Alien: The 10 Best Weapons In The Franchise | Screen Rant – Screen Rant


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Battling xenomorphs hand-to-hand was never an option in the Alien films, and those who tried quickly met their end with a vicious head-bite to the brain, or worse. In order to tackle these biomechanical monstrosities, a good weapon with a lot of stopping power was needed. Thankfully, there was a lot to choose from.

The best weapons in the Alien movies tended to rely on versatility in battle. Some of them were advanced machine guns and rifles with special technology built in, while others were the natural evolution of things like hand grenades and shotguns. Those who had access to this kind of weaponry stood a much better chance at survival... at least for a little while.

Smith & Wesson Model 39 Pistol (Aliens)

Gorman fires at an alien in Aliens

The Colonial Marine Corps. had a contract with Armat Battlefield Systems to provide them with a bevy of weaponry used for interplanetary campaigns and contracts under the insidious Weyland-Yutani corporation, and that included specialized pistols. However, Vasquez kept her own personal sidearm with her at all times, which was actually a Smith & Wesson Model 39.

This pistol was used near the end of the film when Vasquez runs out of ammo in her pulse rifle. It managed to temporarily save her life after she was attacked by a xenomorph in an air duct. Lieutenant Gorman went back to rescue her and used the sidearm to fend off aliens before the two sacrificed themselves with a grenade.

M40 HEDP Grenade (Aliens)

A pack of M40 Grenades in Aliens

The M40 HEDP grenades used in Aliens were a small and portable yet highly dangerous explosive used in conjunction with the M41A Pulse Rifle. They could be activated by popping off the red cap and activating a fuse switch, but their true purpose was to be fired from the grenade launcher attachment of the Pulse Rifle.

In combat, these small grenades could pack quite a wallop, and the ability to carry them in a standard grenade bag was useful in combat. In contrast to a traditional hand grenade, these dual-use variants allowed for more flexibility in a battlefield scenario.

Flamethrower (Alien)

Ripley with a flamethrower in Alien

Several flamethrowers are featured in various Alien films, but the original is still the most iconic. Parker rigged up this incendiary unit for Captain Dallas shortly before his ill-fated trip into the air ducts to try and flush the creature out. It was a simple yet effective weapon that played on the xenomorph's fear of fire.

Ripley would utilize the flamethrower as her standard weapon near the end of the film, primarily to drive the creature back while she traversed the dark and cramped corridors of the Nostromo. She'd do it again in Aliens when she descended into the bowels of the processing plant to save Newt.

Collapsible Shotgun (Alien: Resurrection)

Vriess with a custom shotgun in Alien Resurrection

The crew of the Betty knew how to get around military checkpoints and screenings, and they never went anywhere without a weapon at their side. Johner hid his weapon inside a thermos, Christie had two pistols hidden under his sleeves, and Vriess hid a collapsible shotgun in his wheelchair.

When called on, he could piece together the shotgun quickly by detaching various parts from the wheelchair. This kept the weapon inconspicuous and out of sight while making him appear like he was less of a threat.

ASSO-400 Harpoon Grappling Gun (Alien)

Ripley loads a grappling gun in Alien

When the original xenomorph stowed on board Ripley's escape shuttle at the end of the first film, it left her without any weaponry to fight it. In such close quarters, her chances of survival dropped dramatically, which meant Ripley needed to rely on some smart decisions to save her own life.

After donning a pressure suit, she flushed the alien out of the crevice it was hiding in, then blew it out of the airlock. However, it managed to catch itself in the doorway and start pulling itself back in. Ripley responded by loading up the harpoon grappling gun and impaling it through the chest with a single shot.

F903WE Assault Rifle (Alien: Covenant)

Daniels and Tennessee in Alien: Covenant

Long before the M41A Pulse Rifle became standard issue for use by Colonial Marines, the F903WE was considered a mainstay fallback weapon. It was used in a variety of conflicts by multiple entities, from rebels in the 2172-2182 Australian Wars to the three-world empire, a conglomerate of the U.K. and Japan.

The assault rifle fired 5.56x45mm ammunition and was gas-operated. It resembled many of the compact bullpup-style assault rifles of the modern era, including the Steyr AUG, the Tavor XB95, and the Thales F90, on which the gun was based. It was featured primarily in the divisive semi-prequel Alien: Covenant.

Ithica Model 37 Shotgun (Aliens)

Hicks pulls out a shotgun in Aliens

The classic Ithica Model 37 shotgun is considered a reliable performer, and the fallback weapon for Hicks, one of Michael Biehn's coolest movie roles. Hicks kept one on him for "close encounters," which proved to be advantageous during the first fight against the xenos on LV-426. There was nothing particularly special about the shotgun, other than its handling and stopping power.

The shotgun itself was an heirloom passed down through his family line and appeared to have been modified, as evidenced by the rear stock being replaced with a makeshift handle near the trigger mechanism. It was presumed destroyed during the battle with the xenomorphs in the processing plant.

M56 Smartgun (Aliens)

Vasquez and Drake holding Smartguns in Aliens

The M56 Smartgun was considered a tactical weapon for use in the suppression of multiple targets at a time. True to its name, the gun would assist its wielder by self-aiming, with the aid of a targeting system built into the wearer's helmet. A combat harness was also used to pivot and stabilize the gun during skirmishes.

Two firing modes were installed into every M56 Smartgun — Burst, and Autofire. The former fired the weapon in bursts of four rounds at a time, while the Autofire mode allowed for continuous spray. It came equipped with a 500 round drum magazine, which could easily be swapped in battle to maintain momentum.

UA 571-C Automated Sentry Gun (Aliens)

A pair of Sentry Guns in Aliens

Perhaps the coolest weapon in the Colonial Marine's arsenal was the UA 571-C Automated Sentry Gun, first introduced to audiences in the Director's Cut of Aliens. This high-powered turret could be quickly deployed to auto-track and eliminate targets, making it an excellent defensive weapon.

The rate of fire was exceptional at 1,100 rounds per minute, and its ammo supply was very large, allowing it to remain active for longer periods of time. The Colonial Marines used the Sentry Guns to prevent them from breaking through the makeshift barriers set up to keep them out.

M41A Pulse Rifle (Aliens)

Hicks teaches Ripley how to use a Pulse Rifle in Aliens

The Pulse Rifle is easily the best weapon of the Alien franchise and a marvel of weapons technology as a whole. Its compact form made it easy to carry and wield in close quarters. It was sturdy, well-built, and easy to reload, with a digital ammo counter on the side for a little extra help.

What set the M41A Pulse Rifle apart from its peers, however, was its versatility. It could be equipped with a U1 Grenade Launcher attachment that fired M40 HEDP grenades which were cocked like a shotgun, making it a dual-purpose weapon with a lot of stopping power. Its signature trait was the unique sound it made when firing.

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About The Author

Derek Draven
(642 Articles Published)

Derek started writing about video games at age 14 and went on to write for GamePro Magazine and several other prominent outlets. He now brings his veteran pop culture XP to ScreenRant.

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