A Legal Alien: Laugo Retro Pistol Now IPSC Compliant — SHOT Show 2022

The new Retro meets regulations for IPSC guns with electronic sights.

Not long ago, the Alien 9mm by Laugo Arms shocked the shooting world with a significantly different design. GunsAmerica ran a good introduction piece in 2019.

This gun has been very successful, selling out completely each shipment received from the Czech Republic. It ran into some roadblocks, however, in relation to its basic design and regulations for firearms used in International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) competitions.

Low Bore, Divided Slide

The Alien is remarkable for at least three reasons. First, it has a very low bore axis, which significantly impacts its recoil impulse for the better. The barrel is set very low in the frame, almost in line with your thumbs in a thumbs-forward grip. This reduces the amount of movement when the gun fires as it moves more backward and less upward compared to traditional pistols. This generally makes it easier to keep on target.

The barrel is situated very low in the frame.

Second, its action utilizes a delayed-gas piston to drive the slide back, so the bullet is out of the barrel before the gun really moves at all. And the barrel is pinned into the frame, so it never moves during a firing sequence. These features also make it easier to keep on target.

The slide is very low profile, and very lightweight.

Third, the slide itself is fundamentally different from almost all the other semi-auto handguns you’ve seen. The slide is separated from the central rail which houses the barrel. The sides of the top move, but the center stays in position on the frame. That means the slide is very lightweight compared to most other guns, and less weight moving back also makes it easier to keep the gun on target.

Takedown is simple, by removing this single pin.

Slide design also means that the iron sights and red dot sights don’t reciprocate backward with each shot, either. Shooters report that it is simple to watch your shots through the optic, which is not normal with most guns.

It’s a cool design, and you should check out the whole story in our other article.


Competitive shooters have loved this gun — and at about $5K, it’s usually not bought by weekend plinkers. However, it soon became ineligible for use with electro-optics in IPSC competitions. It has something to do with a rule that optics must be mounted to the “slide.” This makes sense when you consider that almost every other gun in production has a slide that covers the entire top of the gun and reciprocates with each shot. The only way to describe where an optic is mounted is to say on top of the slide.

Maybe someone once had a cantilevered mount, like folks use for AKs, to get an optic mounted to the frame but positioned over the slide. Whatever the history, the wording of the rules eliminated the Alien from use in competition. It’s currently under review for USPCA competitions, as well.

The Retro beats the regs by adding a bridge over the top rail.

The Retro

This is where the new Retro version of the Alien comes in. Laugo made space and tapped the top edges of the slide and added a plate to hold optics. It’s like an arch that passes over the rest of the top rail. The optics are now mounted to the slide and it meets the regulation for IPSC shoots.

Initially, the Retro will only be available as a complete gun, but kits that include the updated slide alone will soon be available. The firearm will be available in February 2022, and it sells for $4,200. The reduced price is because the original Alien comes with two top rails, one with iron sights and one with an optics plate.

You’ll find the Laugo Arms Retro Alien at its U.S. distributor, Lancer Systems.

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About the author: Levi Sim is an avid hunter, and an increasingly avid shooter. He strives to make delicious and simple recipes from the game he kills. He makes a living as a professional photographer, writer, and photography instructor. Check out his work and he’d love to connect on Instagram: @outdoorslevi

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Jim January 20, 2022, 11:14 am

    Rules never keep up with technology.

  • Matt Kartozian January 20, 2022, 10:49 am

    This is specifically for the Carry Optics division. Its always been legal for Open and depending on the numbers produced also legal for Production and the Limited/Standard divisions.

  • Husam Taha January 20, 2022, 8:58 am

    What is the price for this pistol?

    • Jay Smith January 20, 2022, 10:23 am

      Says $5 K in the article….

  • Mauser6863 January 20, 2022, 8:41 am

    I owned an original AimPoint sight, which was their first effort and basically sucked, unlike today’s offerings. The only way to get the optic on the gun without milling and drilling, was to replace one grip panel on a 1911, with an aluminum panel with a aluminum panel that had a cantilevered mount that floated above the rear slide,

    I current rules obviously prevent that and were designed to prevent someone from either using a bottom rail or what we used to see, a rail attached to the side of the gun with a drilled and tapped mount.

    These “Gamer” guns and the games they play are in many ways, a bad joke. Guns and equipment have no relation to real life carry, especially the stupid shotguns, OMG. I know some competition like two gun are addressing this, but the money competitions, don’t seem to care.

    I find it funny that you can’t use the Alien in its bone stock form and that they have to offer a “Gamer Version”, which shows the stupidity of their thinking. If the manufacturer made it that way and say make 1,000 – 5,000 guns that were sold, then you should be good to go.

    • Matt Kartozian January 21, 2022, 2:47 am

      The original Aimpoint was released in 1974. It only attached via Weaver rail.

      The Alien was not created for competition, that was a coincidence. It was and is legal in stock form, just not for Carry Optics which is the division this post is referencing.

  • Buckshott00 January 19, 2022, 7:08 pm

    I REALLY want to shoot one of these!! There’s just so much cool and thoughtful stuff going on with this pistol!!

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