Originally Posted by TheBlackCatXIII
Light sabers, especially portable ones have a very limited range when compared with pistols. However, the fact that these lasers are a lot more concealable holds very true indeed. The smallest gun i know about is a little smaller than an adult's palm and can fit into a mini pouch.
In terms of military uses, without doubt, laser will become a much more effective weaponry than artilleries and bullets when it is researched and developed fully.
Once again, the main problem with lasers of just about any power is power dissipation over distance (The beam become unfocused). The most powerful laser in existence rely amplifying and focusing many separate beams onto a single spot within a chamber. Nothing like what you might see in a game or anime.
Barring some truly astounding breakthrough in technology, artys and bullets will remain as the primary means of killing things for some time to come (hundreds of years?). The lasers we have now can blind people, sure. But cutting people apart from even ten meters away will require a huge laser.
The wikipedia article on the NIF laser is pretty interesting, so I'll link it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Ignition_Facility