Phasers could do everything from burning through solid rock, to heating your lunch. Phasers could incapacitate, stun, kill or disintegrate almost anything in their path (aside from the odd Borg). I bet you could even make one into a light sabre if you really wanted to. And in a pinch you could turn a phaser into a bomb by setting it to overload and running away real quick.
Phasers might have looked lame, but they were actually a totally kickass weapon and therein lies the point of Trek (well, early Trek anyway). You can have the biggest gun, and the most sophisticated weaponry, but that don’t mean you gotta to use it. Okay – I get that, but on the other side of the coin, what was the point of developing all that super-cool tech if they were never going to put it into action?
It’s like training with your football team every weekend, but never playing a game.