The FG 42, or Fallschirmjägergewehr 42 (German: Paratrooper Rifle 42) is a gas-operated, air-cooled, selective fire, battle rifle that was used by Germany during World War II.


The FG 42's first production model was the FG 42-1 and a main characteristic of the FG 42-1 was its slanted pistol grip. The FG 42 had a 10 or a 20 round magazine and could be mounted on a bipod. The length of the first model was 93.7 centimeters and the weight was 4.38 kilograms. The length of the second model was 106 centimeters and the weight of the second model was 5.05 kilograms. It also took the 7.92 x 57 mm Mauser Cartridge and the rate of fire was about 700 rounds per minute. The muzzle velocity of the FG 42 was 740 meters per second and the effective range was about 600 meters.

This trait was abandoned for the second FG 42-2 and a new heavier weight to compensate for the fully automatic function of the FG 42 was introduced.[1] Another new trait was that the FG 42-2 had a wooden buttstock rather than the original steel used to make the FG 42-1.

Both FG 42s had iron sights above the barrel and above the feeding mechanism and they also had mounts for scopes. The scopes commonly used with the FG 42 were the ZFG42 and the ZF-4. The main user of the FG 42 were Fallschirmjager, the airborne division of the Luftwaffe.


The FG 42-1 was designed in 1941 and 1942 by Louis Stange, and was in use up to the end of the war. It was developed out of the need for a selective fire weapon that could be utilized by paratroopers that would not be too large or heavy.

The FG 42-2 was designed in 1944 because there were some things that needed to be corrected on the older design. FG 42's were first used in combat during Operation Eiche in 1943—the bold rescue of Benito Mussolini by the Fallschirmjäger led by Otto Skorzeny.[2] Although the FG 42's use diminished as the war went on, around 7,000 were built. They were manufactured by Rheinmetall-Borsig and Heinrich Krieghoff Waffenfabrik.


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