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Especially in the Republic era when the use of the lightsaber was more common, why didn't anybody use chemical propellants (real life modern guns)? A modern-day assault rifle has at least 10 times the rate of fire and the bullets travel at least 10 times faster than blaster bolts. You could fill a Jedi with 30 bullets in an eye-blink without worrying that the Jedi blocks and reflects all your shots back at you.

Even if the sophisticated automatic firearms never got developed, 10 arquebusiers from the 16th century would have stood a better chance against a Jedi with a lightsaber than 10 troopers equipped with blasters.

Maybe blasters cause bigger wounds, and maybe they are better against armor, but they should not have made gunpowder completely obsolete. Is there any in-universe explanation why nobody uses gunpowder or similar chemical propellants?

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    It was a long time ago. Maybe they hadn't invented gunpowder yet. – Paul Draper Aug 24 '14 at 2:42
  • Because lightsabers. – Wad Cheber Sep 10 '15 at 2:53
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    Weren't the Tusken Raiders firing projectile weapons at the pod racers in The Phantom Menace? – Michael Itzoe Sep 10 '15 at 14:43
  • @MichaelItzoe Yes – TylerH Oct 12 '15 at 18:43
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    @AndrewMattson : Yes, of course. But even jedi can be overwhelmed by blaster bolts if there is a lot of them. Slugs are faster and have a much higher rate of fire (compare a real-world MAC10 to the handheld star wars blasters), so it should be easier to overwhelm a jedi with them. See the related question for more information: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/13695/… – vsz Jul 13 '16 at 15:47
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  1. Gunpowder (or at least projectile) weapons WERE known in SW Galaxy - they are mentioned in canon (including use against Jedi, e.g. by Aurra Sing and some other mercenaries)

    • https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Black-powder_pistol

    • https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Sevari_Flashpistol

    • Most importantly, there were Slugthrowers (though whether they used powder is not known from current canon).

      Qymaen jai Sheelal, who would become the infamous Jedi hunter, General Grievous, used a slugthrower rifle during the Huk War.

      Another (though not directly attributed to specific canon source) quotes from the Wikia:

      For example, during the days of the Galactic Republic, mercenaries fearing an intervention by Jedi Knights used rapid-fire slugthrowers that were impossible to completely deflect, unlike blaster bolts.

      Aurra Sing famously carried a slugthrower along with her blaster pistols and lightsaber.

  2. As to the reason why it wasn't widespread:

    • Most people did NOT set out specifically to fight Jedi, and gunpowder weapons are useless in modern blaster combat.

    • Those that did set out to fight Jedi, often used more appropriate tools (cortosis armor, Yslmmmri, a Dark Jedi of their own, sheer numbers) and didn't need to go through the trouble of firearms logistics.

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    Blasters are quite inaccurate, slow, and don't have a good rate of fire, so I would not consider projectile weapons completely useless (look at the battle of Endor, where slings were used against blasters). However, I find your other reasons quite convincing. – vsz Mar 25 '12 at 13:42
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    @vsz - Endor was an exception - the Ewoks had, to steal a phrase from some forum, the Lucas(tm) Cuteness Shielding. Stormtrooper armor was quite effective against projectile weapons as a rule. And the main downside of projectile weapons is logistics. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 25 '12 at 13:45
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    You just mentioned another good reason: logistics. Actually, gunpowder made the bows obsolete due to easier logistics, easier training, and being better against armor despite having (at that time) worse accuracy and rate of fire. So it would make sense that early blasters, while being less accurate and slower, still had the benefits of logistics and armor-piercing. Hm, so the reason blasters became more widespread than gunpowder in Star Wars is essentially very similar to the reason why gunpowder became more widespread than bows (despite some disadvantages) in the 16th-17th century Earth. – vsz Mar 25 '12 at 13:53
  • @vsz - yep. I didn't stress logistics because the question was "why weren't projectiles used against Jedi" vs "Why weren't projectiles used as opposed to blasters in general warfare" – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 25 '12 at 16:11
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    @RexKerr - you can't deflect a slug back at the shooter, a slug is faster, the rate of fire is much higher, and if LS merely melts it, it will continue on its way as a bunch of molten metal. It was discussed in a differeny question today or yesterday – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 25 '12 at 19:36
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Especially in the Republic era when the use of the lightsaber was more common, why didn't anybody use chemical propellants (real life modern guns)?

They did. It happened on planets with extreme jungle terrain or other conditions which made blasters unreliable. One example is the planet Haruun Kal from the novel Shatterpoint.

It was also a thing in poorer areas. A visual dictionary for I - VI mentions that the posse of moisture farmers who attempted to rescue Shmi Skywalker were armed with both blasters and slugthrowers.

You could fill a Jedi with 30 bullets in an eye-blink without worrying that the Jedi blocks and reflects all your shots back at you.

Prior to Order 66 (perhaps not the highest number of Jedi, but still a high number,) the Jedi Order had something around 10,000 members. The galaxy is too big for those numbers to mean much when deciding the standard weaponry of a soldier. Also, as DVK noted, if you knew you were going to fight Jedi, you would bring something like lightsaber-resistant armor, force-nullifying creatures, or a bunch of cannon fodder. Slugthrowers just aren't the best option, even against Jedi.

Maybe blasters cause bigger wounds, and maybe they are better against armor, but they should not have made gunpowder completely obsolete. Is there any in-universe explanation why nobody uses gunpowder or similar chemical propellants?

From wookieepedia: "Blasters rapidly displaced the slugthrower as the primary infantry weapon owing to their greater ammunition capacity, power, and lighter ammunition compared to slugs." So yes, blasters cause bigger wounds. They also have better logistics and less recoil.

As far as armor goes, standard body armor was extremely resistant to slugs. A visual dictionary states that the white plate sections of storm trooper armor were almost immune to slugs and shrapnel. Only the black sections (weaker for flexibility) were vulnerable. The Ewoks' ability to shoot through that armor to lethal effect is explained - they used incredibly strong compound bows with poisoned arrows (so they didn't actually have to kill with mechanical force, plus it's not a slugthrower anyway.)

Let's not forget battle droids. Slugthrowers aren't nearly as effective against droids as blasters, and most Star Wars movies show at least one combat droid.

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    How on earth did they explain an arrow could penetrate the armor, but not a bullet? – Azor Ahai Dec 26 '15 at 4:56
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    from Star Wars The Essential Guide to Warfare: "The first wave of troopers died with arrows through the gaps in their armor. The indigenes were primitive, but later I read about the bows they'd used, how they were engineered for immense leverage. I saw troopers falling with arrows that had gone completely through their throats. They were the lucky ones - some of our men took what looked like minor wounds, and minutes later they were clawing their helmets off and gasping for air. The abos had dipped their arrows in some kind of nerve toxing that paralyzed every muscle in the body." – Jeutnarg Dec 27 '15 at 6:30
  • So - very strong bows shooting toxic arrows at the weakest section of that armor. – Jeutnarg Dec 27 '15 at 6:32

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