Silenced STENs

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.

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.

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