Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsEngineering · 7 years ago

What's the difference between a plasma gun and a laser gun in scifi?

Notice I said "in scifi" not in real life. I don't understand what a plasma gun is or what kind of plasma it uses. They seem like laser guns to me. Can someone tell me the difference?

3 Answers

  • Gary H
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Chuck is right, it's scifi so it can be anything the author wants.

    In the real world, the U.S. navy is actually equipping (or has equipped) a ship with a laser weapon. The U.S. airforce has had an airborne laser for a number of years (it takes a Boeing 747 to carry the power supply). These are sometimes referred to as "directed energy" weapons. One advantage is that you can hit the target continuously for as long as the laser operates (or until the target is no longer a threat) vs a missile that, if it misses, you have to shoot another missile at it. These sophisticated missiles can run a million dollars a missile and they are single use.

    In the real world, there are also "plasma guns". These are industrial machines that use a plasma torch to melt metal (or anything else) but they don't actually shoot anything. They are just on or off (like an oxy-acetylene cutting torch) but using electricity instead of burning fuel. Such a torch will burn your hand off if you put it in front of the "gun" but you would not necessarily feel from across the room If the U.S. military has developed a plasma weapon that fires a projectile of ionized gas, it is still classified.

  • 7 years ago

    Well.. In scifi they can be whatever the writer wants them to be. That is why scifi so great. But in real life a plasma gun would probably be shooting a projectile that is burning at the "plasma state" (liquid,solid,gas.,.,Plasma.) pretty cool. A laser gun on the other hand would shoot a photon or a group of photons. Which would be pretty much harmless unless there was a lot of them. Like a lot. and the laser beam would probably be invisible to the naked eye until it hit something. Like a regular laser. It would most likely be silent. You could take a shotgun shell and put thermite in it and if you could get it to light it would look like a plasma gun. I want to get a cheap 12 gauge just to make a plasma gun. I would put magnesium then the thermite into the shell. Maybe could drill out a lead slug and do that. It would defiantly explode on impact.

    Source(s): My ideas.
  • SMDave
    Lv 5
    7 years ago

    Ball lightning is a plasma, and is also pretty destructive. But nobody has yet developed a weapon that shoots one, although a few people are trying. There have also been a couple of reports of ball lightning being accidentally produced in a laboratory that was researching something else.

    I wouldn't rule it out as a plasma weapon in the future.

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