Spacecraft weapons are broadly divided into two types:
- Guns: fire destructive energy or projectiles incapable of self-propulsion.
- Self-propelled: fires either destructive self-propelled projectiles or countermeasures.
Guns are broadly divided into two types:
- Energy weapons: includes lasers, electron guns, plasma particle blasters, and tachyon cannons. They are more effective at penetrating unshielded hulls than ballistic weapons, but less effective against shields.
- Distortion Cannons: A subtype of energy weapons designed to attack an target's "pipe" systems, such as power and heat management.
- Ballistic weapons: includes mass drivers, scatterguns, gauss guns, and dredge guns. They are more effective at penetrating energy shields than energy weapons, but less effective against unshielded hulls.
Missiles are the only type of self-propelled weapon identified so far that is actually a weapon. Countermeasures are the other broad category of self-propelled weapon, though their function is to inhibit the function of enemy weapons or spacecraft and are therefore defensive in nature.