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A blaster carbine was a shortened variant of an already existing weapon, traditionally blaster rifles.
A blaster carbine had a short barrel and compact two-handed grip, making it look more like a long pistol than a rifle. Carbines offered distinct advantages from other weapons. First and foremost, they were generally shorter and lighter than their heavier cousins, and allowed for more capabilities especially in confined environments; they also had a faster rate of fire than a typical blaster rifle. In addition, carbines were often cheaper to produce than ordinary rifles. In exchange for these advantages however, they had a shorter range, less accuracy and less stopping power. Blaster carbines had a short-range stun setting as well as an autofire setting, which allowed the weapon to fire multiple shots at a greater area instead of the more accurate single-shot mode. The blaster carbine cost 850 credits without a retractable stock and 900 credits with that accessory. Its ownership and use was regulated by local authorities.
Some blaster carbines, such as the E5 carbine used by B1 battle droids, had a retractable stock. When the stock was folded, it allowed the user to treat the weapon as a one-handed pistol. When the stock was extended, the user could treat the weapon more like a rifle with greater range. However, the extended stock required that the weapon be used with two hands to be used properly.
Despite these disadvantages, carbines were generally simpler and easier to use than rifles, and were therefore very popular with unskilled thugs or civilian owners looking for simplicity, ruggedness and ease of use. They were frequently used by nomads such as the Tusken Raiders of Tatooine. Many a frontier homeowner had a carbine for home security. Owen Lars owned a blaster carbine at his homestead on Tatooine for defense against marauding Tusken Raiders. However, many people skilled in ranged weapons often preferred these weapons as well. They were often issued to walker assault teams.
Perhaps the best-known example was Boba Fett's modified EE-3 carbine rifle. Rodian special forces were also known to prefer a N'Gant-Zarvel 9118 heavy carbine during their missions, despite its characteristic thud made when firing.