Gewehr 43

Gewehr 43
Gewehr 43

When they evaluated the Tokarev semi-automatic rifle, of which they captured numerous examples in 1941 and 1942, the Germans quickly appreciated that the Soviet gas-operated system offered several advantages over the modified Bang system used in their Gewehr 41 weapons. It was seen that the Russian gas-operated mechanism had many advantages over the system used on the Gew 41. The Gew 41(W) was already in production, but the Germans now modified the action to a system modelled closely on that of the Soviet self-loading rifle to create the Gewehr 43 firing the German Army’s standard 7.92mm cartridge.

Initial tests confirmed that the Gew 43 was an altogether better weapon than the Gew 41(W), offering much greater reliability under all operating conditions, and the new type replaced the Gew 41(W) in production. The new self-loading rifle was simpler, and therefore quicker and cheaper, to manufacture, and the opportunity was taken to introduce features such as a reduction in machined components, an increase in forged parts, laminated rather than solid wooden furniture, and a detachable magazine that could be loaded with two standard five-round clips.

The weapon was completed with provision for the Zf41 telescopic sight as standard, and from 1944 there was also a Karabiner 43 version shortened by some 50mm (1.97in).


semi-automatic rifle
7.92mm (0.312in)
1.117m (44in)
Length of Barrel
0.55m (21.6in)
4.4kg (9.56lb)
Muzzle Velocity
775m (2543ft) per second
10-round detachable straight box magazine