Did you know that many of the weapons found in the original Star Wars trilogy were influenced by British, German, and Swiss made guns? It’s true; those blasters that you grew up imagining in your hand as you explored the planets of Hoth or Tatooine came from very real weapons. In fact, many members of the Canadian Forces have used or faced the real-life versions of these weapons in actual combat.
Take, for instance, one of the more iconic weapons from the series, the BlasTech DL-44 blaster pistol. You may not be familiar with the name, but we would all recognize it in the hands of Han Solo as he travels throughout the galaxy. The resemblances between Han’s blaster and the German Mauser C96 are easy to identify (Image 1). Without the addition of a flared barrel and scope, the blaster is an exact replica of a weapon carried by many soldiers during the first half of the 20th century, including by German members of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.
On the other hand, Canadian soldiers in the second half of the 20th century have carried something much closer to the E-11 Blaster. Variations of the E-11 design can still be seen in today’s submachine guns. Used almost exclusively by Stormtroopers, the E-11 Blaster is modelled after the Sten and the Sterling sub machine guns and is likely the most used weapon in the trilogy (despite the gun’s apparent lack of accuracy while being held by Stormtroopers). By adding a shroud that covered the barrel vents, shortening the magazine, and adding a scope, Lucasfilm transforms the post Second World War machine gun into the standard weapon of the Empire.
Although these are only two examples, more can be found in the original trilogy if watched closely enough. As Disney continues to expand the Star Wars universe, more military influences will likely be uncovered.
Photography Credits: Deactivated Sterling MK4 L2A3 SMG with Bayonet/Arundel Militaria, Stormtroopers/Imperial Ship Yards, Replica Mauser C96/ The Specialist LTD, Han Solo’s Blaster/ Business Insider).