The SturmGewehr 44, literally Storm Rifle (Storm meaning assault), (also known as the MaschinenPistole 43 and MaschinenPistole 44) was a German select-fire assault rifle produced during the last years of World War 2.
Prototypes of StG. 44 were in advanced testing stages as early, as in 1942, but were never put into production until mid-1943 because of opposition from Hitler himself. Finally, to circumvent Hitler's opposition, manufacturers renamed their StG. 44 into MP43 and MP44, claiming them to be machine pistols as a cover from Hitler. The rifle was first used on a mass scale when a German battalion was surrounded by Soviets near Leningrad, so the Luftwaffe air-dropped many MP43s and the battalion fought their way out.
Confused, Hitler flew out to the front to inspect troops; he was surprised with this new gun and liked it so Hitler changed the name to SturmGewehr 44 and used it in his "wonder weapon program" to raise German moral. There is no clear indication why exactly Hitler was averse to this design, as the weapon was potent, nowadays as well as in those times.
SturmGewehr 44 fired 7.92x33mm (7.92 Kurz) ammunition, stored in 30 round magazines.
The Sturmgewehr 44 will see combat in all fronts, especially the Eastern Front, against the Red Army. An estimated 400,000 plus weapons were produced; it didn't change the course of the war, but it will let a great impact on weapons development. Many of its features will be incorporated in other weapons, like the M-16; the FAL; and the AK-47, the later being developed around the concept of the Assault Rifle idea, from which the Sturmgewehr 44 came from.
In postwar years, it will be used by the armies of East Germany; Czechoslovakia; and Yugoslavia, until replaced by AK pattern weapons (Czechoslovakia will adopt his own assault rifle, the Vz-58); it will see combat in Somalia; Ethiopia; and even today, in Syria , at the hands of anti-government forces. In Europe, surviving weapons were converted to fire in semi-auto , for sale to civilians; even newly made versions, built from scratch, have been manufactured in Germany. In the United States, it's considered a highly valuable weapon, prices commanding on the tens of thousands of dollars. Today, a company that manufactures target practice devices, called Hill and Mac Gunworks, is now manufacturing a semi-auto reproduction of the Sturmgewehr 44; constructed in the same way that it was made, but with the following changes:
- It now fires the 5.56X45 mm ; 7.62X39 mm and .300 Blackout, as well the original 7.92X33 mm.
- It uses the Heckler and Koch trigger mechanism, as its firing unit.
- It uses the AR-15 magazine as its main feeding device. Because of the changes made to the magazine housing, the original magazines of the Sturmgewehr 44 cannot be used. A special magazine that looks like the original is now being developed for this gun.
- It can be converted to any of the mentioned calibers, by switching the barrels, and it can be changed into a tactical weapon, by changing furniture; stocks; and muzzle attachments.
The new Sturmgewehr 44 will be offered as a rifle; short barreled rifle; and a pistol . It will be available for sale around the late Spring-early Summer.