Ian McCollum wrote for us a few times, but his schedule precluded that from continuing. So, we’re forced to steal his stuff. We kid! We have his permission and his blessing to syndicate his stuff, and like all of our syndicated material it’s here using a canonical URL. Anyway, let’s get on with it: Les Rogak and the Rogak P18. This article originally appeared online at Forgotten Weapons. It appears here in its entirety with their permission. Mad Duo
Rogak P18 – A Cautionary Tale of Manufacturing
Ian McCollum, Forgotten Weapons
The Rogak P18 was a copy of the Steyr GB service pistol, with some disagreement over whether it was unlicensed or just unfortunately made. 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 US. On paper, the gun seemed quite impressive – a stainless steel 18-shot gas-delayed military pistol in the late 1970s was something on the forefront of handgun development.
Unfortunately, Rogak’s manufacturing left a lot to be desired. Where the authentic Steyr GB was an excellent pistol (despite losing to the Glock in Austrian military trials and to the Beretta in American military trials), the Rogak copy was quite poorly made. The fit on the gas delay system was too loose to actually hold gas pressure, resulting in the Rogak acting 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. Numerous burrs, casting defects, and fit problems plagued the guns, to the extent that Steyr actually filed a legal suit to stop their manufacture.
It is commonly stated that about 2300 Rogaks were made, but I suspect the number is closer to just a thousand or so, with serial number ranges being manipulated to give the appearance of greater numbers. While I would certainly not recommend any substantial amount of shooting with one, they make for a very interesting piece in a collection – guns of this quality are quite rare to find from US manufacturers!
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About the Author: Ian McCollum looks like someone crossed a beatnik with a Civil War cavalry officer — idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, and peculiarities are the first requirements to write for us or to earn our admiration; he’s perfect. McCollum is considered a gun nerd even among gun nerds. He’s probably best known for his work as the founder and editor of Forgotten Weapons. McCollum is also a producer and co-host of InRange TV. As if these chops weren’t enough, he’s a technical adviser for the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners and a professional researcher for Armament Research Services. Somehow he manages to balance such academic work with private consultation and practical shooting competition. He’s been published in publications such as Strzał Magazine and Popular Mechanics, and he has excellent taste in rare and obscure camouflage. If you’d like to support Ian’s goal of creating a comprehensive firearms encyclopedia, you should support Forgotten Weapons on Patreon.