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Thread: Sten

  1. #106
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    Originally Posted by Firefly
    I dont think many liked the STEN, there is an interesting article at the bottom of this link describing a misfire.

    http://www.canadiansoldiers.com/weapons/sten.htm

    Not a bad article, although anecdotal lines like this:

    Many Canadians were wounded or even killed by Sten Guns even before being committed to battle.
    when not supported by evidence go far to perpetuating popular myth.
    Hi - taking the risk of bumping a year old thread in the hopes you are still around. I'm the webmaster and author of the page in question.

    I think the statement stands up to historical scrutiny as there is certainly a lot of anecdotal information regarding the safety hazards associated with the Sten Gun. You're probably correct in that I should footnote the statement with examples of same. I'm making a concerted effort to provide inline references for articles on the site - something I had not done before. If I prove hard pressed to find examples accidental woundings and deaths due to Sten accidents, I will obviously need to change that statement.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention; feedback like yours is essential to any serious web-based endeavour. If you had any other information to contribute, I would of course be grateful.

    Here is a quote from a book I'm reading "Ortona: Canada's Epic WWII Battle" - M. Zuehlke:

    "When the Canadians had been preparing to deploy to Sicily, they had been provided with some 9-millimetre Sten submachine guns, a British-designed weapon that was stamped out like metal cookies from a cutter. Inexpensive to make and popular with the Commandos and European underground, the gun was held in disdain by the Canadians and was generally ditched as quick as possible. All too often it's primitive safety switch came off and the gun accidentally discharged causing friendly casualties. By the time the Canadians reached the Sangro River, hardly and Stens were in use by front-line units.
    Bear in mind that Zuehlke is not really a military historian, but a popular historian. In this case, his comments seem to reflect reality but for the wrong reasons. The Sten was not used in Italy due to ammunition supply problems, AFAICT - the US was already shipping .45 calibre to the theatre so there was no need to compete for limited shipping space by forcing a requirement for 9mm ammo in addition to .45. The Army's official position on the Sten can be seen in a Second World War era technical report available for download at the DND site. The Sten was considered sufficient to its purpose, and accidental discharges and jamming were blamed on user error, officially. The Army in NW Europe saw no reason to replace it.

    Originally Posted by man of stoat
    There is no "safety switch" on a sten.
    This is one of the many little details Zuehlke gets wrong in his book, but his intent is clear. The cutout you correctly describe is no doubt what he is referring to, even though it wasn't a "switch" it was indeed intended for use as a safety. The Sten also had a hole in the body of the gun, so that not only could the c0cking handle be pulled into the niche, but that once there, it could be depressed so that the end of the handle snapped into the small hole, further preventing accidental discharges. I have a dewatted 1944 Long Branch Mk II which has that feature; it was also a field modification dating from the spring of 1944 on existing weapons.

    http://www.canadiansoldiers.com
    Last edited by Michael Dorosh; 07-29-2006 at 10:45 AM.

  2. #107
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  3. #108
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    You could not give me a Thompson.
    I'd take the Sten any day.
    Fact is, I've owned 4 of them, (a mk-5, a mk-2, and two mk-3's) from time to time over the years-all class 3 weapons with the appropriate tax, help from our local law enforcement center, and licensing of course-which needless to say was not cheap. One can look at paying over $1000 each for this type. And the Stens are the absolute cheapest. Sadly, I no longer have them, and cashed all of them in at one time or another. I went forward and am into ak-74's now-but that's another story. And the ak's are semi, so it's more of a stress reliever on the conscience.
    They do have a habit of hiccuping when least expected, but once you are used to it, it's not that big a deal. And I never had that actually happen but a couple of times, and yes, I fired them a LOT.
    They do not have many parts that can break. And if it does, it can be replaced easily.
    The Thompson's ammo is too heavy to carry the sufficient amount of ammo for it in the field for very long.
    The Thompson also is more finely machined (as we all know), and does not take well to dust-dirt, etc.
    The Sten's which were in my possession, were quite accurate, after getting used to them. It was not un-common to hit coke cans at 75 yds. on semi.
    On full-auto, they are practically useless. I know people will say, why?
    Well, you can't hit anything with them that way.
    Bottom line. Muzzle climb is not as controllable as with an ak, due to the Sten being so short and little, and havin g to hold sideways on the magazine, which is awkward.
    In semi-auto, they are very good guns. The only way I see full-auto being of use with the Sten, is in cover fire, door-to-door, and street fighting. Definately not finely aimed shots.
    I have shot, but never owned any Thompsons. But from myexperience, I'd still pick the Sten. Simply because of practicality.
    Hope this helps.
    p.s.-if one desires a full-auto, please go through the proper channels and don't try making one yourself. I have heard of people doing this, and needless to say, with the communistic laws now, it is not wise.
    The reason I was able to do my work back then with full-auto, is because I was introduced to the proper people, had help, and FOLLOWED the law.
    Please, follow the law. Be they draconian laws or not. We have no choice as of now. Hopefully, this will change one day, when America is truly a free country once again. And trust me, as someone who knows. Having a full-auto, is not that big a deal, because they a virtually useless in many situations. Only poor shots need full-auto.
    If one begins imitating movies and tv in the real world, they will soon end up dead. That is not how it works in actual combat and it's one reason I watch the History Channel, and not these stupid movies they put out these days.
    If you simply must have a full-auto, then look at paying over $1000 for the Stens, and over $2-3000 for any of the others, and this is not the worth of the gun either. All of that money will go to the feds. You will still have a gun that cost $2.00 to make. In the end, it's not worth it. Trust me.
    Now, there are some semi-auto closed bolt Stens that can be had now, and these seem fun.
    That would be a reasonable alternative. They have a longer barrel to bring length to spec. without having to have an SBR form.
    Last edited by Tiger-I; 12-06-2006 at 10:16 AM.

  4. #109
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    and havin g to hold sideways on the magazine, which is awkward.

    ... and incorrect, and can lead to damage to the weapon. The STEN should always be held around the barrel nut, like this:

    1884 electric cartridge. Look similar to anything?

  5. #110
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    Not necessarily.
    Both are options and proven.
    It will not damage the weapon.
    Holding the mag with the left hand was used frequently, along with holding in front of the barrel nut or trunnion.
    On versions without the finger guard, this could lead to a severely pinched finger in hurried situations. Sometimes even with the finger guard.
    also-the weight of a fully loaded magazine offsets the gun, to the left, and it will want to twist in the left hand if held in front of the barrel nut. Holding the magazine eliminates this problem.
    Nothing was ever effected in the thousands of 9mm rounds I have fired.
    Accuracy was better also.
    But, like all things, I believe this may be a matter of ones personal preferance and opinion in shooting the Sten. One must familiarize himself with it in ones own best way, in order to be effective.
    Last edited by Tiger-I; 12-06-2006 at 02:12 PM.

  6. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger-I View Post
    You could not give me a Thompson.
    I'd take the Sten any day.
    While I see your arguement I think most of the special forces of the day would disagree. While the Thompson was known to "rattle" sometimes. In a fire fight the stopping power was much greater than the Sten. I think if you ask most ww2 SAS they would take the Thompson over the Sten. IMO.
    Last edited by Gen. Sandworm; 12-10-2006 at 02:54 PM. Reason: Sentance revision

    101st Airborne

  7. #112
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    The 1942 STEN training manual says the following:

    When shooting, the weapon must not be held by gripping the magazine. The correct grip is the barrel nut.
    (original italics)

    The reason for this is that this puts stress on the catch which holds the magazine Housing assembly in position. This causes the catch to wear, causing a misalignment of the magazine Housing, possibly resulting in misfeeds.

    In Dutch service post war, vertical metallic pistol grips were fitted to the barrel nut to further discourage this practice, to improve ergonomics, and reduce transfer of heat to the supporting hand, I believe the same is also true of other countries (South Africa?)
    Last edited by Man of Stoat; 12-06-2006 at 03:09 PM.
    1884 electric cartridge. Look similar to anything?

  8. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man of Stoat View Post
    The 1942 STEN training manual says the following:


    (original italics)

    The reason for this is that this puts stress on the catch which holds the magazine Housing assembly in position. This causes the catch to wear, causing a misalignment of the magazine Housing, possibly resulting in misfeeds.

    In Dutch service post war, vertical metallic pistol grips were fitted to the barrel nut to further discourage this practice, to improve ergonomics, and reduce transfer of heat to the supporting hand, I believe the same is also true of other countries (South Africa?)
    Wasn't a forward pistol grip on the STEN a wartime improvement?

  9. #114
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    Not metal ones, and not on the mark II; the early Mk. V's had a wooden one which used to break off so were deleted later.
    1884 electric cartridge. Look similar to anything?

  10. #115
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    Yes, I do agree with the housing catch problem you mentioned. And yes, I have encountered that before. The grooves can wear, or the catch can wear. As I had noticed on the mk2 I had. Remember, I was into all of this when mail-order companies had the demilled mk2 kits for $35.00(wish I knew then!!!), so I had many spare parts, actually a couple boxes of them.
    I suppose I was just not prone to mention this since, as a recreational shooter, we have access to so many spares, but I can see this being a problem in the field of combat.
    You know, even though I knew something was amiss with the design and "feeling" right about it holding, this point never weighed very heavily on me. I don't know why. It's just something I never put much thought into.
    Thankfully, though, I never had a breakdown.
    One thing a person can check before firing any of them, is the catch and grooves, and inspect the wear they may have.
    You know, I think I'm going to get another mk2. This time---a dummy mk2!
    Just to hearken back to the old days when I was young and stupid...and hang her on the wall. Even the dummies are $200 now. I wish I'd bought all of those kits Sarco had back then. Could have boxed them all up, and put them in the old barn out back and waited 30 years....oh well

  11. #116
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    Off topic ...

    My father-in-law served in Egypt during the 1950's Suez Crisis.

    He was in the Royal Signals attached to 45 Royal Marines and 1st/2nd/3rd Paras.

    His role was to relay messages from Gibraltar to local commands and the Far East (Hong Kong etc).

    He was issued with a sten gun which he never had any problems with. He can recall some blokes having stoppages but can't recall any NDs.

    He used the Sten often when Egyptian forces got in between their tents in close combat - a role for which it was eminently suited.

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