South African KOMMANDO-LDP "RHUZI" submachinegun/pistol 9x19mm

South African KOMMANDO-LDP

HISTORY-DESCRIPTION The genesis of the KOMMANDO-LDP is to be dated back to the 1960s, when the Apartheid regime existed not only in the Republic of South Africa, but also in the then so-called Rhodesia. Those oppressive regimes were already under arms embargo at the beginning of the decade, yet the Rhodesian Armed Forces were massively equipped with the most common weapons of the times, including the Czech Vz-25 submachineguns. Foreseeing the need for a domestic firearms industry, the Rhodesians set up machineries to manufacture locally this submachineguns for "Counter-Terror Forces", actually to provide their oppression forces with weapons to fight the rebels of the African National Congress. This gave birth to this submachinegun, which at the times was dubbed the RHUZI (RHodesian UZI) because of its similarity with the Israeli SMG. Another source (http://ccrweb.ccr.uct.ac.za/archive/defencedigest/defdigest02.html) however states literally: "After 1965 the economy of Rhodesia was subjected to United Nations sanctions, and an arms embargo. When the guerrilla war started in 1966, the Rhodesians were forced to improvise. Claims were made that Rhodesian industry was capable of manufacturing all the war materiel vital to sustain a protracted guerrilla war. These claims underplayed the real drama of the daring smuggling escapades of military hardware, of sanctions busting and of the dis-implementation of the arms embargo by sympathetic governments like apartheid South Africa, Israel and the United States of America. A good example is the Israeli arms connection. In 1976, Israel supplied large quantities of the UZI submachine gun to Rhodesia. The Rhodesians were later granted a licence to assemble the UZI which the local press claimed was 100 percent made in Rhodesia and which was locally called the LPD/RHUZI". This statement might be partially true (is notorious that Israel and the USA were sympathetic with the Apartheid regimes and supported them in many ways, Israel did it to gain an influence over Africa, which they saw as a potential source of basic commodities, while the United States of America wanted to exploit the natural aggressivity of those totalitarist regimes to fight any possible Soviet - ComBlock influence over Africa), but there's no doubt that the LDP/RHUZI is much more similar to the Vz-25 than to the UZI. Even if the UZI is by itself based on, heavily borrowed from, and an evolution of, the VZ-25 itself. The manufacturer was LACOSTE ENGINEERING, owned by a certain Mr. PONTER, while the designer of the submachinegun was a certain Mr. DuPless; that's where many state that LDP comes from, even thought many owners of the pistol insisted that the "LDP" stands for "Land’s Defense Pistol." The design seemed to fade from memory after the Rhodesian Revolution, but shortly thereafter the LACOSTE ENGINEERING Company re-established in the Republic of South Africa as the KOMMANDO ARMS MANUFACTURING COMPANY, PTY Ltd. and re-started manufacture of the LDP, calling it the KOMMANDO. This time, the LDP should really stand for "Land's Defense Pistol", since the Rhodesian RHUZI was a selective-fire submachinegun, while the South African KOMMANDO-LDP was a semi-automatic firearm for civilian, military and police use. The sample pictured here is a South African production KOMMANDO-LDP, recognizable by the KOMMANDO ARMS MANUFACTURING mark on the frame, and by the extensive use of plastic in it; Rhodesian models had no plastic use. The gun is also notable for some simple yet genious safety solutions, as an attempt to reproduce cheaply in the gun the grip safety of the Israeli UZI-SMG. Just like the Vz-25, the LDP is blowback-operated, and the Rhodesian manufacture models were selective-fire. The selection was by trigger, short trigger pulls producing single shots while longer pulls making the gun fire free bursts. Or, at least, that's the way it had been conceived to work. The South African LDP is, depending on how you look at it, a very large pistol or a submachinegun that has no automatic fire provision (in the South African, and more spread, version). It still looks very much like the VZ-25, or just a little bit smaller. The LDP is a mess in its construction, a weapon that jams often and sometimes fires automatic bursts instead of the semiautomatic fire it is supposed to produce. The LDP has a submachinegun-style folding wire stock. The weapon is fairly common in the United Kingdom, or it has been for a while; it has seen some civilian sales, because of its low cost and appealing military lookalike; but mostly, it has been found, and still is sometimes, in the hands of criminals, very often converted to full-autofire (British Police reports state that's a pretty easy job to do... since it seems that the gun would often fire burts by itself). It's also to be noted that the VZ-25 design has always appealed the Afrikaner gunmakers. When the KOMMANDO-LDP failed, another South African company, named DAM PIENAAR INDUSTRIES, controlled by the ARMSCOR (State-Owned Armaments Corporation of the Republic of South Africa) manufactured the SANNA-77, a semiautomatic-only version of the Vz-25, offered on the internal civilian market; it had also been conceived in selective-fire for military and police, but looks like the audience felt the design long in the tooth (or at least they didn't trusted it anymore after the LDP fiasco), and sales were small. TECHNICAL SPECS: CALIBER: 9x19mm-Parabellum CAPACITY: 32 rounds TOTAL WEIGHT: About 3 Kilograms, empty TOTAL LENGHT: 445 Millimetres (Stock folded) / 686 Millimetres (Unfolded) BARREL LENGHT: 284 Millimetres RIFLING: 6 grooves, RH RATE OF FIRE: 650 Rounds Per Minute (Rhodesian models, later South African production being semi-autos) EFFECTIVE RANGE: 100-200 meters

Submitted by: Pierangelo Tendas & Roger Desbois