According to a press release over at AmmoLand, American Tactical Imports (ATI) has begun shipping its StG44 clone. The rifle encloses GSG’s simple blowback .22 Long Rifle action in a casing styled after the original assault rifle, the MP43/44 also called the St44.
For someone jonesing for the look of an MP44/StG44 without a lot of fidelity to the original, this may scratch your itch. Original weapons are extremely rare and expensive (~$20,000) Class III items. A short run of current German semi-auto reproductions was brought in about three years ago by PTR, but they were few and expensive. So how about a .22 version from ATI?
Still want to hold out for the PTR full-size clone? Let us discourage you. We’re told that only 200 guns came in before PTR was burned by the bankruptcy of the German manufacturer, Sport-System Dittrich. They sold out quickly; collectors loved them but shooters found some of them extremely unreliable. They were very expensive, in the $5,000 neighborhood, and most of them have found homes with non-shooting collectors who prize them highly and part with them rarely. The gun is back in production in Germany after bankruptcy reorganization, but given PTR’s miserable experience no one is lining up to import them. If you want to see one, Ian at Forgotten Weapons has a characteristically thoughtful & informative video examination of one here. He attributes at least some of the reliability problems to miscut chambers due to a wartime drawing error. There were also issues with magazine quality; paradoxically, the clone works better with original magazines, but those have been bid into the stratosphere by IIIrd Reich collectors.
The 7.92 x 33 mm ammunition is also rare, as this is the only production weapon it was ever chambered in, and it went out of production around the time American or Russian tanks crushed the factory under their treads in 1945.
So ATI has taken a gamble that there’s a lot of pent-up demand for a look-alike StG44 in the economical .22 rimfire cartridge. Their weapon does have a good eyeball relationship to the original, a bit like the “stand-off scale” models that model airplane guys build — not exact replicas but pretty good ones within the practical constraints. The magazine is plastic and contains a 10- or 25-round mag inside.
Suggested retail is $599. We’re using an AmmoLand picture because ATI does not have this item on their website yet, only this teaser video:
The video shows a pre-production version that ATI presented at the 2012 SHOT Show.
Here’s a post on it from the Firearm Blog from last year (looks like SHOT 2011), including some comments from an ATI rep if you scroll down.
At the same time, ATI showed an MP40 .22 Short Barreled Rifle. No word as of yet on the production of the .22 MP40, although it’s doubtful they’d bring it to market as an SBR. (It takes months to close an SBR sale because of ATF paperwork — they say it’s overload and underbudgeting, critics say it’s foot-dragging.Pick one).
Unfortunately, ATI has said that a centerfire version faces too many regulatory and cost hurdles to be practical. Reenactors have already asked for blank-firing versions.