among other scenarios).
This submachine gun was introduced on a large scale in the British Army in 1953, and remained in service until 1994. Like the Sten, its caliber was 9 mm Parabellum and was powered by a side magazine. The Starling has also been the basis for the F-11D blaster rifles of the First Order:
In this case, yes, they have been customized a little more:
But as you can see, the original weapon is still easily recognizable despite all the additions.
RT-97C & DLT-19 heavy rifles / MG-15 & MG-34 machine guns
In Episode IV of Star Wars, in the scenes set in the city of Mos Eisley, on the planet Tatoine, we see imperial soldiers – the sandtroopers – equipped with two other historical weapons. In the photo that you see on these lines, a soldier with a heavy BlasTech Industries RT-97C blaster rifle appears on the left.
This rifle is based on the German MG-15 machine gun, developed in the 1930s. It had a caliber of 7.92 mm and was powered by a characteristic double drum of 75 bullets.
The original (on these lines) was usually mounted on aircraft of the Luftwaffe (the German air force) in World War II. As you can see, the Star Wars version has been added with a telescopic sight. In addition, in the picture of the soldiers of sand we see, on the right, a BlasTech Industries DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle:
In this case, the weapon of the film was made from the German MG-34 machine gun, created in 1934 and entered into service the following year in the German Army.
Along with the MG-42 was one of the most feared weapons by the Allied soldiers, due to its high rate of fire (between 800 and 900 shots per minute). It was fed by a belt of bullets. On the other hand, if you look at the photo of the soldiers of sand, the soldier in the center and the one on the right carry shoulder cases: they are ammo pouches for the German submachine gun MP-40, a weapon also used in World War II.
In this case, they have been painted black to be used in the movies.
T-21 heavy blaster / Lewis machine gun
In another scene of Mos Eisley in Episode IV we see a sandtrooper with a blaster rifle with a very thick barrel: it is the heavy blaster T-21.
In this case the original weapon is the Lewis light machine gun of 1914, designed in the United States and used as an infantry weapon and also mounted on airplanes during the World War I, although it was also used in later conflicts (the Spanish Civil War and the World War II).
As you can see, in the film they did not get too complicated: the original drum and bipod were removed from the original and ready to be used by the Empire.
A-295 blaster rifle / StG44 assault rifle
In “The Empire Strikes Back”, during the defense of the rebel base Echo on the planet Hoth, we see the troops of the Alliance with the blaster rifle A-295 (on these lines). In this case it is a fairly modified version of the original weapon: the German assault rifle Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44), created in 1943 and used at the end of World War II.
It was the first assault rifle proper, and served as the basis for the famous CETME C (or “Chopo”, as it was often known to Spanish recruits). It is a weapon that has been present in many subsequent conflicts: it was also used in the Vietnam War, in the Yugoslav War, and has also been seen in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
EE-3 carabine / Webley No. 1 Mark 1 flare gun
In “The Empire Strikes Back” and in “The Return of the Jedi” we see bounty hunter Boba Fett armed with an EE-3 blaster carbine:
The origin of this weapon is one of the most curious, because the original is a British flare gun, la Webley No. 1 Mark 1:
It was used by the British Royal Corps in the World War I, and it was also used at the beginning of World War II.
Blaster gun DDC Defender / Sports gun Margolin .22 MTs
Another weapon of curious origin is the pistol that Leia uses against the imperial soldiers at the beginning of Episode IV, during the assault on the diplomatic ship. In the universe of Star Wars this weapon is a blaster pistol Drearian Defense Conglomerate (DDC) Defender:
The original weapon is, in this case, the Soviet pistol Margolin MCM .22 MTs.
It is a sports gun developed in the 1950s that uses .22LR cartridges.
EL-16 Blaster rifle / Assault rifle Heckler & Koch G36C
In Episode VII we see Finn with an EL-16 blaster rifle, an old-fashioned weapon for the moment but which is the rifle in the rebels’ arsenals:
In this case it is more difficult to recognize the original weapon: the Heckler & Koch G36C assault rifle, a short version of the ordnance rifle of the Spanish Armed Forces:
As we can see, this time the version of Star Wars is very modified. The same thing happens with other weapons that have been used in the new films, also based on real weapons. You can see more here.
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