The DL-44 was a powerful, highly modifiable and accurate blaster pistol. It packed a heavy punch compared to other pistols without losing accuracy, which made it a prime choice among many groups and individuals, ranging from smugglers and bounty hunters to military and the Rebellion.
Aside from being a powerful and reliable sidearm, the weapon had other attractive features such as a vibration system built into the handgrip that pulsed gently to alert the user that the weapon had only five shots left, and the ability to charge a bolt twice as powerful into a capacitor without damaging the sidearm. Like most handguns, its gear typically included a motion-sensitive scope and galven circuitry that allowed the pistol to deal more damage with a normal energy drain and fire rate.
Originally designed by BlasTech and seen as early as 33 BBY, the weapon found increased use at the hands of outlaws and fringers on the edge of legality, groups like smugglers and the Rebel Alliance due to its capability to penetrate stormtrooper armor. This caused the Empire to put a restriction order upon this model, restricting and technically outlawing the purchase and ownership of the gun. This caused other companies to take advantage of the model and capabilities, releasing similar but tuned-down versions of the 44's, such as Merr-Sonn Munitions, Inc.'s "Flash" 4 and model 57 blaster pistol. Their Power 5 was already being manufactured at the time, as it saw use during the Clone Wars.
The DL-44 was the weapon of choice of the General and Alliance hero, once-smuggler Han Solo, who removed the barrel-sight to facilitate his fast-draw, something that the Empire deemed to be an illegal modification of a blaster. In a later era, Jaden Korr, Rosh Penin and other New Jedi Order students carried DL-44 pistols when on missions where a blaster might be necessary. Some Imperial officers, workers, and saboteurs affiliated with the Disciples of Ragnos were issued DL-44 handguns. Mara Jade was also known to carry one of those on occasion. They were also the anti-infantry sidearm of choice for Rebel Marksman and vanguards, in addition to the vanguards anti-vehicle weaponry.
Behind the scenes
The DL-44 design comes from the German C96 "Broomhandle" Mauser pistol, an early semi-automatic handgun with a 10 round internal magazine and it was available in 9mm Parabellum or .30 Mauser. Well known variants include the "Red-9" which was chambered in 9mm Parabellum and had a red number 9 branded into the grip so that users would not load the incorrect caliber, or the M712 Schnellfeuer variant, which was capable of select-fire and had a 20 round detachable magazine, it was chambered in .30 Mauser.
The air conditioning vent on the front of the magazine came from a model airplane and the large flash hider came from the german MG81 machine gun from a fighter plane. The scope is the Hensoldt Wetzlar Ziel Dialyt 3x scope which was often seen on German sniper rifles such as the famous Mauser Kar98k bolt-action rifle. Due to the size of the flash hider, the iron sights were not useable.
Only 4 live C96 Mauser pistols have been remade to imitate the DL-44. Youtube firearm aficionado Jerry Miculek released a video using one of these real DL-44s on the 14th December 2015 with a guest appearance from a live E-11 towards the end of the video.
With the proper attachments, a real-life C96 could be used as a light carbine, like the DL-44 is shown to be rearranged as a long range rifle.
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