One of the many projects GunLab has been hard at work completing is producing reproduction VG1-5 (more properly referred to as the Gustloff MP 507) carbines. These were last-ditch carbines, intended to be vastly cheaper to make than either the Kar98K or StG-44 carbines then in service. They were intended to operate via a closed bolt, gas-delayed blowback system; in practice, they were essentially straight blowback weapons, however.
A challenge GunLab has had to meet in producing these guns is redesigning the trigger group. The original Gustloff carbines had a riveted trigger group that cannot be taken apart, making copying it difficult. GunLab redesigned the trigger to both work safely and not change the lines of the original firearm; externally it would be just like an original VG1-5.
The VG1-5 is particularly interesting in that there’s really nothing else like it that also saw service. As a concept, it combines the crude-but-necessary construction of the Sten or PPS-43 with an intermediate caliber round and selfloading (not automatic) mechanism. This makes it a near-ideal weapon for the sort of war by economy that typified World War II. Post-war, the lessons learned from making weapons in large quantities were incorporated into post-war rifle design, from the M14 to the AK rifles, but no post-war weapon would quite reach the level of rude economy exemplified by the Gustloff carbine.
A collection of GunLab’s posts on the VG1-5 project can be found here.