TOS Weapons Fire BVR

Just noticed that in "Arena"[TOS1], while Sulu's handling the battle against the Gorn ship he notes to Kirk that phaser fire has been ineffective against the Gorn shields, and he also notes that they've been unable to "get visual contact" because the Gorn were "too far away".  The ship then fires photon torpedoes at the Gorn ship which they still cannot see.

Compare this to "Journey to Babel"[TOS2], in which the Orion vessel closes to 75,000 kilometers and is visible on the viewscreen, at which point Kirk orders phaser fire.   There is a possible counterexample in "Obsession"[TOS2], however, when the cloud creature is not visible and out of range . . . until Kirk orders extreme magnification, which is when the creature appears.  However, as seen in the phaser fire scene, the creature was huge and spread out in space, possibly making it large enough (e.g. kilometers) to be both visible and out of range.

It would seem from those examples that "Arena" demonstrates a *much* further weapons range than 75,000 kilometers, assuming a Gorn ship of similar scale to the Orion ship (and also, presumably, the Enterprise).


  1. Remember that in original Star Trek pre-history (i.e. prior to B&B revising it via "Enterprise"), the starships were originally "blind ships" like submarines: i.e. they didn't have any viewscreens/windows at first, but rather were piloted entirely by sensors.
    Therefore, perhaps the viewscreen on Kirk's Enterprise likewise didn't have viewer-magnification until Season 2.

  2. And then of course there's the Excelsior (which is a much later ship addmitedly, but still) getting a visual on Praxis quite possibly from multiple sectors away in Star Trek VI...

  3. Must have been when from they took out the trans-warp drive mentioned in ST3. :D