Gun-buyback programs are usually wastes of taypayer money, where rusted-shut guns that aren’t fit for scrap are given to police in exchange for cash or gift cards, and police chiefs crow that “crime guns” are “taken off the streets.” Every once in a while, though, there are diamonds in the rough:
A World War II assault rifle that belonged to an SS officer was handed in to a gun buy-back organised by police in Connecticut.
The rare find, which is worth up to $40,000, would have been sent home by an American soldier who had taken it from a prisoner of war or a German he had killed.
Officer Lewis Crabtree, of the Hartford Police Dept, said: ‘The chance to see a piece of history – this – is absolutely unbelievable.’
The STG-44 is the first assault rifle, and is a rare beast. If Adolf Hitler had realized what he had in the Sturmgewehr 44 and deployed it in large numbers with the correct tactics, the cost of Victory in Europe would have been much dearer. It was the first weapon to deploy an intermediate cartridge in a selective-fire weapon, and outclassed every standard infantry weapon of the war (including the fabled M1 Garand) in terms of firepower and combat-range utility in the hands of the average soldier.
Fortunately for the Allies, the STG-44 was passed over for widespread production and was only issued to small batches of elite troops late in the war who were never adequately supplied with ammunition and didn’t have a chance to develop the modern tactics used by today’s infantry. Assaulting a dug-in MG-34 or MG-42 position supported by German soldiers armed with bolt-action 98K’s was deadly enough for Allied soldiers. Had regular German infantry supporting machine guns teams been armed with well-supported STG-44s…
Police nearly purchased this historic firearm for about $39,000 less than it was worth. Thankfully, one of the Hartford PD officers is a firearms historian, and he not only recognized the weapon before it could be destroyed (the fate of most guns turned in), but allowed the woman to keep the war trophy so that it could be sold to collectors.
Anybody want to gift me $40,000?