Ultra compact Magnetic Weapons; futuristic kinetic weapons that put our most advanced gunpowder-powered firearms (and the flashy, but inefficient energy weapons available in the set-up) to shame due to their absurd destructive power.
Downplayed: Conventional weaponry is more powerful than energy weapons but it has some logistical drawbacks due to needing to deal with ammunition. However if you can keep them supplied they win out.
Energy weapons consume too much energy and cause less explosive damage.
Energy weapons are way too flashy... Literally, they emit lots of light. Therefor, they're not optimal for Ted's role as a sniper, because they would instantly reveal his position.
Everyone in Ted's world uses energy weapons and nothing else.
A Schizo Tech primitive society that somehow has energy weapons.
Ted's gun looks just like a modern day weapon, maybe even "reloads" and obeys ballistic arcs like one, but is still an Energy Weapon.
As we go up the power levels of the society's arsenal we see weapons throwing larger objects at ever higher speeds, but the absolute strongest Weapon of Mass Destruction available is a Wave Motion Gun or other exotic weapon.
Double Subverted: The futuristic looking weapon is a kinetic weapon, whereas the modern- or primitive-looking one is an energy weapon.
Parodied: Ted fights with a flintlock musket and a slingshot in a society with flying cars.
Kinetic weapons are used along side Energy Weapons by the same faction. Both have strengths and weaknesses.
Future weapons of choice fire kinetic slugs... that fire lasers! Kinetic slugs penetrate shields, and lasers penetrate body armor, making it the ultimate combination.
Guns alternate between laser beam and bullet in one trigger pull, largely for the same reasons as above, just with a simpler system-IE, avoiding having to make a weapons-grade laser small enough to be fired by handgun, but strong enough to withstand being forced down a tube by an explosion.
Ted fights aliens and robots with Energy Weapons that do not resemble modern weapons at all.
Or Kinetic Weapons and Energy Weapons each have their own advantages and disadvantages and Ted uses both for various situations.
Enforced: The writer insists on a hard science fiction setting.
Lampshaded: Factions with Energy Weapons may mock Ted's .45, or Ted might wonder if he can fly to Pluto and back, why he can't have a plasma rifle standard issue.
Invoked: Sergeant Bill has his men replace all of their laser rifles with conventional firearms because he knows that lasers overheat quickly and that the aliens’ shields only stop energy blasts, not bullets.
Exploited: The bad guys invest in magnetic shields, which wouldn't stop lasers, but easily stop bullets.
Defied: The characters forgo all research into kinetic weaponry, instead focusing on developing Energy Weapons.
It will be mentioned what advantages conventional weapons have over Energy Weapons, or how they simply aren't feasible.
"It's the 25th century, why am I still using the same weapons my great-great-great-....grandfather used?" or "Stupid humans and their slugthrowers!"
The characters' exclusive focus on kinetic weaponry eventually costs them the war against the alien invaders, who have focused on developing Energy Weapons and managed to make them more awesome.
Alternatively or in conjunction with the above, the alien invaders recognised the dependence on kinetic weapons and developed Deflector Shields that largely if not completely negate their effectiveness, leaving the characters unable to fight back.
The society that has spent the entirety of its war-torn existence developing better kinetic kill vehicles now has nothing with Mundane Utility.
The exclusive focus on kinetic weaponry is considered the sensible one, as most races eventually accept that Energy Weapons are doomed to be joke weapons even if they look awesome. Those laser pistols? They're really just small railguns, and the streaks are an illusion caused by the sheer speed they can accelerate their loads to.
The aliens are the ones with the foolish, exclusive focus; in all their years of research, they have found no way to improve Energy Weapons, but still use them anyway on account of them being more "advanced", leading to their downfall at the hands of the humans' Boring, but Practical kinetic weaponry.
The society sets aside some funding into developing the needed equipment just in case the Forever War actually ends without either or both sides blasted into oblivion.
Played For Drama: Ted realises he's essentially a Red Shirt compared to Mooks