Book Review
Sterling Armament Company
Sterling Armament Company
  • move

by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


The following content is as provided by the company:
An in-depth history of the small arms made by the Sterling Company of Dagenham, Essex, England, from 1940 until Sterling was purchase by British Aerospace in 1989 and closed.

The Lanchester and the Patchett Machine Carbines were both developed at Sterling Engineering Co Ltd during World War II.

With the appearance of the earliest Patchett prototypes the military began testing them in ever more rigorous trials, wherein the Patchett kept proving its merits. This led to limited UK adoption of the MkII Patchett as the L2A1 in 1953, and the ‘first Sterling’, the MkII, as the L2A2 in 1955.

Then came Sterling’s ‘Crown Jewel’, the superb Mk4, adopted as the general-issue UK ‘Gun, Sub-Machine, L2A3’ in September, 1955. Manufactured briefly but intensively by ROF Fazakerley (1955-1959) and by Sterling for over 30 years, nearly 4000,000 were made.

Unlike wraparound bolt designs like the UZI, the Sterling was capable of being truly silenced with standard 9mm ball ammunition (as opposed to being merely ‘supressed). The excellent silenced Sterling-Patchett Mk5, adopted as the UK L34A1 in 1967, is the only Sterling remaining in British Service.

All prototypes, military Marks, commercial and licensed production models of the Sterling are described, including the Canadian C1 SMG and the Indian 1A Carbine. Contains notes on manufacturing methods and procedures as used at Sterling, ROF Fazakerley, Canadian Arsenals Limited and the Indian Small Arms Factory, Kanpur (Cawnpore), plus extensive notes on inter-model interchangeability, serial number ranges, quantities produced, client-country purchases of the various Sterling Marks, and accessories.


This offering from Pen and Sword is a hard backed book covering the history of the Sterling armament company and the weapons it produced. This offering is authored by Peter Laidler, James Edmiston and David Howroyd. The book covers the history and products of this company over 338 pages of very heavy semi gloss stock paper that is very well bound in this offering. The contents of this title are presented as follows:
Foreword of 13th April 2019
Tribute to Robert Blake Stevens
Introduction: A potted history 1901 – 1939

Part 1: The Military Sterling
Chapter 1 – The Lanchester sub-machine gun
Chapter 2 – The prototype Patchetts
Chapter 3 – “Pilot” and “User” trials Patchetts
Chapter 4 – From Mk1 to Production
Chapter 5 – Mr Patchett’s gun gets called up
Chapter 6 – The first Sterling
Chapter 7 – The crown jewel
Chapter 8 – The silent Sterling

Part 2: Commonwealth Sterlings
Chapter 9 – The Canadian connection
Chapter 10 – The Indians curry favour

Part 3: The Later Commercial Sterlings
Chapter 11 – Closing the bolt
Chapter 12 – The Sterling Mk 7 pistols
Chapter 13 – the end of the line
Chapter 14 Other Sterling arms

Part 4: Armourers Talk Shop
Chapter 15 - Mods and soda
Chapter 16 – Accessories and ancillaries
Chapter 17 – Endgames
Chapter 18 – Hard fact

Appendix: List of Headings

This book is one of those gems for the fan of small arms and for anyone who remembers the Sterling sub machine gun; it should be considered that most of us have seen a heavily modified version of this gun as it was the weapon of choice for Darth Vader’s Storm troopers. The family of Sterling sub-machine guns followed on from the Sten gun and remained in service until replaced by the current British Army weapons the SA80.

This book closely and clearly follows the story of these weapons as they progressed over time and the developments that took place. The Sterling family of weapons hold a special place in the modern history of the British Armed Forces and it is great to see such a high level of inspection of this weapons system. The Sterling proved a reliable weapon despite everything the British Squaddies threw at it and it still performed its function well.


If you have an interest in small arms then this is a book that belongs in your library or book shelf. The book does a great job of providing the reader with the story of the weapons that evolved into the Sterling sub-machine gun and the changes in design that took place over that history. The result was a weapon that served in many fields of conflict and performed admirably.
Darren Baker takes a look at a stunning book covering the Sterling Armament Company courtesy of Pen and Sword.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781526773302
  Suggested Retail: £40.00
  PUBLISHED: Nov 22, 2020
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Pen & Sword Books!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


The history behind any weapons system, be it a tank or an SMG, makes for interesting reading. I have a similar book on the history of H&K and the insights on development are fascinating.
NOV 22, 2020 - 10:49 AM