StG-44 Sturm Gewehr 44
The World's Original Assault Rifle Dates Back to the Second World War
By Timothy P. Banse
Designed by famed weapons designer Hugo Schmeisser, the StG 44 is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle. Jargon buster: the StG acronym stands for Sturmgewehr, which when translated from German means (storm (assault) rifle.
The StG-44 was chambered for a intermediate power cartidge with case length and bullet weight rather neatly poised between that of a full-power rifle cartridge and pistol ammunition. More specifically, StG's caliber 7.92 X 33mm cartridge case was based on the Mauser 8mm (7.92 X 57mm). The Kurz round provided the foundation for the evolution of the assault rifle, providing both controllable automatic fire and acceptable accuracy at ranges where most combat takes place. The 125 grain spitzer bullet muzzle velocity was 2,250 fp (685 m/s) with muzzle energy of 1,408 foot pounds.
The weapon is gas operated and fires from a closed bolt. Rate of fire varies between 500- and 600-rounds per minute, depending on whether the shooter has selected semi- or full-automatic. When fired in short, fully automatic bursts 2 or 3 rounds) the weapon was quite accurate. The rear leaf sight is graduated to 800 meters, with effective range up to about 400 yards, although the Wermacht claimed an effective range to about 650 yards.
A mass-produced weapon, the receiver, frame, gas cylinder, jacket, and front sight hood are steel stampings. Dented stampings render the rifle subject to jamming. All of the pins in the trigger mechanism are riveted in place so it cannot be disassembled or repaired. The gas piston assembly, bolt, hammer, barrel, gas cylinder, barrel nut and magazine are machined. The weapon is bulky, heavy and a little clumsy. © Copyright 2013 by Timothy P. Banse