The Steyr GB is a large semi automatic pistol with a rather unique form of gas-delayed blowback operation. Unlike most 9mm pistols, the GB has no mechanical locking mechanism to delay slide opening long enough for pressures to drop to a safe level. Instead, the barrel is ported about halfway down its length and a removable barrel bushing on the nose of the slide forms a piston and cylinder arrangement with the forward end of the barrel. When the pistol is fired, the gas passes through the ports and pressurizes the chamber formed by the bushing and a raised ring machined into the barrel. Unlike conventional gas operation, the pressure pushes the slide forward until the bullet exits the bore and pressure drops to the point where normal blowback occurs. This revolutionary design also decreased felt recoil. The design also had few moving parts, less than 50, and its frame was two halves that were welded together. The GB's other unique property was its 18 round factory magazine capacity tied with the even rarer Heckler & Koch VP70 as the largest of any standard flush mounted pistol magazine available at the time.
Developed by Steyr starting in the early 70s, the basic design was copied by an American firm and called the L.E.S. Rogak P18. Made of Stainless steel and produced in Morton Grove, IL (of all places!) for a short time in the late 70s, the Rogak soon developed a well deserved reputation as a failure prone piece of junk. The Steyr produced imports from the 80s were excellent pistols however, and soon developed a small but loyal following due to outstanding ergonomics, accuracy, reliability, and of course magazine capacity. In 1983, the Steyr GB was then submitted to the pistol trials for the Austrian army, to hopefully get a contract with the government and become the country's new sidearm. Unfortunately, the Austrian army adopted a radical new plastic pistol from curtain rod manufacturer Gaston Glock instead of the GB. Steyr then turned their interests to the United States. The following year, in 1984, the United States held their own pistol trials, however, the GB was eliminated from the U.S. military trials due to reliability issues. After this, Steyr tried to re-focus and market the GB to the civilian shooters and police on the American market. However, sales were much slower than anticipated because it was priced higher than many competing guns, and the 9mm cartridge was not yet popular enough to ensure an adequate audience. Steyr stopped making the GB in 1988 after 15,000 – 20,000 guns were made. Today, they are quite rare in the US and both the pistol and their magazines command a premium over similar handguns of that era.
(1981 – 1988)
- Type: Pistol
- Caliber: 9x19mm
- Weight: 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg)
- Length: 8.5 in (21.6 cm)
- Barrel length: 5.3 in (13.6 cm)
- Capacity: 18-round magazine
- Fire Modes: Semi-Auto (SA/DA)
The Steyr GB can be seen in the following movies, TV shows, and video games:
|They Live||Sy Richardson||A resistance organizer||1988|
|The Rookie (1990)||Clint Eastwood||Nick Pulovski||1990|
|The Rookie (1990)||Charlie Sheen||David Ackerman||1990|
|Hard Boiled||Tony Leung Chiu Wai||Alan||1992|
|Silent Trigger||Dolph Lundgren||Waxman||1996|
|The Peacemaker||Aleksandr Baluev||General Aleksandr Kodoroff||1997|
|Mission: Impossible 2||A thug||2000|
|The Point Men||Terrorist||2001|
|Fatal Move||Cheung Siu Fai||Law||2008|
|The Sniper||Tao's right hand man||2009|
|Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino||Marco Toni||2008|
- Steyr Mannlicher - A list of all firearms manufactured by Steyr Mannlicher.