The STG44 was easily one of the most influential firearms ever made in history. As the war was waging, Germany recognized that the future of small arms was automatic weapons and not the traditional bolt actions. The STG44 was, at the time, a rather radical concept. The concept called for an intermediate cartridge in a semi-automatic to fully automatic carbine or rifle. An intermediate cartridge meant it would be less powerful than the full length rifle calibers at the time such as the .30-06 or the 8mm Mauser, but much more powerful than the 9mm or .45 ACP submachine gun rounds at the time. The rifle could then have a faster rate of fire than a bolt action while hitting targets at further distances than the submachine guns.
Hundreds of thousands of STG44s were built for the German army, but there were too few of them to have any meaningful effect, and for the duration of the war the chief service rifle remained the Mauser 98K. Germany also attempted to make a cheaper version called the STG45 in an attempt to mass produce them, but only a select few were built, most if not all of them prototypes.