A lot of people think that the US was the only country in World War II to mass-issue a semiautomatic infantry rifle, but that isn’t true. While the US was the only country to issue *everyone* a semi auto, both the Soviet Union and Germany produced large numbers of them. The Soviet rifle in particular was developed over pretty much the same timeline as the M1 Garand, and literally millions of them were made and used in the war.
Today we are taking a look at the second Soviet self-loader adopted as an infantry standard, the SVT-38. The SVT was actually the runner-up up in the formal Soviet trials, and a rifle made by Simonov was actually adopted first in 1936 – but it proved too fragile in field use, and Tokarev’s rifle was brought in to replace it. The weapon was only made for a couple years before being updated to the SVT-40, and today the 1938 models are quite rare in the US.