The Volksstrumgewehr Gustloff, more commonly (albeit incorrectly) known as the VG1-5, was one of the few semiautomatic Volkssturm weapons produced at the end of WWII. I have discussed these rifles before, but wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to take a close look at two more examples of the type.
Mechanically the Gustloff uses a system quite unusual in rifles – gas delayed blowback. Chambered for the 8×33 Kurz cartridge, there are 4 small gas vent holes in the front half of the barrel which vent gas into a chamber in the front muzzle plug. Pressure in this chamber acts to keep the slide closed, thus delayed the opening of the action. A nearly identical system is used in the much later Steyr GB pistol.
One of these in particular still has its original sling, which is a neat feature (the other clearly was issued with a sling but has lost it). In total 10,000 of these were manufactured, but they were not able to make a significant impact to prolong Germany’s war effort.