Well I never said I’d have much in the way of breaking news related to dinosaurs or cowboys, but heck in this case I’m only behind three years! The exciting news is a group called Northrop Grumman created a 100kW laser (related Wired article).
The importance of this laser is that 100kW is generally considered the lowest “military grade” energy level for directed energy weapons. So it might not be small enough for a revolver yet, but hey that’s what 273 years of development is for (aka until 2285, the start of the playable Dinosaur Cowboys timeline). They are already hard at work with the Firestrike ruggedizing system, so all they need are some high density batteries to use as bullets and we’re set.
The man who started it all was of course Theodore Maiman, since he created the first operational laser back in the 1960s. I think people were still capitalizing LASER and common folk knew what the acronym stood for, before all the “death ray” stuff in sci-fi popularized the idea.
Just a note on the image at the top, which is the official sign for lasers. I’d love to make a little 28mm version for the tabletop, or paint it onto the barrel of a big gun on a figure or something.
Now if you want a more weaponized look to your sci-fi weapons there is the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response Rifle, which is a terrible backronym for PHASR. The news around this is even further back as we’re looking at 2005 (a dark time when everyone made “set PHASR to stun” jokes). The PHASR looks like something out of Halo and could maybe be passed off as a High Burst Rifle on the exterior shape alone:
And now for a bit of a musical interlude, and also a look into the past (only back to 2006 in this case) here is Knights of Cydonia by Muse, which happens to feature a rocking beat, 1980s style mock movie, robots, and cowboys with laser pistols.