Ah, the 1980s! Remember that innocent age when some designers thought that a three pound semi-auto pistol could be useful?
Hungarian-émigré designer Lajos John Göncz developed his “High-Tech” pistol in 1984. Göncz originally envisioned a select-fire submachinegun that would be suitable for carry like a standard pistol. Göncz wanted to submit his design to the JSSAP XM9 program, but clearly this did not occur.
The first appearance that I can find of the semi-auto Göncz High-Tech pistol and carbine is the 1986 Gun Digest, published in 1985. At the time, it was chambered for four different cartridges: .30 Mauser, 9x19mm, .38 Super, and .45 Auto. The three smaller cartridges were available with 18 and 32-round magazines, while the .45 Auto was available with 10 and 20-round magazines.
Two barrel lengths were available at the time for the pistol: 5-inch and 9.5-inch. (The 4-in. length was likely either a misprint or pre-production information.) The carbine was fitted with a 16.1-in. barrel. All barrels were threaded for accessories. The short barrel pistol was 10.5-in. long and weighed 3-lbs, 10 oz, while the carbine was 31-in. long and weighed 4 lbs, 2 oz. The upper receiver was black-oxide finished steel while the lower receiver was anodized aluminum.
The Göncz fired from a closed bolt, using a floating striker that was positively locked by the manual safety. The front sight was adjustable for elevation, while the rear sight was adjustable for windage. The carbine was also available with a lower receiver with an integrated laser sight.
The 1985 Prices were $340 for the short pistol, $350 for the long pistol, $375 for the carbine with a plastic butt stock (an optional walnut stock was extra), and $1,495 for the laser-sighted carbine.
By 1986, the short pistol was named the GS, while the long pistol became the GA. There was reportedly even a GAT target model with a tuned action and adjustable trigger. The carbine became the GC. There was now an option for an integral halogen light. The halogen light and laser-equipped carbines were the GCH and GCL respectively.
Göncz disappeared from the 1990 Gun Digest (published 1989), and reappeared in the 1991 edition (published 1990). The smaller calibers were now available with a 36-rd magazine, and there was new chambering – the 10mm Auto. The GC could now be fitted with an optic. The latest models were credited with a molded composite grip, and as a result weights came down. The GS weighed in at 2 lbs, 10 oz., the GA at 3 lbs, 2 oz., and the GC at 4 lbs, 9 oz.
1990 prices were $465 for the GS, $500 for the GA, and $560 for the GC. The halogen light equipped GC was $765, while the laser equipped GC was $1,500.
The follow-on Claridge Hi-Tec pistol and carbine appeared in the 1992 Gun Digest (published in 1991). The short and long pistols were now merely the Model S and L, while the carbine became the Model C. Caliber selection was reduced to merely 9x19mm and .45 Auto, and the extended magazines were dropped. Prices increased to $720 for the Model S, $775 for the Model L, and $895 for the Model C.
The following year, the old 9.5-in. Model L became the new Model T, while the new Model L was fitted with a 7.5-in. barrel. The lower receiver was available in either aluminum or stainless steel. A graphite composite stock version of the Model C became the LEC. A new chambering was offered – the .40 S&W. Integral laser versions of the Model L, T, and LEC were known as the ZL, ZT, and ZLEC.
Prices dropped dramatically. The Model S was $419.50, the new Model L and T were $466.50, the Model ZL and ZT were $776.50, the Model C was $525.50, the Model LEC was $579, and the Model ZLEC was $898.50.
For the life of me, I can’t seem to locate any patents on the design from Lajos John Göncz. Unlike awarded patents, the USPTO only archives its patent applications so far back. However, I can find three patents from Joseph M. Claridge filed in September 1991.
I found the following letter online describing the falling-out between Göncz and Claridge.
Subject: Göncz Hi-Tech Weapons
Just some clarification in your statement as to the Göncz / Claridge
The Goncz was invented, designed and produced by Me.
There was a business transaction where they bought 50% of the business and once they got access to the technical data they thought they are in the driver seat started a new company by Claridge Hi-Tech and tried to take over the entire operation and renamed the firearms they produced as Claridge. They even claimed it that they invented it. (Gail Claridge is an interior decorator, and her husband Joe an ex policeman, who did not know what a reamer is.) Before they came into the picture the weapons were in production and they were sold and now they are as a collector items valued between 5 and $15,000 each.
Your statement that they improved on it is false and misstatement. The facts are what they produced it is f!@#$%^& garbage and a dangerous firearm by adding the bolt/hold back part, which as you releasing the bolt, chances are that the firing pin is release and fires the chambered cartridge…
They never had the tooling for the magazines double row, double feed 19 round, they provided a single double row single feed magazine that they bought as a after market cheep magazines. The receiver the Göncz are made of 4130 alloy, machined out of a solid piece. top quality bears my name. Their guns have a cheap duct pipe receiver with silver soldered plug to hold the barrel.After the litigation of Patent infringements, intellectual property misuse and Fraud in the U.S. Federal court I put them out business….the mother !@#$%^&*(.s
These are the facts and you may post this info on your Web Page…Additional info is that we are working on the New Göncz Hi-Tech, Gen. II. and soon will be on the market complying to the new laws. Some features: Safety on both sides, last shot: bolt stays open, magazine release on both sides and a lighter polymer grip. Let me let you in on a secret, they will be also chambered for the Belgium 5.7 mm x 28 cartridge.
If you want to be posted on the advancement keep in touch.
Lajos John Göncz