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Sten Mk3



The Sten Mk III, a cornerstone of British military history during World War II, stands out for its stark simplicity and cost-effectiveness in a time of dire need. Engineered by Major Reginald V. Shepherd and Harold J. Turpin at the Enfield factory, the Sten derived its name from the initials of its creators and the Enfield plant itself. Built with frugality in mind, the Sten Mk III surpassed its predecessors in economic efficiency. Crafted primarily from stamped metal components, spot-welded together and held in place by a cross-pin, the gun showcased a distinct lack of refinement in its fit and finish. Yet, beneath this unassuming exterior lay a remarkably effective close-quarter weapon.

Chambered for 9x19mm Parabellum, the Sten Mk III operated on a straightforward blowback mechanism, firing from an open bolt. Its engineering drew parallels with the German MP 28, yet the construction and design were distinctly British. The heart of the Sten was a simple bolt housing a fixed firing pin and extractor, encased within a tube receiver in front of a recoil spring. A fixed ejector adorned the left side of the receiver, strategically positioned behind the magazine port. The distinctive horizontal 32-round magazine, locking into place on the left side, distinguished its appearance and facilitated firing from a low prone position.

In contrast to its predecessor, the Mk III adopted a fundamentally different design approach. A flat sheet of metal formed the basis, pressed into a long tube with a conspicuous joint on top. This joint was welded, creating a reinforcing rib, effectively transforming the lengthy tube into both the weapon's receiver and barrel shroud. Unlike the Mk II with its detachable handguard and barrel, these components were now simplified and permanently affixed. This strategic design shift not only reduced the number of parts from 69 to 48 but also significantly expedited production time to a mere 5.5 hours per unit.

While maintaining a similar operational principle as the Mk II, the Mk III introduced substantial enhancements in cost-effectiveness and mass production suitability. Walter Lines, the mind behind this streamlined iteration, leveraged his expertise in pressed sheet metal, culminating in a design tailored to his existing tooling and equipment. The resulting Sten Mk III, renowned for its unparalleled affordability, emerged as a pivotal asset during a critical juncture in history.

In practical terms, the Sten Mk III proved adept at its intended role. Compact and lightweight at 30 inches and seven pounds, respectively, the gun offered maneuverability without compromising on firepower. Its cyclic rate of fire ranged from 500 to 600 rounds per minute, striking a balance between controllability and efficacy. Employing the standard 32-round magazine required a magazine loading tool, underscoring its singular design quirk.

Origin: United Kingdom
Manufactured: 1941-1960s
Manufacturer: Royal Small Arms Factory

Type: Submachine Gun

Caliber: 9x19 Parabellum
Barrel Length: 196mm (7.7)
Action: Gas-Operated Rotating Bolt

Magazine Capacity: 32 Round Detachable Box Magazine


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