FG42 Rifle Review (Smith Machine Group Reproduction)

The German FG42 (Fallschirmjägergewehr 42) was a rifle designed as a multi-role combat small arm for airborne troops that was part rifle and part light machine gun. Only about 10,000 were made during WWII, but the design was very influential after the conflict ended (especially in the USA).
A company In Decatur Texas is now reproducing these guns in semi-auto only configuration, and in this video we put one to the test!

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Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Dave

    Interesting review.

    As someone who is particularly intrigued by John C. Garand’s “light rifle” prototype submission for Springfield Armory during the development of the M1 carbine, I was very interested to see the Lewis gun-style op-rod/firing pin arrangement on the German Fallschirmjägergewehr 42. I suppose that releasing the trigger would similarly result in the op-rod/hammer moving forward to strike the firing pin to result in accuracy problems with the system there as well. No wonder the Lewis gun was so heavy, eh?

    The bayonet was probably just so the paratrooper could have something to poke with… Like looking for mines or whatever. Of course they also had those distinctive knives. An interesting idea, to equip the Luftwaffe elite ground troops with a rifle that doubled as a carbine, automatic rifle, and light machine gun of sorts. Also to use the standard rifle cartridge. It seems that while the French pioneered the “all in one” infantry weapon system earlier in the Rossignol, this one was actually fielded, and then influenced similar conceptions among Swiss and UK weapons designers.

  • Jose

    That is an interesting video that you made about the FG-42 semiauto reproduction. But that’s not the only one; in Germany, Sport Systeme Dittrich are manufacturing semi-auto FG-42, type 1 and 2, as well a special semi-auto, tactical version in .308. Recently, they unveil a prototype that fire the 7.62X54, and uses Dragunov SVD magazines, as well an MP-38 made of aluminum and the MP-35 Bergmann. They also made MP-38s; STG44s; G43s; VG1-5s and MP3008s. GSG is doing its version of the MP40 in both 9mm Parabellum and the special 9mm PAK, a blank cartridge, as well a new version of the STG44 in that cartridge. And finally, Schwaben Arms, who manufactures their version of the Heckler and Koch family of roller locker weapons, and the semi-auto UZI, are also manufacturing the Kar98K as the SAR 98 carbine, in 8mm Mauser; 7.92×33 Kurz; and .308.

    You can check them at their respective websites, by searching on Goggle . BTW, EL BE TAC, a german importer of weapons,announced over a year ago that they were planning to import some of these WWII reproductions to the U.S. market, but never happen. They, however, become distributors of the Robinson Armament Company’s XCR rifles.

    • HKmaster

      I really hope Elbe Tac will decide to import some of their guns. Besides the HMG StG, I’d wager that there’s still a significant crowd of people willing to pay for a 99% faithful reproduction of an StG-44, which elbe offers.

    • MPWS

      I have seen that German maker’s set of videos you mention and that is what I reflect on in my note. They went out of business, I believe.

  • gunsandrockets

    Does anyone make similar types of folding sights or buffered stock or muzzle brake for the AR platform?

    • Richard

      Someone makes/is going to make an attachment that takes an ax on the buffer tube, I don’t think these accessories are too much of a stretch but you never know what the hell someone has come up with

    • William Elliott

      Knights armament makes a cylindrical rear sight for the M4 IIRC. Works with the standard fixed FSB or flip up front sights.
      Google: Muzzle Brake. I don’t think there is anything EXACTLY like it, but there should be something similar.
      I think the buffered stock wouldn’t go over well…too close to a slide fire with a spring in it, and the ATF got all futzy about that the last time they tried it [hence the reason there is no spring in the slide fire stock]

  • takirks

    Interestingly, it looks like this reproduction isn’t quite exact with the bolt machining. The FG42 I handled and stripped in the past had a transverse rectangular cut at the front of the bolt track for the op rod tower, which prevented contact between the tower and the front of the cut–A feature signally lacking from the M60, and which caused me endless grief as an armorer due to the massive amount of peening on both surfaces from them beating themselves to death against each other. I wonder why this reproduction seems to echo the horrid M60 implementation of the design, and not the late-war FG42 I got to handle? Something to do with the semi-auto only fire control, maybe? Be interesting to know…

  • Richard

    Did you buy one of these or did they send you a test gun?

  • Bierstadt54

    This is one of those guns I just find jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I doubt I would ever be in a position to buy one, but it’s nice to see the review. Now if they just go and make a modern operating system version at half the price and keep the looks… hey, I can dream!

  • BjornTheBrave

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

  • Tassiebush

    Very interesting review and the point about the charging handle and firing pin mass being noticeable was very interesting! It’s a quirky design!

  • noob

    Hmm an integral slide fire style buffer that recoils the whole gun into the stock? Does that mean the weapon can be bumpfired in semi auto easily or is the trigger too heavy?

  • HKmaster

    We need a run and gun for the FG!

    • Richard

      He said that the place where he does it is flooded.

  • MPWS

    First thing to realize is that the original was hi-end of mechanical compromise, almost mission impossible. Stg44 would have been lot more suitable for the role, if available. However, when looking at this ‘hobby gun’, the open bolt firing at semi-auto only seem to be a short-cut by manufacturer. The original weapon was firing from closed bolt at single shot. Btw, who has seen true to original version knows that this weapon can be stripped to miniscule detail.
    But, all around this looks like well made duplicate with some quality touches. What is evident though is that full auto fire from this light overall package is next to preposterous.
    One question: why no one has made a selective fire individual firearm with telescoping stock as yet?

  • The_Champ

    Such a fascinating and unique rifle. That reproduction looks fantastic.

    Alex how would you compare its handling and usefulness to the “battle rifles” that proceeded it in the cold war, ie the G3, FAL, M14, etc?

  • ciscokid3750

    As with most quality reproductions (the BAR also comes to mind or the various semi-auto U.S. Browning machine guns reproductions) the price is so astronomical the average working man would have to re-mortgage his home just to buy one. And of course an original would cost a Kings Ransom even if the local Sheriff would agree to graciously permit you to own one. A few of the top 1% of the population who control 99 per cent of the wealth of this country will buy them but not us, the troglodyte proletariat that all work for part time slave wages at Wal-Mart, the new U.S. workers paradise.
    Me personally I would not buy one even if I had the money as it is not true to the original that could be fired in the semi-auto mode. Have you ever tried to hit anything with a semi-auto that fires only from an open bolt. Good luck unless you are the re-incarnation of Daniel Boone and few of us are or ever will be.

  • Zebra Dun

    Very little muzzle climb.