Steyr GB

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Rogak P-18, Steyr GB
Steyr GB (parabellum pl).jpg
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin  Austria
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designer Hannes Kepplinger and Hermann Schweighofer[1]
Designed 1968
Manufacturer LES, Inc., Steyr Mannlicher
Produced 1970s, 1981–1988
Number built LES, Inc.: 2,300
Steyr: 15,000–20,000
Variants Rogak (stainless steel), Steyr commercial and military (matte blue)
Weight 845 g (unloaded)
1285 g (loaded)
Length 216 mm
Barrel length 136 mm

Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum
Action Gas-delayed blowback
Feed system 18-round detachable box magazine

The Steyr GB, is a double-action 9×19mm Parabellum caliber, large-framed semi-automatic pistol. The GB uses a gas-delayed blowback action and has a magazine capacity of 18 rounds. It was designed starting in 1968 as a replacement for older handguns in Austrian military service, and went into general civil production in 1982, though approximately 2,300 copies were made in the late 1970s in Morton Grove, Illinois by LES Incorporated, and marketed as the Rogak P-18.[2][3]


In the early 1970s, Morris and Michael Rogak, a Steyr importer, received a set of preliminary engineering plans for the Steyr Pi-18 pistol, and set up a manufacturing facility in Illinois to produce the new pistol as the Rogak P-18. While the Rogak, with its 18 shot capacity (the highest available at the time) and stainless steel construction, was revolutionary on the market, it proved too different to be accepted by the general public. It was made without an extractor or ejector, and utilized a gas bleed system that reduced recoil.

The rifling used in the Rogak version was a hybrid of polygonal rifling. Customers who didn't read the manual and letter that accompanied each pistol returned some of the units stating that the factory forgot to rifle the barrel. In fact, the rifling did not have standard lands and grooves, but was there nonetheless. This unique rifling did not allow the gas to escape in front of the bullet, so even though it bled gas which lessened recoil, the velocity increased by almost 30%. The pistol needed ammunition with fast burning powder to function properly, and due to the misunderstanding of its features by the populace, slow burning powder ammunition led to its reputation for malfunction.

The Steyr GB was briefly widely touted as the ultimate "Wonder Nine" high capacity 9 mm pistol, but its popularity was cut short when the then-brand new Glock 17 pistol by new-to-firearms-manufacturing firm Glock won a testing competition for the Austrian Army service pistol order. It was also a competitor for the U.S. military pistol competition ultimately won by the Beretta M92F.

Commentary from U.S. firearms testers and writers indicated that the GB had remarkably low recoil for a pistol of its caliber and it was generally well liked in testing, but the lack of government orders meant that total production was only a reputed 15,000 to 20,000 pistols between 1981 and 1988. Most were commercial models, 937 examples of the military version were imported into the U.S. before production ceased.[2]

Operating mechanism[edit]

The Steyr GB is a semi-automatic, blowback-operated firearm. It features a unique gas-delayed blowback locking system (the Barnitzke system), first used in the Volkssturmgewehr 1-5,[4] and subsequently in the Swiss Pistole 47 W+F (Waffenfabrik Bern) prototype pistol.[5] The Barnitzke system uses gas pressures from the ignited cartridge and feeds them through a small port in the barrel (in front of the chamber) to retard the rearward motion of the slide. This is accomplished by means of a fixed piston formed by the outside of the barrel, inside of a moving cylinder formed by the inside of the slide, that opposes the rearward motion of the slide until the gas pressure has declined—after the bullet has left the barrel—hence allowing the slide to continue its rearward motion, opening the breech and ejecting the empty cartridge case.[6][7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Fjestad, S. P. (1992). Blue Book of Gun Values (13th ed.). Minneapolis, Minn.: Blue Book Publications. ISBN 0-9625943-4-2. 
  3. ^ a b c Gangarosa, Gene, Jr. "Steyr's GB; Too Good Too Soon?".  Originally published in: Warner, Ken (1993). Gun Digest 1994 (48th ed.). Northbrook, Il.: DBI Books. ISBN 0-87349-141-6. 
  4. ^ Popenker, Max R. (June 29, 2010). "Gustloff Volkssturmgewehr VG.1-5 rifle (Germany)". Modern Firearms. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ Hogg, Ian V.; John Walter (2004). Pistols of the World (4th ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 45. ISBN 0-87349-460-1. OCLC 56714520. 
  6. ^ Popenker, Max R. "Steyr GB (Austria)". Modern Firearms. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ Hogg, Ian V.; John Walter (2004). Pistols of the World (4th ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: Krause Publications. p. 329. ISBN 0-87349-460-1. OCLC 56714520.