Firearms / Sub machine guns / Sten

Sten

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Sub machine gun

  • ORIGIN
    United Kingdom

  • NICKNAMES
    Sten gun (popular name)
    Carbine, Machine, Sten (official designation)
    MP.748(e) (Nazi German designation for Mk I)
    MP.749(e) (Nazi German designation for Mk II)
    MP.751(e) (Nazi German designation for Mk IIS)

  • DESIGNED
    1940

  • DESIGNER
    Reginald V. Shepherd and Harold Turpin

  • PRODUCTION
    1941 - 1945 (UK production)

  • PRODUCERS
    Argentina - Pistola Hispano Argentino
    Canada - Long Branch Arsenal
    France - Gnome & Rhone
    United Kingdom - Enfield
    United Kingdom - Lines Bros

  • QUANTITY
    About 4.5 million produced during World War 2, including 100.000 Mk I and 2.000.000 Mk II

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Very simple design
    Very low production costs
    Rugged and reliable
    Limited quality in Mk 2 and Mk 3
    Lack of ergonomics
    Silenced versions overheat quickly
    Prone to accidental discharge

Introduction

The Sten is a sub machine gun of UK origin. It was developed during the early stages of World War 2 in order to supply British forces with an effective sub machine gun at low cost. The simple design proved to be highly effective and for its role in World War 2 it has become an iconic firearm. Due to its simple design it has been produced in makeshift factories and it was used by various resistance and partisan forces.

Design

The Sten is a blowback operated weapon that fires from the open bolt position. The design is very simple with a tubular receiver, side inserted magazine that doubles as a grip and metal tubular grip and stock. The Mk I and V had a wooden furniture and were of reasonable production quality. The Mk II and III that made up the majority of the production were much cheaper and of limited quality, however still effective and reliable.

Firepower

The Sten fires the 9x19mm round from 32 round magazines. It fires only fully automatic at a rate of fire of about 550 rpm. Due to the open bolt design the maximum range is about 100 meters. The silenced versions were usually fired in short burst or semi-automatically due to their tendency to heat up.

Users

The Sten was widely used by British and Commonwealth forces during World War 2. It was supplied to various allied and resistance forces. After the war it was briefly used by various European nations but it was quickly replaced in Western service by more modern sub machine guns. Many were scrapped or ended up third world nations.

Variants

Sten Mk I

The Mk I is the original version of the Sten and was much more complex and of better quality than the later Mk II and Mk III. The Mk I can be identified by its forward grip, barrel sleeve and flash hider.

Mk I: First production version with wooden forward grip, receiver lining and pistol grip.
Mk I*: Lower cost version of Mk I without wooden furniture.

TypeSub machine gun
Caliber9x19mm Parabellum
Magazine32 round box
OperationGas operated, simple blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire540 rpm
Barrel length198 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity366 m/s
StockFixed
Length845 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.27 kg empty
SightsIron sights, blade front and aperture rear
Remarks-
TypeSub machine gun
Caliber9x19mm Parabellum
Magazine32 round box
OperationGas operated, simple blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire540 rpm
Barrel length198 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity366 m/s
StockFixed
Length794 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.18 kg empty
SightsIron sights, blade front and aperture rear
Remarks-

Sten Mk II

The Sten Mk II is a much simplified version of the Mk I. It is easier and cheaper to produce, but production quality and ergonomics have been reduced. No wooden parts are used and a metal strut is used as stock. The Mk II was the most numerous version of the Sten to be produced, followed by the quite similar Mk III.

Mk II: UK production version of the Mk II.
Mk II (Canadian): The Canadian Mk II is of somewhat better quality than the British production version and has a skeleton type stock.
Mk IIS: The Sten Mk IIS is a silenced version of the Sten with a long integrated silencer. A piece of canvas cloth is wrapped around the silencer to act as a forward grip since the silencer tends to heat up quickly.
Mk III: Sten Mk II with unified receiver and longer barrel shroud.

TypeSub machine gun
Caliber9x19mm Parabellum
Magazine32 round box
OperationGas operated, simple blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire540 rpm
Barrel length197 mm
Rifling2 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity366 m/s
StockFixed
Length762 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight2.8 kg empty
SightsIron sights, blade front and aperture rear
Remarks-
TypeSub machine gun
Caliber9x19mm Parabellum
Magazine32 round box
OperationGas operated, simple blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire450 rpm
Barrel length91 mm
Rifling2 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity305 m/s
StockFixed
Length857 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.5 kg empty
SightsIron sights, blade front and aperture rear
RemarksIntegrated silenced
TypeSub machine gun
Caliber9x19mm Parabellum
Magazine32 round box
OperationGas operated, simple blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire540 rpm
Barrel length197 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity366 m/s
StockFixed
Length762 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.18 kg empty
SightsIron sights, blade front and aperture rear
Remarks-

Sten Mk V

The Sten Mk V is a Mk II with wooden stock and improved ergonomics. It has a longer barrel than the Mk III, a bayonet mount and Enfield No.4 rifle forward sight.

Mk V: A Sten Mk II with improved quality and wooden furniture.
Mk VI: Silenced version of Sten Mk V. Similar to the Mk IIS but with the wooden furniture and improved quality of the Mk V.

TypeSub machine gun
Caliber9x19mm Parabellum
Magazine32 round box
OperationGas operated, simple blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire575 rpm
Barrel length198 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity366 m/s
StockFixed
Length762 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.9 kg empty
SightsIron sights, blade front and aperture rear
Remarks-
TypeSub machine gun
Caliber9x19mm Parabellum
Magazine32 round box
OperationGas operated, simple blowback
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire575 rpm
Barrel length95 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity305 m/s
StockFixed
Length857 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight4.32 kg empty
SightsIron sights, blade front and aperture rear
RemarksIntegrated silenced

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