The Laser Pistol is the first weapon in X-COM's laser weapon series, researched prior to the Laser Rifle. Like all lasers, the Laser Pistol features an efficient miniature power plant built into the gun that provides limitless firepower for the duration of any ground skirmish.
Despite being a considerable step up over ballistic firearms, the laser pistol is unfortunately highly inadequate for precision attacks. Even crack marksmen have trouble hitting their mark with Laser Pistols.
The Laser Pistol's effectiveness does not stem from its accuracy or its moderate stopping power. Instead, it excels by superseding every other weapon as being the fastest automatic-fire weapon available. Coupled with unlimited ammo, they remain useful for the entire game as a secondary weapon.
To cast the Laser Pistol in a better light, X-COM commanders are recommended to think of the laser pistol as the 'submachine gun' of the laser family instead of merely being a weaker variant of the Laser Rifle.
The laser pistol is an effective implementation of new technology. It has the convenience of a pistol with faster and more accurate firing.
Source: Enemy Unknown Ufopaedia
The Laser Pistol excels primarily with two modes of attack — attacks of opportunity or auto shots. However, the Laser Pistol works best when combined with other weapons or non-combat tools. Laser Pistols are an excellent secondary weapon to attach to your belt in case you run out of ammo, forced to drop your main weapon, or want to train reactions.
Early in a campaign, the Laser Pistol are much more effective at defeating enemy units than any purchasable weapon except explosives. Heavy Cannons do slightly more damage per shot, but you can fire many more times per combat round with a laser pistol (3 shots max, vs 12).
With enough persistence, the Laser Pistol will defeat any foe in time. The only enemy units that will not easily fall to the Laser Pistol are the Sectopods. This becomes much more apparent on harder difficulty levels. In particular, you should never attempt to engage a Sectopod with superhuman class armour.
Laser Pistols are recommended for soldiers with specialised roles such as grenadiers, heavy weapon specialists or scouts, to name a few. New recruits can employ the Laser Pistols to good effect as short range combat weapons, or, like the standard Pistol, use it as a tool for training both firing accuracy and reactions at the same time. Veterans, on the other hand, can wield Laser Pistols with alarming efficiency.
The following lists how many times a soldier can fire the gun by shot type continuously in any given round and the remaining percentage of any left over TUs that cannot be spent as a shot.
- Aimed: 1 Shot, 45% Remaining TUs (enough for a further 1 Auto and 1 Snap, or 2 Snap)
- Snap: 5 Shots, 0% Remaining TUs
- Auto: 4 Bursts (12 Shots), 0% Remaining TUs
Like all Laser Weapons, Laser Pistols don't use clips and have unlimited ammo.
General pistol warning
Pistol-class weapons are prioritized so that they will always be the last weapons to be selected by your soldiers. This can prove to be a minor annoyance.