Energy vs Ballistic Weapons So I was watching Stargate just now, and there was this scene where the marines are in a firefight with Jaffas. The marines were using M16s and P90s, while the Jaffas are shooting with their staves and some kind of energy cannon. It got me thinking, those energy weapons look pretty crappy. I mean, they've got a poor fire rate, and they don't seem to be able to penetrate rocks, which the marines were using for cover. That energy turret cannon seemed a pretty pale imitation of a machine gun turret. A machine gun could mow down dozens of people effortlessly. That energy turret can barely fire a couple of shots in a strafe. It's like this in star wars and star trek too. Star wars blasters seem to have a slower firing rate than a handgun, and star trek phasers (aside from being able to stun) seem to be a pretty poor replacement of SMGs, where one shot takes a whole second and hits only one small point. So what's the point of having energy weapons? Why would blasters be so much better than an assault rifle that can fire 600 rounds a minute?