Slow Motion: Gewehr 43

The G43 was intended to become the standard infantry rifle for the Wehrmacht (replacing the Kar 98k), but production never ramped up sufficiently, and the concept of the intermediate-caliber Sturmgewehr took over by the end of the war. Mechanically, the G43 uses a flap-locking system copied directly from the earlier Walther Gewehr 41 coupled with a gas pistol system derived from the Soviet SVT-38/40. Most G43s were significantly over-gassed when they left the factories, because reliable operation in the cold and mud of Russia was much more important than having a long service lifespan. This rifle has had its gas system replaced with a “shooter’s kit” from Apfeltor, which reduces the gas system pressure to only what is necessary to run the gun in clean conditions. Without this modification, parts breakage is likely with extended shooting.


  1. Karl & Ian.

    To confirm my hypothesis regarding the cause of a particular kind of malfunction, it would be most informative to see the AR180 in slow motion.

    My hypothesis being that the charging handle acts as a case deflector; upon its return hits the spent cartridge; on occasion deflecting it into the chamber.

    I believe this is what happened to Tim of MAC, the malfunction occurs 13:49 minutes into the video.

    Have either of you heard of this type of malfunction occurring in the AR180?

    • JB,
      The British SA80 family of rifles were developed from the AR18 and I remember there being complaints of charging handles (cocking handles in British parlance) acting as inadvertent brass deflectors, occasionally causing the spent case to go back inside the receiver of the weapon. It was actually addressed by HK in the A2 upgrades when they created a whole new handle with the deliberate intention of acting as a brass deflector.

      I don’t know if they’ve happened with the AR180’s, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that these things have happened to them given that the SA80 family is so similar to the AR18.

      Hell, I was actually pretty shocked when I first saw that vid you linked (saw it when it came out) and he opened up his rifle. What shocked me was just how similar the internals were to the SA80 family!

      • I am working on a good reply to your comment Re the AR180/18, until then thanks for the info Re the SA80A2.

      • The cocking handle on the AR18 is doglegged, so the bulk of it is out of the way of the ejecting brass. So it probably doesn’t suffer like the SA80 did (and I had this very malfunction several times).

        • abacab.

          The bent/dogleg charging handle may well reduce the incidence of deflecting spent cartridges into the ejection port but it evidently does not eliminate it.

          I have no documentary evidence to support my opinion but I get the impression it was designed to deflect spent cartridges forward rather than miss them. The spent cartridges are consistently deflected forward in this video

          That brings me to the A2 charging handle modification

          The above Gareth Fairclough claims that deflecting the spent cartridges was the intention in changing the charging handle on the SA80 to the A2 configuration.

          Have you used the SA80A2? If so does the new charging handle work as allegedly designed?

          With both the AR180/18 & SA80 I think the malfunction could be eliminated by a combination of increasing the velocity of the spent cartridges and increasing the window of time for ejection. That is to say, increase the strength of the ejector spring; decreasing either or both the rearward and forward boltcarrier velocity via a change in recoil spring weight.

          • Had an l85 A1 not only reflect a case but bang it base first into the breech an stop the weapon, really really missed the SLR….

      • Gareth Fairclough.

        This malfunction allegedly is/was common in the SA80, though I have not found documentary or video evidence of it, government or otherwise.

        I would much appreciate any links to information confirming H&K intention re the SA80A2 charging handle.

        The SA80 is definitely AR180/18 progeny!

        Owing to a new commenter using the name JB on GunLab, I have added 黒狐 to mine to distinguish it from his or any future commenters.

  2. Interesting, as always.

    User note: Recently I have had a lot of trouble getting your videos to play, both here and at In Range. I’ve tried on more than one computer. Perhaps it’s because I use Chrome. This one played first try when I moved to Explorer.

  3. Perhaps it’s the Apfeltor gas regulator, but Ian’s G43 seems to eject quite consistently – which is not the case with most (like 99%) others that I’ve handled. These were throwing the brass haphazardly all around the clock – the only other such inconsistent brass thrower I remember was the Czech vz.52/57 rifle.

  4. I believe that if I had one HUGE consistent run of ammo, I could tweak the recoil spring to the point that every cartridge would fall into the same little pile.

  5. A curious thought. The Ljungman direct impingement system the Swedes used on the AG42 was a contemporary, as was the direct impingement system on the MAS 40, (later MAS 49 and 49/56). I wonder if the Germans ever considered dispensing with the piston and using a gas tube to direct gas against the face of the bolt carrier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.