The SDK (Schalldämpfer Karabiner, "Silenced Carbine") was a suppressed bolt-action rifle purportedly developed in Nazi Germany in 1939, although it is thought to have actually been a hoax produced after World War II.[1][2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

The origin on the SDK rifle is disputed. It first came to public prominence in the late 1960s, when it was brought to the United States from Germany by Lt. Col. James Atwood, a US Army officer and Nazi memorabilia collector. Atwood claimed the rifle was commissioned in 1939 by Graf von Helldorff for the Gestapo, and that a sole example, marked serial No.2, was recovered from von Helldorff's home after the war. These claims were republished in several contemporaneous publications.

However, Atwood was also known to be a con-artist, who produced and sold fake Nazi daggers, attaching falsified stories to them to drive up their value.[4][5] A number of online sources describing Atwood and his activities have attested that Atwood faked the rifle and invented the details about its invention and discovery. Contrary to Atwood's claims, the sources suggest that he actually commissioned a gunsmith in West Berlin post-war to create the rifle, so that he could sell it as an item of historical interest in the US.

Atwood sold the SDK rifle to one Douglas Barton in the early 1970s, and it is currently part of a private collection.

Design[edit | edit source]

The SDK appears to have been a bullpup design, with the bolt, breech, and magazine feed located in the stock of the weapon. The barrel ran along the entire length of the gun and was encased in a large integral suppressor. The SDK was outfitted with a scope and had a twin-trigger arrangement. The gun was fed by Luger magazines and featured an OIGEE 4× scope.

It was also reported that the SDK was chambered for soft-nosed, unmarked 9×19mm munitions that were tipped with cyanide, although this was likely an embellishment by Atwood.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Saga, April 1970
  • Waffen Revue #20, 1976
  • Gung-ho, February 1984

External links[edit | edit source]

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