Published on
April 27, 2021
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Peter Laidler, David Howroyd and James Edmiston
Other Publication Information
Hard Cover, 352 pages, 32 Color and 350 B&W illustrations

The dust jacket says it all in this case. This is an in - depth history of the small arms made at the Sterling Company between 1940 and 1989. And I do mean in - depth - it is clear the author’s passion for this subject and attention to detail shows through. In looking at the book, it is 352 pages and lavishly illustrated with 352 black and white pictures and 32 color.

The table of contents is below and shows the history

  • Part I - The Military Sterling
    • Chapter 1 - The Lanchester Sub - Machine Gun
    • Chapter 2 - The Prototype Pachetts
    • Chapter 3 - “Pilot” and “User” Trial Pachetts
    • Chapter 4 - From Mk I to Production
    • Chapter 5 - Mr. Patchetts Gun gets Called up
    • Chapter 6 - The First Sterling
    • Chapter 7 - The Crown Jewel
    • Chapter 8 - The Silent Sterling
  • Part II - The Commonwealth Sterlings
    • Chapter 9 - The Canadian Connection
    • Chapter 10 - The Indians Curry Favor
  • Part III - The Late 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 IV - Armourers Talk Shop
    • Chapter 15 - Mods and Sods
    • Chapter 16 - Accessories and Ancillaries
    • Chapter 17 - Endgames
    • Chapter 18 - Hard Facts
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography

Part I as it says deals with the military grade Sterlings from the development to the silenced versions. The first eighty pages deals with the development of the guns and their trials, tests, and modifications culminating in the Sterling going to war and eventually, the Sterling Sub - Machine gun Mk. 4 which as they noted is the crown jewel. Each step is reviewed for improvements and sometimes steps backward. I found it interesting that much of the time and people call the “Patchett” after designer. Each step is covered thoroughly and well illustrated and very well explained.

Part II covers the use of the Sterling and modifications. The Canadians used the Sterling as a replacement for the STEN. The Indian army also used the Sterling and this is covered.

Part III covers the remaining issued guns from Sterling including several types of pistols. It also details the change from military contracts to overseas sales.

Part IV is a discussion about the weapons, their modifications and testing from the viewpoint of armorers, which the authors were in their military service. There is discussion of the testing of weapons cold to hot, with blown sand and other tests to verify the gun works when needed.

There is so much more covering the company, its fortunes and its guns, I could go on further but as a review, I hope I have wet your interest. This book is a definitive work on the Sterling armament company, its people and its products. It is covered with precision and passion and is a great read. Most highly recommended!

My thanks to Pen & Sword, Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this book.


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