"I like to keep this handy, for close encounters."
―Cpl. Hicks, regarding his shotgun (from Aliens)

Hicks' Shotgun[1] (spelled in game as Hicks's Shotgun) was Corporal Dwayne Hicks' personal Ithaca Model 37 pump-action shotgun that he used during the investigation of LV-426 in 2179.[2] During the investigation Hicks initially carried the shotgun in a scabbard.[2] However, Hicks was later forced to hand over his Pulse Rifle ammunition, forcing him to use his shotgun.[2] It was presumably destroyed when Hicks killed a Xenomorph Drone with the shotgun, splashing acid on it.[2]


  • Firepower: 9/10
  • Accuracy: 2/10
  • Rate of Fire: 4/10
  • Fire Mode: Pump-action
  • Magazine Size: 6 shells
  • Reload Time: 4 seconds


Hicks pumps his shotgun

Hicks draws and pumps his shotgun.

Hicks' Shotgun was an old family heirloom handed down through generations of Corporal Dwayne Hicks' family.[3] Hicks kept the shotgun in a leather scabbard carried on his back above his M3 Pattern Personal Armor.[2] When Hicks and the rest of 2nd Battalion Bravo Team were sent to investigate the colony Hadley's Hope on LV-426 in 2179, Hicks equipped his shotgun, although he initially only carried it in his scabbard.[2] When the team was investigating the colony's Atmosphere Processing Plant, they were ordered to hand over their M41A Pulse Rifle magazines and M56 Smartgun batteries for fear of rupturing the Processor's cooling systems.[2] Hicks then pulled out his shotgun and cycled the action (or "racked the slide"), telling Private First Class Ricco Frost, "I like to keep this handy, for close encounters.",[2] to which Pvt. Frost replied, "I heard that!" Later, Hicks discovered opened Ovomorphs in the Processor; he used his shotgun's barrel to investigate them and pick up a dead Facehugger.[2]

Hicks kills Warrior with shotgun

Hicks kills the Drone with his shotgun.

When the team was ambushed by Xenomorph Drones, Hicks began firing his shotgun at the oncoming Drones, hitting at least one Xenomorph. When Hicks retreated to the M577 Armored Personnel Carrier, he dropped his shotgun on the floor. A Drone prevented him from closing the APC's door; Hicks grabbed his shotgun and shoved it in the Xenomorph's mouth, yelling, "Eat this!", before blowing its head off, presumably resluting in the shotgun being destroyed by the Drone's acid blood.[2]

Non-canon depictions[]

Aliens: Newt's Tale[]

Hicks kills Warrior with shotgun (comic)

Hicks kills a Drone with his shotgun in Aliens: Newt's Tale.

In Aliens: Newt's Tale, Hicks' Shotgun differs from its appearance in Aliens, featuring an ejection port on the right side of the receiver (instead of the bottom), a longer ribbed pump handle (or fore-end), a pistol grip without tape wrapped around it, no "bridge" between the magazine tube and barrel and no front sight.

Aliens: Colonial Marines[]

Hicks' Shotgun in film and game

Hicks' Shotgun in the film (left)[4] and game (right).

Although Hicks' Shotgun was almost certainly destroyed by Xenomorph acid when the Corporal used it to blow a Drone's head off in the doorway of the squad's APC,[2] it returns in Aliens: Colonial Marines (presumably in a non-canon appearance) as a collectible "Legendary Weapon".[1] Furthermore, the weapon somehow found its way off of LV-426 and into the USS Sulaco's engine room;[1] none of the characters ever go to this part of the ship in the film.[2]

The weapon again differs from its film appearance to make it more personalized — "NO FATE" is carved into the top of the weapon and a "HICKS" name tag is printed on the side of the shotgun;[1] Additionally, the shotgun's pistol grip appears to be ribbed, instead of wrapped in tape, the front sight is different, the sights are now illuminated and it appears to feature some acid damage on the barrel,[1] presumably from when Hicks blows the back of a Drone's head off (although, as previously stated, it should have been destroyed).

Aliens: Field Report[]

Like the shotgun in Newt's Tale, Hicks' Shotgun in Aliens: Field Report features an inaccurate ejection port on the right side of the receiver, a ribbed pump handle (although, unlike the shotgun in Newt's Tale, it is not too long), no "bridge" between the magazine tube and barrel and no front sight.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite[]

Hicks' Shotgun, now known as the Heirloom Standoff, also makes an appearance in Aliens: Fireteam Elite as a pre-order bonus. Here, it retains most of the features of the shotgun Hick's carried in the film, rather than the above non-canon depictions, with the ability to change camos, add modifications and add decals to the weapon itself, like any other weapon in the game. However, it is depicted as the player's heirloom shotgun, rather than Hicks'.

The shotgun itself has one less round in its internal magazine, and oddly, the shotgun shells eject from the right, despite there is no modeled ejection port and that the ejection port is on the bottom.

Behind the scenes[]


According to Al Matthews (Sergeant Apone), when James Remar was still cast in the role of Corporal Hicks, Remar accidentally blew a hole in the set of Frank Oz's Little Shop of Horrors, which was being shot on an adjacent stage to Aliens at Pinewood Studios, with the shotgun. Matthews then said to Remar, "Where the fuck did you get live ammo?"[5]


Ithaca Model 37 in The Professionals

The shotgun being used in The Professionals.

The "hero" shotgun prop used by Hicks was an Ithaca Model 37, altered by having its barrel shortened[6] and the original hand grip replaced with a World War II MP 40 submachine gun pistol grip;[4] parts of the shotgun's original stock woodwork were retained as a fixing point for the MP 40 aluminum grip casting to mate to.[6] The same shotgun previously appeared in the episode "Heroes" (1978) of the British television series The Professionals and the episode "The Bogeyman" of the British television series Dempsey and Makepeace (1985), where it was used by the characters Tommy and Keith Lymon, respectively. In these television appearances, the weapon was fitted with a folding stock, seemingly also taken from an MP 40. However, for the filming of Aliens, the stock was removed. Also for Aliens, the grip had gaffer tape wrapped around it,[4] covering the entire grip along with the holes for mounting the folding stock.[7] By the time the shotgun came to be in the possession of the Prop Store, the tape had long been removed.[4]

Hicks' Shotgun receiver

The right (top) and left (bottom) of the hero shotgun prop's receiver.[4] Note the engravings.

Although it is commonly stated that Hicks' Shotgun was the factory standard compact "Stakeout" variant of the Ithaca Model 37, the hero weapon was actually a full-size hunting variant that had been cut down later by a professional movie armorer. Most notably, the shotgun bears etched hunting scenes on both sides of the receiver, common to Ithaca sporting guns. Additionally, the "Stakeout" variant's barrel measures 13.5", whereas the barrel on the film weapon is longer (although still cut down from its original length) and has iron sights braised at the end.[6]

Only one hero shotgun was supplied to the production and was used exclusively by Remar and Michael Biehn (who played Hicks in the finished film). Although originally a live fire weapon, it was safely and "sympathetically" deactivated some time after production of Aliens wrapped to make it safe for public display and to comply with United Kingdom firearms law. Despite being deactivated, the hero prop retains full functionality, and the pump action still is able to be used.[4]

Hicks' stunt shotgun

Hicks' stunt shotgun. Image from The Harry Harris Aliens Collection & Archive.[8]

A stunt version of the shotgun was also made for filming.[8] Measuring 57 cm (22.44"), it was used as a lightweight replacement for the considerably heavier real Ithaca.[8] The grip and receiver appear to be made from the same "car filler" type resin used on the helmet cameras worn by the Marines, while the barrel section is made from dense foam rubber.[8] The stunt shotgun was apparently on display at the Alien War attraction for some time.[6] Additionally, an image of the screen-used stunt shotgun in a display case is visible on the Prop Store's website,[9][10] indicating that the Prop Store may have at one time owned or sold the shotgun.

Allegedly, the hero prop was also owned by the Prop Store at some point;[4] however, it no longer appears on the Prop Store's page for their collection of Aliens props.[11]

Coincidentally, Biehn previously carrier an Ithaca Model 37 as the character Kyle Reese in The Terminator. However, with the exception of a continuity error, Reese uses a different Model 37 variant that has a high-capacity magazine tube and stock, although he saws off part of the latter to give it a pistol grip. An Ithaca Model 37 was also featured in The Terminator's 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day, albeit briefly. Both Terminator films were, like Aliens, written and directed by James Cameron.

Aliens: Colonial Marines[]

NO FATE in Terminator 2

"NO FATE" carved into a table in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

The "NO FATE" carved into the top of Hicks' Shotgun in Aliens: Colonial Marines is a reference to Biehn's role in The Terminator (where he also carried an Ithaca Model 37) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day; in the extended Special Edition Terminator 2, the phrase "no fate" features prominently in Biehn's dialogue, while later in the film, protagonist Sarah Connor carves the words "NO FATE" into a table.


  • When viewing the weapon in Aliens: Colonial Marines' Service Record Special Projects menu, it displays Hicks' famous "I like to keep this handy... for close encounters." quote.[1]
  • When reloading Hicks' Shotgun the player's hand will slightly glitch through the shell. However, this is hard to see in-game due to the speed at which the player loads the shells.[1]
  • The left side of the hero prop's receiver bears the markings "MGM". This could indicate that it was originally property of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as they have been known to mark their weapons with their initials.



Retconned appearances[]



Aliens: Newt's Tale[]

Aliens: Colonial Marines[]

External links[]