The Softnose laser weapons are an infamous design that has been out of common use for centuries. However, they have recently made a comeback in the hands of various criminal gangs, most notably the B'wa Kell. They are extremely dangerous, and LEP procedures demand that the weapons are destroyed upon recovery.
The design was first introduced by Cadrigar Softnose, a Gnome mining magnate who was always developing new technology to support his operations. Looking for a way to make his laser drillers more efficient, Cadrigar developed an inhibitor which slows down the movement of the photons, bunching them up and making them punch through a target, rather than slowly boring their way through in a constant beam. This resulted in a pulse that can bust apart what ever it hits. The design was a great success, greatly speeding up the mining process. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before the weapon manufacturer Ganit Security Solutions took the concept and miniaturised it into a man portable design. Of course, it had greatly reduced power, but it could take down an organic target just fine. Many of the new weapons, named for the creator of the concept, were put into LEP hands and that of civilians. After stun capable weaponry was invented, the design was banned and many of the guns destroyed. However, that wasn't the end of it...
The Softnose weapons made a reappearance centuries after their banning, first being found in the hands of a Goblin smuggler killed in an encounter with Captain Holly Short. It was being powered not by the old energy cells that were developed specifically for it, but by a Human triple A battery in a jury rigged receptacle in the place of the normal cell. Testing revealed that one of these batteries could provide enough energy for six shots, at which point the battery would be ejected and a new one placed inside by the user in a system similar to Human magazine fed weapons. Although the source of the batteries was quickly tracked down and cut off, hundreds of thousands of them were already in the Goblin hands. Soon afterwards, Goblins wielding yet more of the Softnoses attacked Artemis Fowl, Holly Short, Julius Root, and Butler in the arctic region of Russia. Meanwhile in Haven, a huge amount of Goblins drafted into the B'wa Kell made an attack using the lasers, taking advantage of the LEP weapons being offline and their armour not being equipped to stop a Softnose blast. The LEP forces were quickly pushed back to Police Plaza and placed under siege. After some hours, the Goblins were able to use an old mining Softnose mounted on the back of a truck to blast down the fortress doors. They were very close to overrunning the LEP, but Koboi Labs, which had been funding and equipping the B'wa Kell in the shadows, was taken out of commision by the same team assaulted in the arctic. The LEP defenses came back on, forcing the Goblins to retreat.
To this day, some Softnose weapons remain in the hands of gangs. LEP forces have been destroying the weapons whenever they are encountered, but clearly they will remain a thorn in their side for some years to come.