Heavy-duty weapon, not usually carried as part of a normal starships manifest. Rechargeable using powerpacks. Can be re-configured to fire expanding energy pulses insteadof the usual beam.
Introduced largely as a plot device in "The Minds Eye," and only ever seen in TNG twice more, in "Descent" and "Lower Decks," this not usually carried weapon (as the TNG Tech Manual would have it) was a common sight in DS9, be it on the station, a runabout or the Defiant; carried by Earth security troops ("Homefront/Paradise Lost"), and Starfleet ground forces (". . . Nor The Battle To The Strong," "The Siege of AR-558"). The Maquis have also used this model, as have those free-love types on Risa ("Let He Who Is Without Sin. . .")!
While it's difficult to judge the weight from how an actor holds what is really a wood/plastic/fibreglass prop - in one scene in "The Adversary" Sisko does a John Woo, covering one person with his rifle and another with his hand phaser! - but the rifle is certainly very light, maybe no more than a couple of kilograms. It's in the same episode that the expanding energy pulses are used; it's also implied that while the reconfiguration took some time, resetting them to normal operation is the work of an instant.
"The Mind's Eye" establishes a few facts about this weapon: the presence of a beam control assembly and safety interlock; the beam width and intensity controls are tested; energy cell usage is rated at 1.05 megajoules per second; the discharge crystal's efficiency rating is usually 86.5% (as opposed to 94.1% on a Romulan-replicated copy); The evidence that the rifle in question is a fake is found in the wave pattern of the emission beam - the pulse frequency from the emission chamber is steady, but the initial output spike is inverted in the Romulan version, suggesting (according to Data) that the weapon has been charged with a forced pulse from a terahertz-range feed, limiting the weapon's origin to 327 possible suspected races! "They fashioned a perfect Federation rifle, but they had to charge it from their energy sources. So the discharge crystal and the emission beam pattern corrspond to those you'd find in a Romulan disruptor" says LaForge. [Teleplay by Rene Echevarria]
In the DS9 episode "Return to Grace," Kira Nerys says probably the most that's ever been said about phasers at any one time, while comparing the Type-3 and a Cardassian rifle: "This is a standard issue, Cardassian phase-disruptor rifle. It has a four-point-seven megajoule power capacity, three millisecond recharge and two beam settings. . . This is a good weapon, solid and simple. You can drag it through the mud and it'll still fire. . . Now this is an entirely different animal. It's Federation standard issue. A little less powerful, but with more options - sixteen beam settings, fully autonomous recharge, multiple target acquisition, gyrostablized - the works. It's more complicated, so it's not as good a field weapon. Too many things can go wrong. . . I think you should stick with the Cardassian rifle. It's smaller and easier to use. And if we get boarded, I don't want you to have to think too much about the weapon you're using." [Story by Tom Benko, Teleplay by Hans Beinler]
The DS9 episode "The Siege of AR-558" showed a Type-3 being disassembled. Although not shown clearly, it was obvious that the emitter head could be removed (Bashir was shown blowing on the contacts inside) and that the powerpack was inserted in the stock, under the cover at the rear.
Alex S has this to say about
the Type-3 rifle: "I like the idea of the phasers essentially
"aiming" themselves (targetting scanners focusing the beam
onto the target, the explanation for why the pasers beams don't always
emanate straight from the muzzle), so anything else (a buttstock, a
rehash of a Bushnell HOLOsight like in Nemesis, etc) just adds
extra weight and bulk. Since it is equipped with a "gyroscopic
stabilizer," a buttstock to keep it steady would be unneccessary,
though a rifle with a stock just appears "meaner," I suppose,
and may have been added for dramatic value onscreen. The Type-3 appears
to be the ideal weapon: light, compact, easy-to-use, and the best part,
options aplenty if you choose to use them!"
He continues: "I suspect that the "flip-up sight" is probably some form of heads-up display so the operator can "see" what the targetting scanners see. Remembering that, as with the Type-1 and -2 phasers, one need only get the muzzle nearly on target, and the weapon supposedly does the rest; so, I would suspect the sight allows the user to "see" distantly using the weapon's targetting scanners. Star Trek technology has usually been an offshoot, logical development, or analogy to currently-existing or currently-theoretical modern technology, so it doesn't surprise me that they'd design a more-futuristic version of the SIPE unit being developed by the US Army (which incorporates digital cameras and thermal imagers attached to the rifle which lead to a heads-up display on the user's helmet (and there again, another nod to the TR rifle and its user display). Such a display, being a display rather than the "scope" itself, would allow for its use while a white-light was attached (a la DS9, and another nod to current technology already in use). And it also would allow the unobtrusive attachment of a sling.
"On the subject of the white-light seen on DS9: note that it is mounted ahead of the sight over the forward grip, where there's a black or dark-gray rail. Again, venturing a guess based on current-day stuff, I would suspect this to be something like a "picatinny rail" used to mount optics, lights, etc on a rifle (for example, the M-4 carbine with the "rail interface system"). I would also suspect that this rail (or perhaps a cover for a rail?) provides a tap into the phaser's power cell in order to power said light. If it is a cover, then the actual rail (with battery connections) might be underneath. Again, a simple, handy accessory for what looks like a simple (by 24th century standards), handy little carbine. . . The sling for it, as well, is great: it allows the weapon to be carried in such a fashion as to make it easy-to-deploy, unlike the "Gewehr sling" type on the movie rifles, which again is probably a militaristic accent added for dramatic effect. . . I would add that, judging by the cosmetic resemblance to the TNG Type-2 hand phasers, it probably has a lot of components in common with, or is extremely similar to, that weapon. This makes training, use, and repair that much easier."Design by Rick Sternbach. Schematic