The StG44 and Its Appeal to US buyers
Of all of the world’s military rifles, one of the most exotic and hard to find in US collections is the German StG44. Even though it was mass-produced and nearly a half-million were cranked out, most US firearms junkies have only seen one behind the glass of a museum display or on the History Channel.
When Germany entered World War 2 in 1939, their primary rifle was the K98 Mauser. The K98 was a bolt action 8mm beast that was a slightly modified pre-World War 1 design. It was solid and reliable but heavy and had a slow rate of fire. When the Germans started meeting Soviet Frontovki carrying semi-automatic Tokarev SVT-38 and SVT-40s in 1941, and then increasingly found themselves on the business end of British Sten SMGs and US M1 Garands in 1942, they decided to up the ante and go auto. Choosing the 7.92x33mm Kurz (‘short’) intermediate-sized round, they asked both Walther and Haenel to design a handy select-fire carbine around the bullet. The Haenel team, headed by the famous Hugo Schmeisser (not to be confused with Hugo Stiglitz), came out on top.
Read more in my column at Firearms Talk