British Commandos operating in the 1940s requested a quiet weapon for
taking out lone sentries. Initially the Thompson was experimented with,
and RSAF Enfield made suppressors for the M1 Thompson. Some of these were
fielded by Commandos but something lighter and shorter was sought. In
response to this, the STEN was selected as an ideal weapon. The STEN Mk.II
was experimented with and a suppressor was devised for it. Overall the
weapon was poorly balanced and too long. It was not fielded.
The early silenced prototype of the STEN Mk.II.
The prototype, dissassembled.
Later the SOE tried their hand at creating a silencer for the STEN Mk.II.
Their version had a basic wooden stock and a shorter silencer. This
version was reportedly quite effective but production costs were quite
high so only a handful were ever made. The ones that were produced were
fielded by SOE agents in France.
The SOE silenced STEN Mk.II.
The final and most successful attempt at
creating a silenced STEN was courtesy of Lt. Kulikowski, a Polish
officer serving with the SOE. His weapon was light, very quiet and
effective. The silencer had metal cups that were used to absorb gas
energy. A rubber muzzle plug was fitted. It was fielded by Commandos in
large numbers and was probably the most successful silenced weapon of
World War II. This weapon was known as the STEN Mk.IIS.
The STEN Mk.IIS.
Soldiers were advised to fire only in single shots with the STEN Mk.IIS.
Automatic fire was reserved only for emergency. The sound of a shot
fired from the Mk.IIS was very quiet indeed and it is said that the
sound of the bolt was more discernible at a 50ft distance than the shot
itself. There was no muzzle flash but the effective range was only about
100m. After the STEN Mk.V was adopted, a silenced version was devised
using the same silencer as the Mk.IIS. The silenced version of the Mk.V
was known as the STEN Mk.VI.