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"It's hard to tell stories about critters that are not human. John W. Campbell tried it, in "Twilight," and everybody says it's a wonderful story, and nobody ever reads it twice."
- Jerry Pournelle

Ray Pistol  
  A handheld device for projecting radiative force of some kind.  

“Say — that’s some building material! Just look at that granite rock— smashed into sand ! Yet the window is scarcely scratched ! Look how the frame that held it is torn — just torn, not broken. I wonder if we can tear it loose altogether? I’ll take my ray pistol and try it from here, but if it comes loose we will have a shower of stones and dirt, so look out!” said Arcot, stepping forward. There was a thud as his metal bar crashed down when the ray was shut off. Then, as the others got out of the way, he stepped toward the window and turned his ray on it. More and more power was used, till suddenly there was a rending crash, and they saw only a leaping column of earth, and sand, and broken granite flying up through the hole in the steel shell. There was a sudden violent crash, then a moment later a second equally violent crash as the window, having flown up to the “ceiling” came thumping back to the floor.
From The Black Star Passes, by John W. Campbell.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1930
Additional resources -

Here's another excerpt:

“I believe these men are all armed with the standard revolver, are they not?” replied Arcot. “I think we will be considerably safer if I arm them with some of the new director ray pistols. I have several in the tool box of the machine. It will be all right, I suppose?”

“Certainly, Dr. Arcot. They are to be under your commands.”

The party, increased to five now, returned to the ship, where Arcot showed the men the details of the ray pis- tols, and how to use them. The control for direction of operation of the ray was rather intricate on these early models, and required considerable explanation. The range of even these small weapons was infinite in space, according to theory, but in air the energy was rather rapidly absorbed by ionization of the air, and the dispersion of the beam made it ineffective in space over a range of more than thirty-five miles. However, the larger ship projectors had a longer range, and these were certainly sufficient for their purpose as hand weapons.

compare to the heat ray from War of the Worlds (1898) by HG Wells, the death-ray from The World Masters (1903) by George Griffiths, the short-wave surgical knife from Boomerang (1953) by Eric Frank Russell, the pencil heat ray from Brigands of the Moon (1930) by Ray Cummings and the flesh gun from The Computer Connection (1974) by Alfred Bester.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Black Star Passes
  More Ideas and Technology by John W. Campbell
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  Tech news articles related to works by John W. Campbell

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