The current publicly acknowledged STS shuttle orbiters in the NASA fleet have no weapons per se. None. No guns publicly other than a caulking gun
called a T-RAD. Not on American craft or the ISS - no US guns.
Tools? Got lots, some "pointy and sharp" for working on machines and humans. Many instruments and devices with big capacitors too - zap! American
manned launches before Shuttle did not have handguns either and were designed as "splash-down" vehicles - guns aren't much use bobbing around in
NASA does have plans for when an astronaut freaks out on orbit... Duct tape, tranqs (IM, IV and Oral) and bungees are the prescription. They have a
full medicine cabinet. A Space.com article "NASA Has Plan for Unstable
. The article tells the story as far as NASA and spaceflight and handguns is concerned. I was unable to locate any policy documents
at NASA on this to confirm. It also claims "During missions in 1985 and 1995, shuttle commanders put padlocks on the spaceships' hatches as a
precaution since they didn't know the scientists aboard". The "new best way forward" is being worked up by NASA to respond to the recent Astronaut
Health Study recommendations, "Findings of NASA Safety Review Following
Astronaut Health Reviews"
. PDF's and video.
Do Russian Soyuz have weapons? Yes. A nifty sawed-off shotgun tucked under the commander's seat. There have been several types over the years. A
Baikal double-barrel was the earliest and was made flight hardware after a Soyuz (hard-ground landing) crew was harassed by wolves.
More recently TTI-82 and TP-82 Russian 3 barrel scatterguns have been used. They all can fire shells, shot, or flares... the one three barrel deal has
a small third barrel for something the equivalent of a 22 caliber-ish payload - not shot likely... a dart or bullet perhaps. A Russian handgun webpage
with pics of the TTI-82 here.
There are training photos of Anousheh Ansari discharging the weapon
over at suzymchale.com and a piece on Soyuz Survival Training here.
Light Sabers? Yup. NASA will fly a "prop" this Fall according to
The Flame Trench
The Soyuz shotgun was last used on on the return of ISS Expedition 6 when the vehicle came up short 300KM and Cosmonaut Budarin discharged a few
rounds to try and attract attention of locals while waiting for the ground support helicopters.
Here's a related ATS thread for those with an interest "Weaponry » Should the Space
Shuttle Be Armed?"
[edit on 31-8-2007 by V Kaminski]