A phaser rifle is a type of phaser weapon, a rifle stock variation of the standard hand-held phaser weapon. Known in Federation parlance as a type-3, this was a type of phaser used by Starfleet in combat situations that required more powerful weaponry than a standard phaser.
By the late 24th century, phaser rifles came equipped with 16 power settings, fully autonomous recharge ability, multiple-target acquisition, and gyro stabilization. Some more advanced phaser rifles, or compression rifle, could fire energy pulses, along with the normal phaser beam. Despite all these features, many people outside of the Federation didn't trust these weapons, as they were too advanced and complicated in a combat situation. The Bajoran Resistance preferred to use a Cardassian phase-disruptor rifle, for example. (DS9 episode: "Return to Grace").
In late 2365 or early 2366, three female Trills were killed on Alpha Centauri by an unknown assailant using a type-3 phaser on "burn" setting. The murderer was discovered six months later to be Lieutenant Dar Ableen. (SCE eBook: Security)
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