The Sterling submachine gun was designed for the Sterling Armaments Company during the Second World War by George William Patchett, per the requirements of the British armed forces. Specifically what was called for was a lightweight select-fire 9mm submachine gun with a cyclic rate of under 500 rounds per minute. Accuracy requirements at the time were a very generous 12 MOA, or five single shots inside of 12 inches at 100 yards.
The Sterling began to see use in 1944 and formally replaced the Sten submachine gun in 1953. It went on to serve for a total of 50 years, making it possibly the longest continuously serving submachine gun with over 400,000 manufactured and was eventually adopted for use by 90 countries—with suppressed Sterlings still in use by some special operations units.
A standard open-bolt blowback-operated submachine gun, the Sterling nevertheless exhibited many innovations and was a versatile gun. It conveniently accepted Sten magazines as well as its own and proved to be very reliable. It also maintained some of the well-received features of the Sten in its design—specifically the distinctive left-side loading magazine, which allowed for users to engage targets comfortably and with more cover in a low prone position.
The Sterling submachine gun was designed for the Sterling Armaments Company during the Second World…
by Denis Prisbey / Feb 1, 2012