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Sport Systeme Dittrich Semiauto BD-38 (MP-38)

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Sport Systeme Dittrich in Germany is a manufacturer of a remarkably wide range of reproduction German World War Two small arms (including the FG42, StG-44, G43, MP-3008, MP-35, and VG1-5 as well as the MP-38). They have a mixed reputation, as they are magnificently accurate looking reproductions, but the Sturmgewehr in particular suffered from a great deal of parts breakage and reliability problems (in the US, these were imported as the PTR-44 many years ago). For collectors and shooters in the United States, this is generally a moot point, because the Dittrich reproductions are too accurate mechanically to be allowable for import. The BD-38 semiauto copy of the MP-38, for instance, is an open-bolt carbine, which is deemed easily convertible to fully automatic under US law (a similar conclusion was reached by the RCMP in Canada).

At any rate, I had a chance to do some shooting with a BD-38 on Malta, where the open bolt mechanism is not a concern, since collectors are allowed to own fully automatic arms anyway. Aside form a faulty original magazine, it shot quite well, as one might expect. Recoil is basically nil, given the weight of the MP38 design.

The Dittrich reproduction guns are an excellent example of the conundrum faced by manufacturers of reproduction historical guns. The market demands a very accurate reproduction, but these sorts of guns are never popular in mass-market numbers, which means the prices must be quite high to cover the costs of tooling and development. The BD-38 costs 3000-4000 Euros where it is available – which further reduces the number of potential buyers.

Thanks to the Association of Maltese Arms Collectors and Shooters ( for providing this BD-38 for video!

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