The M41A Pulse Rifle is a 10 mm pulse-action air-cooled assault rifle used as the primary infantry weapon by the U.S. Colonial Marine Corps and the U.S. Army in during the late 22nd century. The weapon is seen with an over-and-under configuration incorporating a PN 30 mm pump-action grenade launcher.
The M41A Pulse Rifle is an air cooled, fully automatic, short- to mid-range combat rifle. Made of light alloy plates, it fires 10x24mm Armor Piercing Caseless Rounds from a 100 round U-bend magazine in either semi automatic, four round burst, or fully automatic rates of fire. The magazines can hold 99 rounds, but were usually underloaded by 4-6 rounds capacity to avoid a spring-tension overfeed jam. The Pulse rifle has a small battery-powered digital readout screen that displays the number of rounds left in the magazine, with the battery located in the grip. It also features a retractable stock and an underslung four-round 30 mm PN grenade launcher.
The first series of Pulse Rifle, the M41 was issued to Marines stationed on LV-429 during the events of the first Aliens vs Predator was accurate when fired in bursts but jammed frequently when fired fully automatically. The weapon also featured an attached grenade launcher, but the grenades were tricky to use and often had an extreme blast radius that often caught the user in the blast zone itself. It was later out phased for the more efficient, M41A. A version appears in Aliens versus Predator: Extinction. This version lacks grenade launchers.
The Second series of Pulse Rifles issued as the new standard for Marines over its predecessor the M41 and the most notable variant in the Alien franchise. The M41A is able to fire fully automatic and was able to fire long range grenades with alarming accuracy. The high rate of fire made the weapon inaccurate at times, so short bursts where recommended but this was difficult seeing as how there was no direct way to aim the weapon with a target assisting computer to operate the sighting system. The rounds it fired were relatively low powered despite being armor piercing ammunition, which caused users to empty a magazine into a single opponent to gain a confirmed kill. They were only effective on light armour and were ineffective on Praetorian xenomorphs due to their tough exoskeleton. Unfortunately the problems arising with the M41's Grenade Launcher made firing the weapon in close range inadvisable as it still had an alarming splash radius that often hurt the user.
The M41E was a successor series to the M41A's in the Earth Hive novels by Steve Perry. This updated version had an effective range of about five hundred meters but the underslung thirty milimeter grenade launcher couldn't fire accuratly beyond one hundred meters. Marines were known to say the range on the launcher sucked because the "sights are for shit." At close range the weapon would do serious damage to anything with armor any thing lower then class VII spidersilk armor. It had a weight of 4.8 kilos, making it a lighter, more compact version of it's predecessor as noted by users of the older models when handling the M41E. It had different maximum round capacities when using different types of ten milimeter rounds: one hundred rounds with both the armor piercing and anti personnel, seventy-five of rainbow tracer rounds. 7 Future replacement 7.1 Overview 7.2 Background 8 See also 9 Notes
The M41A Pulse Rifle was designed by James Cameron and built by British armorers Simon Atherton and Andrew Fletcher from the parts and components of three firearms supplied by prop armory Bapty & Co., U.K. The rifle component utilised a World War II-era Thompson M1A1 submachine gun while the grenade launcher component was built around the action of a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun encased inside the shroud and foregrip of a Luigi Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun. The M41A prop was originally designed around a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun but the MP5 is said not to have produced a muzzle flash as large as desired for the impression of a futuristic infantry rifle.
- In the opening scene of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, some of the resistance fighters are armed with pulse rifles.
- In a episode of The Simpsons; The Lastest Gun in the West, the character Snake and some cronies use stolen pulse rifles to fight off Springfield's police force.
- In Command Conquer: Tiberian Sun, GDI soldiers use a weapon called the M16MKII Pulse Rifle, which may be inspired by the M41A.
- In the South Park two-parter Go God Go, Pulse Rifles are used by anthropomorphic sea otters.
- In the opening cinamatic of the game Independence War: Defiance, the crew of the Sparticus are shown to carry M41As.
- Several models of the Pulse Rifle are shown in the Sony PlayStation G-Police game series, where they are used in a few FMV cutscenes.
- Dead Space, a survival horror game by EA Redwood Shores contains a Pulse Rifle; of which it and several parts of the game (including an elevator scene uncannily similar to that in Aliens) were inspired by Aliens.