The Sterling Armament Company

The Sterling Armament Company

Peter Laidler. James Edmiston and David Howroyd
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Sterling Armament Company
This is a very detailed reference book highlighting the path to success of the Sterling Sub Machine Gun. The company’s aim from the period of World War 2 was to make something reliable, and combined with good business sense-therefore something consumable, however from a business sense the trouble with the Sterling was that it was almost everlasting.

The book is written by Peter Laidler, David Howroyd (Ex REME) and James Edmiston. Between them they very successfully cover the whole series of the Sterling guns from the early Patchett and Lanchester, to the L2A3 Gun most of us knew and sometimes carried. Some of the guns taken into service, which we didn’t handle, had innovations that ordinary soldiers were never aware of, for example the gun could be completely silenced.

The Sterling started its design commencement in 1944. The cost to the War Department was £22.00 when it entered military service in Sept 1955. Its later price was £256.00. It finished at £380 per gun when it was taken out or service during the 1980s.

The gun was sold world-wide to 114, mostly Commonwealth and friendly countries, it is still in use in many of them today. The Ulster Volunteer Force made their own version which apparently was difficult to tell from the real item.

On it being taken out of service, many thousands of guns were placed into storage by The Ministry of Defence, in case of similar arms shortages such that happened during the late 1930s.*

This is a heavy book and extremely well researched, the authors are to be commended for the authoritative work that they have produced. I have intentionally avoided writing too much detail like muzzle velocity, different rounds, and magazine variation etc. 1,600.000 Guns were produced in total.

The forward written by Tug Wilson (SASC of the School Of Infantry Warminster) is also certainly well worth a read.

The Book at £40.00 has been printed by Pen and Sword.

The book is excellently resourced and worth it's cost at £40.00 I award it five stars,


*PS One of these guns now in storage by Mod was perhaps paid for by me. In a street incident in Aden I tripped and fell over and discharged a 9mm round. I was duly invited to forfeit two week’s pay.

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