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Sten Gun: Design

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Stoppages could occur due to a variety of problems: some as a result of poor maintenance, while others were particular to the Sten. Carbon buildup on the face of the breech or debris in the bolt raceway could cause a failure to fire, while a dirty chamber could cause a failure to feed. Firing the Sten by grasping the magazine with the supporting hand tended to wear the magazine catch, altering the angle of feed and causing a failure to feed - the correct method of holding the weapon was as with a rifle, the left hand cradling the fore piece, as per the picture of Mr. Churchill firing one below.

Mark I

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

Mark II

Regular Mark II:
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Mark II Canadian

Mark II:
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Mark III

Mark V

Mark VI

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Suppressed Models

Mk IIs

The Mk IIS was, as the name suggests, a suppressed version of the Mk II. Captured examples of the Sten Mk IIS in German service were designated MP.751e.


The Mk VI or '6' was a suppressed version of the Mk V. The Mk VI was the heaviest version due to the added weight of the suppressor, as well as using a wooden pistol grip and wooden stock.

The Sten Mk IIS also saw service with the Australian Special Air Service SAS in Vietnam.

Experimental Models

Mark II wooden Butt Model

This was a standard Sten Mk.II submachine gun with a wooden butt attached in place of the wireframe steel butt that most Mk.IIs were attached with. This wooden butt model was never serviced, likely due to the cost of producing it.

Mark II Rosciszewski Model

This was a Sten Mk.II modified by Antoni Rosciszewski of Small Arms Ltd. The magazine was mechanically operated by the breech block movement. The trigger was split into two sections, with the upper part of the trigger offering full-auto fire and a lower part offering single shots. It was very complex in design and never fielded.

Mark II pistol Grip Model

This was a Sten Mk.II with a wireframe pistol grip, intended for use with paratroopers. It was compact but predictably uncomfortable to fire.

Model T42

This was a Sten Mk.II modified with a 5-inch barrel and folding stock, as well as a conventional pistol grip and redesigned trigger guard. It was dubbed the "T42" in prototype phases, but never entered service.

Mark III wooden Model

This was a Sten Mk.III with a "Lanchester" type wooden body and butt, and bayonet fittings. Sling swivels were also added. It was never serviced due to the costs associated with producing it.

Mark III wooden Model II

This was a Sten Mk.III entirely encased in a wooden body, with the only external metal parts being the trigger, barrel, magazine and cocking handle. The trigger and pistol grip were in line with the magazine. The reasons for its creation are entirely unknown, but it was likely an experiment into increasing the comfort and handling of the weapon.

Mark IV


Developed at the Royal Ordnance Factory at Fazakerley ROF, the Rofsten was an odd Sten prototype with a redesigned magazine feed, ergonomic pistol grip, selector switch and cocking system. The weapon was cocked by pulling the small ring above the stock. A large flash eliminator was fixed onto the barrel, and a No.5 bayonet could be fixed. It was made to a very high quality standard and was the best variant. The Rofsten was made in 1944 and ROF wanted to submit it to trials the next year. It was more reliable than the standard Sten but there was no funding behind the weapon and it never got beyond prototype stages.

Foreign-built Variants And Post 1945 Derivatives

Argentine Sten

Palestininian Mandate Stens

French Sten

Another variant made by MAC Manufacture d’armes de Châtellerault, were made and tested shortly after WWII. One variant had an unusual stock shape that proved detrimental to the firer’s aim. Internally it was basically a Sten gun but had two triggers for semi/full auto, a grip safety and a foregrip that used MP40 magazines. Another had a folding stock with a folding magazine insert. The trigger mechanism was complicated and unusual. Neither of these prototypes had any kind of success and MAC closed its doors not long after their conception. The French were not short of SMGs after the war; they had some 3,750 Thompsons and Stens, as well as MAS 38s.

Norwegian Sten

Danish Sten

Polish Sten

Ger T Potsdam

MP 3008

Austen Mk I

Imperia Submachine Gun

Sputter Gun

Halcon ML-57

International Ordnance MP2

Cellini Dunn SM-9

Pleter 91


SMG International in Canada manufactured reproductions of the Sten in six variants. They made copies of the Sten's Mk 1, Mk II and Mk III, a "New Zealand Sten" a Mk II/III Sten hybrid, with sights and a fixed magazine housing similar to the Mk III, then branched out into "hypothetical" Sten-guns with a "Rotary Magazine Sten" a Mk II Sten with a drum magazine attached below the weapon and wooden horizontal forward grip on the left side of the weapon and the "FRT Gun" a long barrel Sten with a wooden or Mk 1 type butt stock, a drum magazine attached below the weapon and sliding ramp rear sights. These last two being obviously not Sten reproductions, especially if they included a drum magazine. The "Rotary Magazine Sten" is a vertically fed Sten which uses a modified Sten bolt, which can use either PPSh drum magazines or stick magazines. The FRT gun is essentially a Suomi that uses a Sten trigger mechanism. All SaskSten guns fire from an open bolt.

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