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Iconic weapon from Alien film franchise goes on display at Royal Armouries

Friday, 12 May 2017

In time for theatrical release of the latest instalment in the Alien film franchise, Alien: Covenant, the Royal Armouries museum in Leeds has put a very special item on display.

Acquired by the museum in 2015, the M-41A Pulse Rifle was made for the 1986 Aliens film and refurbished for its sequel Alien 3 in 1992.

As with much of the weaponry used in Aliens, the M-41A was personally designed by the film’s director James Cameron, with the futuristic military rifle being built by British armourer Simon Atherton.

The rifle is a particular favourite with fans of the franchise, immortalised by Corporal Hick’s famous line to Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley: “I’d like to introduce you to a close personal friend of mine. M-41A pulse-rifle. 10 millimetre, with over-and-under 30 millimetre pump-action grenade launcher.”

As with other items from popular culture on display at the Royal Armouries, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy swords and Vampire Killing Kit, the M-41A rifle was acquired as part of the museums Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Collecting Cultures’ project.

Jonathan Ferguson, Curator of Firearms, comments: “At the Royal Armouries we’re involved in an HLF-funded project called ‘Collecting Cultures’, which for us means collecting, researching, and displaying arms and armour from film and TV.

“We’ve acquired several important pieces, but for me as a huge fan of the ‘Alien’ movies, the proverbial Holy Grail was the iconic ‘M-41A Pulse Rifle’ from ‘Aliens’ (1986) and ‘Alien 3’ (1992). James Cameron and armourers Bapty & Co came up with one of cinema’s classic weapons; a futuristic yet believable military rifle with its own distinctive sound.

“I was so pleased to be able to secure one of the surviving examples for the national collection of arms and armour. With the new ‘Alien: Covenant’ movie just coming out, we thought it would be a good time to get this piece of cinema history on display.”

You can see the Pulse Rifle in our Self Defence gallery, near the Swords of Middle-earth display. This includes a number of replica iconic hero weapons built by Weta Workshop, which made the original swords, for The Lord of the Rings (2001-3) and The Hobbit (2012-14) motion picture trilogies.

For more information on the M-41A Pulse Rifle visit the Royal Armouries website:


Notes to editors

Further enquiries to: Katie Canning, Communications Officer, Royal Armouries at Telephone: 0113 220 1978, Mobile: 07810 364571

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.

– Royal Armouries has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London and Fort Nelson in Hampshire.
– The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds houses a major part of the national collection of arms and armour, and displays over 8,500 objects throughout its five themed galleries.
– Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Closed 24-26 December
– Website:
– The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business based on the same site in Leeds.

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.