Inspired by this question, so credit to them for the core idea. How might a slow fire energy weapon reliably neutralize its target? Here are some details about the precise design I had in mind:
- It does not consume a limited source of ammunition, such as a reservoir of chemicals or other similar things, allowing it to be used indefinitely assuming it is maintained and reducing the cost of large armies for obvious reasons.
- Its rate of fire is comparable to the flintlock muskets used during the American revolution.
- They must be ranged.
- These are intended to be infantry-type weapons.
- It does not necessarily kill or maim its target, it can disable an enemy combatant in whatever way is the most efficient (or interesting). Ideas other than killing are inducing paralysis, knocking unconscious, inducing a medical condition like heat stroke, etc.
- It must be cheap (in theory, since we are talking far future here), with minimal risk of exploding or otherwise damaging itself or the user.
- If a type of weapon besides energy weapons works best for these constraints works better, please share and tell me why. One idea that pops into my head is a musket that launches genetically engineered, fast acting flesh-eating bacteria.
- Last point, it does not have to be humane. The most brutally efficient weapon with these constraints/parameters is what I am looking for.
Some extra bonus points if you can also justify using bayonets on these rifles, since I feel that's a question that isn't large enough to justify its own question. Entirely optional point, however.