The Sterling 9 x 19mm sub-machine gun

This item is HIRE ONLY for use by a recognised Film, TV, Commercials or Theatre production company.



The Sterling submachine gun was in service with the British Army from 1944 until 1994, when it was phased out with the introduction of the L85A1 assault rifle.

In 1944 a specification for a new submachine gun was issued. George William Patchett, the chief designer at the Sterling Armaments Company of Dagenham submitted a sample weapon, chambered in 9 x 19mm, of new design in early 1944. The army quickly recognised its potential, (i.e. significantly increased accuracy and reliability when compared to the STEN) and ordered 120 examples for trials.

Towards the end of World War II some of these trial samples were used by airborne troops at Arnhem in September 1944 and elsewhere, where it was known as the Patchett submachine gun.

There was little interest after the war but in 1947 a competitive trial between the Patchett, an Enfield design, a new BSA design and an experimental Australian design was held, with the STEN for comparison. The trial was inconclusive but was followed by further development and more trials.

Eventually the Patchett design won and the decision was made in 1951 for the British Army to adopt it. It started to replace the Sten in 1953 as the Sub-Machine Gun L2A1.

Helpful Info

Regarding dates and period correctness, this item is appropriate for British and Commonwealth forces use from 1953 onwards. It was widely used as a personal weapon for rear echelon personnel, drivers and armoured vehicle crewmen.

Foxtrot example shown is a Sterling sub-machine gun L2A1 chambered in 9 x 19mm, it is fitted with a folding metal stock and all the metal parts are in a black painted crackle finish.

Film Set Notes

As with most 9mm SMG’s, they are reliable and actor friendly. The Sterling having a folding stock makes it very useable in confined spaces and with its short barrel, gives an excellent flash.

Sterling submachine guns with minor cosmetic alterations were used in the production of the Star Wars movies as “Blaster Rifle”props.