K43: Hitler’s Garand

Nazi Germany struggled to develop a semi automatic battle rifle. During the ramp up to WWII it was seen as “too costly” to replace the K98k. By 1941 the Nazis had developed the Gewehr 41, a semi automatic 7.92x57mm rifle. Which, perhaps because of their lack of a “John C. Garand”, turned out to be unreliable.

The G41 was resigned to become the G43, working out the reliability issues that plagued the earlier model. The G43 was build from stamped steel as opposed to the milled G41 which made it quicker and cheaper to produce. In 1944 the G43 was renamed the K43.

Here an example of one of “Hitler’s Garands”. This is an AC45 “D” block rifle made in the Walther plant. The D block was a late war production which would have been made in late March or early April. Many of these late produced “D” block rifles were taken right from the racks in the Walther factory, as it was over run by the GIs on their way to Berlin.



Late war Walther rifles were made using a mix of parts that may have been out of spec/or earlier rejected parts, just to get rifles out of the door. This example has an earlier style bolt and retains its bolt locking tab. There is a mix of phosphate and blued parts, which is common in late war produced K43s. Also common in the very late produced rifles would be chatter marks on the stock, from running them through the mill with dull tooling, as they clearly didnt have the time to sharpen or change the knives in the mill. The chatter marks are very faint on this rifle (I believe it was sanded) but light enough to still retain the Waffenamts on the stock. Its very neat to see the crudeness of these K43s. Im always amazed at the milling and casting marks left on the bolt and the receiver. The Germans were really trying to crank these out, just a little to late.




Many of these rifles were over gassed, especially the early ones, as they only had one small vent under the upper hand gaurd to bleed off the excess gas used to cycle the action. As a result, many of G/K43s will have the rear of the receiver actually bent out from being battered by the bolt. If ever looking at purchasing one of these rifles, that will be something you want to be certain to check for. As with any old gun, you want to make sure it has a decent set of springs in it before shooting it. For numbers matching guns, it is highly recommended to get a “shooter,s kit”, which replaces many of the commonly broken parts in G/K43s, so you don’t break any of your matching parts, and destroy the value of your rifle. They also have an adjustable gas system so you don’t batter your receiver.

This particular rifle took a trip to the “freezer match” this year which is a 40 round any rifle off hand match, and performed quite well.


This article was contributed to by a guest author