LDP / Kommando: the “Rhuzi”

The Kommando was a semiauto SMG-type carbine designed by Alex du Plessis in Salisbury Rhodesia in the late 1970s. It was manufactured by a company called Lacoste Engineering, and financed by a man named Hubert Ponter – and those initials were the name of the initial production version of the gun; LDP. The gun is a quite simple design, a tube-receiver, open bolt gun with a fixed firing pin and an Uzi-type bolt which telescopes forward over the barrel. It uses unmodified Uzi magazines, and that along with it’s Uzi-like construction and styling led to one of its nicknames, the Rhuzi (the others were alternate interpretations of the LDP initials; Land Defense Pistol and Lots of Dead People).

About one thousand LDP carbines were made in Rhodesia, and were also sold in neighboring South Africa. This led to an arrangement with a company called Maxim Parabellum to produce it in South Africa under the name Kommando. Eventually a total of about 10,000 were made between the two countries, making this one of the most common guns of its type made in that time and place. The South African government required the addition of an extra safety device to prevent runaway firing with underpowered ammunition, and a number of details evolved through production, most notably the stock locking system.

47 Comments

  1. I haven’t seen an LDP for years.

    They are a good little carbine, and I can quite see why they would appeal to farmers and other people who need a compact self-defence weapon.

    The one I saw must have been Rhodesian, because it had a folding stock latch which was just a piece of folded steel, not nearly as good as on the South African example. The Rhodesian gun also had an ineffectual grip safety on the front of the grip, which purported to lock the trigger unless engaged, but which had a weak spring and didn’t really do much.

    I think the LDP was one of the better Rhodesian carbines, it was a well thought out design, and the decision to use an Uzi magazine was a good one. It was nice to be reminded of it.

  2. “one of its nicknames, the Rhuzi”
    Hmm, externally it looks more like Sa. 25, cf. 4th image from top:
    http://modernfirearms.net/en/submachine-guns/czech-republic-submachine-guns/sa-23-eng/
    notice tubular shape, rather than Uzi’s angular and way of folding stock – although different in Czechoslovak and this weapon, both might be possibly used as kind of front grip when closed.
    This led me to thinking that designer of “Rhuzi” was at least aware of existence of Sa. 25 if not able to examine sample.
    Nonetheless apparently UZI name must be famous by that time in that place of world, so it become “Rhuzi” rather than… Rhhol (as designer of Sa. 25 was Holeček Jaroslav)

    • Um. Daweo, the Rhodesian adherents of the Ian Douglas Smith regime and the apartheid SADF were very well aware of the samopal sa.23 and 25, and 24 and 26. Indeed the ZAPU, ZANU and MK and SWAPO had numbers of them in addition to Soviet-type and manufactured small arms. Some captured examples were apparently re-worked into self-loading-only carbines but retained the excellent 40-rd. magazines.

      The Uzi was indeed something of a product name/ designer’s surname becoming genericized such that all products are referred to by the specific product name, e.g. soda pop is “Coke” or facial tissues “Kleenex” or frozen “popsicles” and Kalashnikovs “AKs” and “AK47s” …

    • Fascinating new thing for you to learn beside bumbling “rhhol”, will be that the copy of czechoslovak gun was made in SA, called Sanna 77.

    • As far as I know, the Uzi was inspired by the Czechoslovak Sa23 submachine gun. (Well, Maxim Popenker states: “There are some doubts that it could reach the shores of Israel the sameyear it was born.”) This gun has Sa23 layout and uses Uzi magazines: “…and the snake bites its own tail”. 🙂

      • Why? Czechoslovakia sold Messerschmitt BF109 aircraft to the proto-IDF, lots of Mauser bolt-action rifles, and likely much else besides to the nascent Israeli state, yes? I think some members of the Haganah and Palmach may have even received training, much like some other revisionist Zionists had in Poland?

      • Actually, some times back I recall seeing a source which indicates, that Germans were during WWII developing a compact SMG in same layout as vz.23 series. Unfortunately I cannot name the source.

        • “that Germans were during WWII developing a compact SMG in same layout as vz.23 series”
          I found it plausible.
          Notice while in inter-war years standard layout of sub-machine gun (introduced by MP18) was that whole moving parts are all time beyond barrel, but layout with mass wrapped around barrel was commonly found in automatic pistols of that era (FN 1910 just for example). It should be noted that true (fully-blown) machine pistols (automatic pistol turned into full-automatic) will naturally have this layout, see for example: http://star-firearms.com/firearms/guns/smgD/
          It should be not surprised that when designers were order to craft more compact sub-machine gun, they decided to make use of that layout – awareness of how automatic pistol were structured was enough and they do not have to be aware of each other development, concluding Uziel Gal might have ended with same layout as Czechoslovak due to similar requirements, but without being aware of that.
          Anyway beyond Uzi and Sa. 23 I want to point following early sub-machine gun with “wrap around” moving part which never went into production:
          British MCEM-2
          Soviet Rukavishnikov see photos: https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/06/19/rukavishnikov-experimental-submachine-gun/
          And now, one which might be surprise to you: BEHA Polish Resistance home-made sub-machine gun, see 4th image from top here: https://www.forgottenweapons.com/submachine-guns/polish-beha-smg/

      • Check out the forgotten ZK 476 submachine gun, and youll bite off your own “tail” (?) for writing that inaccuracy about sa 23 and uzi.

        You can even read David Gabourys book (reviewed here) if you still do not believe

  3. [off-topic so ignore if you wish]
    Some time ago there was mention of plan to produce copies of PKM and NSV in U.S.A., interestingly this caused reaction of TASS:
    https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/10/22/american-pkms-russian-rage/
    which, unsurprisingly, might be described shortly as you have no right to do that.
    In this it should be noted that Russia currently has no ability to produce NSV machine gun, as after fall of Soviet Union, plant making these machine gun become property of Kazakhstan.

    • Basically Russia calls out American attempts to provide plausible deniability for covert operations. The use of “foreign weapons” as a cover up has been long proven a dead horse, since nobody in his right mind sends a spy with a gun from his own country in the first place.

    • I doubt this will come to fruition since there are so many ex-soviet weapons in circulation. It is lot cheaper to buy them from existing stocks elsewhere and deliver to “moderates” at desired location.

  4. Add a selective fire capability and the Kommando would be a good candidate for a cheap “Volksmachinenpistole” (People’s submachine gun), which was discussed with the VP70M video. And it’s even earlier than the Mini-UZI, albeit later than the Walther MPK.

    • Indeed. Precisely so: The samopal sa. 23 and 25 9mm smgs were precisely that sort of cheap “Volksmachinenpistole” in the hands of the MNR in Cuba during the early 1960s, the suppression of the counter-revolution in the so-called “lucha contra bandidos” or “limpieza del Escambray” the Bay of Pigs/ Playa Giron and the consolidation of the revolutionary state.

      Witness the compositions of Alberto Korda and other photographers like “La Miliciana” and so on:
      http://lahabanaphoto.com/?page_id=55

      • Do you really think vz.23/25 were that “cheap” (part of being given away for free)? If you look closely they have excellent finish and features which require fairly tight tolerances. This Rhodesian creation is lot cheaper from mfg. standpoint.

          • I saw MA49 in various publication, but not in reality yet. I also believe Ian did not have take on it. From what I recall it is very sturdy and well thought out weapon. Specifically I like the fact the magazine can be folded while inserted. Extremely clever since you can safely crawl with it.

            How “expensive” it is to make I cannot tell, all depends on volume of production and maker. Everything made in EU is insanely expensive; great opportunity for Turkish firearms makers.

          • I’d say it is “workman-like”, best to have response from someone who served in French military. Hope we will not see it in action during current unrest. I have seen picture of snipers on roof of building at Champs de Elysse.

        • “Do you really think vz.23/25 were that “cheap” (part of being given away for free)?”

          Archive of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, fund 02-2, Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, 1958-1962, Vol. 259 and 343, point 29, page 19 [Strictly Confidential!] …
          … due to a shortage of the requested types, it will not be possible to supply Cuba with the following: 13 airplanes (model Avia-14), 24 rocket-launchers (model RM-130), and 4 radio satellites with a range of 250 Km. In part, it will be possible to satisfy a request for the supply of 7.62mm bullets [sic, 7.62x45mm cartridges] for fully automatic gun type 52 [e.g. the
          7,62mm lehký kulomet vzor 52 and VZ52 rifles being withdrawn from service in CSSR] … 9mm cartridges for guns type 23/25 [e.g. samopal sa23 fixed and sa25 folding stock versions], and airplanes L-60 in a joint version. The total of unfulfilled Cuban requests numbers about 150 million Kcs.
          Of the entire value of requests presented by the Cuban side that reach about 1.016 million Kcs. Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union can together supply special technology with a value of about 866 million Kcs, and materials of a civilian character valued at 40 million Kcs (costs at regular rates on other capitalist markets) … [Czechoslovak share is 66% of military and 20% civilian, with the USSR picking up the remainder]
          According to the agreement with the Soviet representatives, Czechoslovakia will get 1/3rd of the CIF price for the specialized technology from Cuba, so about 190 million Kcs, and from the Soviet Union 15% of the transport costs, so about 77 million Kcs. … Cubans will in total give the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic about 267 million Kcs, or about 47% of the regular rates of specialized technology. At the same time, Czechoslovakia will save on the naval transportation costs, which the Soviets will provide free of charge at about 35 million Kcs.
          When compared with the regular rates in capitalist markets the final settlement does present a difference of about 267 million Kcs, yet this is not comparable because it concerns technology which is not usable in Czechoslovakia [i.e. surplus!] and at the same time unsellable on other capitalist markets [!]. All of the specialized technology being considered for export to Cuba comes from a surplus of supplies at the Ministry of National Defense.
          …[Cuban requests for ammunition would have necessitated the manufacture of additional 116 million 7.62x45mm cartridges and 150 million 9mm. … The Czechs apparently told the Cubans that storage of that much ammunition would be dangerous, and encouraged them to start ammunition production on the island.]

          [The first shipment] valued at about 50 million Kcs CIF, will include 10,000 Czechoslovak 9mm guns, 500 light and 250 heavy machine guns [ZB-53], 100,000 hand grenades and 40 million cartridges. [Technical specialists thrown in gratis/free!]”

          So all of that was apparently 1/3rd of the “CIF price” and there would be ten equal annual installments, preferably in hard currency, with 19 million Kcs to the CSSR and 9.8 million to the USSR. Cuban goods could be included as partial payment. 2% annual interest, so mighty favorable terms. The Czechs would translate written materials into English–there being insufficient Spanish-language translators, and the Cubans would go from English to Spanish.

          CPCz Politburo Resolution on 29.IX.1959 decided on supply of 50.000 sa 23/25 9mm SMGs by way of Swiss firm Philipp Friedländer. 80 million 9mm cartridges, and with 15,000 of the guns arriving by December 1959. “old ammunition manufactured in the years 1946-1951 would be sold.”

          • Sounds like well researched material, but I tell you that much: Cuba had nothing to pay with – it was (and still is) poor like (as Czech say) “church mouse”.

            What was taking place for number of years in following was exchange of Cuban raw sugar for industrial products which were shipped there. After processing it was sold primarily in Western Europe. I doubt it was hugely profitable for Czechs, but it was intended to be due comrade’s assistance.

            Czechs used to say those days: “jeste jednu Kubu a budem susit hubu” (one more Cuba and we will have nothing to put to mouth). Of course this help was in Cuba appreciated, but the effect somehow vanished lately after some “clever” Czech activists were caught in Cuba developing undesired activity. Nothing lasts forever, not even love to the same miss.

          • Even today one sees a JAWA motorcycle or Cezeta CZ scooter somehow still on the roads…! And Praha and La Habana are both overrun by tourists!

    • This is still too complicated,esoecially the fcg, cheaper would be if it is some mixture of Uru parts with completely stamped one piece receiver like MPL or LF 57.

      Mini UZI is more of a gimmick in my opinion (or ended as such apoarently), and vast majority of usage and users are and were with full size UZI; its legendary status stems from original, not mini or micro ones.

      • “Mini UZI is more of a gimmick in my opinion (or ended as such apoarently)”
        This is answer to my question which I wanted to ask 🙂
        Namely: why there was Mini-UZI but not similar version of Sa. 25 or Steyr MPi 69?

        “still too complicated”
        Answer might be ТКБ-486
        https://raigap.livejournal.com/30741.html
        designed by Makarov and Stechkin, folding magazine for covert usage, 9×18 Makarov cartridge, 30-rnd magazine, length (with stock closed) 380 mm, mass (without cartridges) 1,3 kg

      • The Mini-UZI was introduced relatively late for an open bolt SMG (although a closed bolt variant apparently existed) and its compactness was not really something most police or regular military forces considered necessary. So, the big brother continued to take most of the sales, while at the same time the MP5 was becoming the standard SMG of choice for police SWAT and military special forces. Micro-Uzi was therefore offered primarily as a closed bolt weapon and its successor, the Uzi Pro is not available in an open bolt variant, as far as I know.

  5. Back on topic 😉
    (OK, pot calling kettle here)

    This brings back happy memories of the 1980s when semi auto centrefire was legal on airstrip one.

    A bunch of Rhodesian carbines appeared on the British market

    I hadn’t realised how good the LDP is inside. The contemporary Cobra was a (an appropriately cheap) piece of shite, but a wholelot of fun.

    I’d never seeneed a Jarpie made LDP. The heads of the 6mm roofing bolts and the fabricated fixed sights add a definite Philip A Luty flavour to the gun. Not a bad thing. Luty was a mechanical genius.

    It’s definitely a far moreinteresting gun than I’d ever realiased.

    Thanks Ian

  6. This gun has some very clever and innovative features (bolt construction, safety, feedramp),
    but some “improvements” are questionable, like screwed-on endcap (which is problematic-threads are more easily damaged then some other disassembly methods);
    also the drilled detent holding the ejector carrier is on the wrong place, too far back, so you see on the video how it bulges the threads. Drilling through threads- bad idea.

    It is possible that in fire cycle bolt smacks it and thus egges the hole with time, possibly to the point it distorts and damages the threads so much you have a hard time unthreading the endcap.

    Also, they could have incorporated a straight cut in buttcap for the longer stock latch to lock into, thus securing it from unscrewing while at the same time serving as stock lock mechanism (somewhat similar to the lock system on Uzi barrel nut).

    Stock is compact and simple, but looks unpleasant.

    • I was expecting the usual cheap carbine spring that leaps into your eyes socket when you disassemble the thing.

      I guess that a captivery recoil spring would have been too much to ask for

    • “like screwed-on endcap (which is problematic-threads are more easily damaged then some other disassembly methods)”
      This might not be best solution, but I would say acceptable. Notice that PPD also have that element, which was unscrewed during field strip. Manual noted that this part should be removed with care, especially when it was almost removed.

      • Pre ww2 barely acceptable, but with smg development up to 1970s-1980s – extremely obsolete.

        But that is the nature of almost imoprovised designs made in places like ex. Rhodesia – you get a mixture of some modern features and old manufacturing techniques on unspecialised machinery, like lathes, which are easily available, compared to progressive die stamps or molten metal injection, which cost millions.

  7. Last “scream into the dark” appears to me Tanfoglio’s compact machine-pistol. https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/03/17/tanfoglio-tcmp-compact-sub-machinegun-select-fire-pistol/

    Without seeing and appreciating details it looks like recycled same old recipe – plastic grip and aluminum top. I wonder where those people see market for it given current saturation. Oh, btw., French Gendarmerie is now full on equipped with 9mm HK UMP. Sharks have to be fed 🙂

    • There is market, since quite a few countries are now looking to replace their MP5s or even older open-bolt SMGs. The MP5 is falling out of grace since it lacks the standard Picatinny rails, which enable a huge variety of optics and other accessories to be used on the guns. The UMP, while reasonably successful, has thus far not been able to inherit the previous dominant position of the MP5. The US model of using 5.56mm carbines to replace submachine guns has not really caught on universally, either.

      So, there is market for a couple of companies besides H&K still left. Of course there are a lot of “hopefuls” as well, but some of them will probably make some money.

  8. The first time I saw the french UMP was at a local flea market here in SW France The police were gendarmerie reserves and looked about sixteen years old but were probably about twenty two What was interesting is that they had loaded mags in the guns as before this(charlie hebdo)they patrolled without magazines in their guns
    By the way you must think the french are a bunch of savages but you must admit they got Macron to back down

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