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Rogak P18 – A Cautionary Tale of Manufacturing

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In this video, Ian from Forgotten Weapons talks about the Rogak P18, an American counterfeit pistol manufacture. It came out in the late ’70s to early ’80s. It is supposed to be a copy of the Steyr GB service pistol, a pretty slick gun — with some contention as to whether it was unlicensed or just unfortunately made.

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Les Rogak was a Steyr distributor in Illinois who managed to acquire a set of plans for the GB pistol, and put it into production before Steyr-made examples were available in the United States. On paper, the gun seemed quite formidable as it was a stainless steel 18 and a shot gas-delayed military pistol in the late ’70s was something on the forefront of handgun development. Unfortunately, Rogak’s manufacturing left a lot to be desired.

The fit on the gas delay system of the Rogak was too loose to actually hold gas pressure, so it acted as a simple blowback pistol. To compensate for this, Rogak added a sort of fiber buffer stack in the receiver to reduce the slide battering on the frame and ground off the extractor claw to prevent the rapid slide opening from tearing cartridge rims off. Even with this, the gun was utterly problematic with numerous burrs, casting defects, and fit problems.

Despite losing to the Glock in Austrian military trials and to the Beretta in American military trials, the authentic Steyr GB was an excellent pistol. That said, the Rogak copy was quite poorly made. It was so bad that Steyr actually filed a legal suit to stop their manufacture.

It is commonly stated that about 2,00 Rogaks were made, but the number may be closer to just a thousand or so. Not much can be said about shooting a Rogak P18, but they are a quite an item for collectors. Guns of this quality are quite rare.

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