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The Sten Submachine Gun was a British emergency weapon designed by Reginald V. Shepherd and Harald J. Turpin at the Enfield Lock and Small Arms Factory, with more than twenty variants, the number of Stens produced surpassed Four millions of units. Sten stands for Reginald Shepherd, Harold Turpin and Enfield, the chief designers of the weapon.


Maquis Partisan with a Sten submachine gun at Paris, 1944.

MkII Sten

In an attempt to re-equip the British Army after the defeat of Dunkirk was issued an urgent application for an order based on the MP 38 submachine gun that could be produced quickly. Within weeks the project RV Shepherd and HJ Turpin, who worked in the Enfield Lock Small Arms Factory, was accepted. The first model was the Sten Mk I. Designed to be produced quickly and the cheapest way possible. It was made of metal pipes and sheet metal, all bound together by welding. The comb was also made with metal plates and the trigger mechanism was concealed by wood. The gun had a horrible appearance but was a way of defense in a desperate situation. Production of the Mk I reached 100,000 units. In 1942 came the Mk II in action that became the classic Sten. It was all done in metal. One advantage of the Mk II was when he had some unassembled parts, such as the barrel, and had just took up little space. For this advantage it has equipped many forces of resistance in occupied Europe. There was a version of the Mk II which was produced with a silencer for special operations. This was called the Sten Mk IIS. After these models entered service in the Mk III, which produced the thousands was basically an even simpler version of the Mk I. The Sten Mk IV was developed for paratroopers but was not put into production. At the time of the Mk V entered service in the war went well for the Allies and less pressure on them to allow Sten could ever be produced more finely. The Mk V was without doubt the best of Sten due to its higher production and material. It had wooden details, could be equipped with a bayonet and used the rifle sights of the Lee-Enfield No. 4. The Mk V was used by paratroopers in 1944 and after the war it became the standard submachine gun of the British Army. The production of all models of Sten reaches 4 million units.


  • Mark I: fir

st model developed with high quality finish. It had a wooden front handle (or, occasionally, steel) and a tubular stock. The sleeve extending up to the muzzle, which took a conical flash hider. The Sten Mk.I captured, the Germans were used by these designated MP748 (e) ;

  • Mark I*: simplified variant of the Sten Mk.I by eliminating the slap of the wrist and flame front;
  • Mark II: The most widely used version of the Sten, with a much rougher finish than the Mk.I. Incorporated a detachable barrel and projected to 75 mm beyond the sleeve and back of the charger pivoteável so the ejection port cover. Some Mk.II had a wooden butt. The Sten Mk.II in the service of the Germans, were classified as MP749 (e);
  • Mark IIS: variant of the Mk.II with silencer integral. Designated as the MP751 at the German service;
  • Sten Mark III submachine gun

    Mark II: development of the Sten Mk.II, manufactured in both the UK and Canada. The major differences with the Mk.II consisted in the unification of the breech casing, window and eject the barrel sleeve (which was more elongated, covering a larger portion of the barrel). In addition, the cable was fixed. The Sten Mk.III captured by the Germans were designated MP750 (e);
  • Mark IV: prototype, never adopted for service. Sten consisted of a size just over a gun with a conical lid flames, a pistol grip and a butt and a very mild barrel much longer;
  • Mark V: version which incorporated front handle, rear handle and wooden butt and a holder for bayonet. The slings of Mk.V paratroopers assigned to the troops could take seven shippers;
  • VIS Mark (or Mark 6S): special version with integral silencer leading to a reduction of output speed of the projectiles to 305 m/s. Primarily resulted from the application of the silencer to Mk.IIS to Mk.V

Foreign Variants

  • Gerät Potsdam: German copy of the Sten Mk

    German SS officer looking at a captured Sten.

    Sten modified to use a vertical drum magazine.

    .II manufactured by Mauser in 1944 for use in covert operations and sabotage;
  • Gerät Neuminster: exact copy of the Sten, even with proof marks equal to the UK, developed by Mauser. It is unknown why the Germans had this secret project;
  • MP3008: submachine gun developed as an emergency measure, by Mauser in 1945, from Sten, It was designed to equip the Territorial Defence of Popular Forces (Volkssturm), earning the nickname Volksmachinenpistole (submachine gun of the people) . The main difference compared to the Sten was a vertical loader;
  • Austen Mk.I: derivation of Sten manufactured in Australia. Austen means Australian Sten (Sten Australia) ;
  • Mark II (Canadian): Sten Mk.II variant manufactured in Canada with high-quality finish;
  • Sten (Norwegian): copy of Sten manufactured in Norway;
  • Sten (Polish): copy of Sten manufactured in Poland;
  • Sten (Danish): copy of Sten manufactured in Denmark.


  • Australia: Made un

    British paratroopers using their Stens during the Operation Overlord.

    der licence
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Ceylon
  • Cyprus
  • People's Republic of China
  • Republic of China
  • Commonwealth of Nations:
  • Finland
  • France: Used by the Free French Forces and guerrilha groups, like the Maquis Resistance.
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel: Used in the Israeli War of In

    Canadian soldier using his sten at Falaise, 1944.

  • Italy: Used by the resistance; fascist soldiers made use of captured exemplars.
  • Japan: Used by the Yakuza in the 1940s
  • Kenya: Used by the Regular police paramilitary GSU and Army paratroopers, was replaced by Heckler & Koch G3, Colt M4 and Heckler & Koch HK-416.
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands
  • Nazi Germany: Used captured and copied Stens
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines: Used by the Philipine resistance during World War II
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Rhodesia
  • South Africa
  • South Vietnam
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States: Used suppressed Stens during Vietnam Wars in hands of American special forces (like the MACV-SOG and the U.S Army RangersCIDG , the U.S Army used some captured Stens at the Iraq War.
  • Yugoslavia: used by the Partisans during World War II; In Yugoslav Armed Forces until late 1940s)

See also

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