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I am perplexed by the difference between Blaster Rifles and Blaster Carbines.

According to Table 8-4 on page 127 of the Core Book, they are both medium rifles, have the same damage, stun damage, type, rate of fire, availability, and both come with folding stocks.

A Blaster Carbine can always be used to perform attacks of opportunity, while a Blaster Rifle can only do so with it's stock folded down. A Blaster Carbine is also less than half the weight of a Blaster Rifle, and is 100 credits cheaper.

So why is a Blaster Carbine cheaper, and also better in every way than a Blaster Rifle? Have I missed something?

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Does your copy include the errata? Specifically, does the Ranged weapons table have notes 4 and 5 that denote the accurate and inaccurate weapons? (This errata effects the weapons in question.) –  SevenSidedDie Jun 14 at 18:20
    
No, my physical copy does not include the errata. –  Michael Campbell Jun 15 at 5:00

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With only the original text, there'd be no reason to buy a blaster rifle. However, there was an errata document published that made some changes to the rulebook. The relevant changes were made to Table 8-4: Ranged Weapons.

...

The listings for the hold-out blaster, heavy blaster pistol, blaster carbine, blaster cannon, heavy blaster rifle, thermal detonator, net, and grenade launcher should be given a superscript of 5, denoting inaccurate weapons. Add the following footnotes at the bottom of the table:

...

5 Inaccurate weapon: This weapon cannot fire at targets at long range.

So, by the errata'd rules, the only reason a blaster rifle costs more is that the carbine cannot fire at long range, which in this case is 151-300 squares.

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Well, that explains it I guess. Not that I have ever been in a situation where me or my players would need to fire either at long range. I don't see myself ever buying a Rifle over a Carbine. –  Michael Campbell Jun 15 at 5:03
    
For the record, I found this answer essentially from this forum post: giantitp.com/forums/… which said just about the same thing about the usefulness of the carbines. I could see a rifle be potentially useful in a Clone Wars-esque campaign, or really anything focused on open warfare. –  Tablesalt Jun 15 at 7:25

I'm not an expert on Star Wars, but I do know a thing or two about guns. Keep in mind any information presented herein is not directly of Star Wars: Saga Edition, merely from my own knowledge of the Star Wars universe and of real-life firearms. In order to find an answer, we're gonna have to go back a few centuries to a time when non-laser guns were used, i.e. the present.

According to Google Dictionary, a rifle is "a gun ... having a long spirally grooved barrel intended to make a bullet spin and thereby have greater accuracy over a long distance", while a carbine is "a light automatic rifle".

Therefore, it would make sense for a carbine to be lighter and cheaper than a rifle, and to be sufficiently maneuverable to allow attacks of opportunity without folding down its stock. However, it would also be logical for it to have shorter range and smaller damage because the barrel is shorter, and possibly smaller magazine size. This would also seem balanced game-wise.

However, Star Wars blasters do shoot lasers. Depending on exactly how Star Wars lasers works, most of the above could still be true, with the smaller barrel making for a smaller laser burst and so lower the average damage, and giving the laser less area to build and so shorten the average range. The charge pack size probably wouldn't change much.

However, according the the stats you have written, and according to the movies, where the size of the laser shot didn't vary according to the size of the gun, the most likely explanation for how lasers work is that there's a small engine that gets fed fuel from the charge pack, that shoots out laser beams through whatever barrel you put it in, so there would be no change whatsoever between the shots of a blaster pistol and those of a blaster rifle.

However, a quick search through Wookiepedia shows that blaster rifles and blaster carbines do differ in the maximum range. The maximum range for a rifle is 450 meters, while that of a carbine is 225 meters.

Additionally, one could suppose that weapon manufacturers would fit a larger a bigger charge pack in bigger guns, but that theory is quickly debunked by the fact that, according to Wookiepedia, blaster pistols hold twice as many shots as rifles and carbine.

TL;DR: Carbines have shorter range than rifles, but the blaster technology remains logically inconsistent regardless.

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Are any of these (admittedly interesting) facts specifically relevant to the d20-based Star Wars: Saga Edition game? –  lisardggY Jun 14 at 16:52
    
@lisardggY, not directly, but to the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge on Star Wars: Saga Edition, it falls short of an explanation to this conundrum. Therefor, I turned to more lucrative sources of information. I've edited my answer to reflect this. –  Eden Landau Jun 14 at 17:16

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