The Zat-gun fullfills very usefull jobs in the Stargate SG1 series, allowing stunning and providing a means to overload (and disable) equipment. I would have thought they would have brought some to both Atlantis and to the mission ending up on the Destiny. However, this is (as far as I know) not the case. I also don't recall for them even being mentioned in either spin-off. Hence the question, is an in universe explanation given for not having Zat-guns on Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe?

  • 2
    Not that I can recall, however SG:U was far from a planned trip, and by the time SG:A re-established contact with earth I believe they may already have acquired a few wraith guns, which I believe were stunners. Why they didn't take any with them in the first place, though, I couldn't tell you
    – Phoshi
    Oct 5, 2011 at 12:59
  • 26
    Don't forget it can also disintegrate a plot-sized amount of mass.
    – Jeff
    Oct 5, 2011 at 13:21
  • 2
    Did anyone at SGC use a zat other than Teal'c? I think Earthers preferred Earth weapons over zats and staff weapons.
    – Tango
    Oct 5, 2011 at 15:11
  • 7
    @TangoOversway: Perhaps not as standard equipment (I'm not sure of this), but they all used them.
    – Thorsal
    Oct 5, 2011 at 15:40
  • 1
    @TangoOversway, it seemed to be a fairlt standard sidearm choice by about season 3 of SG-1, even in season 2 they took them on away missions, why did SG-1 have one in 1969? It's more they probably only have ones they've procured off the Gao'uld and Tok'ra which isn't all that many.
    – ewanm89
    Jun 28, 2012 at 14:04

4 Answers 4


Word of God answer:

Joseph Mallozzi, Screenwriter and Executive Producer for both Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis explicitly answered the question of why he didn't include Zats and Goa'uld weaponry when he wrote the scripts for Atlantis in a Q+A on his blog. Evidently the crew of the Atlantis simply decided that the weapons weren't what they liked or were used to.

Max writes: “I have been wonder[ing] for over 5 years why the Jaffa weapons (staff and the handheld zapper) weren't used in the Atlantis series.”

JM: Staff weapons and zat guns are unwieldly. I’d think military personnel would be more comfortable using weaponry they’d been trained to use.

Out of universe answer:

Clearly the intent with both SGA and SGU was to create a unique 'look' for each series. Having substantial amounts of Goa'uld weaponry (when the goa'uld barely get a mention in either series and each use of their guns would require an extra line of exposition to explain where they come from) makes little sense from a screenwriting perspective.

For the record, there is at least one occasion in Stargate Atlantis where zats are used; by Teal'c in the episode "Midway".

Teal'c Zat'ing Wraith at the SGC

  • 5
    While providing a great RL answer to my question, I was interested in an in universe explanation mainly. Personally I find the screen writer's given reason a bit underwhelming since the mechanic of picking up a Zat, pointing it to the target and pulling its trigger appears to be the same as with any Earthly handgun.
    – Thorsal
    Aug 29, 2014 at 9:23
  • 1
    I like the fact that this answer provides both an in- and out-of-universe reasoning; military types just don't like them much. Those at the SGC have learned to like them whereas Atlantis personnel feel more comfortable with conventional firearms. Although a Word of God answer might not make sense, you do have to take them at face value.
    – Valorum
    Aug 29, 2014 at 9:30
  • 2
    For the record, I think this answer deserves "accepting". What more evidence would you like on top of a direct answer from the man who wrote and produced the show?
    – Valorum
    Aug 29, 2014 at 9:37
  • @Richard The OP explicitly asks for an in universe answer. "Word of God" is, although definitely canon, not necessarily considered in universe by all.
    – Mast
    Sep 27, 2014 at 14:10
  • 5
    @Thorsal - "military personnel would be more comfortable using weaponry they’d been trained to use." is an in-universe explantaion...
    – Valorum
    Dec 12, 2014 at 16:15

It's possible (though unlikely) that the SGC has a limited supply, and couldn't risk sending them on an extended (possibly permanent) trip. I find it hard to believe myself, since they should have plenty of ways to acquire new ones.

However, at that point in the series (Season 7-8 of SG-1) there was a diminished usage of Goa'uld tech - it was around this point that Teal'c dropped his staff in favor of a Tau'ri weapon.

It's also worth considering that the forces sent to Atlantis had to be ready to become self-sufficient if needed, or at least capable of functioning without a high technological base to work from ('Atlantis' could have been a city filled with broken machines and dust, instead of what they found). Many, if not most, special forces troops (from which SGC teams are often drawn) are able to make gunpowder if needed, and every soldier knows the basic maintenance of his weapon.

The same can't be said of Zats, which seem to require some unique materials.

  • 1
    Good points, but why didn't they send a crate or two when they managed to travel between galaxies again in SG:A?
    – Thorsal
    Oct 5, 2011 at 15:53
  • 3
    At that point, they had Wraith stunners maybe? Or maybe it just didn't occur to them - Sheppard is the senior military man, and he had no experience with them prior to Atlantis. It's possible the SGC didn't think to offer, and no one on Atlantis thought to ask.
    – Jeff
    Oct 5, 2011 at 16:52
  • Has it ever been established how they are powered? If they use "Naquada" or whatever it is they may not have sent them because of a need to reload them with a dangerous, hard to process rare ore.
    – erdiede
    Oct 6, 2011 at 0:53
  • @erdiede: No, it's never said how they're powered.
    – Jeff
    Oct 6, 2011 at 13:19
  • 2
    They are powered much the same as the Ma'tok and the majority of other Goa'uld tech. They contain a liquid Naquadah cell and as stated that may have been the issue
    – user5529
    Mar 28, 2012 at 8:32

In relation to what Jeff said, I doubt that the SGC would risk sending Zat's on what could possibly be a one-way trip, especially when those weapons were needed to arm the recently formed Free Jaffa nation.

Plus, shortly after arriving in the Pegasus galaxy, the Atlantis Expedition acquired Wraith stunners, so I doubt that Sheppard or the SGC would bother sending Zat's anymore.


Actually I believe it comes down to several In Universe reasons, first is supply they may not have had as many Gao'uld weapons so the few that were around were used by the SGC; second lack of trying as Teal'c was the only Gao'uld warrior and he worked closely with SG1 he could have given them training but was not able to for all SG personel; third goes back to what O'Neill said about Gao'uld weapons that they were weapons of terror and SGA wasn't going for a fight (lead by a civilian Dr. Weir) and was more diplomatic/exploratory; fourth they had no idea who or what they would meet and did not want to give a massive technological advantage (the already knew of the Replicators and how elll their guns did against them versus energy gy weapons). I think these are good reasons but this is only my theory

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to the site. You could improve this answer by editing it to include any relevant quotes from the source material that would support the things you've said here. Also, I think your answer would a read a bit better if you separated each point out as a distinct sentence, maybe even a distinct paragraph, rather than making all four points in a single sentence. Aug 28, 2023 at 0:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.