I remember the (original) long duration phaser discharge in Naked Time, Scotty was using such a low power setting to cut through the wall that there was no visible beam. The hand phaser might have something like a capacitor as part of it's power system, the power pack charges the capacitor, which then gives you a high power discharge for a short duration. Then you have to wait a few seconds, or use a lower power setting. I might have more respect for the marquis if when the federation and starfleet were fighting and dying for them if they had declared their independence then, informing the federation (and the cardassians) that starfleet's effort on their part was unnecassary, and they would see to their own affairs. Instead of waiting until after a peace treaty was signed (where the colonist had a repersentative) and then did their damnest to break the treaty and send the federation back into war.