One of the coolest things about sci-fi movies has always been the weapons featured in them. Sure, spaceships and innovations (like the transporter in Star Trek) are great. But it’s usually the weapons that we tend to remember most fondly. And there have been some really cool and imaginative weapons featured in sci-fi cinema over the years. In fact, the “wow” factor has only increased as special effects have improved and budgets for sci-fi movies have ballooned over the years. Here then are the 10 coolest weapons featured in sci-fi movies to date.

10. Sonic Shotgun – Minority Report (2002)

There were lots of cool innovations featured in director Steven Spielberg’s 2002 sci-fi masterpiece Minority Report, including the “sick sticks” that the police used to make the people they were pursuing throw-up on the spot. But for our money, the coolest weapon shown in Minority Report is the sonic shotgun that blasts a sonic wave at its target and sends them flying through the air. This weapon gets extra points for having cool sound effects and for the way the weapon is reloaded – by being spun around at the hilt. The special effects simulating the sonic blast are also really cool. You can almost see this as being a plausible weapon of the future designed to render people harmless without killing them.

9. Gristle Gun – eXistenZ (1999)

For pure imagination, it is hard to top the Gristle Gun constructed by actor Jude Law in director David Cronenberg’s 1999 weird-fest eXistenZ. Often referred to as a ‘Bone Gun,’ this weapon is officially known as a Gristle Gun  Jude Law’s character constructs it out of discarded Chinese food, and it looks like a handgun made out of bones. While strange, the gun packs a punch as it is used to take down an angry, knife-wielding waiter in the film. While not overly critical to the movie’s plot, the Gristle Gun is nonetheless extremely memorable. We doubt anyone who has seen it can forget the weapon. And it is inventive and serves its purpose, which is always good in a film. It doesn’t help this movie make any more sense, but still interesting.

8. The Auto 9 Gun – Robocop (1987)

Robocop is a big and intimidating presence – with titanium covered Kevlar and bulging chest. So when you see Robocop for the first time in the classic 1987 original movie, you assume he’s going to carry a big ass gun. And the movie does not disappoint. Robocop is armed with an “Auto 9,” a handgun that dwarfs the .44 Magnum carried by Dirty Harry, and which functions as an automatic weapon capable of blasting bullets into bad guys through cement walls. The movie gets extra points for having the Auto 9 gun come out of Robocop’s right thigh (as if it were a holster), and actor Peter Weller spins the gun like a cowboy in the old West after he has shot someone. It’s all pretty awesome and it makes the Auto 9 extremely memorable and an integral part of this beloved movie. And when you’re cleaning up Old Detroit, you’re going to need a big gun.

7. ARC Gun – District 9 (2009)

The ARC Gun featured in 2009’s District 9 is an impressive looking piece of weaponry. It is big, menacing and capable of laying waste to just about anything in its path. But what makes the weapon especially interesting is the imaginative way in which it is used. In the movie, only the aliens can use the otherworldly ARC Gun. This creates an interesting dynamic with the weapon and helps move the plot along when the film’s main protagonist, Wikus van der Merwe, begins to transform into one of the aliens. He is shunned by the humans but finds he can wield the ARC Gun and blow the hell out of stuff. This leads to all sorts of exciting and interesting action in the film, and it helps make the ARC Gun a truly memorable weapon in sci-fi filmdom.

6. Plasma Caster – Predator (1987)

Has any character in sci-fi movies had cooler weapons than the Predator? Has any character had more weapons for that matter? The Predator is like a walking arsenal, what with his spears, nets and self-destruct armaments. However, for coolest weapon, we vote for the Plasma Caster, which is the shoulder-mounted weapon featured in the 1987 original movie that the Predator uses to blast Arnold Schwarzenegger and company in the South American jungle. The Plasma Caster also comes with a super cool triangular laser sight that the Predator uses to take aim at people and objects. The fact that the Plasma Caster is mounted on the Predator’s shoulder makes it a little different, as does the fact that the Plasma Caster automatically swivels with the Predator’s line of sight. If the Predator moves his head to the right, the Plasma Caster automatically swivels to the right as well. So awesome!

5. Proton Pack – Ghostbusters (1984)

Used to capture ghosts rather than kill them, the Proton Pack featured in Ghostbusters is still a super cool weapon and great innovation. The Proton Pack is also extremely powerful. As explained in the movie, the Ghostbusters are basically carrying a nuclear accelerator on their backs, and if you cross the laser streams emitted from the Proton Packs, it could blow-up all of New York City. Legend has it that the Proton Packs were made up on the movie set by the folks in the props department. But they have become an integral part of the movie and one of the most memorable things about this classic film. How many times have you seen people dressed up as Ghostbusters at Halloween with an elaborate scale model of a Proton Pack on their backs? This is a weapon that everyone can relate to.

4. EE-3 Carbine Rifle – Return of the Jedi (1983)

The EE-3 Carbine Rifle gets a spot on this list because it is used by everyone’s favourite intergalactic bounty hunter – Boba Fett – in 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Yes, we see Boba Fett carry the EE-3 Carbine Rifle in The Empire Strikes Back. But we don’t get to see the bounty hunter actually use the weapon until Return of the Jedi. Boba Fett also uses the rifle in the Star Wars prequel films, but we’ll leave those movies out of this discussion. (let’s keep things positive). The EE-3 Carbine Rifle is actually a modified Stormtrooper blaster, which Boba Fett has added a stock and electronic scope to for distance shooting – as you would, of course, expect. Given how cool Boba Fett is, you would certainly expect him to carry a super cool weapon. And he does, with the EE-3 Carbine Rifle.

3. M41A Pulse Rifle – Aliens (1986)

If you had to design the ultimate weapon for intergalactic space marines, wouldn’t it be an all-in-one automatic rifle, grenade launcher, and flamethrower? Of course it would, which is why the props department on the 1986 movie Aliens came up with the M41A Pulse Rifle. This baby can do it all – fire tons of rounds of bullets, punt off a bunch of explosive grenades, and burn everything in sight to a crisp with the flamethrower. This muscular looking gun has a realistic quality to it that has not dated with time. In fact, many real life weapons experts and military leaders have said that the M41A Pulse Rifle is a weapon that could be constructed today. Some backyard hobbyists have tried (sadly though, flamethrowers are now illegal in most parts of the world). Nevertheless, for hunting acid spewing aliens, there’s nothing better than this all-in-one ultimate rifle.

2. Lightsaber – Star Wars (1977)

Can anyone forget the first time they saw a lightsaber in Star Wars? It’s kind of a defining moment in most people’s lives. And when it comes to memorable sci-fi movie weapons, there aren’t too many that can top the beloved lightsaber, which continues to be a bestselling children’s toy to this day. As Obi Wan Kenobi put in the ground breaking 1977 movie, the lightsaber is: “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age.” Who can disagree? And not only does the lightsaber look great, but the sound effects it makes are amazing too. One could convincingly argue that it is the sound effects that really make the lightsaber. However, what is really cool about the lightsaber is the way in which it has evolved over the course of the Star Wars films. It has become more elaborate and used in more dramatic ways as the movies have progressed. This has ensured that the lightsaber remains at the forefront of our collective imaginations.

1. Phaser – Star Trek (1966 Onwards)

The Phaser used in Star Trek gets the top spot on this list for being the most influential weapon from sci-fi movies (and television shows) of all time. Simple but effective, the Phaser has been a staple of the Star Trek universe since the original showed debuted back in 1966. And the weapon hasn’t changed that much over the years – despite many different television shows and movies. And the lasers it emits have created a template for what a credible and convincing weapon from the distant future should be about. Plus, the Phaser has different settings. Sure you can evaporate a hostile alien with the Phaser. But, as Captain Kirk has said on countless occasions: “Set Phasers to stun,” which means they immobilize an enemy but it won’t kill them. The Phasers are also inventive for looking more like a flip phone than a gun. The Phaser literally looks like a weapon that’s used for self-defence only and not for hostile purposes. And isn’t that what Star Trek has always been about?