The MG is a short-recoil operated, air cooled, belt fed weapon which fires from an open bolt. The barrel is quick-removable, and can be replaced in less than six seconds by a properly trained crew. The action of the weapon is operated by the recoil of the locked barrel, assisted by a muzzle booster which uses pressure from the muzzle blast to increase the recoil impulse. This is a simple and solid system. Variants: MG 1: Rheinmetall variant of the MG 42, most notably rechambered to fire 7.62×51mm NATO. MG 1A1 (MG 42/58): As MG 1, but with sights properly calibrated for the new round. Sights refitted to existing MG 1s. MG 1A2 (MG 42/59): MG 1A1 variant; product improved with longer ejection port, heavy bolt and friction ring buffer. MG 1A3: MG 1A2 variant; product improvement of all major components. MG 1A4: MG 1 variant; for fixed mount armor use. MG 1A5: MG 1A3 variant; MG1A3s converted to MG1A4 standard. MG 2: Designation for all wartime MG 42s rechambered to 7.62×51mm NATO. MG 3: MG 1A3 variant; product improved with AA rear sight. MG 3E: MG 3 variant; reduced weight model (roughly 1.3 kg lighter), entered into late 1970s NATO small arms trials. MG 3A1: MG 3 variant; for fixed mount armor use.
MG 3 / MG 42
Silhouette (Visual Identification)
Global distribution map
This map is a reflection of data on global distribution and production provided primarily by the BwVC. It is not exhaustive. If you would like to add to or amend the data, please click here.
Global distribution list
The data on global distribution and production is provided primarily by the BwVC, but also from national and regional focal points on SALW control; data published by think tanks, international organizations and experts; and/or data provided by individual researchers on SALW. It is not exhaustive. If you would like to add to or amend the data, please click here.
|Country of origin
|Production without a licence
|Government: Sources indicate that this type of weapon is held by Governmental agencies.
|Non-Government: Sources indicate that this type of weapon is held by non-Governmental armed groups.
|Unspecified: Sources indicate that this type of weapon is found in the country, but do not specify whether it is held by Governmental agencies or non-Governmental armed groups.
It is entirely possible to have a combination of tags beside each country. For example, if country X is tagged with a G and a U, it means that at least one source of data identifies Governmental agencies as holders of weapon type Y, and at least one other source confirms the presence of the weapon in country X without specifying who holds it.
Visual Identification (Silhouette)