The Sten Submachine Gun was a bolt/spring operated, submachine gun that was utilized by Great Britain during World War II.


The first model, the Sten Mk I had wooden furinishings and it also featured had a foldable hand grip.[1] It took the 9mm Parabellum cartridge and it had a magazine capacity of thirty-two rounds.

This model was replaced quickly with the most common model of all the types of stens to come, the Mk II. It was extremely simple to produce, the only part of the sten that wasn't stamped was the bolt mechanism and the barrel. This like all other stens took the 9mm Parabellum cartridge and had a magazine capacity of thirty-two rounds.

The Mk II also had a weight of 2.95 kilograms and it had a length of 76.2 centimetres. The rate of fire of the Mk II was 550 rounds per minute and the effective range was about 195 metres.[2] The name 'Sten' came from the designers RV Sheffield and HJ Turpin initials and the first two letters of Enfield. The Sten was also made to use captured German MP40 rounds. It has been said that occasionally some troops would also trade out their Stens' for captured MP40's as many soldiers did disliked the weapon for multiple reasons. including a frequency in jamming.


The first variant of the Sten besides the Mk II was the Sten Mk IIS. The Sten Mk IIS was fundamentally a Sten Mk II only it had a silencer. It weighed slightly heavier than the Mk II and it was only about 5 mm longer than the original Mk II. Another difference is that the new silenced version had a slower rate of fire of 450 rounds per minute.[3] This version of the sten was mainly used by commando forces for secretive operations. The Sten Mk III was also based on the Mk II, but it had a different stock that wasn't as compact as the Mk II. The only other difference was that it weighed about 3.18 kilograms, only 0.22 kilograms more than the Mk II. The Sten Mk IV was never put into production, but it was designed however. The Mk V was produced and it had several new features. This included a new handle grip, a new rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute, new wooden furnishings, and new iron sights. The total weight of the Sten Mk V was about 3.86 kilograms and even a bayonet could be added. The Sten VI could also have a bayonet mounted and it also had the new wooden furnishings. It was similar to the Mk V, only it didn't have the hand grip and it was silenced.


The Sten was designed in 1941 because British forces needed a new submachine gun instead of relying on American made M1928 Thompson Submachine guns. The resulting product was the Sten which replced most of Britain's American made submachine guns. The Sten was first used by Canadian troops and it was also used by partisan forces throughout World War II.[4] Over 2,000,000 Stens were produced during World War II and they were used almost everywhere British forces were.

Towards the end of the war, Germany started manufacturing a copy of the Sten known as the MP 3008. Internally, it was almost identical to the British submachine gun, but it differed externally. It was fed through the bottom rather than through the side, and the typical wireframe stock of the Sten Mk. IIs was replaced with either a thick wooden stock or a folding stock with a pistol grip. It came to be known as the "Volksmaschinenpistole" (people's machine pistol) and was manufactured in 1945 as a stop-gap weapon.