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Han Solo Blaster Sells At Auction for More than $1 Million

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The lone surviving member in the trio of blank-firing BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster pistols created for 1977’s “Star Wars: A New Hope” blockbuster—which launched the Star Wars franchise—sold for $1,057,500 in heated bidding on Aug. 27. Beneath this “Hero prop,” which endeared itself to science fiction fans in the series breathes a Mauser C96, or “Broomhandle” Mauser.

Bapty & Co., a London-based prop firm that has created many of Hollywood’s most iconic guns, made all three operational blasters. Utilizing blank-firing pistols allowed more realistic recoil during closeups and ensured sound track synchronization. Unfortunately, in the high demand by film companies for the historic and increasingly rare gun, the originals were disassembled and readied for service on other sets.

Carl Schmidt served as armorer on the original Star Wars installment and, along with serial numbers captured on film, was able to provide detailed provenance. “Whilst not being in the exact form seen by millions in the film, the end result contains 80% of the last remaining pieces of this iconic prop,” Rock Island Auction, which handled the sale, explains on the pistol’s listing.

George Lucas shunned the then-popular trend of making his science fiction props shiny and new, requesting the movie’s guns have a “well used” look. The Broomhandle Mauser provided a solid foundation, along with the vintage World War I  Hensoldt-Wetzlar Ziel Dialyt 3X scope and MG81 flash hider from the same era rode. The 9 mm was modified to use only blanks and the barrel was shortened to 3 1/2 inches.

Only one scope and mount were created for use as the movie was shot. If there was a malfunction in a DL-44 wearing the assembly, the optic was simply moved to another blaster.

As for the fate of the other two Broomhandles, they apparently fell victim to the gun turn-in of 1997. Bapty & Co. still has five in inventory, but only the auctioned model wears serial numbers matching those that appeared on the silver screen.

There’s still hope for “Star Wars” fans interested in owning a fully functioning, live-fire replica, though. Shooting Illustrated’s Bob Boyd has made one and you can find full details on the build here.

Article by GUY J. SAGI

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