Patchetts, Sterlings, PAWS and Stenlings, Oh My

By Frank Iannamico

Classic Submachine Guns, Carbines and Pistols Refined

The Patchett Submachine Gun

The Sten machine carbine (the term “submachine gun” was not used by the British until 1954) was hurriedly conceived during the early stages of World War II, as Great Britain, seriously short of weapons for defense, was facing an invasion by the German Army. The Sten was a rather crude, but reliable and deadly weapon. After the threat of invasion subsided, work began on developing a more refined submachine gun.

George Patchett was an experienced gun designer who went to work for the Sterling Armament Company during World War II. Mr. Patchett designed a fair number of prototype weapons based on his ideas. By 1943, George Patchett’s submachine gun was developed enough to be tested by the military. Designated as the Patchett Mark I machine carbine, the weapon used a number of parts from the Lanchester machine carbine. The Mark I’s magazine housing was attached at a 90-degree angle to the receiver and fed from Sten or Lanchester magazines. After testing, the Patchett Mark I was considered suitable for service, but with plenty of Sten Mk II and Mk IV submachine guns still in service, there were no large orders for the Patchett forthcoming. Undeterred, development of the Patchett continued with the introduction of the Mk II model in 1946. One of the primary features of the Mark II was its magazine housing oriented at an 82-degree forward angle, to accept Patchett’s new double-feed, curved magazine—a vast improvement over the Sten magazine. Finally, during 1953, the Patchett Mark II was adopted as the Gun, Sub-machine, 9mm L2A1. During 1955, the Mark III model was introduced. The Patchett name was dropped and replaced with the name Sterling. The official designation was the Sterling Submachine Gun Mk III, L2A2. The Sterling company continued further development of the weapon resulting in a final version designated as the Sterling Mk IV L2A3.

The Sterling Mark IV L2A3 submachine gun was produced in Great Britain by Sterling and the Royal Ordnance Factory at Fazakerly. Submachine guns produced at Sterling had...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N1 (January 2019)
and was posted online on November 16, 2018


Comments have not been generated for this article.