Re-Used Props - Beam Weapons
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
Many props of Star Trek were later modified or even recycled without changes to represent equipment for a different purpose or of another civilization. Here are quite a few examples of beam weapons. Please note that every statement made here should be taken with a grain of salt. There is no need to seek for explanations. Certainly we are not supposed to watch closely enough to notice that distant civilizations have the same weapons.
The disruptor which is nowadays familiar as a Klingon weapon began its life on Eminiar VII in TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon". It was later modified to serve as the Klingon disruptor in TOS: "Friday's Child" and "Day of the Dove". Aside from that, the Romulans used this type of disruptor too, in "The Enterprise Incident" where they had Klingon ships likewise. Even the original ribbed "barrel" of the Eminiaran weapon was re-used. It appeared as a part of a big scanning device in TOS: "Metamorphosis" and "The Ultimate Computer".
The same pistol is used by the Scalosians in TOS: "Wink of an Eye" and, a few episodes later, by the Ardanans in TOS: "The Cloud-Minders".
This weapon was originally built for TNG: "The Most Toys" where it was prominently featured as a Varon-T disruptor, a cruel weapon outlawed in the Federation. The disruptor reappeared in a number of later episodes, each time in the hand of a single person because there is obviously only one copy of the prop. However, on a few of these occasions the weapon may have been another Varon-T disruptor. There may have been changes to the prop. Most noticeably in TNG: "Captain's Holiday" it seems to include parts of the even more often re-used Rutian pistol (see below), while the grip is obviously the one of the Varon-T prop.
In the book Star Trek: Action!, by Terry J. Erdmann, the author mentions that the double-barreled weapon used by Arturis in "Hope and Fear" was made from the mold of the Varon-T prop.
This pistol is one of the most frequently re-used weapon props. Unlike the Varon-T disruptor there are at least three of these props so that alien security forces may be armed with it. The pistol first showed up in TNG: "The High Ground", used by the Rutian planetary security. Its color was silverish dark gray on the grip, with colorful red, silver and gold details around the barrel. The prop remained unchanged for several more appearances, in TNG: "Legacy", "Man of the People", "Starship Mine", "Frame of Mind", "Attached", DS9: "The Passenger", "Necessary Evil", "Whispers" and "Who Mourns for Morn?". The weapon was painted brown in TNG: "Gambit, Part II", DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets" and "Melora". Finally, a plain black variant could be seen in VOY: "Time and Again", "Resistance" and "Living Witness".
A weapon with a typical flat nozzle which may have been formerly envisioned as a Vulcan phaser was consistently used as a Ferengi pistol in two DS9 episodes and even in ENT: "Acquisition" (though we should expect their technology to progress in 220 years). Only on one occasion, in DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak", we could see this weapon type in human hands in the Mirror Universe, but here it could have easily been a (Mirror-)Ferengi pistol as well.
On an interesting side note, the phaser started its life as a Robotech Invid Shock Trooper. One shoulder cannon of the toy was made into the barrel, a leg became the handle of the Trek weapon.
Quark holds a weapon resembling the above Ferengi pistol in DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs". But this pistol is a distinct type and has previously been used by the Finnean thugs in DS9: "A Simple Investigation".
Kevin Uxbridge's pistol
There are two varieties of the same basic weapon design, one very simple and the other one a little more ornate. The simple version first appeared in TNG: "The Survivors" as a low-yield phaser. It was then seen in DS9: "Battle Lines" as an Ennis weapon. It got more screen time as the Yaderan pistol in DS9: "Shadowplay" and appeared again in ENT: "The Seventh".
The second variety was first seen in DS9: "Through the Looking Glass" as Mirror Universe Jadzia's weapon. It was then used by the Ilari in VOY: "Warlord". It got most screen time in DS9 season 6, however, where it was used by Krit and Nahsk in DS9: "Who Mourns for Morn?" and the Bolian bartender Graife in "Honor Among Thieves".
This pistol with its angular casing and metallic nozzle was first seen in TNG: "The High Ground", where it was used by the Ansata terrorists. The people on Turkana IV in TNG: "Legacy" had the same type of weapons, just as the guards in TNG: "Man of the People" and TNG: "Frame of Mind". It then appeared several times in the first season of DS9, as a weapon type of Rao Vantika's henchmen in "The Passenger", as a Miradorn weapon in "Vortex" and as both an Ennis and No-Ennis weapon in "Battle Lines". It then showed up again in TNG in "Journey's End" as a weapon used by the Native American colonists of Dorvan V. After that, it could be seen three times on Voyager, first in VOY: "Tattoo" as a weapon of the people of Chakotay's tribe (along with the "Romulan phaser rifle"). It was then seen as an alien weapon in "Fair Trade" and made its final appearance as the original Hirogen pistol in "The Killing Game, Part I".
This elegant weapon or slight variations thereof appeared in five episodes. It was created for VOY: "Imperfection", where it way used by the salvage aliens. One weapon of this type was repainted and appeared as a Hirogen gun in VOY: "Flesh and Blood". For Enterprise, the weapons were repainted again and the tip of the barrel was cut off, so it is no longer slanted. The modified weapon was seen as a Takret weapon in ENT: "The Catwalk", an Illyrian weapon in "Damage" and finally as what it always looked like, a Vulcan weapon in "Kir'Shara".
This weapon has a characteristic boxy case and a vertical nozzle. It appears as a human phase pistol precursor in ENT: "Broken Bow" (Starfleet) and "Fortunate Son" (Earth Cargo Service). The Enolians, however, seem to be using this weapon too, as seen in ENT: "Canamar".
Klingon disruptor rifle
The rifles used on Mordan IV in TNG: "Too Short a Season" are a modification of the Klingon disruptor rifles first seen in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock".
Interestingly, the weapon we know best as Jem'Hadar riflefirst appeared as a Hunter weapon in DS9: "Captive Pursuit" and then more or less as a weapon-of-the-week. It even adorned James T. Kirk's souvenir wall in "Generations" until it finally and steadily became a Jem'Hadar weapon. In its first appearance the prop still had two large spikes on the front end making it look almost like a crossbow. These spikes were later removed. And indeed, the weapon was originally a Remco crossbow toy, produced in apparently several different colors around 1990.
In some episodes the weapon sports what looks like a large "front sight" which is sometimes mounted pointing forward and sometimes backward. There are also different versions with bayonets in DS9: "Blood Oath" and, for the Jem'Hadar weapon, in DS9: "Rocks and Shoals". The Jem'Hadar weapon consistently fires blue plasma bullets.
Romulan disruptor rifle
The Romulans carried this disruptor rifle with its characteristic curved shape in several episodes and in "Star Trek Nemesis". But it also appeared in the hands of the Ferengi, once in DS9: "The Magnificent Ferengi" and once in the Mirror Universe in DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak". The weapon could also be seen in VOY: "Memorial", albeit just in an illusion.
The Solari rifle from TNG: "Loud as a Whisper" reappears as a Regalian phaser rifle used by the Gatherers in TNG: "The Vengeance Factor".
Another Gatherer in TNG: "The Vengeance Factor" carries a different kind of rifle. The prop is seen much better in "The Hunted" where it is used as an Angosian rifle. Rifles of this type, modified slightly for later episodes, are used by the guards of the Albino in "Blood Oath" and as a Bajoran rifle in "Shakaar".
Rutian terrorist rifle
This prop belongs to the most frequently used guns in Star Trek. More than one copy exists of the weapon. We can see it for the first time in TNG: "The High Ground" where it was carried by the Ansata terrorists. The prop, with the same black or dark gray color scheme, is also used in TNG: "The High Ground", "Ensign Ro", "Rascals", "Starship Mine", "Gambit, Part I", VOY: "The 37's" and "Dragon's Teeth". But the weapon is definitely most prominent as the Romulan rifle, although it appeared in this role in just one episode, "Unification". This variant of the rifle with a silver-gray coating was created relatively early, for TNG: "Captain's Holiday". It appeared once more in DS9: "The Passenger". Finally, there is a brown version of the weapon in DS9: "Armageddon Game", VOY: "Ex Post Facto", "Tattoo" and possibly in "Unity".
It is possible that the rifle as it appeared in Trek is based on a Visitor Shock Trooper pistol from "V" that has the same basic rectangular shape.
This rifle is a modification of the oft-re-used Rutian and later Romulan disruptor rifle. This black rifle appeared three times on Voyager, first as the Nyrian rifle VOY: "Displaced" (season 3), then as the rifle used by Tau's pirates in VOY: "Concerning Flight" and finally as the Vaadwaur rifle in "Dragon's Teeth".
Quark demonstrates a rifle with gold tarnish to his customers in DS9: "Business as Usual". The weapon appears to be a modification of the Starfleet weapon that is in use since "Star Trek: First Contact".
Re-Used Props - Other Weapons - blade weapons, forcefields generators and explosive devices
Thanks to Michael Minnick for spotting the Starfleet phaser rifle, to J. Wilder for the hint about the Varon-T variation in "Hope and Fear", to Battybattybats who pointed me to the Robotech toy and to Greg for the idea that the Rutian rifle is based on a prop from "V".