American Rifleman - July 2014 - 51

I

t's all about the rush you get when you confront
a firearm with a unique orchestration of design
and engineering that transcends design and
engineering and becomes compelling purely
on esthetic grounds-somehow a part of the inner
landscape of your imagination. The Peacemaker,
the Thompson, the Colt .45, the Luger, the MP-40,
the Russian PPSh and the AK series, maybe a few
others share this characteristic.
But for me, none more so than the German
FG-42, the German paratroop rifle-"FG" decodes
to Fallschirmjägergewehr, in English "Parachute
Infantry Weapon"-perhaps the strongest cult gun
to emerge from World War II.
See it once, remember it forever. I'm thinking
my first glimpse had to be in the '50s, in a mailorder DEWAT (Deactivated War Trophy) catalogue, a
bible of misspent youth. The de-functionalized gun

probably went for less than $20 in the day when a
full-auto could be retailed through the U.S. Mail for
the cost of the lead to fill the barrel and the services
of somebody to remove the firing pin. The process
was entirely unremarkable for years. But don't get
caught with an unregistered one now.
There it lay in that volume's bluish ink-or so
memory insists-on a 45-degree angle across the
page, a firearm that seemed to have a past and
future but no present. From yesterday it took the
swooping streamlines of art moderne as seen in
the graceful, violin-esque abstract of its stock, that
little prong of a handguard to anchor the shooter's
hand to the fore-end and its oh-so-1928-Thompson
compensator at the muzzle's end. From tomorrow
it took a rakishly angled grip, pugnacious trigger
guard, straight-line design, folding bipod, bayonet
and sights and its general air of raffishness.

AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG/STEPHENHUNTER

The FG-42 Fallschirmjägergewehr
Of all the guns of World War II, the German FG-42, designed for use by German Fallschirmjäger or
"Green Devils," stands out as one of the rarest, most unique and timeless designs. Here, a bestselling author weighs in on the social, historical and cultural significance of the gun.
BY STEPHEN HUNTER
AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

JULY 2014

51


http://www.AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG/STEPHENHUNTER

American Rifleman - July 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - July 2014

Contents
American Rifleman - July 2014 - Cover1
American Rifleman - July 2014 - Cover2
American Rifleman - July 2014 - 1
American Rifleman - July 2014 - Contents
American Rifleman - July 2014 - 3
American Rifleman - July 2014 - 4
American Rifleman - July 2014 - 5
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