SSD’s Modernized FG-42 at IWA

TFB’s IWA coverage comes courtesy of Troubleshooter Berlin, who made it out to Nürnberg for the show. Many thanks to him for providing the pictures and information.

I cannot think of a weapon so long dead that has risen from the grave quite like the FG-42. Only a few thousand originals were made during World War II, and the design – though influential – effectively disappeared off the face of the Earth after 1945. Sport-Systeme Dittrich’s new FG-42 isn’t the first modernized Fallschirmjägergewehr to pop up in the past few years – in fact, it’s not even the second. In 2012, a firm called Tactics Group was showing off their take on the 21st Century FG-42, and last year SMG Guns announced their MK42, a modernization of the FG-42 reproductions they have been producing as specialty items.

SSD is manufacturing their new modernized FG-42s in two barrel lengths, and in three calibers: The original 8x57mm IS, 7.62×51 NATO, and – most strangely – 7.62x54R. The latter versions apparently use SVD magazines, and were reportedly ordered by Russian contacts, before exports to Russia were cut off due to sanctions:


From top to bottom: FG-42s in 8×57, 7.62×51, and 7.62x54R. The top two rifles are equipped with Russian-made Kompas navigation systems.


I’m honestly shocked at how popular the FG-42 has become recently. While the design was impressive for the era, it was somewhat fragile and had a high parts breakage rate. Apparently, these are not significant obstacles to the modern manufacturer and shooter, and the new weapons are very well-liked by those who shoot them. It would be exceptionally strange to see the rifle fully-reborn and re-embraced by military, law enforcement, and civilian customers alike, but that is clearly what these new variations aim to do.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • TDog

    I want one. Heck… if I save up, I’d love to get three! 😀

    • Nebelwerfer

      Three SSD BD42/2s will cost you at least 24.000$. But I guess that’s quite reasonable compared to the 300.000$ original FG42.

      • TDog

        Okay… if i save up, at those prices, I may be able to afford a third of one!

  • Stephen

    I would rather buy an FG-42 than an AR-15. As of late, it seems the only “new firearms” are the multiple AR clones. I’m not hating on them, and I know the FG-42 is an older design, but I like to see different firearms being developed and manufactured more so than “this company has a NEW tacticool wonder machine!”.

    • Stephen

      Also, today is a good day for this post. “I Will Survive” reached number one on the Billboard Top 100 today in 1979! Haha!

    • Cal S.

      I’m hoping the price drops out of the AR market here pretty soon. It’s getting pretty close to becoming a ‘bubble’ ready to burst. I wish they’d be able to make bullpups more affordable while they’re at it.

      • J.T.

        Bubble ready to burst? Where are you? That happened over a year ago. You can get an entry level S&W or Ruger AR for under $650 and occasionally under $600. You can also build your own for $500, possibly lower if you shop around some. They aren’t going to get cheaper than that.

        • Cal S.

          No, that’s true, and I’m glad that’s happening for certain. However, companies are still selling ARs for over $3k by simply placing “Custom” and other such verbiage in front of them (which may very well be the case).

          Still, by now everyone should just be building their own ARs…

        • HSR47

          Hell, I picked up a used Colt 6520 from local surplus store (they had a bunch) on black Friday last year for just under $600 out the door.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      I would rather buy an FG-42 than an AR-15.

      That’s….. a comment right at home here.

  • Matrix3692

    What next? A FG 42 that can selectively fed from left or right?

    • mig1nc

      Beretta ARX-42?

  • sianmink

    It’s quite possible that with modern metallurgy that the parts breakage issue is easily solved. It would be an interesting experiment to see how far modernization of the platform could be taken.

  • Mike


  • Vitsaus

    I’d love to see one in person, but conceptually I like the idea.

  • Kevin Harron

    I’d like to see what type of accuracy these are capable of. Possible for DMR useage?

  • Phil Hsueh

    That is one sweet looking gun, if i’s cheap enough I wouldn’t mind getting one.

    You know, with a few minor mods this gun wouldn’t look out of place on the set of the new Star Wars trilogy.

    • dan citizen

      You’re right, I could totally see darth vader and his cylons raiding the enterprise with these.

  • Lance

    Too bad no one uses the old German design anymore.

  • Kitsuneki


  • Alucard

    I would actually prefer the original without all that tactical crap.

  • Southpaw89

    Actually I don’t think chambering it in 7.62×54 is strange at all, being that’s its the cheapest full powered cartridge available today. Seems more like a brilliant business decision to use that round.

    • Cymond

      According to ‘Nebelwerfer’ below, the BD 42/2 costs $8000! Expensive gun, cheap ammo? Seems to me that anyone who can afford a BD 42 can afford to feed it the cartridge of their

    • toms

      I agree, if you want it accurate put norma or lapua in it, want to plink run commie stuff. Maybe they can send em over here. The FG42 was light accurate low recoil and ahead of its time as a DMR. No reason a modern one can’t work well. Maybe a 30-06 as it should fit medium action cartridges. 8000 dollars no thanks though,

  • noguncontrol

    repeal all nfa, and everyone can have these in full auto, great for farm defense.