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SSG-82: The Enigmatic East German Sniper Rifle

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When East Germany received the technical data package for the 5.45x39mm cartridge, they began a program to make their own AK-74 model. Alongside, they also wanted a precision rifle using the new cartridge, and that became the SSG (Scharfschützengewehr) 82. It was developed for the internal security services rather than the army, however, and only about 2,000 appear to have been made, all the the Ernst Thälmann factory in Suhl.

The SSG82 is an interesting microcosm of East Germany – good engineering, but lousy finishing touches. The barrel is well made, and the gun is capable of pretty good accuracy when used with quality ammunition. The scope is a 4x Zeiss Jena model, with a simple German post reticle. The gun overall weighs in at 11 pounds, and handles like a nice precision rifle. Little else is known about these rifles here in the US, and the only reason we have examples of them like this is because eCentury International Arms imported about 600 around the year 2000.

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