The VG 1-5 series was incredibly cheap to produce and somewhat crude. The Volksturm VG 1 rifle was a bolt-action rifle that used Gewehr 43 magazines. It was designed to be incredibly basic so that even an unskilled craftsman could keep one maintained. The VG 1 did not have a bayonet lug and therefore could not mount a bayonet unless modified to do so. Since it was fragile, yet utilized the full-power 7.92 mm cartridge, the VG 1 may have been unsafe to fire.
The Gustloff Volkssturmgewehr 1 differed in that it was fully-automatic. With much of Germany's organization and control crumbling, Gustloffwerke produced a crude, yet somewhat viable automatic rifle. The Gustloff Volkssturmgewehr 1 utilized StG 44 magazines (since new magazines would be too expensive to produce), but did not have much else in common with it. The VG 1 used a gas-retarded blowback system. Although more practical than the Volksturm VG 1 rifle, the Gustloff rifle could still prove hazardous to fire due to its fragile build. Considerable numbers were produced given the materials available, but it proved too little, too late to make much of a difference.
The Volksturm VG 2 was similar to the bolt-action VG 1 in that it utilized the same magazine type (Gewehr 43 magazines) and maintained many of the same features, such as a crude safety mechanism.
Like the VG 1, it was incredibly fragile and probably unsafe to fire. The Volksturm VG 5, or VK 98 (Volkskarabiner), was the crudest of the series. The VG 5 was essentially an incredibly basic Mauser rifle with a wooden body screwed onto it, and lacking in a magazine (each cartridge needed to be chambered individually, which was incredibly inconvenient for the operator). With simple sights that could not be adjusted and a fragile wooden frame, the VG 5 was the least reliable, and few VG 5 rifles were ever produced, or survived the war.
The VG 1-5 series was developed solely during the spring of 1945. The VG 1-5 series was manufactured by various factories for use by the 'Volksturm' (People's Force), however, only a few were produced during the last months of the war and the VG 1-5 series never saw widespread use.
It had very low reliability mainly because of the second-class materials that were available to Germany in 1945. Among the places that the VG 1-5 series was along the Oder river in the final defense against Soviets.