yeovil at waR

Sten submachine gun

Weapons of the Home Guard


The Sten gun was a simple, volume-produced, short range submachine gun and really was a cheap (apparently costing around one shilling per unit to manufacture) wartime expedient designed for rapid production. It was named after the initials of Major Shepherd (a director of the Birmingham Small Arms Company) and HJ Turpin (a designer at RSAF Enfield) combined with the first two letters of Enfield where the gun was designed and initially manufactured. Following trials in January 1941 the gun went into production at Enfield and in September 1941 at BSA and also at ROF Fazackerley. It went through several modifications and over 4 million of all marks were manufactured during the 1940's. The Sten was produced for British and Commonwealth forces and was supplied to European resistance movements.

Using the 9x19mm Parabellum round, the Sten worked on a simple blow-back system using a heavy bolt with a coiled return spring and could fire single shots or bursts. It weighed 6.65 lb (3kg) and was 30" (762mm) long with a 7¾" (197mm) barrel. It used a 32 round box magazine (that always gave trouble) and had a cyclic rate of fire of 550 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 1200 f/s (365 m/s). It had an effective range of 65 yards (60m)..


Adapted from my e-book "A Photographic Guide to the Taunton Stop Line"