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?


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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
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 0:36
  • Editted per request. Initialy, I had the word prop in the question, but I removed it. Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 0:44
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    "... and how did the prop department pull it off?" They didn't. The prop department put it on; the actors pulled it off. Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 6:54

7 Answers 7


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. Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 8:20
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    Ah Velcro, the wave of the future!!
    – Monty129
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 10:46
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    @Monty129: Yes. Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 23:32

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.


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 too easily with magnets), the 'tech' was described as magnetic, in-universe.


A screen-used prop of one of the phasers from Assignment: Earth went on sale a few years ago. The auctioneer provided a wealth of details including that the velcro on the side of the phaser (which you can see clearly in the photo below) still contains fibres from the original uniforms.

Some other keys aspects in the authentication of this phaser include, very importantly, a match of the uniquely patterned silver foil material on top of its hand phaser to the foil on the Greg Jein TOS Hero Phaser pistol, and the identification of a tiny mold flaw / accent line defect in its rear body fin appearance which is a perfect match to a mold flaw observed on a different phaser seen in a close-up screen capture from the Original Series episode "Spock's Brain". Additionally, high resolution photography of the Velcro on the hand phaser has revealed some gold, blue and red TOS velour Starfleet tunic fabric traces still trapped in the Velcro - exciting remnants from production on the Desilu soundstage 49 years ago!

enter image description here


It was held in place by Velcro, they wore Velcro on a belt and had Velcro on the Phaser and Communicator, you can hear the Velcro separating if you listen closely.

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    Welcome to Sci Fi and Fantasy SE, do you have any sound recordings or anything to use as evidence?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 19:52
  • It might also be worth considering whether this also applies in-universe, or was that just how they were held on in real life, with that velcro taking the place of some fancy future technology in the story
    – Au101
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 20:21

It is velcro soft pasted and glue to a leather belt witch in the 1960s lapd used for a duty belt watch Adam 12 leather and velcro. I used a safarieland duty belt with no buckle for 30 years as a cop. I made my tos duty belt from long velcro from walmart. This was for a Halloween party last year. The velcro is 7.45 for a box I used 2 of them. I took off the stick side plastic off and combined both soft sides togeather. It looks great. The other tos belts run 75 or 90 dollars screw that. I then made the velcro patch the same way but I taped one soft side to the ruff side. Then stuck the ruff patch to the soft side of my duty belt. Done. You then you peal of the plastic from the velcro and stick it to the communicator and phaser right or left side.


Really late to this discussion but I also assumed they used Velcro to hold the props. But since the 1960s we have seen a lot of research into the microfiber adhesion biology that geckos and insects use to adhere to surfaces. It is my understanding the the product sold as "Alien Tape" uses a version of the tech of nanofibers. I think in Star Trek something similar was used for the TNG and later comm badges.

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    Note that the question was only asking about TOS, not TNG. Are you saying that Alien Tape was used for the phaser props in TOS? Valorum's answer shows evidence that the phaser props in TOS were attached with Velcro, and you haven't produced any evidence to the contrary. If your answer is only in reference to TNG, then that isn't relevant to the question and shouldn't have been posted as an answer. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 8:14

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