The MP-44, later Stg once Hitler changed his mind, was not the first firearm to see military adoption or usage that fit the criteria of an assault rifle. There were guns that came before it that were shoulder fired, had selection options for both single shot and automatic and made use of an intermediate cartridge fed from a reasonable size box magazine. However we commonly refer to the Stg as the first since it really took the concept from the realm of small-time player in to the big time limelight.
It was by no means a perfect weapon and by comparison to the AR and AK of the modern era it has a fair few problems, especially when it comes to the magazines, the heating of the handguard, the absurd design of the fire control group and the lax headspacing of the tilting bolt locking system. That’s without getting in to the manufacturing issues Germany faced during the war. But there’s no denying the practicality of the concept for use at real world combat distances.
I was really impressed with this rifle compared to the G-43, which is certainly a contemporary equivalent or rival design. Both self loaders with 10 round detachable box magazines and short stroke gas pistons, really quite similar manuals of arms and sighting systems too. The cartridges are also very similar indeed, yet the recoil from the SVT felt like nothing comparatively.
Granted in the modern US there’s a plethora of ammo available with different loadings and I can’t account for that in my perceptions because I don’t know the brands or loadings I fired. The lubrication state and age/wear on the guns could also come in to play to an extent, but I have to say I think even when considering all of those factors I’d sill find the SVT to be the better all around rifle with a much softer recoil.
Of the bolt actions rifles I’ve fired, the Mosin-Nagant has been by far the worst/least pleasant in terms of recoil, action of the bolt and trigger pull, as well as iron sights (and I’ve fired a few different Mosins to check). I don’t know how reliable the SVT was in field conditions, but in terms of recoil and sheer volume and rate of fire going down range I’d be one very happy comrade if somebody handed me this instead of the Nagant rifle before I stormed Berlin.
The tossbag AI from Google demonetised this the second I put Nazi in the title of course, because history is a bad thing and we should pretend none of it happened right? I’ll make no bones about it, YouTube video titles will be a tad vaguely clickbait’y going forward because, as anyone in that realm will tell you, it’s absolutely the only way to have any hope at all. Content style will not change though which I hope is evident; just shooting, kit reviews, airsoft etc and personally I think the title/thumb matters zilch as soon as you’ve gone past clicking on the video and started watching. That aside please do tap/click to watch, tag mates, hit share, whatever you can do to give the finger to these corporations that act like genuine fascists.
Now I myself was first introduced to the notion of self loading rifles used in large numbers by the Germans and Russians during WW2 when I played Call of Duty: United Offensive (which I seriously believe to be the pinnacle of the game series btw) and ever since then I’d been intensely curious as to what the actual firing experience would be with the G43 and SVT-40. They’re not as easy to find as M1 rifles, as you can imagine.
A future video will show the SVT, which I have to say purrs like a kitten where the 43 kicks like an angry mule with steel shoes on its’ hind hooves. Whether the ammo used was a contributor it’s hard to say, but case volume for the explosive charge is borderline identical between the 2 rounds, barely 0.1 cubic centimetres between them. They both use short stroke gas pistons. The 43 is flapper locked versus the SVT’s tilting bolt, but I’ve no clue if that would affect felt recoil to be honest.
I didn’t really rate the sights, the cockling handle is far less ergonomic than the SVT and yes the box mag is far easier than the En Bloc of the M1, but that’s a result of being designed much later on; the Garand was dreamt up when stripper clips were far more prevalent and comparatively ‘the norm’.
Since I’ve already shot the K98, MP40, MG-42, STG-44, Luger and P-38, the G43 ticks off another big name on the list. Might do the MG-34 next perhaps, any other German weapons of the era that you folks would consider iconic? I really want a crack at the FG-42, but chances are REAL slim of finding an original. Since I’ve fired so many American, British and Russian weapons of WW2 it only really made sense to compare what the enemy were using.
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Last week I was dumping a mag through a PPsh-41 in a single, this week it’s the MP 40. ROF on the PPSh is around 950 round per minute, while it’s a mere 550 on the German gun. Compare both videos and that 400 RPM difference is a stark contrast to say the least.
There’s also absolutely nowhere on the Ruskie blaster that’s actually ‘good’ for your support hand to be placed, whereas the standardised firearm layout of the MaschinenPistole means you’ve got a very handy stick magazine to hold just like a vertical foregrip. There’s actually less than a pound of difference in weight between the 2 guns, though I think the bolt travel is a fair bit longer on the MP, which would be another contributing factor.
I’d imagine a lot of the issues with the design of the PPSh stem from the fact it was intended to use a huge drum mag originally. Doctrine was to support the gun by the magazine from what I know about it, though if you watch enough Forgotten Weapons you’ll also know the Russians had trouble with production and reliability on the drums hence the move over to the standard box magazine. Definitely would like to fire the drum at some point, just because it’s the more iconic silhouette and I used it so much when i played through the original Call of Duty about 8 times as a teenager.
Anyway, enjoy the smooth, flat shooting of the MP 40. Has to be said that compared to the all most famous SMGs of WW2 (M1928/M1, M3 Grease, Sten and the PPSh), the German’s option is probably the objective best all around. Quality manufacture, comfortable and sensible ergonomics and a logical and sensible calibre and rate of fire so you don’t burn through mags at a silly rate. The PPS-43 would be a close runner and obviously there were other good designs of the era, but I’m talking about the big players we all know best from films and games.
Would anyone choose something different if they genuinely had to go back and fight on the western front? From a perspective of real practicality and having shot all of the contenders (in full auto), there’s a clear winner in my mind.
Just me putting turning money in to noise at Battlefield: Vegas. I’d always been incredibly curious just how uncomfortable the Sten submachine gun would be hold even hold let alone shoot given the plate of essentially raw steel that makes up the ‘grip’ on the Mk2 (which was the most common variant). It’s actually not too terribly bad.
Just straight up gratuitous phone footage of me blasting stuff at Shoot Las Vegas. I’ll write a review of the business later, but right now I’ll score them an easy 9/10 if not higher. If your personal belief is that using good looking women to promote your enterprise is a bad thing you won’t like them that’s for sure, but that’s not my personal outlook on things. Especially when the lady they post the most online also runs their social media and more importantly is one of their RSOs and works as such 6 days a week. But anyway, here’s the break down.
Single Action Army:
I realised I’d never fired any sort of revolver before this trip, but I’ve used SAAs many times in games and I bloody love that old school feeling of spinning the cylinder to load each round through the gate and cocking the hammer manually each time with the single action trigger. This model is obviously a slightly longer barrel than the US military variant that was adopted. Surprisingly not too much recoil for a big old cartridge and no slide to reciprocate.
Henry Repeating Arms Lever-Action:
Chambered in .45 Long Colt, same as the SAA. Again I’d never fired lever action before this, but the rifle is an early variant of the Henry without the King’s loading gate, so loading was done by dropping cartridges down the magazine tube from the front. You notice the rear site is a gigantic, cavernous notch with multiple angles inside it? Well I had no idea where to put the front bead inside that cavern so I started with it lined up at the top, then later realised it had to be at the bottom and got a hit. The subsequent miss is presumably just the fact I suck.
20″ AR/M16 style setup with Spike’s Tactical 37mm launcher:
The selection at SLV is very good considering it’s waaay out in the sticks, but I’ve obviously been in the service a while and fired a few things along with visits to other rental ranges and range days during SHOT Show trips. I basically just wanted to shoot an M16 clone with the heatshield around the barrel that you only see on M16s with UGLs. It’s as iconic as they come. I had an Action Man with that gun as a kid (the 203 fired green plastic ‘missiles’ via spring that cocked on loading, amazing).
Kahr Firearms Group/Auto Ord M1928 Thomspon:
I’ve fired this exact setup before, but it was the time I took my PivotHead glasses to the range and they let me down worse than any other piece of gear in history. If you’ve ever held a Thompson (real or replica) you’ll know the stock and controls make it a competitor for least ergonomic gun ever made. I presume it was setup to be hip fired after jumping in to a WW1 trench. So I don’t think I hit anything but I do not care a single jot – It’s a Chicago Typewriter *with* the drum.
FN America/Herstal P90:
I did not know this PDW had an AUG style 2-stage trigger as well as the fire selector, very, very odd. Also no idea where the EoTech was zero’d so I probably entirely failed to take in to account that huge bore offset, but it doesn’t matter because it fires rapid as hell and barely moves so I had a great time blasting sand. Which is all I do care about in this context.
Heckler & Koch G36:
I didn’t really expect a lot from this since it’s just a plastic assault rifle in 556, but it’s the easiest to control in automatic of just about any rifle I’ve fired, which makes little sense given how light it is. Felt like firing an SMG. Obviously you’ll note ALL of the shots hitting low but at least they’re fairly consistently low in the ground, so I can only imagine the sights were set for a lot further out than I was aiming.
Same super freaky selector + dual stage setup as the P90. Do not ask me why that automatic ROF is so insanely high, it makes no sense to me, especially since I’ve handled the rifle previously at the Leeds collection and it weighs about 4lbs at a guess; all plastic body. Genuinely fits the bill when you say ‘feels like a toy’ in relation to a firearm because it feels like budget airsoft or a NERF gun.
FN SCAR Light/Mk16:
Fitting squarely in to the ‘boring, 556, short stroke, metal upper + polymer lower, AR layout’ modern assault rifle category, I was going to pick something else initially. But then SLV had the short version in sandy colours exactly like my TM replica and I changed my mind very quickly. Great controls, very light recoil. I can see why these guns are so pricey and so popular.
Just a regular 91/30 from what I can see in he video but I didn’t look the rifle over in person. Honestly the worst shooting experience I’ve had, the only gun that’s ever bruised me. Nothing to do with SLV of course, it’s just an old bolt action with no muzzle device and a beast of a round from the late 1800s, back when range and power was king. Combined with a metal butt plate of course and zero padding so ALL of that x54R force is going in to smacking a piece of metal right in to you. I guess I’m just a masochist.
The .50 I’ll throw in to a separate video because I want to have a nice big thumbnail on YouTube with the Barrett front and centre, because why not right? I probably could have got a ton of views over there if I’d uploaded each gun separately with big thumbnails and capitalised video titles, but then they hate guns and I’d make nothing from it. I’ve also had mostly just bad experiences with trolls on any video that has gotten large numbers of views.
The other shooting footage that came out from the FirstSpear range day.Primary Weapons Systems make one of very few (maybe the only?) AR-15 with a long stroke gas piston, one of the features of an AK pattern gun that contributes to their legendary reliability. Even if that legend does get over-blown sometimes.
Should’ve been leaning forward more, but when it’s a fairly long barrel, comparatively heavy gas parts, shooting slow in a small cartridge and with frangible bullets… well all shots were hits, so it is what it is. Jumping behind the gun and going all-out tactical would’ve looked and felt pretty strange in a relaxed range situation like that.
Cheers to Ivan for coming over to my place with all his camera and media equipment to get this filmed. He had to cut out a lot of me coughing my lungs up because Vegas is the driest place I’ve ever been, I was talking in the show all day then talking all the way from the show back to the hotel, but with a lot of Halls+Water I got through enough takes in the end.