A laser pistol or hand laser was an early type of hand-held Phaser technology commonly used in the early half of the 23rd century. They were a successor of the phase pistol and preceded the Type-2 phaser.
By 2233, the laser pistol design resembled later hand phaser designs, but by 2245, laser pistols were re-designed. This design was phased out by 2266 when the phaser pistol replaced all laser weapons.
Starfleet-type laser pistols continued to be used to arm some civilian operations later into the 2260s, such as the expeditions to M-113 and Exo III. (TOS episodes: "The Man Trap", "What Are Little Girls Made Of?")
Starfleet issue laser pistols in the 2250s featured a grip and twist function to change the setting, they fired blue or magenta beams (presumably at different settings). (EV comics: "Flesh of My Flesh", "The Fallen")
The laser pistol was the first hand held weapon in Star Trek production history, however in-universe, following Star Trek: Enterprise's introduction of phase pistols, they might be seen as a step back in technology from the obviously named forerunner of hand phasers. However, laser pistols have also been shown used alongside phaser rifles in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and several Star Trek: Early Voyages comics suggesting they are perhaps an intermediate step used until phaser technology was available in a more compact form.
The name is also problematic as lasers compared to the phased energy of both phase pistols and phasers would be a step back, this would probably suggest that Laser pistols are not lasers under our current definition of the term, or that Laser pistols are not lasers at all and just named such as slang or maybe an acronym.
|tools||navigational laser • laser drill • laser-lathe • laser torch|
|weapons||laser cannon • laser pistol • laser rifle|
|Federation Starfleet hand-held weapons|
|Directed energy weapons||type-1 phaser/hand phaser||Sestra phaser I • Atalskes phaser III • Sestra phaser IB • mark V personal phaser|
|type-2 phaser/phaser pistol||Sestra phaser II • Atalskes phaser IV • Sestra phaser IIB • mark VI battle phaser • phaser (Kelvin timeline)|
|type-3 phaser/phaser rifle||phaser rifle (23rd century) • mark VII phaser rifle • type III phaser rifle • compression phaser rifle • enhanced compression rifle • phaser rifle (Kelvin timeline)|
|miscellaneous||assault rifle • infinity modulator • isomagnetic disintegrator • laser pistol • laser rifle • neural disruptor • phase pistol • sniper rifle|
|Projectile weapons||compound grenade launcher • photon burst • quantum burst • TR-116 • TR-120|