Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier
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By William Collier

This is not a gun review in the usual sense. This one is more along the lines of watching ‘Top Gear’ to see the latest Ferrari weighed against the newest Koenigsegg, and to watch someone complain about the dimensions of the cupholders in a million-dollar hypercar.

We will assess the Laugo Alien pistol to determine — if one is in the habit of making foolishly extravagant financial decisions — just how foolish this one might be. Allow me to offer the lede, and even the conclusion, up front: I am pleased to report, as one of the common folk fortunate and/or foolish enough to have acquired the Laugo Alien Signature Edition pistol, that its claims to fame are justified.

The effect of this exotic gun’s design is not magic. If you can’t shoot a $500 pistol worth beans, you won’t be able to shoot this one worth beans either. That said, the Laugo Alien is…surreal. It rewards good technique astonishingly well without the need for a compensator or barrel porting.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

As its designers claim, the recoil vector is directed almost straight back into the web of the strong hand. With proper forearm strength and technique and a bit of practice, a skilled shooter can hold a sight picture throughout recoil. That is, when you manage it, quite a strange experience, especially on a pistol which doesn’t vent gasses vertically.

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% 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.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy Laugo Arms

The Laugo Alien feels in the hand like a pistol, but the results in rapid fire feel more like a carbine. Again, that’s not because the pistol “makes it easy,” necessarily, not because it substitutes for good technique, but because it rewards you when you do your job, as a precision instrument should.  That’s something I have never experienced in the same way except with a carbine.

My results with the Laugo Alien in slow fire were likewise dramatic. The pistol rewarded me for eliminating a very slight angle in the vector of my trigger pressure, shifting the point of impact at seven yards from a quarter inch left of aim to dead-nuts center.

I don’t have the facilities to determine how accurate this pistol is. With simple remanufactured FMJ and a red dot, I was able to discern no dispersal at all at seven yards. As long as my technique was correct, the bullet hit exactly where the center of the dot had been at the moment of break, centered to less than a millimeter. It is rifle-accurate.

I have employed several less-experienced shooters, some experienced with rifles and shotguns, but less so with pistols and even a few who were brand new to shooting, to help me test this thing. We observed that each improvement a shooter made to his or her technique dramatically reduced group size in rapid fire and noticeably improved shot placement in slow fire. It’s just real good.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

I will note here the nature of the Alien’s felt recoil. Others have accurately said that such a low bore axis results in a sharp recoil impulse. Your hand, wrist, and arm absorb the full impact, unlike in pistols of a higher bore axis which send their recoil at least partially over the hand in the form of a rotating movement.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

With the Alien, you feel the recoil as a percussive impact into the web of your hand, rather than as vertical torque. Think of the difference in recoil between a Beretta 92 (or other higher-bore pistol) and a pistol with a relatively lower axis such as a GLOCK. The Alien is the GLOCK in this comparison, only much, much more so.

The Alien’s rearward recoil impulse is not unpleasant as pistols go, thanks to its weight, the strength of its operating springs, and its gas-delayed blowback operating system. One female tester who generally prefers to battle the muzzle-rise of a high-bore pistol rather than endure the more uncomfortable hammering of GLOCKs and their relatively lower bore axis ilk, absolutely adores the Alien.

Attesting to this: with the Alien, for the first time in her life, she was shooting a pistol at such a rate of fire as to produce a coherent parabolic stream of empty brass through the air.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

With higher-bore-axis pistols, she hadn’t the forearm strength to shoot that fast with accuracy, and with other lower-bore-axis pistols she would not because it hurt too much. With the Alien, even for her, it was a joy to pour out full-power 9mm rounds as fast as she could make her finger go. To her credit and the pistol’s, she made a tight cluster of holes at six yards.

Unlike many highly tuned match guns that I have shot, the Alien seems to be extremely reliable. We experienced not a single malfunction in the hundreds of rounds we have fired consisting of simple, cheap remanufactured FMJ in slow and rapid fire. This is noteworthy because the same lot of ammunition suffers failures to fire (at a rate of 1% to 2%) in other high-quality firearms.

Granted, this Alien is very new, but my daily-carry GLOCK has less than a thousand rounds through it, and the same ammunition in the GLOCK produces FTFs (nicely-dimpled primers in unfired cartridges) at the above rate. The Alien fires them without a hitch.

I presume its upside-down hammer to be dropping with some thunder. We haven’t tried any wad-cutter bullets through it, but round-nose and defensive hollow-points all feed perfectly. The strange upward way the pistol lobs empty brass (of necessity because the chamber is way down there in the frame, well below the slide) seems to work just fine.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

The replaceable top rail works as advertised, which is to say, shockingly well. Installing the rail is a matter of positioning it on the frame, sliding it aft so that it “snaps” into place, and then pushing home the captive pin at the front.

Initially, the “snap” was very tight. It took a sharp rap with the heel of the palm or a nylon mallet to get the rail to seat properly. That eased within 10 repetitions until it could be done with strong thumb pressure.

The top rails held zero throughout multiple swaps. The adjustable iron sights are excellent, though as with all open sights, they best reward those who have learned the full volume of pistol iron sights technique. These sights and this pistol are easily equal to the task of a bull’s-eye pistol competition, more than able to hold their own against tuned 1911s on the 50-yard slow-fire target.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

That said, a note about the Alien’s trigger: It’s also very good, certainly one of the best stock pistol triggers on the market, but not quite as clean as a race-tuned 1911. It has a couple of degrees of smooth slack, and then a bit of travel under friction (AKA “creep”) as the sear is drawn off the hammer.

To be sure, it brooks no comparison to common striker guns, and feels very different from even the lightest and finest of those (such as the Walther PPQ), but that creep is there and a factor if you are trying to make those precise shots into a six-inch space at 50 yards with one hand.

On my unit, the bearing surface between the hammer and sear seems to be about 0.025 inches, according to my digital calipers, so that’s how far you have to move the sear with the trigger before the hammer springs free. I suspect that competition shooters (who can accept extremely light trigger pull weights) will experiment with sears cutting closer to the edge, but as it stands now, the 25 thousandths of an inch of sear bearing surface translates to about 35 thousandths of an inch of trigger creep at the tip of the trigger.

While noticeable in slow fire, that can be taken up carefully if you need to make an ultra-precise shot at the highest levels of competition. In rapid fire it goes unnoticed and is a non-factor.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

Grip texturing is, in a word, awesome on the front and back straps. The golf ball style grip panel texture and precise front and rear checkering yield zero slippage during rapid fire. Never once did I have to readjust my grip.

The slide serrations are also excellent. They could be used to saw through timber and will flay your hand before they let your grip on the slide slip.

Overall, fit and finish are, well, perfect giving the impression of a hand-fitted match-grade pistol. The only thing I had to monitor was the installation screw for the detachable magazine well flare. The flange works as advertised, making reloads a breeze, but it can be removed by backing out a small set screw on the bottom.

I found that this screw backs out of its own accord during shooting, loosening the removable flange until it rattles a little. A little blue Loctite and some judiciously applied torque took care of that.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

Are there any real flaws in the Alien, any drawbacks at all? Well, yes, relatively speaking. As others have noted, the price of the gun is broadly prohibitive. You will pay what you would for your bull’s-eye tuned 1911—after all the tuning. Fortunately, you get that level of quality from Alien, as well.

Alien owners are waiting for customization options, such as a barrel with a threaded muzzle, or magazines of expanded capacity. Lancer, the Alien’s distributor, remains committed so far to long-term support of the gun and swears these and other options are coming, but there is still no word yet of aftermarket or even spare parts support for the pistol.

The Alien is also a full-sized, all-steel pistol, so it is big and heavy and not meant for real-world carry, per se. It comes with what is supposedly a race holster, but I don’t much care for the thing. It tends to bite down and bind on the pistol if you don’t pull at exactly the right angle (some training helps here).

Finally, because this pistol begs to be shot at machine gun speeds, you will tend to do that, burning through tremendous volumes of ammunition. So you may consider that a drawback given current ammunition prices and availability.

The upshot of all of that rapid-fire shooting, in conjunction with the pistol’s all-metal construction, is that in short order its entire frame is smoking hot. The thumb and heel of the palm of your support hand, and your trigger finger which you so conscientiously keep “straight and off the trigger” between engagements, will be singed if you don’t have shooting gloves with good insulation.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

All in all, I am floored by the Alien. It is exactly what it is advertised to be, 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.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

I would like to thank Lancer’s people, particularly, for fighting the good fight to bring it to our shores. To give the reader a little background on that, the ATF essentially used COVID and other excuses to refrain from acting on the already legal and approved import agreement, effectively stonewalling (without justification) the pistol’s importation.

Lancer’s leadership went to war, legally speaking, filing suits and ultimately enlisting the aid of elected officials to force the ATF to finish processing the application and issue the final approval. It’s through the dedicated efforts of Lancer Systems that we have this new toy today.

Laugo Alien Review
Courtesy William Collier

Specifications: Laugo Alien Signature Edition Pistol

Caliber: 9mm
Overall Length: 8.2”
Barrel Length: 4.8”
Width: 1.1”
Height: 5.8”
Weight (empty): 2.2 lbs
Magazine Capacity: 17 rounds
Price: about $5000 retail (if you can find one)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance: * * * * *
It’s gorgeous. It’s sleek, brutal, and ultramodern…a standout design in an age of Tavors and chassis rifles.

Fit and Finish: * * * * *
Flawless. That’s the only word for it. And it had better be at that price.

Customization: *  
Promises, promises. We shall see.

Reliability: * * * * *
I was a little surprised by this. I have yet to be able to make it not work.

Accuracy: * * * * *
Probably sub-MOA. It’s remarkably accurate.

Overall: * * * * ½
A brilliant gun that’s almost impossible to acquire and lights you on fire if you have too much fun with it. The cup-holders are a little small.

 

This is a reader-submitted review. 

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55 COMMENTS

  1. I always wondered what happened to my S&W 622 target pistol that was stolen from my Jeep….whoever stole it used it for the design base for these Laugos. Send me one as production allows and we’ll let bygones be bygones.

    • The price for being on the cutting edge. Think of it like the early Teslas. It’s nifty, fun, with definite advantages and it’s the future. It’s also highly expensive and for those with lots of cash to spend.

      In ten years they’ll have an affordable version, hopefully.

        • People in the first airplanes crashed and died too, and God knows the automotive industry is no stranger to cars having safety issues. The Ford Pinto, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, hell even Firestone couldn’t make tires properly for a while.

          Innovation carries risks. There’s still a lot of hate and skepticism for Tesla, but Teslas aren’t going anywhere. Self driving cars are the future, particularly since they don’t have to be perfect.. they just have to be better than humans. Which is a shockingly low bar to beat.

          Back to the firearm in question, the Laugo is some of the first genuine innovation we’ve seen since Glock decided to make the frame out of plastic. Even Glock’s pistols are a derivative of Browning’s designs. I like seeing improvement instead of endless rehashes of the same thing in slightly different formats.

        • “Back to the firearm in question, the Laugo is some of the first genuine innovation we’ve seen since Glock decided to make the frame out of plastic.”

          HK did it more then a decade before Gaston Glock stole the idea.

          The Glock 17 is a rehash of the HK VP70.

        • High Point C9 is a rehash of a HK VP70. The HK and Glock have NOTHING in common except materials. If anything, the HK probably scared off anyone else from trying to make a polymer pistol

    • It will be interesting to see if they do like FK BRNO and make a polymer version for a somewhat more reasonable price.

      It might have the added benefit of not cooking the shooter’s hand.

    • “I expected a high price… but 5 large?”

      In all seriousness, Tom, if it does what it claims to do, someone like you would be the target market for that gun…

      • Those are expensive blinged out 1911s (there will always be a market for them). Not something innovative that is trying for a larger market.

    • “…a compact model to be named a Loogie.”

      If someone ever needed to pawn it, it adds new meaning to “Hock a Loogie”…

  2. If Laugo make a version the size of a G19 suitable for carry, then I can see the CEO of Smith and Wesson throwing it on the boardroom table and telling his staff “make a better one- or copy it!” ….Just like he did with the G19……
    Well- that gave birth to the M and P compact- the worlds best carry gun (with Apex flat faced trigger of course….)

    • Actually, that’s what gave birth to their Sigma. After Glock successfully sued them, they ditched the Sigma and redesigned to launch the M&P line.

  3. While the author certainly wrote a lot there are several important facts missing
    He talked about the trigger- but evidently did not have the means to measure the trigger
    pull weight.
    He did not discuss the operating action. It doesnt appear to be locked breech. That the pistol is imported is mentioned- but not the country of origin?
    This pistol by all appearances is simply an upgrade of the Arsenal Strike pistol, an
    interesting and innovative pistol. The Archon is another development of the Strike. The pistol illustrated- I may be wrong as there isnt much information- may be a different pistol but it appears not. Archon’s highly developed pistols are less than half the price of this pistol.

    • My apologies. I had assumed some audience knowledge of the Alien, as it has made the SHOT Show rounds and such for a couple of years. It is an upside-down hammer-fired gas-delayed blowback operating design. You can see the piston block mounted atop the barrel in the photos of the pistol disassembled. And, no, I don’t have the equipment to measure its trigger weight. Perhaps someone with a trigger tester would like to volunteer! Honestly, though, it didn’t even occur to me. I don’t notice or care about the weight of a trigger nearly as much as I notice and care about how it moves and how it breaks. Perhaps I’m out of the ordinary in that respect. It’s light, though. Real light.

      • Hey, don’t get us wrong- we appreciate the all-in commitment that you put into acquiring and feeding this pistol and the following report, I just don’t think most of the readers will agree that it’s money well spent (if there is such a thing). At the level of competition that would require the advantages of the design, most shooters would be at least sponsored and receiving help with equipment and ammo. While I myself would love to take possession of a pistol such as this, it would be tough to justify it’s purchase at this point in my life…so many daydreams, so little cash !! Again, thanks for the report though.

      • It is nothing like the pistols you mentioned… and not even by appearances… a simple look at the barrel opening in relation to the slide would tell you that.

  4. The company claims it is a gas delayed blow back.

    If this is the case the pistol, like the HK P7M8 and Walthers CCP, will not be reliable with a wide range of ammunition.
    This is certainly an oddity at best.

    • On the P7, the gas piston gets hot, which is right just in front of the chamber, so the trigger area gets uncomfortably warm if you shoot it a lot.

  5. $5000, wow.
    I got lucky today as a friend needed money pretty bad. TCP .380 and a Mini14 all for $200. I was pretty happy about that however the big plus was 50rnds of 380 and 40rnds of 5.56. I think he just throwed the gunms in for free.

    • On the Taurus, since this is TTAG.
      It ain’t no Seecamp but for the money, yeah it’ll work just as good.

      Polymer frame pos.

    • 200 bucks is a helluva deal on a Mini-14, even by itself…

    • Hey, Marsupial One –

      I’ll give you twice what you paid for that Mini-14, in cash… 🙂

  6. Neat. Now they just need a deal with someone to pump out a production version of the gun for less than $2K. Do that, give me a RMR/Holosun footprint upper, and slap a X300U on the bottom and I’d ditch the P320 platform entirely for it

  7. I had a chance to run one recently, can’t say I was enamored – definitely has a strange recoil impulse. Good gun but wouldn’t choose it over a CZ TSO, for example.

  8. Personally, with a pistol of this size and weight I’d rather have a .45 ACP or perhaps 10mm. Oh, I know you’d only have 14 or 15 rounds but then you wouldn’t need more.

    Just me and 45 years of shooting…

    https://youtu.be/0OHH49vtl2g

    • no one cares about your 45 years of shooting, you are a classic elmer fud. i watched your video, you shot that plate rack in slow motion. This pistol is for someone that knows how to run a hand gun, you are not that guy.

    • Ex-TTAG owner RF?

      (It wouldn’t surprise me in the least. He can afford fine things…)

    • There will be a “cheaper” version. The $5k version includes a nice case, 3 magazines, a second rail with a red dot, cleaning kit, and is signed by the designer Jan Lucansky. Incidentally he designed the CZ Scorpion EVO. I believe he was not employed by CZ but sold or licensed the design to them.

  9. At $5k…it BETTER be race-ready out of the box…YIKES!
    Maybe offer up 1,000 rounds of ammo, too.
    Saw where some guy in Chicago uses one as an EDC. Imagine losing this in a shooutout of some sort…confiscated by the cops as evidence…? Yeah…that’s what Glocks and Sigs are for.
    That said…I’d like one for the unique factor…but $5k? I can wait .

  10. A fellow competitor at a USPSA match had one of these. He was shooting it with an optic, which put him in Open division because the top rail where the optic goes doesn’t reciprocate. It really was amazing to see how flat the pistol shot. I was very impressed.

    • I did buy one. It was definitely an impulse buy. It took over a year to get it. But I’m single with no kids and no ex-wife. I figured I’d treat myself! I’m not into competition shooting and I can’t compare it to any other high-end guns. It is fun to shoot and it does make for a nice conversation piece at the range.

  11. The reason the Alien can reliably shoot ammo that will misfire in your Glock is due to it being hammer fired. Hammer fired pistols can transmit more energy to the primer because most of them have much stronger hammer springs than a striker system. I’m guessing that the problem with your remanufactured ammo is the primers aren’t consistently seated at the bottom of the primer pocket.

    Due to the primer shortage I’ve been using a lot of small rifle magnum primers to load 9mm. My striker fired guns usually won’t set them off on the first try. Sometimes it takes 3-4 hits or more with a striker to set them off. But they work fine in a Sig P228 or M9. Most of them I’m burning up in PCC like the MP5 that are also hammer fired.

  12. I have owned in the past 3 different brands of gas pistols and all gave me problems especially when trying to use a wide variety of ammo that used different power burning rates. Not to mention a page full of other annoying problems. Sorry I have had enough of them even if you gave me one of these for nothing. I might add that even though they were very accurate I have had traditional auto’s that shot every bit as well.

    • It is trivial to see that user AllexRod8 is a spammer and not just on this site.

      You may want to update for comment software to allow for reporting spammers.

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