An Alien Pistol

I’ve started back shooting a Laugo Arms Alien pistol and I still like it. These pistols are a niche firearm that offer a unique design not found together in any other current pistol that I know of. And if you have had a chance to shoot one, you’ll know exactly what I mean by unique.

The Alien Pistol
The Alien Pistol

Several years ago I owned two Alien Full Kits – one fired and one unfired. I very much liked the way the gun handled and shot. But I was concerned about the pistol’s longer term viability in the US both in terms of spare part availability and continued service (Lancer Systems was handling both as the US distributor for Laugo Arms at the time). So I sold them. That was a mistake.

Today, Laugo Arms USA has responsibility for US sales and service. Individual spare parts are available for sale on their website along with all the current Alien pistol models. They also seem knowledgeable and responsive. My past fears were not justified. Lancer Systems still has a few Alien models in stock at closeout prices so I was able to get a Full Kit (the original black and green model with the Glock grip angle) at a bit of a discount.

Alien Full Kit
The Alien Full Kit

I mention the original Alien because Laugo Arms has introduced a new Creator series with several updates meant for the US market. Now you have a choice between the original and the Creator. These are still very much niche pistols both in terms of their cost and their use cases. The cheapest you can get into an Alien is $3,900 and they don’t really make much sense as a duty, home defense, or carry gun. As a competition gun in USPSA they are an awkward fit in Limited (they come only in 9mm) or Open (they have no compensator). They do fit just fine in PCSL’s Factory division. Of course, they also make an extra special range toy!

The Alien's Major Components
The Major Components

In return for the Alien’s uniqueness you get some significant advantages and a few disadvantages. The good stuff is reduced muzzle flip due to the peculiar design having the barrel mounted to the frame and very low with respect to your shooting hand. Having a barrel that does not tilt, rotate, or otherwise change position means its accuracy is improved over other designs. The top rail, where the sights are mounted, does not reciprocate with the slide. Combined with reduced muzzle flip, the sights hardly move making it very easy to take the next aimed shot.

The Alien’s recoil is ‘different.’ Most of the recoil energy comes straight back into the palm of your firing hand because there is virtually no muzzle flip. It feels solid and returns to zero almost immediately. But if you are used to a more traditional pistol, the recoil will not feel especially ‘soft.’ The weight of the gun at about 40oz helps soak up some recoil force, too.

Although the pistol looks like a striker-fired gun from the outside, it’s really hammer fired. The hammer is up in the top rail and pivots down to strike the firing pin. So the trigger feels more like a hammer fired trigger – almost no take-up, no creep, and then a very crisp 3 ½# release. If the trigger didn’t pivot from the top, you’d think it was a 1911 trigger; it’s that clean and crisp.

I did mention disadvantages. The primary one derives from the clever gas delayed blow back design. The gun is very picky about the ammunition it likes. It wants FMJ bullets and clean powder. Sellier & Bellot 124gr FMJ ammunition is the factory ammo to choose because that’s what the pistol was designed around (both Laugo Arms and Sellier & Bellot are Czech companies, after all).

I’ll post a follow-up article soon discussing ammunition requirements in more detail and offering some suggestions on what components make sense if you want to reload your own.

Another disadvantage comes from the gun’s uniqueness. You won’t drop into your local gun store and find magazines or holsters, for example. Although the Full Kit includes a serviceable holster, it may not fit your needs and there are only four companies I’m aware of that make holsters to fit: Big Dog Steel, EagleWorks, Red Hill Tactical, and Smith Concealment. Magazines are only available from Laugo Arms USA and don’t all fit both styles of guns.

The gun can get hot around the trigger guard and front of the frame. Because some gas from the chamber is directly ported into the gas chamber, extra heat is introduced. It may not be a problem under USPSA match conditions, but I can imagine it getting uncomfortable under sustained rapid fire.

The Alien Creator Limited Optics
The Alien Creator Limited Optics

There are now two styles of Alien, the Alien and the Alien Creator. You can get all the details of the differences on the website, but the short story is that the Creator was developed from the Alien to address the needs of American shooters. The Creator has a 1911 grip angle in place of the Alien’s Glock grip angle and there is now a 22-round magazine for it.

In Europe, the Alien is an IPSC Production gun and in the US it’s a USPSA Limited Optics gun and so needs different features for the two markets. I’m more a fan of the original Alien and I don’t mind shooting it in USPSA Limited Minor. It even fits just fine in PCSL’s Factory division.

Shooting this gun, despite or because of its quirks, feels very good. The build quality is high and all the included ‘extras’ in the full kit make it feel worth its price. If you can afford the gun and do your own reloading, I don’t think you’d be disappointed with an Alien.


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