The Zat'nik'tel, also known as a Zat or Zat gun, is a handheld energy weapon designed by the Goa'uld. It is one of the most common weapons utilized by the Jaffa and Tok'ra, being easy to conceal and extremely lethal. They are known to have been in use by the Goa'uld Empire for at least five thousand years. (SG1: "Seth", "Moebius, Part 1", "Moebius, Part 2")
Visually, the Zat'nik'tel's design resembles a Goa'uld symbiote. The weapon is activated by squeezing a switch on the bottom curve of the gun. Following this initial activation, each subsequent press fires a directed energy beam from the "mouth" of the goa'uld. When deactivated, the weapon becomes more-compact with the top section folding down several inches.
The Zat'nik'tel is unique in its operation compared to other weapons. One shot will incapacitate a victim and cause immense pain. A second shot will kill them. A third shot will disintegrate the victim and their clothing. It will also disintegrate small inanimate objects with low densities, leaving no visible trace of their existence. These shots do not have to be fired consecutively as some individuals have been killed several minutes after the first Zat blast. However, an extended period of time between shots will cause the effect to wear off and two new shots will be necessary to kill. (SG1: "Within the Serpent's Grasp", "1969", "Point of View") In this intermediate period, the victim's body will possess a mild electrical charge which will gradually decrease within a matter of minutes. (SG1: "Prodigy")
The zat'nik'tel emits a translucent blue blast upon being fired. This blast resembles the shape of a quickly-oscillating sine wave bisected by a horizontal line. The blast travels in a straight line and leaves in its wake a trail several meters in length until it is ultimately absorbed by its target. If shot at either an individual or an inanimate object, the blast will engulf the entire body of the object in shimmering bands of energy that will persist for several seconds until it has been fully absorbed.
While a zat'nik'tel blast will not cause explosive damage, a single blast will generally short out most electrical devices with ease. When shot at a small fire, however, it will cause a rapid increase in flame-size for several seconds. (SG1: "1969") The blast of a zat'nik'tel is able to travel through conductive materials. As such, if fired at one end of a steel beam, the blast will travel the beam's length, emerging from the other side. (SG1: "Memento Mori")
- While on board Apophis' attack ship, SG-1 came across a cargo container that had not only Goa'uld staff weapons but zat'nik'tels or "Zats" as Colonel Jack O'Neill called them. SG-1 later used the weapons during their attempts to stop Apophis from attacking Earth. (SG1: "Within the Serpent's Grasp")
- Teal'c used a Zat to kill an Ashrak who had murdered Jolinar of Malkshur who was inhabiting of the body of Captain Samantha Carter. This suggests that SG-1 had presumably brought back a small amount of zats for use, both in the field by the SGC teams and also for use by SGC security personnel. (SG1: "In the Line of Duty")
- SG-1 later used Zats to take down a Serpent Guard team escorting Ry'ac, Teal'c's son while the team and Bra'tac were on Chulak. (SG1: "Family")
- Upon arriving on Abydos, Carter used a Zat to knock two of Heru'ur's Serpent Guards out and kill them. She later fired a third shot that caused the guards to disappear altogether while Teal'c first used one to subdue one of Heru'ur's guards. (SG1: "Secrets")
- When the SGC was invaded by Spirits, Jack used a Zat as a means of defending himself and his team although the Spirits caused Jack to disappear. (SG1: "Spirits")
- Teal'c was seen using a Zat as a weapon of defense upon seeing that Apophis' ship had crashed. (SG1: "Serpent's Song")
- While in 1969, Jack used a Zat to knock Lieutenant George Hammond out so that Hammond would not be court-martialed for letting SG-1 escape. He also used the weapon to destroy any equipment SG-1 had brought with them into the past. (SG1: "1969")
- Zats were used during the battle between the SGC teams and the Serpent Guards led by Trofsky. (SG1: "Into the Fire")
- SG-1 used zats during the invasion of a compound led by the Goa'uld Seth with Zats also being used by Seth's loyal albeit brainwashed followers. (SG1: "Seth")
- A Zat was used during SG-1's "mission" to capture a Goa'uld who was in actuality an undercover Tok'ra. (SG1: "Deadman Switch")
- Aldwin, a member of the Tok'ra was seen using a Zat to keep Teal'c at bay while Aldwin launched a bomb deep in the core of Netu to destroy the moon. Teal'c, not wanting his friends to die, confiscated the zat when he shoved Aldwin into the Ring area of the cargo ship. He later gave it back to Aldwin after successfully intercepting the beam that ended up transporting Jack, Daniel, Sam and Jacob to the cargo ship. (SG1: "The Devil You Know")
- Zats were used during the attempt to stop the Stragoth when the aliens invaded the SGC. (SG1: "Foothold")
- Teal'c tried to use a Zat to stop the Crystal Skull from wielding its power on Daniel Jackson. The zat succeeded in disabling the device. (SG1: "Crystal Skull")
- While on board the Asgard ship, Teal'c attempted to use a Zat to fight off the Replicators but the electric charge didn't injure or destroy the Replicators. (SG1: "Nemesis")
- Sam used a Zat to shock and eventually kill Martouf when it was revealed that Martouf was a Za'tarc. (SG1: "Divide and Conquer")
- A Zat was used to capture Teal'c and bring him before Terok, a minor Goa'uld who wanted Teal'c to give up his loyalty to the Tau'ri and the Jaffa Rebellion and rejoin the Goa'uld. (SG1: "The Serpent's Venom")
- Zats were seen being used and also carried in the alternate future that occurred as a result of Earth forming an alliance with the Aschen. They were capable of destroying an Aschen defense drones with one shot. (SG1: "2010")
- SG-1 were seen wielding zats in their thigh holsters while on P4X-347. (SG1: "The Light")
- Jack, Sam and Teal'c used zats to wave off an invasion of the small energy beings while on M4C-862. (SG1: "Prodigy")
- Jack was forced to use a zat to stop Sam who was under the control of a mysterious entity from wreaking havoc on the Base. (SG1: "Entity")
- SG-1 and their robot duplicates were all seen using zats during the mission to free Juna from Cronus's control. (SG1: "Double Jeopardy")
- During the mission to rescue Teal'c who had been brainwashed by Apophis, Jack, Daniel, Sam and Jacob all wielded zats in the thigh holsters they carried. (SG1: "Enemies")
- A zat was seen being used. (SG1: "Threshold")
- Lieutenant Tyler, in actuality Kaiael, a Reol used one to knock Daniel out. (SG1: "The Fifth Man")
- When they received word that a Goa'uld was on the Base, numerous SGC personnel including SG-1 were seen using Zats as well as TERs as they searched for the Goa'uld in question. (SG1: "Rite of Passage")
- Zats were used on P3X-888 during SG-1 and the Unas' battle against the people who were using the Unas as slave labor. (SG1: "Beast of Burden")
- Daniel wielded a Zat and used it to knock out two security guards during the rescue operation to save Carter. (SG1: "Desperate Measures")
- Zats were again used by various SGC personnel during a training scenario involving a potential invasion of the Goa'uld, one which had Daniel as the leader. (SG1: "Proving Ground")
- Jack and Harry Maybourne used zats to knock out the security detail guarding the Goa'uld inhabiting Adrian Conrad. (SG1: "48 Hours")
- Zats were used during the various missions being conducted under the leadership of K'tano. (SG1: "The Warrior")
- SG-1 used Zats during the mission to P3Y-294 to repair the Sentinel. (SG1: "The Sentinel")
- Various Jaffa Serpent Guards both loyal to Osiris and Anubis were seen wielding zats during their search for SG-1. (SG1: "Revelations")
- While on the mission with his father, Teal'c and mentor, Bra'tac, Rya'c used a zat as a means of fending off the enemy Jaffa Serpent Guards. (SG1: "Redemption, Part 2")
- Teal'c used a Zat to knock Ninja Jaffa who later boarded the Cargo Ship that Teal'c and Jonas were in. (SG1: "Descent")
- Carter used a Zat on the Trust operatives who had been taken over by cloned Goa'uld symbiotes. (SG1: "Nightwalkers")
- Kanan while in the body of Jack O'Neill used a Zat to attempt to get to the Stargate but failed. As such, Kanan abandoned Jack and fled while Jack was captured and repeatedly tortured to death and revived by Ba'al. (SG1: "Abyss")
- Zats were again seen being used during (SG1: "The Other Guys")
- Members of both the Tok'ra and Jaffa were seen using this as a mean of defending themselves and also during the stand-off between their respective races. (SG1: "Allegiance")
- Teal'c used a Zat to knock out a Pangar guard before rescuing Jonas who'd fallen into a pool full of Goa'uld symbiotes. (SG1: "Cure")
- The rogue Trust agents as well as Jack and Teal'c used zats while on board the unfinished ship. (SG1: "Prometheus")
- Zats were seen during (SG1: "Paradise Lost")
- Zats were used during (SG1: "Metamorphosis")
- One of the rogue criminals used a Zat to knock Carter out. (SG1: "Forsaken")
- Anubis' Jaffa Serpent Guards used a Zat to capture Jonas seconds after Daniel Jackson had escaped to safety. (SG1: "Fallen")
- Zats were used during the battle against SG-1 and Anubis' Jaffa guards. (SG1: "Homecoming")
- Clone Jack O'Neill used a Zat to knock out the rogue Asgard, Loki. (SG1: "Fragile Balance")
- Teal'c and Rak'nor used zats on the Jaffa Serpent Guards as they invaded the slave camp on Erebus to rescue Rya'c and Bra'tac. (SG1: "Orpheus")
- Moments after regaining consciousness, Teal'c was seen using a zat while he searched for his missing teammates. (SG1: "Lifeboat")
- Teal'c and Bra'tac attempted to use a Zat on one of Anubis's Kull warriors but the being proved to be immune to the electric charge. (SG1: "Evolution, Part 1")
- While under the influence, Jack used a zat to modify the Goa'uld ship, giving it a superior advantage and enabling SG-1 to find the Antarctic outpost at Antarctica. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
- Zats were deployed to stop the embodied spirit of the Goa'uld System Lord, Anubis from going through the Stargate. However, Anubis later took control of Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter and used her to zat two security guards before triggering the self-destruct. (SG1: "Lockdown")
- Zats were used during the virtual reality Teal'c participated in. (SG1: "Avatar")
- Hoskins, an agent with the Trust used a Zat to stun both Daniel and Krista James. (SG1: "Affinity")
- Teal'c and a Jaffa Serpent Guard loyal to Moloc used the zats during a stand-off with one another. (SG1: "Sacrifices")
- Daniel used a zat on Vala Mal Doran after growing impatient with her. (SG1: "Prometheus Unbound")
- SG-1 and their alternate selves were seen using zats during the mission to Ancient Egypt, first to get a ZPM so that they could use to contact the Pegasus Galaxy and second for the alternate SG-1 to repair the damage that their original main-time selves had accidentally caused. (SG1: "Moebius, Part 1", "Moebius, Part 2")
- SG-1 used zats during a mission to free Daniel and Vala from the bracelets. (SG1: "The Ties That Bind")
- Vala used a zat on one of Gerak's Jaffa to take control of his cargo ship which she then used to destroy the forming Supergate. (SG1: "Beachhead")
- A zat was used during the attempt to capture a Prior. (SG1: "The Fourth Horseman, Part 2")
- The main SG-1 and their alternate selves or Black SG-1 were seen using zats against each other at numerous times. (SG1: "Ripple Effect")
- Mitchell used a zat to knock out Ba'al's guards. (SG1: "Stronghold")
- When two Ba'al clones were seen fighting each other, two SGC security guards were forced to the room and knocked both Ba'als out with two zats. (SG1: "Insiders")
- Numerous Jaffa Rebels and SG-1 wielded zats during both sides's invasion of the Ori ship with both sides even managing to knock each other at respective points. (SG1: "Counterstrike")
- During the operation to find Vala who had been captured by the Trust, SG-1 as well as other SGC teams were seen using zats. (SG1: "Memento Mori")
- A zat was used to capture both Daniel and Vala. (SG1: "Company of Thieves")
- Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard used a zat to knock out both Major Christopher Wallace and MSgt. Sylvester Siler so that, he and Doctors Rodney McKay, Elizabeth Weir and Carson Beckett could steal a Puddle Jumper and return to the Pegasus Galaxy to reclaim Atlantis from the Asurans. (SGA: "The Return, Part 1")
- Zats were used by President Hank Landry's security detail in an alternate reality that Carter visited. (SG1: "The Road Not Taken")
- After beaming Dr. Daniel Jackson who had been turned into a Prior up to the Odyssey, Mitchell used a zat to knock Daniel unconscious. (SG1: "The Shroud")
- Zats were wielded by SG-1 during their hostage attempt on P4M-328. (SG1: "Bad Guys")
- When the Wraith invaded Stargate Command, Teal'c and Ronon used zats to subdue them, revealing that the Wraith were just as affected by a zat as Humans were. (SGA: "Midway")
- In an alternate timeline where Stargate Command and the Stargate Program did not exist, the alternate Teal'c was seen using a zat as a weapon. (Stargate: Continuum)
- While it has been established that one shot from a Zat'nik'tel with stun an individual to the point of unconsciousness, there have been several instances where one shot merely causes the individual tremendous pain, leaving them fully conscious after the shot. However, in either case, a second shot will be fatal. It is unknown if this indicates that the power setting of the device can adjusted or if individuals who have been shot with a zat'nik'tel several times throughout their life are less susceptible to the first shot.
- The "third shot" function of the Zat is only used four times ("Within the Serpent's Grasp", "Family", "Secrets" and "1969") in SG-1, all to disintegrate the bodies of Jaffa guards and material (to be removed from the timeline), and is mentioned one other time. Other "third shots" have been attempted, all on replicators, to no effect.
- Some of the producers crew behind Stargate SG-1 believe that the third shot of a Zat is a bit of a deus ex machina and silly, as stated in several Stargate SG-1 DVD commentaries. The episode "Wormhole X-Treme!" comments on the effect, with director of the show-within-a-show calling the disintegration idea "the stupidest thing..."
- Starting in later seasons, particularly seasons 9 and 10, SG-1 began using zats as their sidearms more often than pistols. This is likely due to a zat's known effectiveness and not being reliant on ammunition. They also used the one-shot function more often than shooting their enemy twice.
- When fired, the zat props would actually slightly extend its tip.
- In an interview, both Ben Browder and Michael Shanks admit they both disliked the zat.
- Ben Browder says working with it is not as satisfying as using actual firearms, which could produce actions such as firing blank rounds and reloading while the zat prop could only move its tip.
- Along with his distaste of the function of the zat's third shot, Michael Shanks addresses several other issues he has.
- Having seemingly random abilities, such as it being able to open a locked chest by shooting it (SG1: "1969")
- The uncertainty of the CGI crew knowing when the weapon was fired, citing a moment in Fallen when Corin Nemec can be seen making the firing motions with a zat but no special effects are added.
- He and other crew members felt the zat bore resemblance to male genitals.