Sten is the name for a family of submachine guns designed by the British and used in World War II. They are known for having a simple design and a low production cost. The name Sten is an acronym, based on the names of the designers of the gun: S for Shepherd (Major Reginald V. Shepherd), T for Turpin (Harold Turpin), and EN for Enfield (the manufacturer of the gun).
Sten guns were created out of necessity, because England was faced with invasion by the German Army, and they had a very small amount of suplies. The Thompson submachine guns suplied by America were not enough, especially after America entered the war and needed most of them for their own troops. Thus Enfield was given the task to create a new submachine gun for England.
The Sten was designed to be cheap and easy to build, and the manufacturing required for it's creation was minimal. The production could be mainly preformed at small workshops with whatever metal the shops happened to have at the time.
The Sten was a blowback-operated submachine gun firing from an open bolt with a fixed firing pin on the face of the bolt. This means the bolt remains to the rear when the weapon is cocked, and on pulling the trigger the bolt flies forward under spring pressure, stripping the round from the magazine, chambering it and firing the weapon all in the same movement. There is no breech locking mechanism, the rearward movement of the bolt caused by the recoil impulse is arrested only by the mainspring and the bolt's inertia. The appearance of the gun is basically just a pipe with a metal loop for a stock, and it did not even have a pistol grip like many submachine guns did (and many still do). Also, the horizontal magazine was a notable part of the gun. Another feature of the gun was the fact that it fired the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge, the standard German pistol and submachine gun round of the time. This was so that British soldiers could use German ammunition that they came across, making it cheaper to use. This gave assaulting troops and commandos a large supply of ammunition and a lighter footprint because they weren't dropping British or American magazines everywhere. However, this caused problems, as the magazine used the same arrangement style as the MP-40: two columns of 9mm cartridges in a staggered arrangement, merging at the top to form a single column. This made it easy for any dirt that got caught in the taper area to cause feed malfunctions. The gun was disliked by many people, who gave it the nicknames "Plumber's Nightmare", "Plumber's Abortion", or "Stench Gun". However, the advantage of the Sten was the ability to be easily mass-produced, even when there was a shortage during the war.
The Sten was put into service in 1941 and removed during the 1960s. In 1953 it was officially replaced with the Sterling submachine gun, but it wasn't until sometime in the 1960s that it was no longer in service.
The Sten Mk. II was the only common weapon used by British SAS in WWII because of its ability to be equipped with a suppressor.
The Sten, was air dropped by the British army for helping the Norwegian Rebel Groups, they were called Gutta På Skauen (Boys on the woods) and Milorg ( military organisation operating from the occupied Norway during WWII).
The Sten mark I, made by Harold J. Turpin. The weapon was cheap and easy to make, but because of it using wood and beeing fully lenghed Turpin was told to simplify the sten. Turpin later came up with the Mk. II Sten gun
The Mark 2 was the cheapest and the most common variant of the sten gun. There were aproximatively two million units produced. The weapon was smaller and simpler than the the Mark I. Compared to the Mark I, the Mark 2 has no foregrip, no flash hider and it's barrel has been shortened and is now removable.
- Julio S. Guzmán, Las Armas Modernas de Infantería
- Weaponology: (Season 2 Episode 7) SAS