I think I’ve watched James Cameron’s Aliens well over 100 times in my life. When I was a kid I couldn’t get enough of the movie and by far one my favorites characters was Vasquez. Not only was she a total badass that was tougher than any of the guys on the ship but she had that gun – that crazy machine gun that she barely had to carry because it had a freaking arm attached to it! Genius!
It wasn’t until I went to film school that I realized that the gun was probably some sort of Steadicam rig, which made me admire it on a different level. When I finally saw what Nick Chen, Staff Writer for The Firearms Blog, had done, I was thrilled. He made the Steadicam gun of sci-fi lore a reality when it was reposted on Instagram millions of times. As with all the content you see on social media these days it was initially hard to know who made it. Eventually I was able to track down Solscud007, Chen’s IG alias.
At first, he told me that he had already written about the gun for TFB in the articles here and here, so interest seemed faint. But I told him I was more interested in learning about the reaction he got on social media, then I was in his process for building it. So, he invited me to a remote range about an hour north of Sacramento to talk and shoot. Chen told me it was a mixed reaction he had gotten from it. Some people saw the innovation and reference to the movie (as I had) and really loved the idea of it while others just thought it was stupid.
“People laugh and say you should put a Minigun on it. Yeah but that weighs 75 pounds (the rig is only rated for 20 pounds) and then the amount of torque is like 300-foot-pounds of energy. There is no way I could reliably hold it and shoot,” Chen said.
With a somewhat sad sigh, I’ll have to wait a little longer to see a true replication of the Aliens gun. However, I admire the man for getting this far in his experiment. In the end, Chen doesn’t see it as much more than “a simple gimmick.” It’s something which can be brought out at the range for a smile or a warm reminiscing of Vasquez capping aliens.