The Arasaka HLR-12X Heavy Laser Rifle is a direct energy weapon used by the Japanese military.
Its development was presumably spurred on by the need for more advanced weaponry during the third world war instead of the more conventional weaponry.
The rifle is powered by a large battery pack, which hangs at waist level from a shoulder strap on the user.
The rifle is used against Tetsuo Shima as he attempts to cross a bridge connecting Neo-Tokyo to Old Tokyo, and the Olympic construction site. Tetsuo is shown to be able to bend the beams, so as to prevent them from hitting him. The beam is shown to easily slice through a human body.
Shotaro Kaneda finds a rifle at a checkpoint on his way to confront Tetsuo. He uses this weapon heavily in his encounters with Tetsuo.
The rifle is found by Kei while she is under the control of the Espers. It is shown to be under development in a labrotory within the military hospital. It is used in a confrontation between Kaneda and Tetsuo in the Esper's nursery. It is shown to be more powerful than the version used in the anime, and is able to cut through solid concrete, and metal.