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800px-Sterling SMG

Sterling Mk. 4 (L2A3)

The Sterling submachine gun, created out of necessity during World War II, was cheap, easily mass-produced, and accurate and reliable enough for use in the war, especially for a nation that needed a submachine gun, and quickly. But by 1944 the Germans had been pushed back enough that the British army could then focus on a new submachine gun, one that didn't have the flaws of the Sten.

The desired specificationsEdit

  • Should weigh no more than 6 lb (2.75 kg)
  • Have a rate of fire but not exceed 500 rounds per minute
  • Be accurate at a range of 100 yd (92 m)
  • Be chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge like the Sten and so many German weapons were chambered for. G. W. Patchett, the chief designer at Sterling Armaments Company, met the challenge with the Sterling, which the army ordered 120 models. The Sterling saw some action in the end of World War II, but not a lot because they were then experimental guns.

That's how the Sterling remained, since the British army had a large quantity of Stens still in storage, but in 1947 the Sterling design went head-to-head with other designs of submachine gun from Enfield and Birmingham Small Arms Company, among others. The Sterling won, and was put into the army in 1951 as the L2A1 Submachine gun.

The Sterling is similar in appearance to the Sten. It had a stock that folded beneath the gun and looked like a tube with a trigger, grip and magazine, much like the Sten. Also like the Sten, the magazine came out of the side, although this magazine was curved instead of straight. However, the Sterling used a double stack double feed method, not the flawed double stack, single feed of the Sten. Despite it's similar appearance, the Sterling was a great improvement over the Sten.

In 1988, the Sterling was replaced by the L85A1, which is an assault rifle, not a submachine gun.

7.62 NATO variantEdit

Main Article

A Battle rifle/Light machine gun variant of the Sterling submachine gun was manufactured in the 7.62x51mm NATO caliber. It used lever-delayed blow back to handle the more powerful rounds and was fed from 30 round Bren magazines as well as 20 round magazines from L1A1 SLR's. A bi pod and detachable fixed stock could be added as well as a Single Point IR/Trilux night sight. To prevent ammunition cook off, the weapon fired from an open bolt. Acting as the Besal LMG of WW2, the 7.62 NATO caliber Sterling was intended as an emergency standby weapon in case of attack during the Cold War.

Other usesEdit

In the 1970s, a number of Sterlings were used to represent the E-11 balster rifles used by imperial Stormtroopers in the Original Star Wars trilogy, with only the curved magazines removed. IMDB entry

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