The Netgun, as the name suggests, is a specialized weapon utilized by Predators to immobilize and ensnare their targets. Unlike conventional firearms, this weapon fires a specially designed net rather than bullets or projectiles. The net itself is constructed from a highly durable and flexible material, allowing it to trap victims securely while causing moderate damage, and in some variants, death. Several types of the netgun exist, with many supporting gadgets and capabilities.
City Hunter Predator's Netgun
Out of the many weapons that the City Hunter used in the Predator 2, the netgun was one the most unique and fanciful. This bronze-colored netgun fired a metallic web that pinned the target to a wall, cutting into the target and immobilizing them. It was carried in the left leg holster like a pistol and could be fired from medium range but from much nearer than the shoulder cannon's range. Even though the Predator had a cloaking field around him, it only reached a certain distance from his body, and an outreached netgun would become visible when fired. The City Hunter's netgun was only used to fire one shot in a specific fight, and presumably took some time to reload. However, the weapon also showed up in the Aliens vs. Predator games and Predator: Hunting Grounds, where it could be rapid-fired, but had limited ammo.
Tips Of The Net
The netgun worked by shooting dozens of small metallic spear tips to a surface while carrying the net around them. These spear tips are also visible around the netgun and need to be refilled. When contacting a surface, the tiny spears pull the net tighter, making it cut into the target. However, the City Hunter's netgun was not made to immediately kill its prey, but only to incapacitate them so another weapon could be used to make the kill. After ensnaring the Jamaican gang member in the penthouse, the Yautja never got a chance to finish him off, as the other criminals shot and killed their own colleague while shooting wildly around them.
Escaping The Net
The netgun, its tiny spear tips, and the net itself are made from an unknown lightweight metallic alloy, that is supposedly near-indestructible. However, Harrigan was able to break out of the net while ensnared to the wall of the Predator ship, with the help of the Smart Disc. The smart disc was probably made from the same alloy itself and while powered up, could easily break the net. The Predator games have also indicated that the net is breakable, even with a regular army knife. For gameplay purposes, the net causes no damage either, and just incapacitates the player or enemy for a while, while further damage can be performed by the attacking Predator.
Celtic Predator's Netgun
The Celtic Predator had a netgun built directly into this wrist gauntlet on his left arm, which he used in at least two occasions. It is possible that Chopper and Scar Predator had the same device, but they never got around to employing it before their deaths. The gauntlet-based netgun was similar to the one City Hunter used, shooting out a metallic net that wrapped around the victim. It had the advantage of staying inside the cloaking field on the Predator and had less of a chance of being lost while attached to the leg holster. As the weapon was more closely integrated with the Predator's gear, it have been linked to the bio-helmet for targeting and tracking help.
The gauntlet-based netgun shot out the net which was surrounded by small metallic spears. These spears were slightly bigger than the ones from the City Predator netgun, and they were fewer in number. Immediately after contact with a surface, the back ends of the spears would start spinning, tangling the web closer together around the victim and cutting into them. Theoretically, if no contact with a surface was made, these tubes would start spinning as well, producing a similar effect. It is possible that the spinning effect would be configurable to be slower, or not spin at all, giving the victim a chance to survive.
Effect on Humans
Regardless of the type, the Predator's netgun has a devastating effect on humans. It is difficult to dodge, and once a human is ensnared, very difficult to break out of. The contracting net is very painful as it cuts into the flesh and is comparable to medieval torture, although it happens quite fast. Any regular body armor or human weapons caught in the net would also break down, including knives and guns. However, a Predator's own weapon, like the smart disc, can cut through the net. For a human, the entrapment in a net would usually end with the Predator finishing the kill with another weapon, as was the case with Max Stafford.
Effect On Xenomorphs
The effect of the netgun on Xenomorphs is much lesser than on humans, although it gives the Predator a momentary relief. A Xenomorph would be ensnared at first, but with its razor-sharp claws, tail, and acid blood, the Xenomorph would eventually get free. The Grid Alien from the first Alien vs. Predator movie got its nickname from the net cutting into its head and creating a grid pattern on its surface. Once the acid blood started flowing, the net broke down and Grid freed itself. Not being acid resistant was a common problem with the Young Blood Predator's equipment and caused these inexperienced Yautja a lot of trouble. Escaping from the net is even simpler and faster in the Alien vs. Predator games, where the Xenomorph just has to slash with their claws.
Feral Predator's Net Trap
Another type of launchable net appeared in the latest Predator movie - Prey, used by the Feral Predator. This "netball" was manually thrown by hand and like the other nets, entangled around its victim. However, this net was specifically made to kill its prey, and in a very painful and vicious way. The net was connected to a small spinning mechanism that quickly pulled the net into itself. Feral Predator used this device in his fight with the French Trapper. An unlucky victim was caught in the net together with a log, both of them were minced into small pieces, producing one of the goriest scenes in the movie.
Colonial Marine Taser Web Rifle
It is worth noting that a similar weapon to the Predator's netgun was shoved up in another part of the Alien vs. Predator franchise. In Aliens: Rogue, a group of Colonial Marines provided security for a secret research base and occasionally ventured into a controlled Alien hive. Their purpose was to capture a live Xenomorph specimen and bring it back for study, while it was very important not to kill or injure any Xenomorphs. The Marines used a Taser Web Rifle, a custom-made gun that shot out an electrified net. Contrary to the net used by Predators, the Xenomorphs could not escape from this trap using their claws, as any movement caused them to be shocked by the web. It is possible the scientists creating this weapon took inspiration from the Predator weapon or even used some stolen Yautja technology in developing it.
In conclusion, the Predator Netgun proves to be a remarkable and formidable weapon in the arsenal of the Yautja. Its ability to ensnare and immobilize targets with a specially designed net, constructed from a durable and flexible material, showcases its unique capabilities. Whether being used as a hand-held launcher, integrated into a gauntlet, or thrown as a trap, the netgun demonstrates its effectiveness against humans, albeit with potential escape through external means. While Xenomorphs may prove more resilient to its effects, the netgun still provides a momentary advantage for the Predators.