A soldier demonstrates the transitional MP 43/1 variant, used to determine the suitability of the rifle for sniping purposes, October 1943. The rifle is fitted with a ZF 4 telescopic sight.
Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44) was an assault rifle developed in Germany during World War II and was the first of its kind to see major deployment. It is also known by the designations Maschinenpistole 43, Maschinenpistole 44.
The rifle was chambered for the 7.92 x 33 mm cartridge, also known as 7.92 mm Kurz. This shorter version of the German standard (7.92 x 57 mm) rifle round, in combination with the weapon’s selective-fire design, provided a compromise between the controllable firepower of a submachine gun at close quarters with the accuracy and power of a Karabiner 98k bolt action rifle at intermediate ranges. While the StG44 had less range and power than the more powerful infantry rifles of the day, Wehrmacht studies had shown that most combat engagements occurred at less than 300 meters with the majority within 200 meters. Full-power rifle cartridges were overpowered for the vast majority of uses for the average soldier.
The Sturmgewehr 44 was the first assault rifle-type weapon to be accepted into widespread service and put into mass production. “The principle of this weapon — the reduction of muzzle impulse to get useful automatic fire within actual ranges of combat — was probably the most important advance in small arms since the invention of smokeless powder.” The StG 44’s effect on post-war arms design was wide-ranging, as evidenced by Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AK-47, and later Eugene Stoner’s M16 and its variants.
Weight 5.22 kg (11.5 lb) Length 940 mm (37 in) Barrel length 419 mm (16.5 in) Cartridge 7.92 x 33 mm (7.92 mm Kurz) Action Gas-operated, tilting bolt Rate of fire 500-600 rounds/min Muzzle velocity 685 m/s (2,247 ft/s) Effective range 300 meters Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine Sights adjustable 800meter sights with Rear: V-notch; front: ring with vertical post.