German ordnance began looking for a military selfloading rifle to augment the K98k as early as the 1930s, although the pressures of war initially made that development a second priority. By 1941, though, two competing designs from the Walther and Mauser companies had been developed to the point of mass production, as the Gewehr 41(W) and Gewehr 41(M) rifles. These both shared a gas-trap operating system to comply with an HWa requirement that no gas ports be drilled into the barrels. When it came to locking systems, the two designs differed greatly, with the Walther being the more successful of the two. Thousands of examples of both designs were put into field testing, mostly in the East, and it because clear that the gas trap system was not suitable for combat. The Walther company responded with a new version of their design which used a much more modern short stroke gas piston, basically copied from the Soviet SVT-40 rifle.

The G43 was very quickly recognized as a significant improvement over the G41(W), and was very quickly put into production, with approximately 400,000 being manufactured by the end of the war. Well, I found an example of the G43 that I could shoot (thank you, Mike) and took it out for some video…


  1. I’ve owned a AC45 “C” block K-43 rifle for many years. It has all of the typical late war improvements including the heavy barrel, single bolt guide, repositioned extractor, stainless steel gas piston, and three millimeter gas cylinder relief holes, all of which contribute to accuracy and relibility. It’s heresy, I know, but in many respects I prefer it to a Garand. It’s far more easily loaded with a fresh magazine, or using single rounds or a stripper clip.

  2. Please DO NOT SHOOT your G-43’s! I had a long detailed reply, but it was somehow erased, so no the short version.
    1- I got a brass and gas blast in the face and eye from a ruptured case when the top sliding bolt cover went flying 2- A bolt carrier kept trying to over ride the guide rails back into my face when a small chip took out some of the guide channels in the carrier.
    3- A bolt locking separated into 2 pieces when I cleaned it, I had been shooting it all day. The right locking lug showed carbon on 3 sides indicating it had fractured long ago, there was a small air hole that formed during casting in the center of it. Imagine what would have happened if it had come apart at firing.
    4- Friend got a deep eye circle from the ZF 4 scope coming back into his face after my G-43 doubled. It fired 2 hots quickly from a single trigger pull. He has the worse case of scope eye I ever saw.
    So, hang em’ on the wall, play with them, but please do not shoot them!

  3. If you buy a shooter’s kit they are fine to shoot. I use mine and many other people do too. If it’s a pristine all matching then maybe keep it in the safe but I want historic weapons that I can fire.

  4. Are there any companies manufacturing replicas or reproductions? I don’t have the time or skill to try to assemble a complete G43 out of randomly sourced parts.

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