The name was created by Adolf Hitler for propaganda and means “storm rifle” as in “to storm (i.e. “assault”) an enemy position”. After the adoption of the STG44, the English translation “assault rifle” became the accepted designation for this type of infantry small arm.
The rifle was chambered for the 7.92×33mm Kurz (3, 6, 7, 8,9, 10) cartridge. This shorter version of the German standard (7.92x57mm) 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, Army studies had shown that few combat engagements occurred at more than 300 meters and the majority within 200 meters.
Full-power rifle cartridges were excessive for the vast majority of uses for the average soldier. Only a trained specialist, such as a sniper, could make full use of the standard rifle round’s range and power.
The STG-44 accuracy is excellent for a weapon of its type. Its effective range is about 400 yards, although the Germans claim in their operating manual that the normal effective range is 650 yards.
The leaf sight is graduated up to 800 meters (872 yards).” The fire selector “…is located above and to the rear of the safety lever, protruding slightly on either side of the housing.
The Fire Selector
Located above and to the rear of the safety lever, protruding slightly on either side of the housing.
For single shots, the lever protrudes from the left side so that the letter “E” will be visible;
for automatic fire, the lever protrudes from the right side so that the letter “D” will be visible.” Automatic fire was “advised only in emergencies”,
This was mainly to make sure that the regular soldier didn’t waste his ammunition spraying at targets, but instead fired in short accurate bursts to achieve maximum accuracy and effect.
The StG 44’s receiver was made of heavy stamped and welded steel. This made for a fairly heavy rifle, especially one firing an intermediate-power cartridge.
Difficulties with fabrication, the need to use available non-priority steels, and the exigencies of war resulted in a heavy receiver.
To its credit, it was the first successful weapon of its class, and the concept had a major impact on modern infantry small arms development. By all accounts, the StG 44 fulfilled its role admirably, particularly on the Eastern Front, offering a greatly increased volume of fire compared to standard infantry rifles.
Keep an eye out of an upcoming announcement for a free STG-44 rifle giveaway.
Written by Jon Hines