The air pistol was a projectile slugthrower pistol that used compressed gases to fire its ammunition, instead of the chemical explosions used by conventional slugthrowers. The air pistol was manufactured by Field Sports and was widely available in a large variety of colors from before the Battle of Yavin to the time of the Yuuzhan Vong War. Even though the weapon looked like a toy, it was about as powerful as a striker projectile pistol, which was considered a standard slugthrower pistol design. However, the air pistol lacked the striker's range and had slightly less durability.
The air pistol was a slugthrower pistol commonly used as a sports target weapon that differed from standard slugthrower designs. The weapon's major distinction was that it fired projectiles using compressed gases instead of the chemical explosions used by conventional slugthrowers. This mechanism allowed the Air pistol to operate without the telltale flash and report of a standard slugthrower. Even though the air pistol was as lethal as a striker projectile pistol, which was considered a standard slugthrower pistol, it had the appearance of a toy with some similarities to a sporting blaster pistol. The weapon was found in black and gray, as well as in an assortment of brighter colors.
The air pistol's design gave it both advantages and disadvantages when compared to a standard slugthrower. For instance, its forty-meter range was sixty meters less than the range of a normal slugthrower pistol. However, the weapon could be improved greatly if it was upgraded with a more powerful compressed air canister. In the hands of a trained user, these upgraded air pistols were highly effective. Like its standard counterpart, the air pistol could be held in one hand by most species, although it was slightly less durable than a normal slugthrower pistol.
At eight tenths of a kilogram, the air pistol's light weight outclassed its striker projectile pistol competition by six tenths of a kilogram. Its silent operation could only be matched by another slugthrower if a silencer/flash suppressor was employed. Ammunition, too, was more abundant with the air pistol design; it used a clip that contained twenty specialized slugs instead of the eight-slug clips used by normal slugthrower pistols. Nevertheless, the weapon had a slower rate of fire than the striker projectile pistol.
The air pistol was produced by Field Sports and cost two hundred credits, seventy-five credits cheaper than a standard conventional slugthrower pistol. Its ammunition cost twenty credits a clip, which was fifteen credits more expensive than the eight-slug clips that were used in the striker projectile pistol. The weapon was available in sports shops across the galaxy before the Battle of Yavin preceding the year 0 ABY, throughout the remainder of Emperor Palpatine's reign over the Galactic Empire, and during the existence of the New Republic.
During the time of the rebellion against the Empire, several extremely stealthy Rebel Alliance Special Forces units was commonly utilized air pistols in their operations. The pistols were still being sold when the extra-galactic Yuuzhan Vong species invaded the galaxy. The weapon was readily available for sale and did not require a license for an individual to own, unlike conventional slugthrower pistols. Due to the air pistol's toy-like appearance, it was rarely confiscated by authorities.
Behind the scenes
The Field Sports air pistol was introduced in the weapons chapter of Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook, a 1997 book written by Timothy S. O'Brien for the West End Games roleplaying game.
Notes and references
- Arms & Equipment Guide
- In the Arms & Equipment Guide, the air pistol had a range increment of four meters. The maximum range of a weapon from the Arms & Equipment Guide is ten times the range increment listed, unless the entry says otherwise.
- Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook
- The Arms & Equipment Guide says that the pistol is small in size, which in the Star Wars Roleplaying Game Revised Core Rulebook means that sentient species of small or greater size could use the weapon. This includes species from the size of Ewoks all the way up to species the size of Yuzzems and larger.