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I'm curious why stormtroopers have a gear-like ending to their right upper leg piece, but on the left leg have a diamond shape over their knee.

Is there an in-universe explanation? (Or, if not, an out-of-universe one?)

stormtroopers with their knee armor showing

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    For some reason I visualized a scene where stormtroopers dropped to one knee to make better shots (better stability or cover?). Can't place it, so take with a grain of salt. I think the knee armor arrangement would work for that - a stable base to kneel on on one side, if that was useful in a situation, and whatever advantage offered by the gear (or disadvantage offset, maybe better protection?) on the other. – Megha Feb 12 '16 at 1:58
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    So they can kneel comfortably. – Wad Cheber Feb 12 '16 at 2:03
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    Yeah...sorry about that. The truth is, when I was designing the first prototype for their armor, right when I had just gotten to the right knee, my hand slipped and I accidentally cut right through it! But luckily I was able to make it look okay using some bubblegum, hydrochloric acid, and SpaceGlue. – CHEESE Feb 12 '16 at 2:48
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    @Megha - I think you're close to an answer. Most military weapons are designed to be fired with the right hand on the grip, using the right eye to aim. Real-world training for kneeling stance has the soldier drop to his left knee and rest his right elbow on his right left for added stability. This explains the left knee design of the armor - not sure what advantage the right knee offers... – HorusKol Feb 12 '16 at 4:24
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    @Horus Where exactly on the body (in particular, on which side of the body) is the right left situated? ;-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 12 '16 at 5:48
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+50

The Star Wars Visual Dictionary tells us the answer:

large

closeup

The left knee plate is a "Sniper position knee protector plate" and the ridges on the right thigh are "Suit systems power cells."

The Legends entry on Wookieepedia backs this up, citing Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide as their source:

  • The lower right leg segment contained the suit's axillary power cells.
  • The left upper side of the shin armor had a knee protector plate for comfort from a kneeling firing position.
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    The first things to hit the ground when you fall are your knees, so logically this is where you'd store the suit's auxiliary power cells. – Daft Feb 12 '16 at 16:51
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    @Daft I guess they all fall on their left knee. – Lan Feb 12 '16 at 18:16
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    Ahem - i.stack.imgur.com/bDIHL.png – Valorum Feb 12 '16 at 18:18
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    @flq They're supposedly really good shots when they're not aiming at main characters. Remember the first time we see them? They wipe out a squad of rebels with ease – Alex Spencer Jul 22 '16 at 13:14
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    @DisturbedNeo - Well, that's assuming a dominant right hand. Since this is a galaxy far away, perhaps left is the more common. And, of course, since so many of the early Storm Troopers were clones, perhaps the clone was left handed, and they just stuck to his standard. – K-H-W Jul 25 '16 at 15:04
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For clarity, the sniper plate on the left knee is attached to the left shin piece. The "gear-like" piece is actually attached to the right thigh piece, not to the shin piece.

It is not specifically for kneeling on, though. In the firing position, the left leg is forward and the right leg is back. Because the left leg is forward, if the plate were not there, you would see a gap between the thigh and the shin plates that would be a weak point.

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This is highly hypothetical, so take with a grain of salt.

If you kneel while shooting, you'll kneel on the knee at the same side of your dominant hand. To have better balance.

But that would require them to be all left handed and never to cover something on their left.

But it could be as well just be an artistic choice and backwards rationalization ( see pictures )

  • Is there support for this? – Adamant Jul 25 '16 at 9:25
  • My military training, no hard evidence. If that´s it you are after =) – Git Jul 25 '16 at 9:26
  • If you do a a google n image search for "kneeling shooting position", just about every picture you see features a right-handed shooter kneeling on his right knee and resting his left elbow on his right knee. So it seems that the flat knee pad would be more beneficial for a left-handed shooter. – Ben Osborne Jul 25 '16 at 14:15
  • left right mixup , sry – Git Jul 25 '16 at 14:57
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I have two theories to why the armour is asymmetrical.

  1. Storm Troopers would shoot with their right knee to the ground.The pad was designed to protect the left knee from blaster fire when in shooting position.

  2. The lack of a protection pad on the right knee would make getting into shooting position much easier and quicker.

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