Re: possible reason we never seen the phaser rifle after w.n.m.h.g.b.
Roddenberry found out that lasers would not do what he needed them to do in various plots, so he switched to the fictional phasers. From his POV there never were any laser weapons on the Enterprise. The hand guns we see in WNMHGB
and other episodes are just primitive phasers, even though they're the same prop as the Cage
The boring one, the one with Khan, the one where Spock returns, the one with whales, the dumb one, the last one, the one with Kirk, the one with the Borg, the stupid one, the bad one, the new one, the other one with Khan.