The Heckler & Koch VP70 is a German-made semi-automatic/three-round burst capable pistol chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum.
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.
A unique feature of the pistol is the combination shoulder stock/holster available for the non-civilian 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. Civilian models of the pistol do not feature burst-fire capability, although some can still mount the shoulder stock.
In Aliens, the VP70 is the standard sidearm of the United States Colonial Marine Corps, despite the fact 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.
In Aliens: Colonial Marines, the VP70 is once again used by the USCM, under the name W-Y 88 MOD 4 Combat Pistol. Lieutenant Gorman's own VP70 is also featured in the game as a "legendary weapon", simply called Gorman's Pistol.
Behind the ScenesEdit
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 uncommon weapon, and its ambiguity helped to mask its real-world origins in the movie. Using an unusual but existing weapon for the Marines' sidearm was far cheaper than modifying a more common pistol to look futuristic, as with the Pulse Rifles.