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MG 42

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MG 42
MG 42
Production information

Mauser Werke AG


General-purpose machine gun

Technical specifications


  • 112 cm
Feed system
  • Belt-fed
  • 7.92×57mm Mauser

Recoil-operated, roller-locked

Rate of fire

1,200 rounds/min


1000 meters


Mid-20th century


The MG 42 (Maschinengewehr 42, "machine gun 42") is a German-made general-purpose machine chambered in 7.92×57mm Mauser. It is famous for its use by the Wehrmacht during World War II.


The MG 42 has a proven record of reliability, durability, simplicity, and ease of operation, but is most notable for its ability to produce a staggering volume of suppressive fire; the MG 42 has one of the highest average rates of fire of any single-barrelled man-portable machine gun. Although designed by Nazi Germany, its use continued well beyond the Second World War; the derived MG3 machine gun is still in service with the Germany military today. The successful Heckler & Koch G3 rifle also traces its origins back to the MG 42 machine gun.


The MG 42 was the basis for the live-firing M56 Smartguns used in Aliens, built by British movie armorers Bapty & Co. The UA 571-C Automated Sentry Guns seen in the extended Special Edition were also based on MG 42s.[1]

In Aliens: Colonial Marines, the M56 Smartgun appears again with elements of the MG 42 still visible.


  • The MG 42 was one of three World War II weapons used in the construction of the (mostly fictional) firearms seen in Aliens. The others were the MP 40 (another German weapon) and the Thompson submachine gun (used by the Allies). The use of mostly WWII-era weapons on the production was probably for practical reasons — large numbers of such weapons are in existence (Bapty & Co. has a huge selection of working WWII firearms), ammunition is generally cheap and plentiful, and their typically solid-steel construction means they can be easily fitted with cosmetic modifications.


  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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