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Heckler & Koch VP70

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Heckler & Koch VP70Z
Production information

Heckler & Koch GmbH


Machine pistol

Technical specifications


  • 20.5 cm
Feed system
  • 18-round detachable box magazine
Fire mode(s)

Semi-automatic or 3-round burst

  • 9×19mm Parabellum


Rate of fire

2200 rounds/min (3-round burst mode)


50 m (effective)


Mid-late 20th century




The Heckler & Koch VP70 (from Volkspistole,[1][2][3] "People's Pistol") is a German-made, blowback-operated, striker-fired, double action-only, semi-automatic/three-round burst capable pistol chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum manufactured by Heckler and Koch GmbH.


The VP70 was the first ever polymer-framed pistol (a distinction often incorrectly given to the Glock 17, which was actually introduced 12 years after the VP70). This made it far lighter than most other pistols available at the time weighing in at only 820 g (28.9 oz) when unloaded.

A unique feature of the pistol is the combination shoulder stock/holster available for the VP70M (from Militär, "military"), the military version, that, when mounted, allows selective fire, enabling the pistol to fire in three-round bursts as well as the standard semi-automatic. When not in use, the shoulder stock doubles as a holster for the weapon. The civilian model of the pistol, the VP70Z (from Zivil, "civilian"), does not feature burst-fire capability, although some can still mount the shoulder stock.


In Aliens, the VP70M is the standard sidearm of the Colonial Marines, despite the fact that, in reality, the pistol ceased production in 1989, some 190 years before the events of the film. It is seen being use by Private Frost and Lieutenant Gorman. Corporal Ferro tries to draw hers, but Is killed by an Alien.

Gorman's Pistol

Gorman's Pistol as it appears in Aliens: Colonial Marines.

In Aliens: Colonial Marines, the VP70Z (erroneously; the pistol was a VP70M in Aliens) appears as the Legendary Weapon Gorman's Pistol. Also, the W-Y 88 Mod 4 Combat Pistol seen in the game appears to be an updated VP70Z and is visually the same, apart from the different slide markings (the 88 Mod 4 reads "MK 88 Mod 4") and the lack of "HK" (standing for Heckler & Koch) on the pistol grip.

Behind the ScenesEdit

Simon Atherton with VP70

Armorer Simon Atherton displays a VP70 used in Aliens.[4]

The VP70 was chosen for its role in Aliens because of its futuristic appearance (particularly at the time the film was made). Furthermore, it remains a fairly obscure weapon, and its ambiguity helped to mask its real-world origins in the movie.[4] Using an unusual but existing weapon for the Marines' sidearm was also far cheaper than modifying a more common pistol to look futuristic, as with the Pulse Rifles.

The VP70's use in Aliens later inspired two more weapons — the VP78 Pistol in the 2010 video game Aliens vs. Predator and the 88 Mod 4 Combat Pistol in the 2013 video game Aliens: Colonial Marines. However, while the 88 Mod 4 remains faithful to the design of the VP70, the VP78's design is not actually based on the VP70, but rather the Beretta 93R (a three-round burst variant of the Beretta 92FS).






  1. Manfred Kersten and Walter Schmid. HK- Die Offizielle Geschichte der Oberndorfer Firma Heckler & Koch (1999), Weispfennig.
  2. David Higginbotham. "The HK VP70 The First Polymer Framed Pistol". Retrieved on 2013-11-10. "HK says the VP [...] means Volks Pistole or People’s Pistol [...] This is where another (erroneous) name for the pistol comes from. Vollautomatische Pistole."
  3. Jack Lewis. The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons (2007), Gun Digest Books.
  4. 4.0 4.1 James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill, Stan Winston, Simon AthertonSuperior Firepower: The Making of 'Aliens' (2003), 20th Century Fox [DVD].


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