As if the intensified Congressional scrutiny into UFO visitations within the U.S. weren’t enough, now aliens have evidently been spotted in Ukraine, and in the presence of President Volodomyr Zelensky, no less.
Well, okay, not those kinds of aliens, i.e. extraterrestrials. And no, not the “undocumented immigrant” kind of aliens either. (Though I suppose the Wagner Group mercenaries could technically be classified as such?)
Rather, we’re talking about a handgun, and sorry, Trekkies, we’re not talking about phasers here.
Rather we’re talking about the real-world Laugo Arms Alien 9mm semiauto pistol.
Alien Pistols with Zelensky’s Bodyguards?
As reported by Joseph Trevithick in a July 2023 article for The Drive:
“One of Ukraine’s elite military VIP protection operators was spotted carrying a Laugo Arms ‘Alien’ 9mm pistol. …The individual armed with the apparent Alien pistol was part of the protective detail that accompanied Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other high-ranking officials to Snake Island at the Western end of the Black Sea on July 8. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate, or GUR, was also among those present. We don’t know who provided the protective security personnel, but GUR certainly has this capacity, as well as access to higher-end and otherwise more novel weapons and equipment.”
This gun is quite a contrast , in terms of age of design, ballistic energy, magazine capacity, and trigger lockwork from the traditional double-action (TDA) 9×18 Makarov pistol (“Pistolet Makarovka”) that has served Ukrainian troops since 1951, during the country’s darker days as a member of the Soviet Union and its post-Soviet collapse-induced independence alike.
Laugo Arms Alien Pistol History & Specifications
The Laugo Arms Alien debuted in 2019, designed by Slovakian-born gunmaker Jan Lucansky, who also founded the Laugo Arms firm, which is located in Blansko, Czech Republic. If you’ll pardon the bad pun, the gun made an immediate impact, winning the Best of SHOT Show 2020 award from Recoil Magazine, who praised it as “the first truly innovative pistol design in over 30 years, with the potential to advance the evolution of handguns as we know them. Mighty big talk for a one-eyed fat man? Not when you can back it up.”
The Laugo Arms USA subsidiary’s proudly declares in big, bold all-caps atop of the Alien’s official page that their product has “THE LOWEST BORE AXIS IN THE WORLD.” For the benefit of our readers who are not knowledgeable about firearms, that is extremely significant from an ergonomics standpoint; as self-defense guru Massad F. “Mas” Ayoob has repeatedly pointed out, one of the significant advantages of semiautomatic pistols over revolvers in general is the lower bore axis, which reduces felt recoil and therefore the potential for flinch, in term promoting better practical accuracy.
Specifications include a barrel length of 4.8 inches, an overall length of 8.2 inches, a width of 1.1 inches, a height of 5.8 inches, and a “dry” (empty) weight of 2.2 pounds. Trigger pull weight is 3.3 pounds, and standard magazine capacity is 17 +1 rounds. And oh yeah, that ultralow bore axis height is -0.07 inches.
Experts’ Range Reports
Neither one of this writer’s local ranges —Cindy Hot Shots in Glen Burnie and Severn, Maryland, and Silver Eagle Group [SEG] in Ashburn, Virginia – has made the Laugo available for rental yet, so for now I’ll have to go with secondhand reports about the gun’s performance. So, we turn to Jeff Wood’s September 2022 range report for Guns.Com:
“The pistol shot excellent with no failures. It was as pleasant to shoot as any pistol I’ve ever shot, I could feel a desire to keep it growing inside. Accuracy from the gun was what you would expect, easily stacking shots on top of each other up close and predictably hitting targets further out…The performance of the Alien pistol in my opinion is outstanding, but with a street price varying between $5,200 and $6,999, it certainly better perform well…I found the claims of less muzzle rise and half the recoiling angle of other pistols to be well founded, though perhaps not as significant an advantage as it’s made out to be…The only downside I can find to it is the cost, which is somewhat prohibitive to many. But once you get over that part of it, it is a beautiful piece of engineering.”
Though I haven’t yet fired the Alien, I can see at least a passing cosmetic resemblance to the Beretta APX, which I have fired and found to be a sweet-shooting pistol. However, unlike the striker-fired APX, the Alien is actually a hammer-fired single-action (SA) autopistol just like the good ol’ M1911. In fact, Iain Harrison of the aforementioned Recoil Magazine equates the trigger pull quality to that of a well-tuned Colt Series 70 pistol “with Wilson guts… …Yeah, that good…the 1911 is still the gold standard, and the Laugo Alien emulates it in every way — crisp break, short, tactile reset, and once the initial takeup is passed, no sponginess in any way.”
Want Your Own Alien?
Bring a bankbook (as you probably already gathered from the passage I just quoted). On the Guns.Com website, even used Alien pistols start at $4,995.99 and, if you’ll pardon another cheesy Star Trek reference, beam up from there all the way to $6,999.99; brand new pistols command a price range of $5,351.99 to $6,629.99. In other words, no real money-savings advantage in choosing a used Alien over a new one.
Christian D. Orr is a Senior Defense Editor for 19FortyFive. He has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.