Claridge Hi-Tec/Goncz Pistol
The Claridge Hi-Tec S9
|Place of origin||United States|
|Designer||Lajos John Goncz|
|Manufacturer||Claridge Hi-Tec, Inc. (CLD)|
|Barrel length||127 mm (5 in)|
|Cartridge||9×19mm Parabellum, .45 ACP|
|Effective firing range||40 m (43 yards)|
|Feed system||18 or 36-round detachable box magazine (9mm), 10 or 20-round magazine (.45 ACP)|
|Sights||Square notch rear, vertical hooded post front|
The Claridge Hi-Tec and its antecedent the Goncz High-Tech Long Pistol are semi-automatic pistols designed by Hungarian inventor/engineer Lajos John Goncz. This unique firearm features a telescopic bolt design encased in a tubular upper receiver with a forged steel frame, button rifled match barrels, and 16-round magazines standard.
The Claridge pistols and carbine rifles were based on this design. In 1990, Claridge Hi-Tec, Inc. was created by Joe and Gail Claridge who incorporated Claridge Hi-Tec, Inc. in Northridge, CA. Claridge used this design to produce pistol models S, L, T, ZL-9 and ZT-9, and carbine rifle models C, LEC-9 and ZLEC-9. However, the property rights of the design and rights to produce the weapon came under dispute. In 1993 Claridge Hi-Tec was forced to cease operations due to the Government out lawing the guns in the state of California. No firearms based on the Goncz design have been produced since then.
The lower receiver/frame is a one-piece machined design integral with the pistol grip and trigger guard. It houses all the firing components and the safety mechanism. The magazine is fed through the pistol grip. 16-, 20- and 30-round magazines were made for the weapon, but since 1993 none have been produced. However, re-notched Beretta 92F magazines can be used, and many of those found on the market today are in fact modified Beretta or SIG magazines.
The upper receiver is a one-piece tube with a screwed in match barrel. Goncz Armament utilized heat treated 4130 solid chrome alloy for the receiver tube. On the Goncz GA and Claridge T and L models, and all rifles, it also acts as a barrel shroud. The receiver tube houses the bolt, guide rods and guide springs. All Claridge Hi-Tec and Goncz Armament firearms utilize match barrels manufactured in-house that are button-rifled.
The bolt travels on a firing rod which protrudes through the bolt, left of center, next to the firing pin, and a guide rod located at the top of the bolt. Both rods and their corresponding springs are attached to the spring holder base plate. A recoil buffer sits on the base plate to prevent damage to the bolt when cycling.
The firing pin is a totally unique design. It is attached to a striker plate that travels in a channel on the left side of the bolt when cycling. This design ensures the firing pin remains exceptionally sturdy compared with other designs.
The iron sights consist of a square notch in the rear, and a vertical hooded post in the front. There are no accessory rails and no adapters have been produced for the use of a scope or other aiming devices.
The Goncz action cycles as a closed-bolt mechanism. The user operates the bolt with a knob on the upper-left side of the gun similar to a Tec-9. When Claridge Hi-Tec began production they modified the Goncz design by adding a bolt hold-open button on the left side of the frame. None of the guns produced by Goncz Arms had this feature. However, this is only for inspection as the bolt cannot travel forward from this position with a magazine inserted. The user must insert the magazine with the bolt closed and cock the gun in order to chamber a round.
Claridge produced five models of the Hi-Tec pistols and three models of the Hi-Tec rifles:
S9 - Similar to the Goncz Armament GS-9, with the exception of the bolt hold open; there was no bolt hold open on any Goncz Armament model. A model marketed as a "sub-compact" (although this is misleading as it is far from being subcompact) with a 5" threaded barrel capable of receiving various attachments. These include a threaded barrel protector, a smooth 3" barrel extension, a ribbed 3" barrel extension, and a shrouded extension. Ostensibly, a silencer could also be attached, but there are none available for the thread type.
S45 - Same design as the S9 chambered in .45 caliber.
T9/L9 - Similar to the Goncz Armament GA-9, these 9 mm target/long models utilized a 9.5" shrouded button rifled match barrel. These pistols are highly accurate, therefore "target model" is apt in this case. These pistols came either all blued or with a blued upper and silver frame.
T45/L45 - Same design as the T9/L9 except chambered in .45 caliber.
ZL-9 - Unknown.
ZT-9 - Unknown.
All Hi-Tec rifles were semi-automatic carbines with 16" shrouded button rifled match barrels.
C9 - Walnut stock and forend chambered in 9 mm.
C45 - Walnut stock and forend chambered in .45 caliber.
LEC9 - Black synthetic stock and forend chambered in 9 mm.
LEC45 - Black synthetic stock and forend chambered in .45 caliber.
ZLEC9 - Unknown.
Goncz Armament Models
The Goncz Hi-Tech Models were introduced in 1984 in the following Models:
GS - Goncz Special: GS-9 (9 mm), GS-4 (.45 ACP) and GS-3 (.30) Mauser with 5.5 inch threaded barrel is able to accept silencers with a 3/4 - 13 thread; also will accept a barrel extension or a thread protector.
GC - Goncz Carbine GC-9 (9 mm) with walnut forearm.