This is a Sten Gun Magazine and Magazine Loader which are currently being kept in the Museum’s store. The Sten Submachine Gun was used extensively by British and Commonwealth forces throughout the Second World War and Korean War. They had a simple design and very low production cost, making them effective insurgency weapons for resistance groups, and they continue to see usage to this day by irregular military forces.
The name STEN is an acronym, from the names of the weapons chief designers, Major Reginald V. Shepard and Harold Turpin, and EN for the Enfield Factory. Over 4 million Stens in various versions were made in the 1940’s, making it the second most produced submachine gun of the Second World War, after the Soviet PPSh-41.
The Sten emerged while Britain was engaged in the Battle of Britain, facing invasion by Germany. The army was forced to replace weapons lost during the evacuation of Dunkirk while expanding at the same time. Prior to 1941 (and even later) the British were purchasing all the Thompson submachine guns they could from the United States, but these did not meet demand, and the Thompsons were hugely expensive, costing anywhere from $70-200, whereas a sten only cost $11.
The Mark II was the most common version of the Sten with two million units produced. It was a much rougher weapon than the Mk I. The flash eliminator and the folding handle (the grip) of the Mk I were omitted. A removable barrel was now provided which projected 3 inches (76mm) beyond the barrel sleeve. Also, a special catch allowed the magazine to be slid partly out of the magazine housing and the housing rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise (from the operator’s perspective), together covering the ejection opening and allowing the weapon and the magazine both to lie flat of it’s side.
Stanfield, Annan Road,
Dumfries and Galloway
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