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This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Picard, and thus may contain spoilers.

Picard Q phaser

Captain Jean-Luc Picard shows Q a type 1 phaser set to stun

"Keep your phasers on stun. And stay calm. I don't want anyone getting nervous and shooting one of us by mistake."

Stun setting was the term used for non-lethal low yield settings on directed energy weapons, powerful enough to cause disorientation, unconsciousness, and minor skin burns to a humanoid lifeform. (TOS: "The Man Trap"; TNG: "Samaritan Snare"; VOY: "Distant Origin") While relatively benign to a humanoid, some stun settings could cause smoke, sparks, electromagnetic discharge, or any combination of the above to be emitted from walls and other solid surfaces and objects the beam struck. (ENT: "Damage"; TNG: "First Contact")

There were many resilient species against which the stun setting had little or no effect, including Augments, (Star Trek Into Darkness) the Xindi-Reptilians, (ENT: "Carpenter Street") and Humans infected by a parasitic being. (TNG: "Conspiracy") Angosians who had undergone conditioning to fight in the Tarsian War were also largely unaffected by the stun setting. (TNG: "The Hunted") To some more vulnerable species, even the stun setting was potentially lethal, for example the Trill symbionts. (DS9: "Invasive Procedures") When used at close range, a phaser set on stun was capable of inducing sufficient trauma to kill a Human, if fired at a vital organ such as the brain. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Some 22nd century Andorian weapons did not have a stun setting. (ENT: "Cease Fire") Romulan disruptors also had no stun setting. (PIC: "The End is the Beginning") Phase-pistols in use by Starfleet in the 2150s featured stun as one of two settings, the other being kill. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Terra Nova") Their stun setting could also be used to ignite fires. (ENT: "Desert Crossing") Later Starfleet phasers in the 23rd and 24th centuries had several different levels of stun setting. Starfleet regulations stated that phasers were to be locked at the level one stun setting. (TNG: "Aquiel")

A phaser set to stun could render a Human female unconscious in 0.9 seconds, something that was of no use to Miles O'Brien when a Pah-wraith possessed his wife, as it was still more than enough time for the Pah-wraith to kill her. (DS9: "The Assignment")

In an ultimately omitted scene extension from the script of TOS: "Court Martial", Spock gave Captain Kirk a phaser just before Kirk left the bridge of the USS Enterprise in order to search the ship for Benjamin Finney, who Spock speculated might already be armed. Though Kirk checked the phaser and started to make an adjustment on it, Spock notified him the weapon was already on the stun setting, for which Kirk was thankful.

Levels of stunEdit

Pakleds stun La Forge

Pakleds stun Geordi La Forge with a Starfleet phaser

  • A higher stun setting caused a brief moment of unconsciousness to most humanoids. Although mostly harmless when used at this setting, multiple phaser stuns like this could culminate in serious injury to the central nervous system, and, after multiple hits, death. (TNG: "Samaritan Snare")
According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual (pp. 135 & 136), the first three settings on Starfleet phasers were the light, medium and heavy stun. According to the Manual, setting 1 was designed to only cause disorientation, setting 2 unconsciousness for fifteen minutes and setting 3 unconsciousness for an hour.


In a similar way as the kill setting could be used to quickly kill a room full of people when set on a wide beam setting (VOY: "Worst Case Scenario"), a wide-field stun setting could be used to stun large groups with a single shot. (TOS: "The Return of the Archons"; TNG: "Power Play")

Along with hand weapons, shipboard phaser banks could be modified to deliver a potent stunning beam to incapacitate large crowds on the surface of a planet, when fired from orbit. (TOS: "A Piece of the Action")

See alsoEdit

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