I have the next sentence

Our engineers tried to implement a laser beam as a weapon in this ship, and they success. This ship is able to make constant damage when we hit the enemy with the laser. They need some time to recharge before attack again

But I am not sure when to use reload or rechargue in the futuristic sci scenario

They need some time to recharge before attack again


They need some time to reload before attack again

Which one should I use and why?

Thanks in advance

  • There are errors in your sentence. The first sentence should read: ..., and they succeeded. And damage is not made, it is inflicted (caused - or similar). And: They need some time to recharge before attacking again*.* Jul 2, 2018 at 14:58

2 Answers 2


Reload is generally reserved for weapons that shoot solid projectiles, e.g. bullets, shells, bombs, rail gun, sling-shot, etc. Damage is caused by the shape of the projectile (usually rounded or pointed at the front) of the projectile), and the kinetic energy given to it by the propellant that forces it forward, (gunpowder, compressed air, elastic band, centrifugal force, etc). Also, especially for shells and bombs, damage is increased by them containing an explosive charge). These weapons can run out of ammunition, but as soon as new ammunition is loaded, the weapon is instantly available for firing, assuming that it has not overheated.

Recharge is generally used for weapons that emit some form of energy (other than kinetic energy in the form of a fast moving solid projectile), e.g. ray-gun, laser, phasar, pulse cannon, etc. These weapons can never run out of ammunition, but they can run out of energy. When this happens the weapon has to have its batteries (power cells, capacitors, energy stores, etc) recharged from another energy source. This may take some time, depending on the power of the weapon, the amount of energy available from the energy source, and the amount of energy that can flow between the power source and the weapon.

From the context of your question, it sounds like your weapon needs to be recharged.


"Reload" would certainly be understood in the context of a weapon being readied to fire again, but this word refers to a process of putting something inside something else; for example loading people onto a bus, or bullets into the chamber of a gun.

In your science-fiction context, there probably is no actual process of ammunition being physically loaded into anything. Your imaginary laser beams just "recharge", so this would seem more appropriate, and in fairness I'm sure your target audience would understand this too.

Although this is crossing a little into the realm of science and science-fiction, I would like to add that in real situations electrical things that "charge" from a fixed power source do so in order to independently "discharge". A real-life laser that is designed to fire a steady "beam" requires a constant energy source, whereas something that emits a single high-powered "pulse" such as an EMP (yes, they are real!) would have to build up a suitable charge first. Likewise in sci-fi, "beams" don't normally need to recharge, but weapons that fire once like "pulse-cannons" do.

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