Walther KKW: Competition Shooting in Nazi Germany

Lot 3620 in the September 2019 RIA auction. 

The KKW (“Klein Kaliber Wehrsportgewehr”, or small caliber military sporting rifle) was developed by BDW in 1937 as an amalgamation of various .22 rifle elements form other manufacturers as well as BSW itself. It was intended to fill the role of the German national standard target rifle. When he Nazi party took over Germany in the early 30s, the SA consolidated and reorganized the civilian shooting sports in to a format aimed at military training. To this end, they wanted a standardized rifle which would duplicate the handling of the Mauser K98k in .22 long rifle caliber. This was initially the DSM, but in 1935 the SA decided that it wanted a rifle that more closely mirrors the military pattern Mauser. The result was the KKW. For more information on these and other German 1930s/40s training rifles, I recommend the recent book on the subject by Bob Simpson.

19 Comments

  1. Interesting but personally I prefer the 4.4 mm clip fed air rifles that resembled the Kar 98. However they are very expensive here in France over 400 euroes even for the post war versions

  2. I have a post-war British 22 trainer (No. 8 Mk I) that is a lot of fun to shoot. Ian has a video on it as well (that’s how I learned about them!)

    The production/politics aspects of the KKW is interesting: According to Wikipedia, Berlin Suhler Waffenwerk was originally the Simson company, and was seized from the (Jewish) Simson family by the government, and renamed several times by the Nazis and later the DDR communist government (under which they mostly made motorcycles, but also some Makarov pistols!) the company survived until 2003: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simson_(company)

  3. What a nice rifle! I’d love to see this back in production today – of course it would need a magazine feed. Given the length of the receiver, I’ll bet that a .22 mag version would be very possible. Unfortunately if it was built to the same fit and finish as we saw in the video we’d probably be looking well past a thousand bucks, which nobody will pay for a rimfire in today’s market.

    Without getting too political (if that’s possible when we discuss firearms) what was the status of these rifles in Nazi Germany? We hear a lot of quotes from the pro gun people about how the Nazi government tried to outlaw private firearms ownership and then we see something like this which is described as a “sporting rifle”. Were these rifles sold to members of the public? Given the nature of the Nazi state I would imagine that any members of the public who were allowed to purchase these rifles were carefully vetted with requirements for severe background checks and shooting club memberships. Or were they actually “owned” by the government and lent or issued out to shooting club members?

    I’ll admit that I know absolutely nothing about civilian gun ownership under the Nazis. My dad – a WW2 vet – related that almost everybody in Germany wore a uniform and they all seemed to carry a pistol of some sort, but he assumed that was in their “official” capacity.

    • A meticulously researched book by Stephen P. Halbrook, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and “Enemies of the State” is an exhaustive discussion of the weapon control laws and policies from pre WW1 through WW2 in Germany. If you want to see how “well meaning” laws can be used somewhat later by rather “not so well meaning” people, this is an excellent history, both of law and culture. Extensively documented and footnoted.

  4. The gun law of 1938 allowed every person of 18 years or older to buy rifles, shotguns and ammunition. I am sorry to say that this was much more liberal than the gun laws of the Weimar Republic, which started in 1919 by outlawing the posession of ANY firearm whatsoever. This later became a little more realistic.
    According to the 1938 law, to buy a handgun, a license (Waffenerwerbsschein) was required.
    To carry any type of firearms, a license (Waffenschein) was required, unless you already had a hunting license.
    Special laws came into effect for Jews. They were not even allowed to own a bajonet from their military service in WW1.

    • Quite revealing and in contrast to popular sources I have seen. As a result, the general belief was/is that the ‘nastsies’ confiscated all firearms in private possession in Germany. Knowledge of the true history ought to be cherished.

    • I tried that too. It was little awkward to handle and not very accurate. For basic raining it was good enough I guess. I am spoiled with my Savage Mark II, coincidentally also Canadian made.

        • Yes it is. I have had best results with CCI sub-sonic ammo at 50m. Last time I could not believe I was such ‘great’ shot. It’s not me, it is the rifle, I shouted 🙂

  5. Other than some Romanian M1969 trainers that aren’t based on actual service rifles, my only true .22 trainer is a Polish Wz.48, which replicates a single-shot Mosin Nagant (in function, not in operating system).

    It is an absolute tack driver, but the heavy striker and matchlock-like lock time require the shooter to be very careful with follow-through.

  6. I have a .22 trainer made for WW2 Springfield 1093 which I also have, sporterized unfortunately. I’ve always been interested in Mausers and especially Kar 98. Any suggestions for a beginner riffle that would be like something I like. Thanks

  7. Great rifle but not so great people behind its creation. I hope it finds a worthy owner. Anyone want to reproduce this with a box magazine? Oh, wait, China does something like that…

    Pent-up social rant, feel free to ignore: This week has been sad for firearms and privately owned weapons in general. More mass shootings and even more mass-stabbing attacks means more demands for complete disarmament and weapons bans. Heck, my younger brother was accosted by fools who demanded he destroy his compound bow on the grounds that only terrorists or lunatics would own weapons of any kind in our suburban neighborhood! I kid you not! It took a passing police officer to put an end to the madness!

    • You do not need to go into history to find that Wackos are popping up anywhere, any time. Your brother’s compound bow story is regrettable.

      Oh yes, every popular movement in past had relied on support of common people and led youth to a specific, for that movement beneficial, activities. I experienced the same in 1960s. Is that something to be sneered at? I do not think so; rather it should be understood in proper context.

  8. For what it is worth Norinco (China) has been making .22 K98,s. Not bad if you cannot afford an original KKW, the prices of which seem to have risen since Bob Simpsons excellent book was published.
    There is also “German Smallbore Training Rifles” by Bruno Guigues .
    Get both books but be prepared to kiss your wallet goodbye!
    Happy collecting

      • European ammunition manufacturers like Blaser, RUAG Ammotec/RWS, Prvi Partizan, Sako and Sellier & Bellot produce factory new ammunition.

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