There are a wide variety of small arms used in Colonial and surrounding space. Lasers, Blasters, slug throwers, rocket guns and electro lasers to name a few. Many races have perfected their own weapons, or variant of common types, to meet their needs or preferences. Shape, form, style and some performance characteristics may vary, but a Colonial Laser, Delphian Laser, an Orion Laser and a Vilium Laser all do roughly equivalent damage and have similar ranges.
Laser vs Blaster
There is a distinct difference between these weapons (despite a tendency of some to use the terms interchangeably.)
The Laser is by far the most common and widely used small arm in the known galaxy. Developments have perfected it as an energy efficient, recoilless, variable powered, light, compact and relatively inexpensive weapon. A wide variety of designs have been built by different races and even different Colonial planetary groups and corporations. Despite these advances and features, there is one major drawback to hand lasers. They don’t work well on Cylons.
The shiny coating of the Cylon Centurion (both Silver and Gold) is not there for appearance sake. It is a reflective armor coating that dramatically dissipates and reflects the energy of a laser type weapon. Lasers can damage and even destroy a Cylon, but rarely with one or even two shots. It generally requires three to six hits to take down a Centurion and even then it is not guaranteed.
The reflective layer prevents the laser from getting the full benefit of multiple shots at the same point, which is possible with the zero recoil laser.
The Colonial Pulse Blaster was developed by the military, some 70 yahrens ago, as an answer to the Cylon armor.
Blasters are usually heavier and bulkier, their technology is more limiting in its design. They are not as efficient in the use of energy, they cannot be used to ‘stun’ (though electro laser stunners are built into military versions) and they tend to be a bit more expensive then a laser. It is not a recoil-less weapon, its shot has an explosive surface impact, it is not deflected or dissipated by reflective armor and it has the power to take out a Cylon more effectively then a laser.
Blasters are growing in popularity, primarily because of the Cylon menace, and is one of the Orion Trader’s best sellers! It is widely copied and civilian versions are easily available.