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[[quoteright:350:[[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_10647k_8701.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Set phasers to "highly visible."]]

->'''Picard:''' Maximum setting. If you had fired, you'd have vaporized me.
->'''Lily:''' It's my first ray gun.
-->-- ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact''

[[SayingSoundEffectsOutLoud PEW! PEW! PEW!]]

Any gun that shoots light, rays, waves, or something similar. Initially popular during the appropriately named RaygunGothic era of ScienceFiction, but back then it was based on pure {{Phlebotinum}}, as shooting such things from weapons wasn't known to be possible. In short, the ray gun was falling out of favor for being unrealistic. Then [[LifeImitatesArt the laser was discovered]] in TheSixties. Suddenly the ray gun was [[ScienceMarchesOn brought back]] from being a DiscreditedTrope.

But even now it's still treated as an ImpossiblyCoolWeapon, as lasers in fiction [[ArtMajorPhysics are often used in ways they can't really be]]. And while other ray guns do exist in RealLife (the US Army has been experimenting with microwave crowd dispersal wave generators, for example), they're still CoolButInefficient.

The term "ray gun" became a cliché even by the 1940s, having strong associations with BuckRogers, ComicStrip/FlashGordon etc., and from at least Creator/EEDocSmith's ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' novels, was increasingly replaced by the more bad-ass-sounding generic "blaster", Smith himself generally choosing to refer to the weapons by their maker just as we would refer to a Colt or Smith & Wesson.

They are also popular as a form of FamilyFriendlyFirearms. One odd aspect of ray guns in a lot of fiction, especially animation and comic books, is that despite being much niftier-looking than a stream of bullets, [[FamilyFriendlyFirearms they're actually much less harmful to be struck by than a regular bullet would be.]] It's extremely common for CaptainSpaceDefenderOfEarth to get hit with an "energy beam" and fall down dramatically, but he will scarcely ever actually have a new hole burned through him, and a couple of scenes later we will see him pulling himself painfully to his feet again and saying something corny like, "Ow! Anybody get the license of the truck that hit me?" The effect seems more comparable to getting punched really hard than to actually getting shot. This is sometimes justified by the ray gun having a [[StunGuns "stun setting,"]] or by the hero wearing body armor or having [[NighInvulnerable super powers.]]

A SubTrope of EnergyWeapon, ImpossiblyCoolWeapon. A SisterTrope to LaserBlade.

A SuperTrope to:
* DeathRay
* DisintegratorRay
* FreezeRay
* FrickinLaserBeams (lasers specifically, and plasma weapons to a lesser extent)
* HypnoRay
* LightningGun
* PlasmaCannon
* ReflectingLaser
* ShrinkRay
* StunGuns (non lethal, usually energy)
* TransformationRay
* WaveMotionGun

Compare PureEnergy.

Not to be confused with [[Manga/YuYuHakusho ReiGun]], [[MagneticWeapons Railgun]], [[UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan the president]], [[Franchise/StarWars Nute Gunray]] or [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion the Rei]] or [[ReiAyanamiExpy a Rei]] with a gun.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The ray guns in the old serials like ''ComicStrip/FlashGordon''.
* [[AnIcePerson Mr. Freeze's cold ray]] in ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''.
* ''ComicBook/BuckGodotZapGunForHire''
* Common among spacers, but tightly controlled in Warren Ellis' ''IgnitionCity''.
* In ''ComicBook/ReidFlemingWorldsToughestMilkman'', Reid receives a ray gun as a Christmas present from his mother. When he also receives a prank gift from Mr. Crabbe, Reid decides to try out his new ray gun on Crabbe's roof.

* Blasters and turbolasers in ''Franchise/StarWars''.
* The antimatter guns in ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow''.
* ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'' has Dex build one for the protagonist. It's unreliable and the shots are a parody of SpecialEffectsFailure: goofy slowly spreading rings straight out of period comics and cheap science fiction. However, it's very impressive at melting Totenkopf's robots.

* EEDocSmith probably did more to popularize ray guns than any other single author back in the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
* In one Creator/IsaacAsimov book they use "atomic ray guns" that apparently boil the blood of any organic thing hit until it explodes. In the Literature/{{Foundation}} series, they use Atom Blasters (shortened to just "blasters" in the later books, after the age of AtomPunk had passed).
* The short story "[[http://www.thinkage.ca/~jim/raygun.htm The Ray-Gun: A Love Story]]" is about a ray-gun.
* One ''Literature/{{Biggles}}'' story mentions these as a possible explanation for the inexplicable crashes of multiple Allied aircraft flying a particular supply route. It turns out to be something rather simpler: [[spoiler:Japanese intelligence officers were slipping packets of chewing gum laced with a powerful narcotic into the cockpits of the planes, causing the pilots to pass out at the controls.]]
* Creator/ArthurCClarke, always a stickler for hard science in his short stories, subverts this. A group of pub patrons lampshade this trope while arguing whether ray guns can even exist, prompting one to tell a story within a story of an astronomer that [[spoiler: uses a highly polished mirror to reflect his wife's headlight beams back in her face when she's driving home from one of her trysts - attempting to murder her by driving her off a dangerous road. Unexpected outcome ensues. It wasn't the tryst that annoyed him - is was the light pollution from her headlights interrupting his studies of the heavens that drove him to such measures.]]
* Literature/NorthwestSmith uses a "Heat Gun" in the stories by C.L. Moore.
* Used in the tagline of ''TheChroniclesOfProfessorJackBaling'': Brilliance. Madness. Ray Guns.
* ''Literature/MarkDelewenAndTheSpacePirates'' has Mark and Tirt using one each; in stun mode.
* The "Heat Ray" weapons used by the Martians in the classic, War Of The Worlds.
** Also the disintegration weapons used along with the heat rays in the 1953 film version.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Phasers and disruptors in ''Franchise/StarTrek''.
** The tie-in ''Star Fleet Technical Manual'' actually features a weapon called a 'ray gun', although this is actually a mislabeled prop used in the show as a signal beacon.
** The ''Captain Proton'' [[ShowWithinAShow holodeck program]] in ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' has your typical black-and-white {{Zeerust}} look, including ray guns and [[EvilGenius Dr.]] [[LargeHam Chaotica's]] DeathRay. When Paris is coaching Janeway on how to act inside the program, he reminds her to use the term "ray gun" instead of "phaser".
* The "Lassiter," a laser gun stolen by the crew of Serenity in the ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' episode "Trash".
** Also the laser gun used by Rance Burgess in "Heart of Gold".
* The overabundance of "ray guns" of similarly-cheesy design in scifi is lampshaded on ''Series/DoctorWho'', when the Doctor is shown a bunch of unidentified alien devices suspected, largely on the basis of shape, of being weapons. As he searches for something that might actually hurt the MonsterOfTheWeek, he tosses aside the rejects, reciting:
--->'''Doctor:''' Broken... broken... hair dryer...
* ''Series/RedDwarf'''s bazookoids are mining lasers used as weapons.
* Common in ''PowerRangers'' and ''SuperSentai''. The best-known would probably be ''MightyMorphinPowerRangers''' Blade Blasters, which also become dirks.

* All of the futuristic explorers in Creator/{{Atari}}'s ''Pinball/MiddleEarth'' pinball are armed with either {{Laser Blade}}s or Ray Guns. Makes sense, given that they're exploring a LostWorld filled with [[{{Kaiju}} giant dinosaurs]] and [[KillerGorilla monster apes]].
* The unnamed male character in ''Pinball/TheAtarians'' uses one.
* Stewie Griffin in Creator/SternPinball's ''Pinball/FamilyGuy'' shoots the letters in P-I-N-B-A-L-L with one.
* Used by the spaceships in ''Pinball/StellarWars''
* In ''Pinball/LaserWar'', everyone is armed with Ray Guns shooting [[FrickinLaserBeams easily-dodgable laser beams.]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''{{Mekton}}'' has an elaborate construction system for equipment from switchblades to planet-killing space fortresses, including a dizzying array of "Beam Weapons" (ray guns).
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has a number of ray-gun-wielding troops. For brevity's sake, probably the most exotic is the Necron Gauss Flayer, an electromagnetic DisintegratorRay that can break down the magnetic charges that hold matter together, tearing its target apart at the molecular level. The catch? The ray has to be fired through a crystal with exact specifications, right down to the atom, so it's virtually impossible for any other race to emulate.
** The standard Imperial raygun are classified as 'las weapons'. They fire a laser beam capable of blowing a man's arm off. Though they're [[RunningGag unfavorably compared to flashlights]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' has laser pistols and rifles, energy pistols, blasters, stun guns, and [[{{BFG}} plasma generators]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' naturally offers a range of laser, plasma, and fusion weapons to meet all your needs.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Munchkin}}'' has a Ray Gun in its space expansion (aside from any number of -aser weapons), which appropriately enough gives a bigger bonus for any player named Ray, Raymond, or Reagan.
* A staple of ''TabletopGame/RocketAge''. Nicola Tesla developed modern versions of these based off Ancient Martian designs and the Ancients even had Heat and Freeze Rays.
* ''1001 Science Fiction Weapons'' for D20, by Plain Brown Wrapper Games, has most of the subtropes, and a few extra concepts besides; including a whole section (or more) on plasma weapons, multiple tech levels of lasers, some energy-based stun weapons, and an entire chapter on pulpy sci-fi weapons, including death rays, life-draining and life-transference rays, shrinking rays, rays that makes matter explode, solar rays; mind-affecting weapons such as evil rays and self-immolation rays (which make targets harm themselves by any means available, not limited to immolation); a short section on disintegrators, entropy projectors, coagulators (which harm only living things with blood, making their blood coagulate inside them and being ideal for times when you need to kill someone sheltering in your ship's reactor room) and even more exotic things, like the energy weapons of the mysterious Witherslant Masters and the ray specifically made to harm plant matter and nothing else. Plus the Generic Ray guns, which fire a beam that looks suspiciously like a scratch on the film. Add other energy weapon concepts, like sonic, microwave, ion, particle beam... loads of bloody fun.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}'' series has a few. The original ''[[VideoGame/QuakeI Quake]]'' features the Enforcer enemies, who are soldiers with laser guns which shoot reddish-yellow projectiles. ''VideoGame/QuakeII'' has the infinite-ammo blaster gun, an unusual example of a ranged EmergencyWeapon. The {{Rail Gun}}s can be considered to be {{Ray Gun}}s too.
* All three ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' games have the "Ray Gun" item. Unlike some other energy weapons though, it only has 16 shots.
* ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty: World at War'', of all games, has a ray gun, by name, available randomly in the Nazi Zombies bonus mode and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDjR3vkOQeU sneakily hidden in one of the singleplayer levels]], along with its larger cousin, the Wunderwaffe, on a downloadable map. The former fires green rays surrounded by rings, and the latter some sort of electricity. Both have a very retro RaygunGothic look to them, and are very good at killing zombies.
* Several of the weapons in ''TheConduit'' are various forms of ray guns. To give but two examples: the Carbonizer Mk16 fires a giant beam that cooks enemies from the inside, and the alien Strike Rifle can be charged to fire a OneHitKill beam.
* Aside from the obvious example of the alien blaster, the ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' series has a number of weapons resembling ray guns, such as the laser, plasma, [[MagneticWeapons Gauss]], and (most especially) pulse guns.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'': One of the Soldier's many, many alternate weapons is now a small handheld ray blaster or a larger ray gun.
** The Engineer and Pyro now have ray guns of their own, although predictably the Pyro's new primary still has range issues.
* In the first ''VideoGame/NoOneLivesForever'' game, you can find and use a retro-looking laser gun on the [[FunWithAcronyms HARM]] space station. It instantly disintegrates the target and has enough charge for about 500 shots.
* Blasters in ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic''. Mainly VI and VII, since that's where we actually got to ''use'' them (yes, this is a game series where [[ScienceFantasy a mage can mow down liches using a blaster rifle]]).

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Riff from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' rarely leaves home these days without an inflatable ray gun in tow.
* ''Webcomic/{{Girly}}'': OHNOLOOKOUTIT'SARAYGUN!
* How to [[http://www.angryflower.com/cracken06.html defeat the storyline]] as demonstrated by Freddie coming to the rescue of ''Webcomic/BobTheAngryFlower''
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': Agatha loves [[MadScientist building this from scrap]]. Latest version is capable of putting holes ''[[WaveMotionGun through distant mountains]]''.
* Tedd of ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', didn't invent his but loves to tinker with it.
* The prisoners in ''TheLydianOption'' collect a variety of ray guns from the corpses of other escapees.
* Scarlet of ''Webcomic/SequentialArt'' manages to make a ray gun out of a [[http://www.collectedcurios.com/sequentialart.php?s=199 movie prop]] belonging to Art, this comes back to [[http://www.collectedcurios.com/sequentialart.php?s=282 haunt him later.]]
* ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob:'' an alien [[ICallItVera nicknames]] his ray gun [[StealthPun Nancy]] -- which is to say, [[RonaldReagan "Nancy Ray Gun."]]
* A RunningGag in ''[[http://zeera.comicgenesis.com/ Zeera the Space Pirate]]'' is that ray guns and hair dryers are pretty much indistinguishable from each other.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* An episode of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZkqC4Lz8dU How it Should Have Ended]] mocks this trope, showing a member of the avengers shouting "Pew! Pew! Pew!" while firing.
* Yaeger's pistol, the ''Lumiére'', in ''TheMercuryMen''.
* ''WebAnimation/BeeAndPuppycat's'' Puppycat ''is'' a Ray Gun. Though he seems to need someone [[EquippableAlly to hold him and cock his tail]] so he can fire.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' had a ray gun which turned people into some guy named Ray.
* ''GIJoe'', where such weapons were prominent on both sides.
* Crazy Stunts duel pistols in ''WesternAnimation/SkysurferStrikeForce''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Birdman}}'' episode "Monster of the Mountains". The villain Chang threatens Birdman and Birdboy with a "uranium ray" gun, but Avenger (Birdman's pet eagle) swoops in from behind him to knock it out of his hands.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Although they turned out to be mistaken, Allied advisers who learned of the plans for German "reprisal weapons" in the mid-years of UsefulNotes/WW2 put both "death rays" and "engine-stopping rays" higher on the list of suspects than "long-range rocket missiles".
** Apparently ''radar'' originally came to the attention of the British government after they put out a request for proposals for directed-energy weapons.
* Appropriately enough, UsefulNotes/NikolaTesla developed plans for his "Teleforce", essentially a particle-beam weapon, but unfortunately ([[MadScientist fortunately?]]) never actually built a working device.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_laser_pistol Soviet laser pistol.]]