Thread: 9mm vs.45
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Old March 27th, 2005, 03:13 AM
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Jack Quinlan
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: San Diego
Posts: 3,490
Originally Posted by johnlee
The StG44 is not a true rifle. Sure, it's an "assault rifle", the first of its breed, but is it really a rifle? I don't think so. I rather like Jeff Cooper's classification of the StG44 and its progeny as "battle carbines" rather than "battle rifles". Note that when Haenel and Walther first developed these types of weapons, the original classification was "MKb42" and not "G42". The Wehrmacht properly classified these weapons "machine carbines", as they were less powerful than true "machine rifles" and more powerful than "machine pistols". I think the original classification the Wehrmacht used is more accurate.

I have to argue that in fact the StG44 is indeed a true battle rifle. It is my belief that while at the time of its introduction the StG44 occupied a singular place in the infantry battery its revolutionary design left such an impact that our very use of the term "rifle" has adapted to incorporate it. Surely at the time the StG44 is more readily compared to the M1 Carbine than the Garand, Johnson, Mauser SLR, FG42 or Tokarev, however, its introduction led directly to the obsolesence of the aforementioned rifles chambered in full size cartridges. The subsequent designs born of and inspired by the StG44 so thoroughly eclipsed the previous standard for the infantry long arm that the very concept of a battle rifle was redifined. I would submit that the language we use today in reference to current design is proof positive that the StG44 stood shoulder to shoulder with contemporary autoloaders and even managed to replace them both on the battlefield and in our vocabulary. Today when we speak of the infantry rifle we do not distinguish between assault and otherwise. The M16 is a rife. The AK47 is a rifle. The Sig550 is a rifle. They are the primary tool of the infantry soldier which is now and has always been the "rifle". All of these weapons utilize an intermediate round but they are not relegated to a class which is seperate and apart from what defined a full size round in the second world war period. Rather they now serve as the very definition of what we perceive as a "battle rifle". The few remaining who distinguish between "assault" or otherwise are neither students of history nor the firearm itself. Only those who's interest is to label specific weapons for the purpose of their control by the goverment seek to make such distinctions.

Furthermore, I am want to readily accept that the StG44 is a less "powerful" weapon simply because of the cartridge it was chambered in. Much like the Stoner and Klashnikov designs the utility and the effectiveness of the weapon stems from it's ability to produce a well directed volume of fire. The tactical advances in the second world war at both small squad and larger company and even brigade levels proved that any sort of "one shot, one kill" doctrine was antiquated. At numerous times the American forces well equipped with the Garand and BAR demonstrated that fire superiority proved decisive in engagements between like forces. Now in those instances comparable cartridges were simply delivered by different means but the Eastern Front battles demonstrated that even the 7.62x25 Tokarev round was more effective than 7.92 Mauser when delivered in greater volume and concentration. In both instances the lethality of an individual deliberately fired round was outweighed by the greater likelihood of a hit possible with volume of fire action. More bullets = more hits. Not a greater percentage, just more wounds and kills total. In this sense the StG44 and it's successors are very powerful weapons indeed. They offer quick and relatively precise volume of fire which directly results in damage upon the enemy. They are a "powerful" weapon for the infantry soldier.
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