I'm writing a semi-realistic science fiction story set, let's say, 500 years in the future, where humanity has colonized some of the solar system. For combat purposes, I've been playing with the idea of two common weapon types:
- a semi-automatic ballistic weapon with frangible rounds, for defense onboard a spacecraft (you don't want to cause a hull breach!)
- the weapon I'd like to discuss: a laser sidearm.
I don't want these laser weapons to have a rapid fire rate or a continuous beam. I'd prefer if they functioned like a musket, with one shot and then a long "reload". My current idea is that each shot uses one capacitor as ammunition; when drained, the capacitor must be removed, then another is snapped in place. Even then, this process would take a skilled user 3 to 5 seconds. I'd like it to be somewhere between ten and thirty seconds. This weapon would mainly be used to take down criminals in heavy anti-ballistic armor, which the frangible rounds cannot penetrate.
How can I explain a laser sidearm that has one shot, then a 10 to 30 second reload time?