STEN Suppressed Sub Machine Gun

The Sten machine carbine was one of the most hastily completed and most expediently made submachine gun of the Second World War. Although it was reliable, a number of users didn’t like it simply because they saw it as a cheap pipe gun created as a last ditch effort. Nonetheless, there were a number of suppressed versions of it, two of the most prominent featured here, the Mk. II(S) and the Mk.VI with the wooden stock and furniture. Initially, the first suppressed version created for SOE was a Mk. II with a suppressor that was 22 inches in length, horribly heavy and unwieldy for the operations that the British clandestine service found themselves in most of the time.

Although the suppressors shown here are integral, due to the construction of the Sten, they could easily be dismantled with the barrel itself. This was an inherent feature with the Mk. IIs, and the Mk.Vs. One of the problems with the suppressed versions was that they could overheat. Thus on many versions, a canvas guard was added to the suppressor to keep a shooter’s hands from burning. In addition, the bolts had to be lightened because they couldn’t cycle reliably with the additional pressure from the suppressor.

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Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • PK

    The bolts, some of them, were made lighter not because of additional pressure from the silencer, but from the massively decreased back-pressure from a short/ported barrel.

    At least, that’s how I’ve seen it work with many other direct blowback SMGs when the barrel is shortened or ported.

    • Tassiebush

      The silenced sten was ported to lower the velocity to subsonic with standard issue ammo so that explanation makes sense.

    • Kivaari

      There were bronze bolts as well.

      • PK

        That was more due to a lack of good steel, an attempt at reducing production time, and an attempt at reducing cost. Mixed success at best, but an interesting footnote in firearms history!

  • nova3930

    Cheap pipe weapon? Well WTF else do you need for a short range bullet hose? IMO they’re a fantastic execution in engineer/design simplicity to meet a specific mission.

    • PK

      Amen to that!

      In addition, I don’t think I’ll ever mind that brutal aesthetic they have.

    • tiger

      The KISS principle in full effect. But, the Sterling was nicer.

    • DW

      The rotating magwell is a fail though.
      Also, when it comes to stamped cheap SMG soviets have the brits beat with the PPS43.

    • Zaza Pensive

      the military needs more cheap weapons that work and that they don’t have problems affording sufficient supplies for the forces to actually use.

  • Gunn

    Got to shoot one the other day… now THAT was fun. The fire rate is so slow, and the report so quiet, it doesn’t really even seem like you’re shooting a real gun.

    For modern shooters used to modern ergos, there is always a Ricky Bobby moment when you pick it up (“What do I do with my hands?”). But you get used to it pretty fast.

  • Joey JoJo Jr.

    Now, you owe it to yourself to shoot a Sterling… either suppressed, or not. Imagine the STEN, as designed and fabricated by people who weren’t being bombed by the NAZI’s every night. The Sterling was probably the apex of the open-bolt SMG genre.

    • iksnilol

      Funny way of spelling Beretta M12. 😉

    • Wetcoaster

      Pfffft I don’t know about that. The Sterling comes ahead of the Walther MPL/MPK or Uzi derivatives like the Mineba M-9?

    • Dave Buck

      I miss the Sterling.

  • Bob

    I really miss Eric C. Can we convince him to c. ome back to TFB TV The blog just isn’t the same with out him

  • iksnilol


    I’ve seen examples made in bicycle shops that didn’t even bother with a rifled barrel

    • UCSPanther

      The stens were certainly meant to be short range weapons, used at the same ranges where a pistol or shotgun would normally be utilized.