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"Brave Handling of a Sten Gun" Topic

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899 hits since 17 Oct 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Peter12317 Oct 2020 8:39 a.m. PST

Hi all,

I was doing some research for making an M4A4 ARV conversion from the 1/72 PSC kits and came across this photo from Precision-Panzer's ( link ) excellent diorama. I'm extremely impressed by the detail and research and hope they don't mind me including the photo here.


My only thought was, given what I know about the Sten's open bolt and fixed firing pin, and that it had a reputation for firing when knocked or jolted, I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable sitting on the side of a tank with a loaded Sten pointed towards my own head.

Does anyone who knows better think I'm talking through my hat?


Londonplod Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2020 9:08 a.m. PST

I read the memoir of a tank commander in Normandy, he was talking to a close friend in another troop over the wireless set when his friend suddenly broke off. When he returned to the base area he was informed his friend had been in the turret of his tank, holding his Sten gun. It had gone off, killing him instantly.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2020 10:12 a.m. PST

Great looking piece. Unless he's expecting action, no reason to have one in the pipe. I interpret this as a rear area photo, so no round in the chamber.

Martin Rapier17 Oct 2020 10:22 a.m. PST

As noted, it is only dangerous if it has one in the chamber. It is pointing over his shoulder anyway, but if it did go off he might be it deaf for a while:)

Legion 417 Oct 2020 10:46 a.m. PST

Nice modelling !

And yes, weapons with a round in the chamber can be deadly to everyone not just the enemy. And as always when something like this occurs IMO it makes the death a little sadder. But during WWII there was a lot of death to go around.

John Armatys17 Oct 2020 11:38 a.m. PST

The Sten fired off an open bolt, so having a loaded magazine in meant it could fire unless the cocking handle was rotated into the safety notch. If the magazine is put in whilst the working parts are forward it is possible for a jolt to move the bolt back far enough so chamber and fire a round.

Laidler in The Sten Machine Carbine (Collector Books, 2000) says on page 304 that his experiments suggest that a vertical drop of 9 inches onto concrete could result in the gun firing, but notes that the user would be at fault for not following the correct drill laid down in the manual.

Catching the cocking handle on something whilst there was a loaded magazine in the gun could also result in an accidental shooting (see Laidler page 294).
From late 1944 a modified cocking handle was introduced which could be used to lock the working parts forward.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2020 2:42 p.m. PST

Great message thread.

Long story about an AK74 (not an AK47, I do mean an AK 74) which could not possibly have a round in the chamber….missed the latest wife by inches. 30 plus years on she still forgives me. OK, it did only fire plastic pellets, but it punctured the leather settee.

Stress (big time) the models shown are not 1/72. Dear God….no,

Trierarch17 Oct 2020 10:12 p.m. PST

"Stress (big time) the models shown are not 1/72. Dear God….no"

Indeed no, the hull used for this conversion work is the MATO Sherman M4A1 which is 1/16th.

Bob the Temple Builder18 Oct 2020 5:16 a.m. PST

My father HATED the Sten Gun he was issued with because he felt that it was dangerous. Too many examples of them going off when they were loaded and dropped or got caught on something. He ‘lost' his in exchange for a Thompson as soon as he could.

Legion 418 Oct 2020 9:09 a.m. PST

thumbs up

Monophagos18 Oct 2020 9:22 a.m. PST

I fired both a Sten and an MP40 in Las Vegas. The MP 40 kept jamming and the moving bolt was likely to take off your thumb.

Unexpectedly, found the Sten less scary!

Zephyr119 Oct 2020 9:25 p.m. PST

(urban combat room clearing)
"I'm out of grenades!"
"Throw a loaded Sten into the room!"


Bill N20 Oct 2020 8:26 a.m. PST

From reading the comments here I am suddenly feeling I was quite fortunate on the one occasion that I fired a Sten.

Barin120 Oct 2020 8:53 a.m. PST

deadhead, I'm pretty sure now you're aware of course how to unload AK-74 in a right way after having such a reminder for 30 years ;)
I've been standing guard almost each other day in the army – so we all were doing the ritual of arming and disarming our AK each 4 hours. Safe way of course is to take off the magazine first, then move the safety bracket, then pull the gun bolt, and then press the trigger pointing the gun in safe direction.
Still, we had people regularly unloading gun into protective shield – it was normally happening if the people were sleepy, the sergeant was not giving attention to the fact that mabazine is still attached to the gun, so the soldier was disabling the safety bracket, pulling the bolt, so loading the gun, and then pressing the trigger.
I recall that they had to pay for bullets 2 rbl/round, and you were getting only 6 rbl/month ;)

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP21 Oct 2020 8:00 a.m. PST

Great story Barin1, thanks!

Legion 421 Oct 2020 8:35 a.m. PST

Yes ! Good story ! thumbs up

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2020 11:43 a.m. PST

As Londonplod said, the account of Ken Tout talking about his friend in another tank is typical of the disdain most Sten users had for the weapon (His friend had just cleared a German AT position from the flank, which had been shooting at the authors tank) apparently the friend dropped the Sten in his turret and it fired a round killing his friend mid sentence.
Ken himself got an MP40 as soon as he could and found it far superior as a personal weapon…and far safer to use!

Legion 425 Oct 2020 3:49 p.m. PST

Good choice …

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