Rohm RG10 .22 Revolver
Travis Pike for TTAG
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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.

The Rohm RG10 is one ugly gun. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

It’s like a starter pistol, but it shoots bullets. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

It’s chambered in .22 short, the noted rat-stopper round. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

How delightfully old school (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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 aren’t bad, but everything else is. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

Time to put it away. Forever. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

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.

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  1. It was not an attempt tp keep poor folks from owning a gun. It was an attempt at keeping poor Black folks from owning a gun. The term “Saturday Night Special” Was part of a running joke that used the N word a lot and in the WV of my youth white, democrat pols were its main tellers. I’ve actually seen these things offered as prizes at traveling carny shows.

    Poll taxes then. Mandatory training and permits now. The dems have always been and always will be the party of oppression. They’ve slipped fascism on like a well tailored glove.

    • I’ve taken more than a few of those to Chicago’s gun buybacks. Didn’t feel the least bit shorted. Especially for the ones that didn’t work.

      • Thinking about it, I bet the ‘Bruen’ decision means we can get the whole ‘points’ scheme for imported pistols declared unconstitutional, and we just might get cheap imported pistols again…

      • A guy wanted $10 for his Rohm. I told him it wasn’t worth $10. So he gave it to me. It works. Doesn’t exactly register in single action which requires the shooter to register the cylinder. It does register in double action. Worn pin hole somewhere, would be my guess. Anyway, knowing the problem and its cure, makes it a shootable. It actually is more expensive to shoot than a .22LR as .22LR is more in demand and benefits from economy of manufacture. 22 short used to be the round of choice for hunting small game but not so much any more, thus making it more expensive when one can find it at all. In the period that the Rohm was extant, most handguns fired a lead bullet at fairly low speeds or a fmj that frequently was a through and through wound with minimal damage. I can remember two cases where a t & t wound was treated with two bandaids. One was a lead .38 special and the other was a fmj .45 military round. Although another shot to the buttocks severed the femoral artery and the shootee was drt within five minutes.

    • I’ve held one of these at my favorite pawnshop. Like a starter gat I guess. Speaking of poverty ponies Anderson has a new Glock clone gat-the Kiger. Sootch00 loves it. Choice is good I suppose…

  2. The first double action revolver I owned was an RG, bought it from a guy who shot himself in the leg with it. I carried it for years, it was my EDC when I lived in KC Ks. Finally it quit working, cant exactly remember why, back then I wasn’t into fixing gunms.
    The one I had was in 22LR though.

  3. The first laws banning cheap handguns came shortly after the Civil War, you see the newly freed slaves could not afford the expensive Colt handguns carried by former Confederate soldiers. Made the Nightrider’s jobs a lot easier.

  4. Tacklebox gun for many around where I grew up.

    The more well heeled had H&Rs (my personal favorite of the SNS).

    The RG is a gun…. But a terrible one.

    I will admit I would get a kick out of owning an RG 44. Not to shoot – but as a lesson.

    • My Grandfather’s Tacklebox gun was an H&R .22. Even though it is a cheap old .22, it now occupies a pretty special spot in my safe. First handgun I ever fired.

  5. me maw gimme a flaking chrome thing even smaller. maybe pinfire? i dunno, never sourced ammo, velodog whathave. looks like it would be challenged by wasp caps.
    but i’ll take .22short every time.

  6. The legacy of GCA68 lives on in Mn. through today – there are a number of inexpensive guns banned from sale in our great state due to melting temp laws still onbook. I believe that the Ruger Wrangler barrrrrely squeaks by.

    • Two that don’t : the Heritage Rough Riders and FN502. A gunshop friend also won’t take used zamak pistols or Umarex rifles in trade either and claims a gunshop in Minnesota got busted a few years back for having a used Walther22 in the sales case.

  7. There’s a certain humor in the fact that the ’68 GCA effectively created an entire industry of domestic cheap handgun makers – i.e. Raven Arms, etc.

    You can’t stop the signal.

  8. “The Röhm RG-14 is a double action, six shot revolver chambered in .22 LR formerly manufactured and sold by Röhm Gesellschaft of Sontheim/Brenz, Germany. One copy was used by John Hinckley Jr. in the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan on 30 March 1981”

    • And? John Hinckley also breathed air, drank water and consumed common food items. Bet the demented loser wore some kind of clothing and probably utilized shelter and fire at some level too. Anymore immaterial facts for us on the subject?

      Evidently, in the leftist/statist/fascist world, guns somehow magically “possess” whomever holds them and drives them, against their inherent goodness, to commit crimes. Maybe the cheaper the gun the more evil it is, or is it the color, or where you hold it, or what it’s made of, or how many bullets each round has (heh, heh) – can’t keep track of what makes a gun good or bad to the disarmament knuckleheads…

    • Had Hinckley used a better, more expensive pistol, like John Lennon PRESIDENT REAGAN might not have survived the attack.

  9. The gun banners operate incrementally. They first will ban so called “assault weapons”. They will then ban semi-auto rifles of all kind, then they will ban cheap “Saturday Night Specials” and then they will ban all handguns. This is what has happened in Canada. In England if you are caught with a knife that has a blade 3 inches or longer or has a locked blade you can get up to 4 years in jail. There has also been talk of outlawing pointy knives to reduce stabbings. I guess that slashing is ok.

      • No, just white MALE prime ministers – if either of the last two had a pair they would still have the job.
        Cue Miner / Albert / lil’ dee in 3, 2, 1 ….

    • Truer words about gun control have not been spoken. All the”hunters” who have wood stocked, scoped rifles think they are safe because they only have “hunting rifles with 24” barrels and a 3-round fixed box magazine. They don’t know that they are in possession of highly-accurate, long-range sniper rifles soon to join the futuristic looking assault rifles on the list of banned firearms.

      I have read more than once on different web sites that the Brits are considering banning pointy knives. Phillips head screw drivers are next on the list.

  10. I inherited a Rohm in .38 Special. It was a Catastrophic Failure waiting to happen in your hand. One slice with a Milwaukee Cut Off Saw and it went into my scrap metal heap.
    “Object of Desire?” There’s a 12 step program for that problem I heard.

  11. My dad had one of these little revolvers , only gun he owned that I was ever aware of, he was a vet of wwi and wasn’t indifferent to firearms, just wasn’t his thing I guess. Perhaps he was never fortunate enough to hold, handle and experience the perfect balance of a Python or a Ruger Gold Label or caress the beautiful wood on a fine crafted Winchester 21 or even the #59 Model with symmetry and function perfectly meeting, perhaps he never felt the thrill of hearing a clang of steel from 500 yards or the 100 yard accuracy of a precision 22 wmr rifle like my beloved Ravage , by Voodo arms, which can play with 500 yards all day.
    Anyway, he gave me this little gun about 5 years before he passed away and I took one look at it and knew it was one of the aforementioned, Saturday Night Specials. He told me that he never could get it to shoot right and I told him I would take a look at it. I knew was never going to go back to him. I call a friend with a current FFL and had him set dad up with a better revolver and I checked out his little 22 short on the range. It was extremely loose, throwing the dirty little 22 crap every where and was about 11 inches off target at 10 feet, it was 100% junk and actually dangerous …………… so I destroyed it with fire and brimstone, so ………… what value could there be in this kind of history. I love firearms, but they should never produce any that are as poor quality as this was.
    I did ask my dad some history and he said he bought it from a local pawn shop in 1964 quite cheaply, he couldn’t remember , so he would have some protection when he moved his family to Torrance , California in 1964. Yep, he worked in Hollywood from 64 to 67 and we moved back to WV in the fall of 67. He told me he really never shot the gun but a few times, and didn’t even know why he kept it.
    Perhaps it was for this , this story.
    These guns need to disappear.

  12. My grandmother had a ‘cousin’ of the RG – an Omega in .22short. I think she paid about 15 bucks circa 1960. Ugly little beast but she apparently thought it was better than nothing and likely was all she could afford. I suspect that same rationale applied to anyone that bought one of them critters.

  13. People who bought them generally were people who knew little about guns but realized due to growing drug wars and crime they needed some protection better than a baseball bat. They weren’t into shooting as a sport and only wanted a firearm for an extreme situation, not realizing that such a cheap item was like buying tools out of the 99¢ bin that used to exist in a lot of auto supply stores when tools from China and India first started to appear in this country. Also, if you knew that if you used a gun in self-defense, even if never charged with any crime you were not going to get the gun back from the cops, you didn’t want to use your Python to blast a bad guy, you wanted to use something that you really didn’t care if the cops kept it.

    I always thought we should encourage criminals to purchase SNSs. I would rather a bad guy shot at me with a Rohm with its incredibly poor accuracy than a Colt Python that he had stolen some place. I would rather trade shots with a bad guy at 20 feet if he had a Rohm and I had my target .38 S&W although I wouldn’t want my S&W to wind up in perpetuity in some moldering police evidence room which still happens all too frequently. You have to hire a lawyer at $500 an hour with a $5,000 minimum retainer to get your $1,000 (or more) special .45 amp back. Yeah, perhaps in the end you can get your lawyer’s fee back when the court rules in your favor but in the meantime you still have to front the bucks. That’s why the cops just won’t release the firearm back to you even though they are required to under the law. They know that you most likely won’t spend the money, time and effort.


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