The Wieger StG-940 was made in the final days of East Germany. It was made as an attempt to make a new assault rifle for the approaching Unified German Army, though the GDR never tested it. West Germany purchased some in 1990, but the design was declined, since it was chambered for the 7.62 Soviet cartridge, and was not a NATO standard. As a result, East German engineers designed 2 new designs: the StG-941, chambered for 5.45x39mm, and StG-942 chambered for 5.56 NATO.
History[edit | edit source]
Origins[edit | edit source]
The development of the Wieger STG-940 started in 1985, when the East German government wanted to expand its influence in the small arms market. Since the early 1960s they were making AK-47 rifles under license from the Soviet Union. In 1981, they acquired a license to manufacture the AK-74; but they were forbidden to export it. As a result of this, the Ministry For Foreign Trade, the department of armament and the chemical services of the Ministry for Public Safety. Prototypes were made and tests begun in September of 1988 at the NVA Erprobunsgruppe near the rocket testing facility in Branderburg. Once completed, it was approved for production. In 1989, two orders were placed by Peru and India. A quantity of these weapons reach it to Peru, and issued to its security units. A substantial order was made for India; and plans were set up for a licensed production in that country. However, political events in that period, which eventually lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall, ultimately doomed the project. Manufacture was to be carried out in the city of Suhl, and the name for the weapon came for the union of the names "Wie", for Wiesa; and "ger", for Germany. It was chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge.
Five variants were developed: a standard rifle with fixed stock (STG-941); a folding stock model (STG-942), which uses the same folding stock of the MPiK-72; a long barreled light machine gun; a designated marksman rifle; and a short barreled carbine. It is said that the East German STASI used some of this weapons, but there's no confirmation of it. Approximately, 10,000 rifles of the STG-941 & STG-942 were made; after reunification, the majority of the weapons were destroyed; however, some of these weapons were retained by the Bundeswehr, for training purposes.
Cancellation of the rifle[edit | edit source]
The rifle, together with the West German H&K G41 was cancelled due to the economic impact the re-unification caused.
Outcome[edit | edit source]
Despite the abrupt end of the STG-940 rifle, attempts were made to resurrect the rifle. Cugir Arsenal, of Romania, marketed a copy of the STG-940 rifle, for export sales; while in the United States, semi-automatic versions of the rifle were developed. The most successful one came from Inter Ordnance, and it's called the STG-2000. Earlier weapons originally came from Romania; modified to accept high capacity magazines, and fitted with U.S. made components. Two versions came up: the STG-2000C, chambered in 7.62x39mm; and the STG-2003C, chambered for the 5.56x45mm. Afterwards, a U.S.made version is manufactured in the 7.62x39mm only. Variants included two versions with different folding stocks and color patterns for the fixed stock model. The design have further evolved into the M214, which features a new handguard with mounting rails; extended magazine release; a bolt hold open/selector level; and a phantom flash hider.
Inter Ordnance is currently offering STG-2000 furniture kits, consisting in the buttstock; handguards; pistol grip; and the bracket that can hold the handguard, as well the front sight/gas tube assembly, and the M-16 flash hider, for those who want to convert any AK rifle, regarding the caliber, into STG-2000 look-a-likes.