A blaster is a ranged weapon that fires bursts of particle beam energy called blaster bolts from a replaceable power cell. They are the most commonly used weapon in the galaxy. A blaster's intense beam consisting of compacted high-energy particles and intense light can kill or paralyze a target, depending on the weapon's setting. Blasters range from compact pistols, all the way up to the largest heavy rifles and starship-mounted blaster cannons. Nearly every being in the galaxy owns or uses a blaster at some time.
The term blaster is often used interchangeably with the term laser in everyday conversation, both denoting the same type of particle beam weapon. Strictly speaking, the laser is a much older weapon design than the blaster. Unlike the slow firing cycle of laser weapons, blasters have more proficient recharge rates, allowing a much higher rate of fire, though at a loss of distance and accuracy.
There is some dispute as to what size restrictions denote a "blaster." For example, blasters are commonly thought of as handheld weapons only, but starship-mounted blaster cannons may fall in this category as well.