Firearms and Star Wars enthusiast Kurt Schneider did a thing. He built a working Han Solo blaster-style working AR-based .22 pistol, complete with a custom flash hider and long eye relief scope.
The original blaster used by Solo in the Star Wars movies is called the BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster and is based on the Mauser M712 or C96. While Schneider’s blaster isn’t a 100 percent copy of the DL-44, it shoots real ammo without the need for special effects.
“This is a functional pistol, but it’s a range toy,” said Schneider on Facebook. “It shoots reliably and accurately–and gets a lot of attention at the range. But it’s both heavy and nose-heavy, and the scope is offset on the wrong side for a right-handed shooter. I do have some red tracer ammo that would look like blaster bolts, but ‘the Rona’ showed up before I could get video of it.”
Schneider patterned the blaster specifically off the prop used in “Empire Strikes Back” mostly with parts he had lying around. The one part he had to secure specifically to get the look right was the muzzle device.
The muzzle device was sourced from ForceRelics on Etsy which is unfortunately not currently producing or shipping the muzzle device. Other companies do make replica DL-44 brakes, although a lot of them are for airsoft projects so this may be the hardest component to find or make for anyone else inspired by this build.
The original prop blaster used a muzzle break from an MG81 which was a German World War II machine gun, so originals are going to be hard to find for sure.
The rest of the parts are going to be pretty easy to lay hands on. Schneider used a regular AR-15 lower receiver by Anderson Manufacturing, with a Sons of Liberty Gun Works lower parts kit with a slick-sided pistol-caliber carbine upper by RightToBear.
The upper was completed with a CMMG .22 Long Rifle kit with a 4.5-inch barrel, side-cantelevered scope mount and Tasco 1.5×20 long eye relief scope. Other parts include a Magpul pistol grip and a M&P-22 magazine and magazine adapter by Redi-Mag.
Finally he weathered the pistol to look the part. He sand-blasted and bleached the muzzle device and sanded the rest of the parts with emery cloth to look battle-worn.
Again, the hardest part to find or make is the flash hider, which is unique looking and does a lot to make this pistol like a real Han Solo blaster. A lot of other parts from different makers can be swapped out, but that cone-shaped muzzle device is this design’s standout feature, and really looks great.
“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid,” said Scheider. “Now, if I can find my old leatherworking tools and make a proper holster…”