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- "You can't stay on target with these things! You miss your first shot, and you're lying on the ground with a hole blasted through your armor."
- ―An unnamed stormtrooper on the Cairn Installation
The BlasTech E-11 blaster rifle, also referred to as the E-11 BlasTech Standard Imperial Sidearm or the Stormtrooper Armament Blaster Rifle (BlasTech E-11), was a blaster rifle used during the time of the Galactic Republic, and manufactured by BlasTech Industries during the Galactic Civil War. It was the standard blaster rifle of the Imperial stormtroopers. A powerful, light and compact weapon, the E-11 was used widely through the galaxy.
Standard-issue for Imperial stormtroopers after the Declaration of a New Order, the E-11 could alternate between semiautomatic, fully automatic and pulse-fire settings, and was designed to use a variety of ammunition, including grenades, darts, and flares. A computer enhanced scope compensated for dark, hazy, or smoky conditions, while a supplementary computer enabled the scope to display data specific to the weapon's current operating mode. The E-11's long barrel produced a tightly focused and very powerful particle beam, and had a maximum range of three hundred meters and an optimum range of one hundred meters. Because of this, it was considered best suited for close-quarters firefights, in particular the narrow confines of enemy installations and starship corridors.
The E-11 rifle proved to be a highly versatile design, spawning a wide number of variations. To make up for the high demand for these weapons, BlasTech authorized SoroSuub and Merr-Sonn to manufacture them under license. These three manufacturers were found mixed indiscriminately across the Empire in Imperial stocks.
Stormtroopers carried E-11 rifles throughout the Galactic Civil War. The design was based on that of the DC-15 series of blaster rifles, carbines, and pistols which were once favored by the Galactic Republic's clone troopers. Some stormtroopers were known to complain that the original E-11 had excessive recoil, leading to diminished accuracy in firefights, and preferred the carbine model instead.
The basic E-11 was 438 mm long when folded and weighed 2.6 kilograms. The power cell housing opened on the left side of the action housing, above the trigger, giving the E-11 a very low profile (useful when shooting prone or from a barricade). The E-11's plasma gas cartridges allowed for over 500 shots, while the power cells lasted for about 100 shots, depending on the setting.
All moving and/or metal parts were fitted with a corrosion-proof, vacuum-rated, dry lubricant, and required regular cleaning. The top of the receiver had a universal, quick-detach sight rail, which came from the factory, mounted with a ring reticle 2x optical scope. This scope also was capable of interfacing with the tactical HUD within a stormtrooper's helmet. The basic three piece folding stock rode along the left side, under the power cell. When the stock was collapsed, the weapon could be fired one-handed
The power settings ranged from stun to kill. The rifle also had a rapid-fire mode with an expanded fire area, at the cost of poor accuracy. The stun settings could also be set to varying levels, including humanoid, depending on the target. When in stun setting, the blaster fires a blue concircular ring of energy, a product of the stun setting's wasted photonic energy byproducts. However, the stun bolts have a larger aperture than standard explosive bolts.
The rifle could be clipped onto the utility belt of a stormtrooper's uniform, for ease of carrying.
Modified versions of the rifle had also been produced. The E-11b was capable of higher rates of fire, but was prone to overheating. A carbine version of this weapon was also produced—the E-11 carbine, as well as the smaller E-11A and E-11A1, capable of fitting a pistol holster, largely because the extendable stock had been removed. There also was an additional scope that could be added on to make the E-11 into a small scale sniper rifle, with a maximum range of about 8x zoom. While effective, it was not as effective as the E-11s sniper rifle. The EZ Strike E-11 rifle was a variant favored by novice commandos. The E-11 itself also featured a modification outfitted with a projectile launcher, capable of shooting grenades and grappling hooks.
By 14 ABY they had been succeeded by the E-15 and E-19 blaster rifles in some Imperial Remnant forces. Around 130 ABY, the ARC-9965 blaster rifle, another product of BlasTech and advertised as an upgrade over the E-11, had become the new standard issue firearm for the Imperial stormtroopers, although the rifle is still in use by a small number of stormtroopers.
Behind the scenesEdit
The E-11 blaster rifle props used in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back were built from a British-made Sterling Mark 4 L2A3 sub-machine gun. The Sterling used in both productions were provided by British film armorers Bapty & Co. For the filming of Return of the Jedi, ILM used Sterling copies manufactured by MGC (Model Gun Corporation).The scopes used on E-11 props were actually World War II tank scopes, most notably the M-38 (but also M40 and M19), used in A New Hope.
Next, a Hengstler Corporation industrial mechanical counter was then added to the side of the gun close behind the magazine receiver. There are at least two variations of the Hengstler boxes known to have been used on the props. The only visual difference between the two boxes is in the logos on their sides, one actually says Hengstler with a small Eagle, where others merely have the "Eagle" logo. The counters were crudely glued on the body of the blaster and on the scope, and thus some of them fell off during filming, residual glue remaining in place.
To give the actors something to react to and to give rotoscoping artists timing reference when animating blaster bolts, the E-11 rifle props in the original trilogy—which were still fully operational firearms—were loaded with blank cartridges that were then fired to provide a practical effect. Because of this, expended 9mm casings can be seen ejecting from the props in several scenes in A New Hope, particularly during the assault on the Death Star's detention level. This can also be seen briefly in a closeup of Lando firing one in The Empire Strikes Back.
Kenner produced a full-size toy version of this rifle as part of its first Star Wars toy line in 1977. The toy was called a "3 position laser rifle." Kenner (and later, Hasbro) re-released this blaster rifle (without the folding stock on the original 1977 toy and in different color plastic/paintjobs due to changing laws in the United States dealing with toy and imitation firearms) on numerous occasions throughout the Star Wars toy line's history.
The game Star Wars: Battlefront II has several classes and at least one character who use the E-11. The four Imperial classes that use the E-11 as their primary weapon are the stormtrooper, the Imperial Marine, the Imperial Engineer, and the Dark trooper, but the Imperial Engineer's model serves as a shotgun-type weapon and the Dark Trooper's model is the Arc Caster, which fires bolts of electricity. The other character in the game to use this weapon is Boba Fett, but like the Imperial Engineer and the Dark Trooper, the E-11 is not used as a standard blaster rifle (the game refers to the blaster as the EE-3 Blaster Rifle, but uses the E-11 model to save disk space).
In Star Wars: Dark Forces and its subsequent sequels, the E-11 is presented as having two firing modes: a slower, more accurate mode and a faster, inaccurate mode for use in close quarters. It is also typically depicted as being somewhat inefficient in terms of energy consumption, burning 2-3 times the energy per shot of other weapons.
In Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, while sneaking through a ceiling, the player can overhear two stormtroopers discussing the E-11. One complains of its excessive recoil seriously hampering accuracy. This dialog may have been included in the game to explain the stormtroopers' general failure to hit primary characters in the films.
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- Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope
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- Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back
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- LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
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Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology; pg. 8-9
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- ↑ Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary; pg. 34-35
- ↑ Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- ↑ Legacy Era Campaign Guide