- "We're doomed!"
- ―Droid response to seeing an ionization blaster
An ion blaster bolt disrupted electrical systems and melting fuses, destroying circuits and effectively rendering any kind of technology useless. The prevalence of assassin droids and war droids during and after the Great Sith War resulted in the creation of advanced ion weapons to combat them. Ion blasters were developed following HK-01's Great Droid Revolution, and continued to be useful weapons against mechanized forces. They were used by Galactic Republic soldiers to combat threats such as the technology-reliant Mandalorians and their droids, as well as the battle droids of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. Most Ion weapons did little damage to organic enemies, though the more powerful cannons could seriously injure or kill a living creature due to the raw power of the blast. Larger cannon versions existed, for taking out threats too massive for a hand-held blaster to deal with.
Ion blasters were also used during the Galactic Civil War in the form of Merr-Sonn's Destructive ElectroMagnetic Pulse and DEMP 2 guns, used by the stormtroopers of the Galactic Empire. These weapons were more dangerous to living matter than most ion weapons. Another common model of ion blaster was the ionization blaster used by the Jawas of Tatooine to capture droids for sale. Despite battle droid based armies falling out of fashion in the years following the Clone Wars, Ionization-based weaponry still saw use during the Galactic Civil War, but to a substantially lesser degree.
Ion weapons ranged from small personal blasters to large rifles for heavy duty combat against droids to massive starship mounted weapons capable of disabling an enemy ship without causing damage to it. Many starfighters such as the Y-wing and B-wing carried ion weaponry for boarding operations where capturing a target was the primary objective, since the ionized target stayed undamaged, apart from its electrical systems. Ion pulse missiles with ionizing warheads could also be used as they were more powerful than ion cannons and were all but guaranteed to hit the target due to their advanced guidance systems. While ships were only able to carry a limited number of these missiles, they were so powerful they could usually disable a target with one hit.
Jawa ion blaster
Jawa ionization blasters were built by the Jawas who lived on Tatooine to capture droids. The guns themselves were cobbled together from whatever scrap the Jawas could scavenge. The gun was made of a blaster stripped down to its power pack, and then had its components replaced with a droid restraining bolt and an accu-accelerator (from a ship's ion drive).
When fired, this blaster attached the restraining bolt to the droid and then ordered a stop command which made the droid halt. Normally the bolt just told a droid to halt, but their addition of this accu-accelerator caused a large ion burst to completely disable the droid for a short while. Its maximum range was about 12 meters while its optimum range was about 8 meters. The blaster would cause no damage against organic creatures but would give them a nasty sting.
The ion pistol was a type of ion gun that was designed to be much more portable and less cumbersome than the ion rifle. Unlike the ion rifle, this weapon could be operated one-handed. From 32 BBY to 8 ABY, the weapon was typically available for a cost of 250 credits. Though the weapon provided the benefits of small size, weighing only 1 kilogram, the weapon had an optimal range of only 8 meters.
The ion rifle was medium in size, typically requiring two hands to fire correctly. The ion carbine was similar to an ion rifle, but was autofire-capable, allowing the wielder to take down several droids at once.
Behind the scenes
The Jawa ionization blaster, pictured above, resembles a British Lee-Enfield rifle, used by troops during both world wars. The bolt action, magazine, and trigger mechanism are those of the Lee-Enfield, with the stock and fore-end cut down and a cup-style grenade launching attachment fitted to the shortened barrel. In the original trilogy, many gun props were modified real-world weapons.
Ion blasters work like real-life EMP devices. However, they don't seem to do permanent, irreparable damage.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- "Spare Parts"—Star Wars Tales 4