The anti-gun crowd loves to make up terms to justify their chronic hoplophobia. While that bunch frequently falls in the low IQ quartile, they’re pretty good at branding.
They created terms like “assault weapons” and “ghost guns” in their attempts to disarm the masses. Before assault weapons, the term of choice was Saturday Night Special, and guns like the Rohm RG10 personified the Saturday Night Special.
Admittedly the gun-grabbers don’t appear to have created the term. It seems to have been drifting around the United States for decades before it really took hold. The first time the term popped up in recorded media that we can find is back in 1917.
In the 1960s, the term really gained traction as a ton of affordable handguns hit American shores and Rohm was a major importer. Rohm has its own interesting history and came out of the free side of Germany rebuilding its economy after World War II.
The Rohm RG10 wasn’t the most popular of the Rohm series. Rohm made a variety of rimfire rifles, and the .22LR variants seemed to be the most popular. The RG10 is the .22 Short variant, and if you look at the definition of the word anemic you’ll see a photo of the 22 Short round close by.
The Oddly Controversial Rohm RG10
It’s somewhat silly to think that this ugly little gun caused so much controversy with the gun control advocates of old. It’s a tiny thing, shooting an anemic caliber. But gun control groups never focus on the actual effectiveness or usefulness of a weapon. What made them hate guns like the RG10 was that poor people could afford them.
For about $15 you could own a nickel-plated Rohm. For about $13 bucks you could buy the black one. These were uber-cheap little revolvers imported en masse. The RG10 holds six shots of .22 Short and uses a double action design with an exposed hammer.
The wheelgun has a loading gate, but there’s no ejection rod. You’d better have a good set of fingernails or a cleaning rod to punch out those empties. The barrel is 2.5 inches long and is fitted with a front sight blade. There’s a raised portion that acts as your rear sight on the backstrap right in front of the hammer.
The dinky white grips give you something to hold onto, but not much. It’s as cheap as cheap gets.
Is it a Toy?
You might think it’s a toy at first glance. It looks somewhat impractical and more like a 1950s vintage cap gun more than a real revolver. The RG10 is made from pot metal, it’s cheap and would likely melt under a hard glare.
A set of pins hold the internal parts together and these pins can wallow out the holes. This caused the pins and internal parts to slip, and eventually the gun would come out of time. We all know what happens then. Eventually, the projectile lead would start shaving off segments, and that’s not good for anyone.
The Rohm RG10 is cheap — extremely cheap — and it shows. So cheap, in fact, that they became a threat to the people whose business it is to disarm Americans. They were so threatened by the existence of the little RG10 and guns like it that they passed the Gun Control Act of 1968 and this gun and others like it were effectively banned from importation. A point system was established, and the RG10 simply didn’t have the points.
In response, Rohm eventually set up a shop in Miami. The parts of the gun would be imported from Germany, then assembled in the Sunshine State. That was enough to sidestep the GCA and allow Rohm to continue to sell their cheaply made revolvers. Eventually, though, their popularity waned and Rohm was purchased by Umarex.
At the Range
The RG10 isn’t a gun I plan to shoot often. Heaven forbid I shoot it to pieces. However, I launched a few rounds downrange just to give it a spin. The trigger is absolutely atrocious. It’s heavy enough that pressing it actually begins to hurt your finger. It’s truly terrible. The single action pull is better, but still fairly stiff.
The sights are sights, and they work. However, I can’t hit much with this gun. If I aim center mass at a reasonable distance, it might hit the shoulder of the target, the crotch, the head…or just about anywhere else. And that’s at ten yards.
Admittedly it went bang every time through 50 rounds of CCI’s best without issue. Recoil is zilch, and the little gun isn’t super loud either. In the end, though, this thing is silly and inaccurate and I can see why it was so cheap.
Why Is This Thing An Object of Desire?
The RG10 is a reminder of some of the battles fought and lost for freedom. We lost in ‘68. The 1968 GCA received criticism from some who saw it for for what it was…an attempt to keep poor people from owning guns.
The Rohm RG10 is a reminder that a certain group of people believe they and their guards are the only ones who should be trusted with firearms. You and I aren’t included on that exclusive list. This weird little gun is desirable because “the right” people don’t want me to have it.
The Second Amendment is for everyone, even the poor.