The top German weapons of WWII, including pistols and machines guns, were generally modified versions of earlier designs. The weapons are listed below – along with some brief information. Additional information on WWII German rifles can be viewed using the link below:
The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL has an extensive display of weapons in their Firearms and Ordnance Gallery, including a German P-38 pistol, Luger, MP44 and several anti-tank weapons.
P08 Parabellum (or Luger) – The P08 Parabellum was a modified version of the Borchardt pistol. The German Army was quick to develop this pistol after it went into production in 1908. This particular pistol was used by the Germans in both World War I and World War II. By the end of its production run in 1945, over 2.5 million had been produced.
P-38 – The P-38 was a pistol that proved to be easier to manufacture, but was generally only issued to officers and NCO’s. The double action trigger of this pistol allowed the weapon to be carried while loaded (with the hammer down) and still pull the trigger for the first shot. The production of the P-38 went into the late 1950s, with over one million produced before the end of World War II.
MG-34 – The MG-34 was an improvement on the MG-30. This rifle could fire single shots or fully automatic shots - determined by the pressure placed on the trigger. One of the main advantages to this design was the ease in exchanging barrels. The German forces used this machine gun extensively during WWII.
MG-42 – the MG-42 was more reliable than the MG-34 and was specifically design for easy production. This particular machine gun was known for its high rate of fire - an astonishing 1,200 RPM. The downside to this rate was the need for frequent reloading and how easily it could overheat.
A countless number of weapons were used by the Germans during World War II, but the pistols and machine guns listed above were some of the top and most popular weapons utilized by the Germans.