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I've read that the reason why the Rebels could take out Stormtroopers in single shots was due to very powerful blasters, but in many instances someone takes a Stormtrooper rifle and takes out other Stormtroopers in single shots.

So are their rifles just as powerful as the Rebels' "illegal" firearms? Or are the Stormtrooper's suits just not very adequate against blaster fire?

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    Given that we see multiple instances of Stormtrooper guns killing stormtroopers, I think the answer is a simple "yes". – Valorum Dec 26 '15 at 19:04
  • I'll add that regular storm trooper armour is not meant for direct fire, there are Elite "commandos" that wear the Katarn battle armour, which is similar to Mandalorian armour, that can withstand direct blaster fire. – Hatandboots Feb 19 '16 at 23:54
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Disney Canon -

Unless I'm gravely mistaken, Luke uses a Stormtrooper blaster he picked up while rescuing Leia on board Death Star.

He shoots several stormtroopers on DS (the clearest instance I recall is, after Ben Kenobi dies, he flies into rage, and while everyone runs into Falcon, kills a couple of stormtroopers left inside the blast doors by himself).

The explanation I heard (no Disney canon backup for it) was that Stormtrooper armor could only dissipate energy from glancing shots and protected from projectiles, but NOT from direct blaster hits.

EU/Legends canon -

"Our body armor isn’t able to withstand direct blaster shots, but it is designed to survive the most extreme conditions." (source)

If this is too Twittery of a source, we can do an official C-canon: "The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology (2004)" says pretty much the same thing: it protects against glancing blows but not direct blaster fire.

An interesting note is that direct blaster fire usually does not KILL stormtroopers, just disables them for a while. So, Lucas/EU invented Doom's RESPAWN functionality :)

  • That makes sense, as the "wings" on TIE fighters do the same thing - deflect and even absorb glancing shots, but cannot take focused fire. – Vogie Dec 28 '15 at 22:33
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We must say they are not very adequate for an in-universe answer - as we see various weapons take out Stormtroopers

As DVK says, Luke and Han use Stormtrooper rifles in A New Hope

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Chewie uses an Imperial rifle in the cell bay

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Han and Leia use blasters on Endor

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Chewie uses his bowcaster on Endor (which we may note has similar "pop" as it does in Force Awakens

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