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The Karabiner 98k "Mauser" (often abbreviated "K98k" or "Kar98k") was adopted in the mid 1930s and would be the most common infantry rifle in service within the German Army during World War II. The design was developed from the Karabiner 98b, one of the carbines developed from the Model 1898 mentioned before. The K98k was first adopted by the Wehrmacht in 1935 to be their standard issue rifle, with many older versions being converted and shortened as well as the design itself entering production.

In the name K98k, the first "K" stands for karabiner (carbine) and the second "k" for kurz (short). The "98" is derived from the earlier rifle's year of adoption (1898), although the carbine itself was adopted in 1935. The K98k is often confused as being the earlier Model 98 design; however, there are notable differences between them. The easiest to spot are its shorter length, and bent, rather than straight bolt handle. Less obvious are that it has different, simpler sights. It was intended to be a "universal rifle" for all parts of the Heer rather than having both Carbine and full length versions.

The weapon has a bolt-action and uses 7.92×57mm ammunition (referred to as 8mm Mauser). It has an effective range of about 800 metres, but when fitted with a high-quality rifle scope, its range increases to 1,000 metres. The K98k has a five-round internal magazine and is loaded from a five-round stripper clip that is inserted into a slot in front of the opened bolt and pushed into the magazine with the thumb. The empty stripper clip is then ejected from the gun when the bolt is pushed forward into position. A trench magazine was also produced that could be attached to the bottom of the internal magazine by removing the floor plate, increasing capacity to 20 rounds, although it still required loading with the clips. Over 14 million of these rifles were produced by various manufacturers. However, this number includes versions of the weapon other than the K98k, such as the Czech vz-24. From 1950 to 1965, Yugoslavia produced a near-carbon copy of the K98k called the Model 1948, which differed only from the German rifle in that it had the shorter bolt-action of the Model 1924 series of Mauser rifles. In addition, in 1943, the Spaniards were manufacturing a slightly modified version, but with a straight bolt handle.