I’m not sure what your plans were for the rest of the day, but if you’re like me they just went out the window with the beta launch of the SF Encyclopedia.
In sf TERMINOLOGY, the handgun that blasts had an early place of honour along with the DEATH RAY, RAY-gun and DISINTEGRATOR. Blasters were standard-issue WEAPONS in early SPACE OPERA, like six-guns in Westerns. The term seems to have been introduced – as “Blastor” – by Nictzin Dyalhis in “When the Green Star Waned” (April 1925 WEIRD TALES), which also gives “disintegrator” as a synonym; the more usual spelling is found in Henry KUTTNER’s “Hollywood on the Moon” (April 1938 THRILLING WONDER), with its mountain-levelling “atomic blasters”, though these seem not to be handguns. Blasters go by many names: Isaac Asimov calls them atom-blasts in early episodes of his Foundation sequence (though later they are simply blasters), while E E SMITH’s Lensman books refer to them by brand names, with the early “Lewiston” blaster being superseded by the “DeLameter”.