- "Well, I'm as fast as the next guy... but with these needle rays an accurate shot is kind'a tricky--"
- ―Han Solo
- "It couldn't hold up to standard blaster-fire... but its refractory coating deflects these needle rays just fine!"
- ―Han Solo
Needle rays were shaped like a typical blaster pistol, with a pistol grip and a protruding barrel. The needle ray's barrel was more slender than a typical blaster, and tapered slightly to a narrow egress. The resulting beam was very fine. It was weaker than a standard blaster, which allowed it to be reflected by ray shields with refractory coating, but it was still capable of killing an unarmored creature. Its fine beam did not lose integrity upon being reflected, and a beam reflected off a ray shield was just as deadly.
Despite their relative weakness, needle ray blasts carried a good deal of kinetic energy. In a zero-gravity environment the recoil from firing a needle ray, or being struck by a beam, imparted significant momentum.
- "I'll guard your back with my shield... start usin' your needle ray on our fellow contestants!"
- ―Han Solo to Chewbacca
Needle rays and ray shields were given to each gladiator participating in the final round of the Big Game on board the casino space station known as the Wheel. In the final round each gladiator who won the preliminaries met in a free for all within a zero-gravity arena filled with booby traps, from which only one gladiator could emerge alive. In 0 ABY both Han Solo and Chewbacca were forced into the game as part of a plot from the Wheel's administrator, Simon Greyshade. He intended for both to be killed unless Leia Organa agreed to his demands, and so had their needle rays deliberately sabotaged.
Solo and Chewbacca, however, proved resourceful, and were able to use their ray shields to defeat other gladiators and take their functioning weapons. Greyshade believed that the two old friends would never kill each other, and since the rules of the Big Game demanded the death of all but one gladiator, they would be in violation of the rules and would be executed. To his surprise, at Solo's urging, Chewbacca shot his friend. What Greyshade did not know was that Solo had secreted a ray shield beneath his shirt, and was faking his own death.
- Star Wars 21: Shadow of a Dark Lord (First appearance)
- Star Wars 22: To the Last Gladiator
- Star Wars 23: Flight Into Fury