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In the begining, phasers just sort of hung there on the crew members hip until they reached for it. Granted, there were times when they wore belts with holsters for the weapons, but sometimes the phasers just dangled there with no visible means of support... How did that work? What was the theory and how did the prop department pull it off?

Phaser

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While you have answers here, I think it might help to specify whether you're talking about on screen or in reality as a prop. –  Tango Jan 14 '13 at 0:36
    
Editted per request. Initialy, I had the word prop in the question, but I removed it. –  Major Stackings Jan 14 '13 at 0:44
    
"... and how did the prop department pull it off?" They didn't. The prop department put it on; the actors pulled it off. –  Keith Thompson Feb 19 at 6:54

3 Answers 3

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Here's a much clearer view - it appears to be velcro:

Phaser holster

Edit to add (post question-edit): Before posting this answer, I had also thought it was supposed to be some sort of magnetic system (like the other answers mention), but couldn't find any evidence. It may have made it into one TOS episode, as I do not have any technical manuals or novels, but I cannot remember for sure. Instead I found the above image, where the patch has the same fuzzy quality that velcro has.

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Yes, and if you listen to the TOS very carefully, you can hear the scritch of the velcro when they pulled them off. My wife and I laugh sometimes because they try to mask the sound. –  Thaddeus Jan 13 '13 at 8:20
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Ah Velcro, the wave of the future!! –  Monty129 Jan 13 '13 at 10:46
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@Monty129: Yes. –  Keith Thompson Apr 17 '13 at 23:32

I don't have it any longer, but I once had an 'official' Star Fleet cadet manual that had Phaser and Communicator schematics. It pointed to the handle of the type II Phaser and said 'magnetic adhesion to body', which I took to mean 'uniform'.

While Velcro was used on the set (presumably because they fell off to easily with magnets), the 'tech' was described as magnetic.

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The Star Fleet Technical Manual refers to a "magnatomic adhesion area". The manual isn't canon (though illustrations from it have been used in movies), and I don't recall the word "magnatomic" ever being used in any series or movie.

Apparently "magnatomic adhesion" looks and sounds like velcro.

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+1 just for 'Apparently "magnatomic adhesion" looks and sounds like velcro' –  user11295 Jan 14 '13 at 13:41

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