Well they may not have been that far off. From the Associated Press:
The Navy for the first time last week successfully tested a solid-state high-energy laser from a ship. The beam, which was aimed at a boat moving through turbulent Pacific Ocean waters, set the target's engine on fire... The baseball-sized laser beam... could be used to stop small crafts from approaching naval ships. It could also target pirates.That's right - the Navy is going to be shooting pirates with lasers. We live in an age of wonders.
Of course the whole laser gun thing turns out to be a little less cool than what the starship Enterprise has. Here's the movie:
So there are no sound effects or explosions and nobody is getting vaporized anytime soon, but hey, I suppose we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves since we still have 300 years to develop phasers.