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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."]]

->''"Dreadful technique! You've confused rays with beams! D! Minus! I'd give you an F, but that would only mean having to see you in summer school."''
-->-- '''Professor Medulla''', ''[[Film/SkyHigh2005 Sky High]]''

[[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 ComicStrip/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' ''ComicBook/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.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/Plan7Of9FromOuterSpace''. Megan Delaney goes into GunPorn detail while selling one to [[Series/StarTrekVoyager Captain Proton]], but [[SpecialEffectsFailure finds it difficult to tell them apart from common household objects]].
-->"Oh please," said Malicia. "Kinetic energy weapons are so passé. Why shoot nasty little holes in people when you can reduce them to their component molecules at the speed of light? Behold: the Mark One BEM-Blaster! It's light, sexy, and easily marketable as an action toy. The barrel has radiator fins for dumping excess heat and pleasing your girlfriend. A telescopic sight [[NoScope no-one bothers to use]]. Invisible power source [[ArtisticLicensePhysics violating all known laws of physics]]. Three settings: Melt, Vaporize, and [[DisintegratorRay Disintegrate]]. Ray focus is adjustable from fan-beam (for room-clearance and blinding photo-electronic equipment) to needle-beam (for slicing through hull plate and shooting nasty little holes in people)."
-->"What are you babbling on about?" snapped Demonica. "That's your hairdryer, you insolent fool!"
-->"Oh...sorry...well how about this one: the [[Series/BlakesSeven Blakes VII]] sonic lance."
-->"And that's your curling iron!"
-->"The [[Series/{{Space 1999}} Space M1999]] laser?"
-->"Staple gun!"
-->"The [[Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration Next Generation]] Phase R..."
-->"Dustbuster!" everyone chorused.
* In ''Fanfic/TheNewAdventuresOfInvaderZim'', one of Dib's new teammates, Steve, eventually creates some makeshift energy guns for the team to use against the Irkens. Though at this point, they're pretty unreliable, as they'll short out if used too much.

* 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.
* ''Film/TheHidden'': The good alien has a special type of gun that is required to kill the evil alien, but he needs it to leave its human host first as it incinerates their own kind but is harmless to human tissue.

* Creator/EEDocSmith probably did more to popularize ray guns than any other single author back in the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov:
** In one 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.
* The most common weapon in ''{{Literature/Valhalla}}'' is the microwave gun, which as the name suggests, is a gun that fires microwave beams. Described as having invisible beams and making no sound, this stands as somewhat of a subversion to the common ray gun trope.
* 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 ''Literature/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.
* The Literature/{{Boojumverse}} features ray guns as standard sidearms. They are used by Colonel Sanderson in "Mongoose" and Black Alice in "Boojum".
* Nita in the ''Literature/YoungWizards'' series has a spell that manifests as a hand-held terawatt linear particle accelerator rifle.

[[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:''' [[BillBillJunkBill 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.
* ''Series/TotalRecall2070'': Blasters exist alongside regular firearms and are issued to all CPB officers.

* The main weapons used by the Killjoys in Music/MyChemicalRomance's ''{{Music/Danger Days|TheTrueLivesOfTheFabulousKilljoys}}''. Jet Star, lead guitarist Ray Toro's character, was even called 'Raygun Jones' in early concepts.

* 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]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{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 shoots bolts of green lightning that can break down the Weak Force that holds 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 (they've been most often been compared to midrange caliber rifles in terms of kinetic force). Though they're [[RunningGag unfavorably compared to flashlights]], they're almost invariably fielded in [[BeamSpam huge numbers]].
** The Imperium also fields meltaguns, which are a short-range, anti-tank ''microwave'' gun. Just pray that the guy shooting one at you happens to be a lousy shot, or [[ChunkySalsaRule bad things happen]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' has laser pistols and rifles, energy pistols, blasters, stun guns, and [[{{BFG}} plasma generators]]. Lasers are actually more common than projectile guns, and so reflec (shiny plastic) armor is more common than kevlar.
* ''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.They massively outclass most conventional weapons in the setting and include the ability to stun enemies.
* ''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:
** [[PlasmaCannon plasma weapons]]
** multiple tech levels of [[FrickinLaserBeams lasers]]
** some energy-based [[StunGuns stun weapons]]
** [[DeathRay death rays]]
** life-draining and life-transference rays
** [[ShrinkRay shrinking rays]]
** rays that makes matter explode
** a solar ray
** mind-affecting weapons such as evil rays and self-immolation rays (which make targets harm themselves by any means available, not limited to immolation)
** Flesh-melting and warping rays
** a short section on [[DisintegratorRay disintegrators]]
** entropy projectors
** Lepton weapons
** 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, later available to the Ranger as the Laser Cannon in ''[[ExpansionPack Scourge of Armagon]]''. ''VideoGame/QuakeII'' and ''VideoGame/QuakeIV'' both have the [[BottomlessMagazines infinite-ammo]] blaster pistol, a RangedEmergencyWeapon, and its [[{{BFG}} bigger and not-so-emergency sibling, the Hyperblaster]].
* 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 ''VideoGame/NaziZombies'' bonus mode and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDjR3vkOQeU sneakily hidden in one of the singleplayer levels,]] along with its larger cousin, the [[GratuitousGerman Wunderwaffe]] [[note]]Wonder Weapon[[/note]], 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 called the "Righteous Bison" or a larger over-the-shoulder one called the "Cow Mangler 5000". The Engineer and Pyro have ray guns of their own, with the "Pomson 6000" for the former, and the "Phlogistinator" and "Manmelter" for the latter. A later update gave the Engineer the [[FunWithAcronyms C.A.P.P.E.R.]], which he shares with the Scout.
* 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 (̀ᴗ́)و ̑̑.
* ''VideoGame/XenobladeChroniclesX'' has two instances of this. On one hand, it contains the weapon type known as Rayguns, which in this game are closer to the size of [[http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/xenoblade/images/4/46/Douglas_img_chara11-02.png/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/303?cb=20150226115014 gatling guns]] and on the other hand, one of the elements you get is beam. Almost every gun type weapon has one under the beam element, meaning you can have assault rifles, snipers, gatling guns, psycho launchers and dual guns also be rayguns by definition. And of course, the default raygun is a beam element.
* The Dispersion Pistol from ''VideoGame/UnrealI'' is one with a [[OurWeaponsWillBeBoxyInTheFuture boxy]], [[UsedFuture well-used]] style.

[[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 ''Webcomic/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, [[UsefulNotes/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]]
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'': As the theme tune says, ''. . . racecars, lasers, aeroplanes . . .''. Gyro's "Furniture Mover Ray" from "The Money Vanishes", appears in the opening. Huey, Dewey and Louie are wielding it against the Beagle Boys.
* 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.
* The Soviet laser pistol was an attempt at this, with such being called "Soviet laser [[RevolversAreJustBetter Revolver]]". Naturally though, despite their name, they were used to fire FrickingLaserBeams. Rather, they were meant to disable optical sensors on enemy aircrafts.