- "If you're going to have to admit to carrying a hold-out blaster, carry two and admit to one."
- ―Han Solo
Hold-out blasters (also holdout blaster or hold-out blaster pistol) were small, palm-sized blasters that could be easily concealed. Underpowered and short-ranged, hold-out blasters were the weapon of choice for undercover agents and criminals since they were illegal in many systems.
There were two categories of hold-out blasters: civilian and military.
Civilian hold-out blasters were in essence miniature blasters meant for self-defense. Many worlds had strict legislation about the possession and use of arms, and civilian hold-out blasters were designed to be tolerated by such restrictive regulation. Hence, they fired relatively underpowered bolts, had a poor effective range, and could fire only five or six shots before being depleted. This was seen as sufficient for scaring would-be attackers off, without delivering too much firepower in the hands of a random individual. However, due to their ease of concealment, hold-out blasters were associated with more nefarious characters, and they were still outlawed on some worlds.
Military hold-out blasters, on the other hand, were designed to be weapons in their own right. They were still smaller than the heavy-duty sidearms, but the high-quality military hardware used in their fabrication meant they lacked neither range nor killing power. ISB agents and stormtrooper scouts were issued hold-out pistols as standard weapons, for ease of concealment, and because a heavier weapon would have been too bulky and ungainly to wield while riding a speeder bike.
Hold-out blasters saw widespread use in weapon-restricted areas and were commonly found in the possession of undercover agents, gamblers and other scoundrels, or nobles seeking to protect themselves.
Hold-out blasters were sometimes carried by more lethal characters for backup firepower. Iella Wessiri Antilles, Mara Jade Skywalker, and Han Solo were among the many to use hold-out blasters. Hold-out blasters were hidden on each floor of the Imperial Palace, contained within a datacard box regarding the complete history of Corvis Minor.
Although blasters were uncommon on the planet Lamaredd because energy replacements were scarce, hold-out blasters were the weapon of choice of two notorious inhabitants of the planet, Guther Bartyn and Miss Mylla.