The M56 Smart Gun is a fictional weapon, first appearing in Aliens, the second film in the Alien film series. It is significantly larger than the M41A Pulse Rifle and provides squad level supporting fire for USCM infantry units.
The M56 fires 10x28mm caseless ammunition. In comparison, the M41A fires 10x24mm caseless ammunition. The M56 has a capacity of 300 rounds (or in rare cases, 500-round magazines). In comparison, the M41A has a maximum capacity of 99 rounds.
The name "Smart Gun" comes from the advanced firing computer which is integrated into the weapon. This computer is capable of various enhancements to the operation, the most obvious being that it can help the operator by locking onto moving targets (usually the center of mass of a target) and aiming the weapon. The entire mechanism can swivel in a limited arc to correct the shooter's aim. When a target has been acquired it is up to the operator to choose to fire. This function can be toggled on or off, as well as combined with other aspects of the weapon.
Since the weapon is heavy and has a large bulk due to the targeting computer, ammunition storage and the attached mechanics a special vest was developed to make the weapon more comfortable to handle.
The prop used in the movie was based on a German MG-42 machine gun, using a heavily modified steadicam harness. The handles were taken from a Honda motorcycle. The clutch cable was used to fire the gun from the rear handle.
In other mediaEdit
The Smart Gun appeared in the video games Aliens versus Predator and its sequel, Aliens versus Predator 2. It appeared in the video game Alien Trilogy and It also appears on the console game Aliens versus Predator: Extinction (in which they use a newer and improved version of the smartgun called the M57). Like its movie counterpart, it could lock onto enemies, but it also slowed the running speed of the person using it due to its weight. Often it is disabled in multiplayer matches due to an opinion that it is overpowered. Because the Smart Gun operates on motion detection, it does not lock onto targets that are not moving.
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