On a day when most of the big names faltered with the rifle, the Norwegian hit 19 out of 20 shots en-route to a commanding victory.
She hit 18 consecutive shots and finished in 42:30, 56.4 seconds quicker than France's Marie-Laure Brunet who started five places later and was in great shape for the gold until she missed her final shot and incurred a one minute penalty.
Defending champ Helena Ekholm missed her third shot but the Swede then hit 17 in a row to take bronze, 71.1 seconds slower than the winner.
American Susan Dunklee went off in bib number one and produced the performance of a lifetime, hitting 19 targets to finish fifth - 12 places better than her previous best World Cup performance - in 43:48.2.
Brunet pushed compatriot Marie Dorin Habert off the podium as she also only missed one target at the range and outskied Dunklee on the final 3km lap, taking fourth place just 3.6 seconds behind Ekholm.
But it was a bad day for the race favourites.
Pursuit champion Darya Domracheva, starting fourth, missed four of her opening five shots to end her hopes while home hero Magdalena Neuner, who has never finished higher than fifth in the World Championships or Olympic Games, was unable to improve on that record.
Cheered on by 29,000 home fans and looking for a ninth World title, Neuner missed twice in her opening prone shoot but still had a chance of a third medal in Ruhpolding after making nine out of 10 on her next two visits to the range.
But three misses on her final standing shoot ensured the 25-year-old would not complete the full set of medals in her final World Championships and she eventually finished outside the top 20.
- Sports & Recreation
- Helena Ekholm