I just responded to a fan who emailed us various theories about the Blade Runner blaster. In addressing his questions, I thought the material would be of interest to fans in this forum:
Many of your observations about the Blade Runner blaster are correct. To clarify, here are a few additional comments:
1. Buttplate finger indentation--
This is right. Having handled reproduction grips that are identical in dimension to the original gun, it is very clear that the extended flat buttplate makes the grip way too small for the average hand. Apparently, the "finger/pinky notch" was added to the buttplate to accommodate Harrison Ford's hand.
2. Fifth LED in magazine bottom--
There is in fact a fifth LED in the magazine bottom. This was an item that appears to have been added later, since none of the stunt castings show this detail. Also, the LED appears to have broken during filming.
3. Stunts molded before some modifications to hero--
You are absolutely correct. The stunt guns indeed appear to have been molded before the hero received additional modifications. Principally, the finger notch (see item no. 1), was a change that only appeared on the hero gun. The fifth LED (see item no. 2) is another example.
4. Black bottom on butt plate--
The buttplate is silver. That is absolutely certain. The black illusion is extremely convincing, but false. This has been absolutely confirmed by comparing various sequential press photos that confirm that the black bottom is an illusion caused by shadows.
5. Laser pointer LED--
I'm less familiar with the pointer, but it's been heavily debated. It appears that a piece of clear acrylic was probably inserted in the tip of the device, so the reflection seen while the gun is on the floor during the film is the clear acrylic reflecting the gun color below it (see the last paragraph in this section for an explanation of this phenomenon). Due to the lighting, it gives the tip a greenish glow.
The pointer is not hollow--as the piece has been confirmed to be a slightly modified jeweler's screwdriver--and therefore is unable to house leads to light an LED in the tip. Besides, where on the gun would the power supply be located? One must remember that this prop was made in 1980-81, when a lot of the sophisticated electronics in existence today had not even been invented.
The green reflection is a common distortion seen throughout Blade Runner. For example, many, many people believed that the stunt guns used in the film had been painted a dull green to distinguish them from the hero gun. A discussion with the property master proved that this theory was wrong. All of the stunt guns were cast in black resin or black hard foam. In conclusion, this proves that due to the lighting of the film, black objects often appeared to be greenish in color.
6. Gun colors--
The pistol frame was a brushed stainless steel, which was an option offered on Charter Arms bulldogs of the period. The Steyr parts were high-polished blue (standard finish on all Steyr rifles at the time). The magazine was polished nylon plastic, the material out of which Model SL magazines and trigger housings were made of.
7. One more thing--
Only one hero gun was ever produced. This has been confirmed by the property master. Additionally, about 12 or 13 stunt copies were made for the movie, with another few copies given to "friends of the production".