Military Wiki
7.92x33mm Kurz
German 7.92x33mm Kurz.jpg
German 7.92x33mm Kurz cartridge
Type Rifle
Place of origin  Nazi Germany
Service history
Used by  Nazi Germany
Wars World War II - present day
Production history
Designer Polte ammunition works, Magdeburg[1]
Designed 1938[1]
Parent cartridge 7.92x57mm[2]
Case type Rimless, bottleneck
Bullet diameter 8.2 mm (0.32 in)
Neck diameter 8.9 mm (0.35 in)
Shoulder diameter 11.2 mm (0.44 in)
Base diameter 11.9 mm (0.47 in)
Rim diameter 11.9 mm (0.47 in)
Case length 33 mm (1.3 in)
Overall length 49 mm (1.9 in)
Rifling twist 1:250 mm (1:10 inch)
Primer type Berdan
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
8.1 g (125 gr) Ball 685 m/s (2,250 ft/s) 1,909 J (1,408 ft·lbf)
Test barrel length: 419 mm
Source(s): "Cartridges of the World" [3]

7.92x33mm Kurz,[4][5][6][7] is a rifle cartridge developed in Nazi Germany prior to and during World War II. The ammunition is also referred to as 7.9mm Kurz (German language: Kurz meaning short), 7.9 Kurz, or 7.9mmK, or 8x33 Polte. It was specifically intended for development of an automatic carbine (assault rifle). The round was developed as a compromise between the longer 7.92x57mm rifle and the 9x19mm Parabellum pistol rounds, and is known as an intermediate cartridge (German language: Mittelpatrone).

Military designation

In German military instructions, the caliber was often deemed unimportant; the name was emphasized. The 7.92x33mm "Kurz"[4][5][6][7] was referred to as the Pistolenpatrone M43 (pistol cartridge model 1943), Pistolen-Munition M43 (pistol ammunition model 1943); after the inception of the Sturmgewehr 44, it was called the "short cartridge model 1943" (German language: Kurzpatrone 43).


The cartridge was the same caliber as the 7.92x57mm,[2] which was employed by the standard German Army infantry rifle, the Karabiner 98k, as well as its machine guns. The German armed forces had issued a 7.92x57mm automatic rifle, the FG 42, in limited numbers, but the heavy recoil of the round made it difficult to use efficiently in this role.

What was needed was a cartridge that could be used in a lighter, more maneuverable rifle to bridge the gap between submachine guns and rifles. The standard issue 7.92x57mm cartridge case was shortend by 24mm. With a case length of only 33 mm, the Kurz round was substantially shorter and delivered less recoil than full-length 7.92x57mm, but was still as effective when engaging targets at typical combat ranges of 300 m (328 yd). This meant it could be fired effectively from a weapon that weighed less than a machine gun, yet still had much greater range, velocity, and stopping power than the 9mm Parabellum which was standard in German submachine guns.

The shortage of brass in the later stages of World War II led to the use of steel cases for this new cartridge. The Kurz cartridge incorporated more taper than the parent case because steel is less elastic than brass and more difficult to extract. This led to the distinctive curved magazine for weapons that used this cartridge. The steel cases were typically lacquer-coated to prevent corrosion. The weight of the 7.92mm Kurz S.m.E. round was 17.05 grams, the bullet taking up 8.1 grams and the cartridge & powder the remaining 8.95 grams.[8]


Prior to the development of the Kurz round and its associated weapons, two basic small arms existed to equip the regular infantryman, the bolt-action rifle and the submachine gun. The bolt-action rifle was the standard small arm for most of the worlds armies, usually incorporating good accuracy and stopping power, but with a very limited rate of fire. The submachine gun was a newer piece of equipment, which offered a very high rate of fire, and a compact size, but was of very limited range and stopping power due to the pistol round (usually 9mm) it fired. While the Kurz round did not match the range and accuracy of a full power round fired by a traditional bolt-action rifle, it could still engage individual targets out to 300 m (328 yd). As an effective, intermediate-sized cartridge, the Kurz round was a key evolution in the development of the assault rifle by providing a combination of controllable automatic fire and acceptable accuracy at ranges most likely to see infantry combat.[9][10][11][12]

Only a few weapons used this round, among them being the Sturmgewehr 44, Sturmgewehr 45, HIW VSK, Volkssturmgewehr 1-5, Wimmersperg Spz-kr; and a number of German prototype weapons made during World War II and a small number of prototype weapons made in other countries after the war. An unknown number of late-war K43 rifles were chambered for this cartridge and modified to accept MP 44 magazines.[13] Variants of the VK 98 (Volks-Karabiner), a so-called last-ditch bolt-action rifle intended for the Volkssturm Home Guard, were also chambered this cartridge with unknown quantities produced by Mauser[14] and Steyr.

After World War II, the cartridge was tested and used in prototype rifles in Argentina and Belgium, amongst other nations, during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The first FN FAL prototype was designed to fire the cartridge when NATO was organized. After the war it was manufactured by East Germany (the GDR), Czechoslovakia (ČSSR), and Egypt.

Spain continued development after the war, creating a few variants of the cartridge, such as tracer rounds, boat-tailed rounds and slightly shorter bullets that have a lead core. These developments were encouraged by Calzada Bayo, a Spanish lieutenant colonel.[15] However, they were canceled and Spanish CETME rifles were chambered for a variant of the 7.62×51 NATO round.

Demand for the ammunition still exists, as the StG 44 is still in use by some within the Lebanese Forces militia,[16] as well as irregular forces in some countries in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, where captured German arms were distributed as military aid by Eastern Bloc countries as well as Yugoslavia. It is currently manufactured by the Prvi Partizan factory in Užice, Serbia.[citation needed] Reloadable cartridge cases can be produced by resizing and trimming 7.62mm X 51 NATO, and Hornady makes a 125 grain .323" bullet that is ideal for this caliber.

In Pakistan, the same cartridge is also reported to be in use by the local name of "44 Bore." This either refers to the "44" of the MP44/StG44 series or the "L44A1" inscription found on the headstamps on necked-down 7.62x51mm cartridge cases. It is used in locally made AK-pattern weapons in semi-automatic only (produced or converted in Peshawer, Kohat and Derra Adam Khel, etc.) that chamber this cartridge, since 7.62x39 is a restricted caliber (known as Prohibited Bore or "PB" in Pakistan). It is usually considered an inferior weapon and cartridge in Pakistan due to inconsistent quality of the ammunition and gunsmithing of weapons chambered or converted for this cartridge.[17] It is sometimes used by private security companies.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Götz, Hans-Dieter (1974). Die deutschen Militärgewehre und Maschinenpistolen: 1871-1945. Motorbuch-Verlag. ISBN 978-3-87943-350-6. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Military Small Arms Of The 20th Century, 2000 by Ian V. Hogg & John S. Weeks, Page 221,243-245, 407
  3. Barnes, Frank C. (1997) [1965]. McPherson, M.L.. ed. Cartridges of the World (8th Edition ed.). DBI Books. pp. 294, 311. ISBN 0-87349-178-5. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Small Arms Review, Vol. 7 No. 4, January, 2004 | Small arms Review refers to this cartridge only as 7.92x33mm Kurz
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jane's Guns Recognition Guide, Ian Hogg & Terry Gander, Harper & Collins Publishers, 2005, Page 287 refers to this cartridge only as 7.92x33mm Kurz
  6. 6.0 6.1 Barnes, Frank C. (1997) [1965]. McPherson, M.L.. ed. Cartridges of the World (8th Edition ed.). DBI Books. pp. 294, 311. ISBN 0-87349-178-5. | Cartridges of the World refers to this cartridge only as 7.92x33mm Kurz
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kopp, Dr. Carlo. "Origins of the assualt rifle". Defence Today. pp. 74–75. 
  9. Jane's Guns Recognition Guide, Ian Hogg & Terry Gander, HarperCollins Publisher, 2005, p.287
  10. "Machine Carbine Promoted: MP43 Is Now Assault Rifle StG44, WWII Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 57, April 1945". Lone Sentry. 2007-05-10. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 
  11. Military Small Arms Of The 20th Century, 7th Edition, 2000 by Ian V. Hogg & John S. Weeks, p.243
  12. Major Thomas P. Ehrhart Increasing Small Arms Lethality in Afghanistan: Taking Back the Infantry Half-Kilometer. US Army. 2009
  13. Senich, Peter R. The German Assault Rifle, 1935–1945, Paladin Press, Boulder, Colo., 1987[page needed]
  14. Walter, John, Guns of the Third Reich, Greenhill Books, London and Stackpole Books, Pennsylvania, 2003[page needed]
  15. "The Spanish kurz". 1952-12-18. Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  16. "Lebanese Forces web site". Retrieved 2011-12-05. 
  17. "The Firearms Blog". Retrieved 2013-08-22. 

Further reading

  • Kapell, Dr. Dieter, Die deutsche Kurzpatrone 7,92x33, Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt Germany, 2007
  • Handrich, Hans-Dieter, Sturmgewehr! From Firepower to Striking Power, Collector Grade Publications Inc., Cobourg, Canada, 2004

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