300px-Pistolet maszynowy STEN, Muzeum Orła Białego-1-

The Sten (or Sten gun) was a family of British 9 mm submachine guns used extensively by British and Commonwealth forc                     es throughout World War II and the Korean War. They were notable for having a simple design and very low production cost.

STEN is an acronym, cited as derived from the names of the weapon's chief designers, Major Reginald V. Shepherd and Harold Turpin, and EN for Enfield.[1] Over 4 million Stens in various versions were made in the 1940s.

The official designation "Carbine, Machine, Sten" should not be confused with the common understanding of carbine; the Sten was a typical, almost stereotypical submachine gun while the term carbine is used to refer to short, light rifles. The "Carbine, Machine" element of the designation resulted from the British term for a submachine gun—"Machine Carbine"—in the early part of the Second World War.

Type Submachine gun
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service 1941–1960s
Used by See Users
Wars World War II, Indonesian National Revolution, Korean War,Mau Mau Uprising, Suez Crisis,

1948 Arab-Israeli War, Sino-Indian War, Vietnam War, Indo-Pakistan Wars, Border Campaign (IRA)

Production history
Designer Major Reginald V. Shepherd

Harold J. Turpin

Designed 1940
Manufacturer Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield; BSA; ROF Fazakerley; ROF Theale, Berkshire; Lines Brothers Ltd; Long Branch, Canada plus numerous sub-contractors making individual parts.
Produced 1941– (version dependent)
Number built 3.7–4.6 million (all variants, depending on source)
Variants Mk. I, II, IIS, III, IV, V, VIS
Weight 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) (Mk. II)
Length 760 mm (29.9 in)
Barrel length 196 mm (7.7 in)

Cartridge 9x19mm Parabellum
Action Blowback-operated, Open bolt
Rate of fire version dependent; ~500 round/min
Muzzle velocity 365 m/s (1,198 ft/s)
Effective range 60 m
Feed system 32-rd detachable box magazine
Sights fixed peep rear, post front


Sten guns were produced in several basic marks, (though the MKI saw limited service, and the MKIV was never issued) and nearly half of the total produced were of the Mark II. Approximately 4.5 million Stens were produced during the war.

Mark IEdit

The first ever Mk I Sten gun (number 'T-40/1' indicating its originator Harold Turpin, the year 1940 and the serial number "1") was handmade by Turpin at the Philips Radio works at Perivale, Middlesex during December 1940/January 1941. This particular weapon is held by the historical weapons collection of the British Army's Infantry and Small Arms School Corps in Warminster, Wiltshire.[5]

The first model had a conical flash hider and fine finish. It had a wooden foregrip and forward handle (sometimes this was made of steel), as well for a section of the stock. The stock was a small tube outline, rather like the Mark II Canadian. One unique feature was that the front pistol grip could be rotated forward to make the firearm easier to stow. The barrel sleeve extended all the way to the end, where it met the flash hider. Along the top of the tube surrounding the barrel was a line of small holes and its sights were configured somewhat differently. About 100,000 were made before production switched to the Mark II. Sten Mk I's in German possession were designated MP.748(e), the 'e' standing for englische.

Mark I*Edit

This was the first simplification of the Mk I. The foregrip, the wooden furniture and the flash hider were deleted for production expediency.[6]

Mark IIEdit

The Mark II was the most common variant, with two million units produced. It was a much rougher weapon than the Mk I. The flash eliminator and hand guard (grip) of the Mk I were eliminated. A removable barrel was now provided which projected 3 inches beyond the barrel sleeve. Also, from the operator's perspective, a special catch allowed the magazine to be slid partly out of the magazine housing and the housing rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise, together covering the ejection opening and allowing the weapon and magazine both to lie flat on its side.

The barrel sleeve was shorter and rather than have small holes on the top, it had three sets of three holes equally spaced on the shroud. Sten Mk II's in German possession were designated MP.749(e). Some MkIIs were fitted with a wooden stock as this part was desirable and interchangeable with the Mk V.

Regular Mark II:

  • Overall Length: 762 mm (30 in)
  • Barrel Length: 197 mm (7.8 in)
  • Weight: 3.2 kg (7.1 lb)

Mark II (Canadian)Edit

During World War II a version of the Sten gun was produced at the Long Branch Arsenal in Long Branch, Ontario now part of Toronto, Ontario. This was very similar to the regular Mark II, with a different stock ('skeleton' type instead of strut type) and improved quality of manufacture. It was first used in combat in the Dieppe Raid in 1942.

  • Overall Length: 896 mm (35.3 in)
  • Barrel Length: 198 mm (7.8 in)
  • Weight: 3.8 kg (8.4 lb)

Mark IIIEdit

This simple design was the next most commonly produced after the Mark II. It was a simplification of the Mk I made both in Canada and the UK. Lines Bros Ltd was the largest manufacturer. The biggest difference from the Mark II was the unification of the receiver, ejection port, and barrel shroud that now extended farther up the barrel. The barrel was fixed and the body was welded shut along the centre of the top. Captured Sten Mk IIIs in German possession were designated MP.750(e).

Mark IVEdit

The Mark IV was a smaller version which did not progress beyond the prototype stage. It was near pistol-sized and it had a different configuration with a conical flash hider, a rear pistol grip, a very light stock and a much shorter barrel.

Mark VEdit

Introduced in 1944, the Mk V was essentially a better-quality, more elaborate version of the Mk 2. Changes included a wooden pistol grip, a vertical wooden fore grip (deleted on later examples), a wooden stock, and a bayonet mount. There was a No4 Lee Enfield foresight and the weapon was of better quality manufacture and finish than the Mk2 and Mk3. The Sten bandolier issued to paratroopers held 7 full magazines.

Mark VIEdit

  • Overall Length: 908 mm (35.7 in)
  • Barrel Length: 198 mm (7.8 in)
  • Weight: 4.5 kg (9.9 lb)
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