L.E.S. Rogak P-18 selfloading pistol

L.E.S. Rogak P-18 selfloading pistol

The story of this pistol starts right after STEYR DAIMLER PUCH Ag. & Co. KG of Austria launched, in the 1970s, of the GB selfloading pistol (GB = Gas Bremse, "Gas Brake"; otherwise known as the Pi-18 standing for "Pistole, 18 Schuss", or "18-rounds pistol", a reference to the enormous magazine capacity, astounding at the time and without equals if we make exception for the German HECKLER&KOCH Vp-70). At the time, STEYR had not a direct branch in the USA, just an importer called Les Rogak, owner of the LES-ROGAK INC. in Morton Grove, Illinois. By the time the launch of the STEYR GB-Pi18 was ready, Rogak received a set of manufacturing drawings for the new pistol. Whether he got the plans for publicity purposes to announce Steyr's upcoming handgun or actually had permission to build the pistol under his own name (the advantage of that arrangement for Steyr being deniability if the gun should fail) is not clear. In any event, he set up a manufacturing line under his LES-ROGAK INC. activity in Morton Grove, IL, and began building the pistol as the Rogak P-18. What resulted was a gun whose troubled history ominously foreshadowed that of the later GB, which it strongly resembled. The only (appearing) manufacturing difference between the original STEYR Pi18-GB and the LES ROGAK was that the ROGAK was made 100%in stainless steel Seemingly, the Rogak had a lot going for it. Its advanced design and stainless steel construction, combined with the highest-capacity production magazine available on any automatic pistol seemed to give it great potential for success. Unfortunately, several factors conspired against the Rogak. First of all, the 9x19mm-Luger/Parabellum/NATO chambering simply wasn't that popular in the United States in the late 1970s. This was almost seven years before the U.S. Armed Forces adopted a 9mm automatic pistol, and that's when it would have had its wider spread. What limited demand existed for 9mm pistols was adequately served by the Smith&Wesson Model 39 and the various surplus war-era Lugers, P-38s, Radoms, etc. Even those desiring a high-capacity pistol were more likely to buy a Smith&Wesson Model 59 or a Browning Hi-Power than the futuristic-looking Rogak. Those whose tastes ran to the exotic had the (then) new Beretta M-92 or even, for a lot more money the SIG P-210 or CZ-75 to choose from. But what really killed the Rogak was poor workmanship. So bad was its manufacturing quality that the leaky gas delay mechanism did not work. Instead, it was made to work as a simple blowback pistol by the addition of fiber buffers around the barrel. Despite good accuracy, the gun gained a reputation for choking on ammunition and earned the derogatory nickname of "Jammatic." Steyr took legal action to halt its manufacture, but even without a lawsuit the gun's reliability problems would very likely have been all the nails its coffin ever needed. The production of the LES Rogak P-18 ceased in the late 1970s or early 1980s after ROGAK INC. had made about 2300 guns. Not surprisingly STEYR has still today little good to say about LES Rogak. Please note that the manufacture of the LES Rogak P-18 started at the same time, if not briefly before, the manufacture of the actual STEYR Pi18-GB. The GB was briefly pointed as the ultimate high-capacity Wondernine, until the spread of the Glock 17 which offered the same magazine capacity (17+1 rounds) in a smaller and lighter package. The lack of Governmental orders determined the short production run of the Pi18-GB, of which only about 15000/20000 were made between 1981 and 1988; the Austrian Armed Forces actually -HAD- seriously evaluated the Pi-18 as service pistol and were taking steps to adopt it in replacement of the aging Browning High-Power and older Walther P-38 pistols still in service by the time, but everything went belly up when the Glock 17 was launched and subsequently the Austrian Armed Forces decided to adopt it instead, after having bought a ridiculous initial batch of the Steyr GB: only 50 pistols are known to have ended in the hands of the Austrian forces, and possibly none was ever actually distributed for service. -TECHNICAL SPECS- CALIBER: 9x19mm (9mm Luger/Parabellum/NATO) CAPACITY: 18 rounds, double-stack column detachable magazine WORKING SYSTEM: Blowback-operated OVERALL LENGHT: 216 Millimetres BARREL LENGHT: 136 Millimetres BARREL RIFLING: 6 grooves, RH HEIGHT: 147 Millimetres WIDTH: 37 Millimetres WEIGHT: 845 Grams (Unloaded) / 1285 Grams (Loaded) MAXIMUM RANGE: 50 Metres

Submitted by: Pierangelo Tendas