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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]