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"the [science fiction] writer should be able to convince the reader (and himself) that the wonders he is describing really can come true...and that gets tricky when you take a good, hard look at the world around you."
- Frederik Pohl

Ray Gun (Handheld)  
  A weapon shaped like a handgun that shoots rays of energy.  

This is probably the first occurrence of the handheld "ray gun" idea; see the Ray gun from The Messiah of the Cylinders (1917) by Victor Rousseau.

Soon they saw a hand reaching out with a ray gun; then another hand with a different ray gun, from behind the silent engine; a sudden crash of metal, a groan and quiet.
Technovelgy from The Black Star Passes, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1930
Additional resources -

Compare to the equally useful blaster from When the Green Star Waned (1925) by Nictzin Dyalhis. See also the stationary automatic blaster from Red Planet (1949) by Robert Heinlein, the neutron disruption blaster from The Complete Paratime (1951) by H. Beam Piper and the meteor blasters from First Contact (1945), by Murray Leinster.

Compare also to the heat ray from War of the Worlds (1898) by HG Wells, the death-ray from The World Masters (1903) by George Griffiths, the short-wave surgical knife from Boomerang (1953) by Eric Frank Russell, the pencil heat ray from Brigands of the Moon (1930) by Ray Cummings and the flesh gun from The Computer Connection (1974) by Alfred Bester.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Black Star Passes
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
  Tech news articles related to The Black Star Passes
  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

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