A descendant of electromagnetic weapons, laser weapons and phase weapons of the 22nd century, the type-2 phaser started to supercede the laser pistol as a common Starfleet sidearm in the 23rd century, and was standard issue aboard Starfleet vessels by the 2260s.
A hazard team member firing a type-2 phaser at Romulan targets.
Utilized primarily in defensive situations, the Phaser Type-2 had several applications, from use as a weapon to use as a cutting tool, explosive device, or energy source. Storing considerable energy, most phasers were distinguished by a roughly pistol or gun-type configuration, firing a focused energy discharge in the form of a beam or steady stream.
In the nearly two hundred years since their introduction to Starfleet personnel, several models and makes have been observed.
Type-2 Phasers can cause severe to deadly injuries or phaser burns.
The Type-2 Phaser, while not as powerful as other particle weapons, has the advantage of not requiring ammunition in order to fire. Instead, its internal energy cells slowly regenerate themselves.
One of the earliest incarnations of the type-2 phaser was a Sestra Weapons phaser pistol used in the 23rd century, coming into Starfleet use on reference stardate 2/06. The weapon consisted of a removable type-1 hand phaser mated to a pistol grip with a power pack. This weapon fell out of use after the late 2260s after the evolution of transtator II technology was discovered on reference stardate 2/09. (TOS reference: Star Fleet Technical Manual)
In the 2270s, the Atalskes Phaser Corporation phaser IV model of type-2 phaser was introduced, again consisting of a (somewhat larger) hand phaser (known as the phaser III) mated to a pistol handle. These weapons were first issued on reference stardate 2/12 and were used well into the 24th century, despite other models being available. These weapons were used aboard many vessels, such as the Enterprise (from 2273 until 2285), Reliant, and the Enterprise-C.
In the 2280s, the phaser IIB was introduced, as part of the Sestra company's phaser B series, returning Starfleet to a shape similar to the 2260s type-2 phaser, with a smaller removable hand phaser, the phaser IB. These sturdy weapons were known to be traded as surplus outside of Starfleet many years after first being introduced, into the latter half of the 24th century.
Pavel Chekov ejects a power pack from his heavy-duty type-2 phaser.
By the late 2280s, another heavy-duty pistol variant of the type-2 phaser was introduced, with an adjustable emitter shield on top and a spring-like power pack ejection option.
In the 24th century, Starfleet began to use a variety of type-2 phasers that abandoned the familiar pistol grip, having an extension of the body of the weapon that resembled the grip of a hand phaser, with at least four distinct variations of this design used in the latter half of the century.
I like this one, sort of an upgrade from the original series "phaser gun".
You only see it twice, in "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" and the next-gen episode "Final Mission".
The one real flaw in the design, common in many sci-fi weapons, is the lack of a trigger guard.
Aside from that, I liked it so much I built one, then promptly sold it on ebay.
Also, you should have seen what the phaser "rifle" were supposed to look like. Think dustbusters with a rigid vaccum wand attachment.