By: Warren Gray
Copyright © 2023
“The Laugo Alien is…surreal. It rewards good technique astonishingly well…
its claims to fame are justified. All in all, I am floored by the Alien. It is…
an out-of-the-box competitor to highly-modified race guns and hand-fitted
bull’s-eye guns…a surreal shooting experience for expert and novice alike.”
— William Collier, for The Truth About Guns, 2020.
The radical and revolutionary Laugo Arms Alien pistol, manufactured in Blansko, north of Brno, in the Czech Republic, was introduced to the astonished world at the 2020 SHOT Show, advertised as having “the lowest bore axis in the world,” actually 1.7mm below the axis of the shooter’s grip, and a permanently-fixed barrel, which is almost unheard of in a full-power, 9x19mm handgun. The company states that, “As a result, the barrel does not move during the firing cycle, and can free-float like on the sniper rifle. That, altogether with precise manufacturing, contributes to the exceptional accuracy of this firearm.”
Chief Designer Ján Lučanský joined forces with Lancer Systems of Quakertown, Pennsylvania, to import this highly innovative handgun into the United States, with a staggering price tag of $5,200 to $6,999, depending upon the level of customization desired. Lancer literally had to battle the ATF through lawsuits and pressure from elected officials to force them to finish the application and approval processes, which the ATF had intentionally delayed, using the COVID pandemic as an unjustified excuse to stonewall the pistol’s importation. Why? What were they afraid of? What’s so special about the Alien that it struck abject fear into the hearts of the ATF?
On the surface, the Laugo Alien appears to be a fairly conventional, striker-fired, 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a bit heavy at 2.47 pounds, with a 17-round magazine, adjustable, iron sights, and a 4.8-inch barrel. It’s visibly similar to the Arsenal Firearms Strike One (Strizh, in Russian) handgun from 2012, which was once a contender for Russia’s next military service pistol, but it was never officially adopted by the armed forces. Any other similarities to conventional pistols end there, however.
The “Laugo” name comes from that of a Roman settlement called Laugaricio, near present-day Trencin, Slovakia, where the company was originally founded. The “Alien” name is a direct reference to the famous movie franchise from 1979 to 2017, bearing in mind that the radical new pistol is literally an alien, space-age concept, with an out-of-this-world appearance and technological advancements.
The Alien uses an unusual, gas-operated, piston-delayed, straight-blowback system, combined with a fixed barrel and the lowest bore axis in the world. There’s no locking slide, and it harnesses the power of the expanding gases to slow the movement of the slide, providing maximum recoil control, even with different types of ammunition.
The result is a handgun that is extremely accurate and controllable, with less than five degrees of vertical, muzzle flip during firing, so it easily stays on target, even during rapid-fire sequences. And the adjustable, target trigger pull has an extremely light, 3.3 pounds of pull pressure, also contributing to truly remarkable accuracy and control.
Yes, the Alien is ridiculously expensive, costing as much as 10 to 15 perfectly acceptable Glock-17 or -19 service weapons, more in line with hand-built, custom-tuned, Colt M1911s, but is it really worth that much outrageous expense?
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of embattled Ukraine clearly thinks so. In the photo above, he and General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence Directorate, or GUR, were visiting the Ukrainian military base on Snake Island (Zmiinyi Island) in the Black Sea, marking the 500th day of the Russian invasion of their homeland. Russian forces seized control of the island very early in the conflict, on February 24, 2022, but it was recaptured on June 30, 2022, and Zelenskyy made a recent visit to bolster the morale of his troops there.
For very-close-range VIP protection, pistols are often preferred to carbines due to ease of portability and maneuvering in tight quarters. This is why the U.S. Secret Service prefers its compact Glock-19 Gen. 5s and full-sized Glock-47 Gen. 5s for most agents. The obvious questions to ask are: How much was British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s life worth at the height of World War Two? And similarly and more recently, how much is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s life today, at the height of the Russo-Ukrainian War? Apparently, he’s willing to pay the price for his Special Forces bodyguards to be armed with the best, most-accurate, and most-controllable 9mm pistol in the world today!
The Laugo Alien comes standard with either a regular or threaded barrel, three 17-round magazines, a large, custom, polymer, hard case, flared magazine well, top rails with either iron sights or red-dot optics, and an Elornis Industries speed holster. Laugo Arms states that it’s made with “robust, uncomplicated, military-grade construction.”
Jeff “Tank” Hoover wrote for American Handgunner in 2020 that, “In the case of the Laugo Arms Alien, it has gun owners in awe, as if it had, well, come down from outer space…(with) an operation that generates a measured, muzzle flip of only five degrees, for faster follow-up shots and exceptional accuracy…most compensated race guns in this class average a muzzle flip nearly three times as much. Innovations aside, the Alien is just a cool-looking pistol. It sports futuristic, aggressive serrations on the reciprocating slide and a tight checkering pattern on the front-grip to provide an aggressive gripping surface…I know, it’s pricey, but how do you put a price tag on this level of quality, innovation, and versatility? After all, this may be your only chance to see an Alien.”
William Collier went into more detail for The Truth About Guns on June 3, 2021, writing that, “The Laugo Alien…results in rapid-fire feel more like a carbine…It is rifle-accurate…My results with the Laugo Alien in slow fire were likewise dramatic. I was able to discern no dispersal at all at seven yards…My rapid-fire group sizes were significantly smaller than my groups with my other pistols for any given rate of fire….on the order of 50-percent tighter.
“As fast as I could work the trigger with my amateur finger, I couldn’t manage to land a round outside the head on a standard silhouette at seven yards…the bullet hit exactly where the center of the dot had been at the moment of break, centered to less than a millimeter…One female tester…absolutely adores the Alien.
“It was a joy to pour out full-power, 9mm rounds as fast as she could make her finger go…she made a tight cluster of holes at six yards…the Alien seems to be extremely reliable. We experienced not a single malfunction in the hundreds of rounds we have fired…The Alien fires them without a hitch…this pistol begs to be shot at machine-gun speeds…about the Alien’s trigger: It’s also very good, certainly one of the best stock pistol triggers on the market…Overall, fit and finish are, well, perfect giving the impression of a hand-fitted, match-grade pistol.
“Style and Appearance: (five stars) It’s gorgeous. It’s sleek, brutal, and ultramodern…a standout design. Fit and Finish: (five stars) Flawless. That’s the only word for it. And it had better be, at that price. Reliability: (five stars) I have yet to be able to make it not work. Accuracy: (five stars) Probably sub-MOA. It’s remarkably accurate. Overall: (4 ½ stars) A brilliant gun that’s almost impossible to acquire, and lights you on fire if you have too much fun with it.”
Joseph Trevithick concluded for The Drive on July 12, 2023, that, “Super ‘Gucci’ Alien Pistol In Use With Zelenskyy Security Detail…Low bore axis design inherently helps with mitigating felt recoil, since much of the force is directed back into the palm rather than over it…the pistol’s sights are not moving when it is firing, helping with aiming, especially when firing multiple shots in rapid succession.
“This feature capitalizes on the gun’s greatly reduced muzzle flip, providing a more persistent sight picture. To date, the Alien does not appear to be publicly in standard use by any major military or law enforcement group…Whatever the case, at least one of the individuals charged with guarding Zelenskyy…looks to have been armed with one of the highest-end pistols available…today…it marks the first known use of this exotic weapon by a military unit.”
There is also a Laugo Arms Limited Edition Alien Creator pistol, introduced at the SHOT Show 2023, featuring an overall-green Alien model, with copper-colored safety lever, magazine release, trigger, barrel muzzle, and magazine well, and gray, stippled grips, for a mere $6,000, before adding any options. Like the introductory Signature Edition, only 500 Alien Creators are being produced.
The Laugo Alien military pistol, or pistols (plural), as the case may be, on Snake Island were most likely loaded with armor-piercing 9mm rounds from Belgium (VBR), the Czech Republic, Ukraine, the United States, or captured, Russian 7N31 rounds, for the purpose of defeating body armor worn by Russian troops in combat. The latter choice, in particular, would certainly be an example of poetic justice, adding one more element of disbelief to this already-surreal handgun, now involved in a very real war in the real world.
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Warren Gray is a retired U.S. Air Force intelligence officer with experience in joint special operations and counterterrorism and is an NRA member. He served in Europe (including Eastern Europe) and the Middle East, earned Air Force and Navy parachutist wings, four college degrees, and was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Intelligence Operations Specialist Course, and the USAF Combat Targeting School. He is currently a published author, historian, and hunter.