The minuscule Type 1 phaser (or "cricket") seemed to be the weapon of choice for Starfleet personnel in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was almost never seen in later seasons, reportedly because the show's production staff realized it was too small for viewers to make out on their television screens. For the rest of TNG, and also in later series like DS9 and Voyager, Starfleet crew almost always use pistol-like Type 2 phasers or rifle-like Type 3 phasers.

Has there been any in-universe explanation, preferably in the primary canon of the various TV series and movies, but also considering other licensed works such as novels and video games, for why the Type 1 phaser fell out of use? Failing that, has there been any generally agreed-upon informed speculation in the fan community?

  • 1
    It always amused me that they had rifle phasers, given that a hand phaser could disintegrate.
    – Tim
    Feb 18, 2018 at 19:55
  • 1
    @Tim: Bigger batteries? :)
    – T.J.L.
    Jun 28, 2018 at 15:11

1 Answer 1



We only have the out-of-universe reason that you have already mentioned.

Most notably, the official Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual (written by TNG production designers Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach) contains a section on "Personal Phasers" and describes in intricate detail the Type I, Type II, and Type III models. It does not, however, provide a reason for why Starfleet personnel switched their preference to Type II (despite the fact that the manual was released well after this change in preference).

In the absence of an official in-universe explanation, one could posit that certain new threats, such as the first encounter with the Borg in Season 2's "Q Who", might have led to a preference for Type II phasers, which accommodate a greater range of phaser modulations. But that is pure speculation.

  • commenting here as not got the source to hand but the old Fact-Files (AFAIK) mentioned that the type one fit into the pistol grip to provide more power and range of firing options, paving the way for the standard issue of pistol grips (retrospectively issued in Enterprise of course)
    – user001
    Apr 1, 2016 at 13:38
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    @user001: I think you are referring to the phasers used in TOS not NG.
    – sfhq_sf
    Apr 1, 2016 at 14:07
  • Well, as no one has been able to find an in-universe explanation in nearly two years, I guess I ought to accept this answer…
    – Psychonaut
    Feb 22, 2018 at 20:43

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