A History of the Small Arms Made by the Sterling Armament Company

...Excellence in Adversity, from Pen & Sword

Title: A History of the Small Arms Made by the Sterling Armament Company
Author: Peter Laidler, James Edmiston, David Howroyd
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-52677-330-2

This new 335-page hardback from Pen & Sword is an absolute cracker. So much information packed into the one, albeit quite hefty, book. For anyone of an age, who lived through the Cold War, the Sterling SMG used by the British Army was so regularly seen alongside the SLR. I now know that I for one realise that while I can recognise one, I really knew nothing about them.
After the Foreward and Introduction, the book is divided into 4 parts, sub-divided into a total of 18 chapters. The four main parts cover The Military Sterling: The Commonwealth Sterlings: The Late Commercial Sterlings: and even finer detail in The Armourers Talk Shop. The individual chapters take us through from the earliest designs through the various marks and the production orders for the British Army and many foreign customers. Illustrated throughout with archive photos of the factory, the people, the guns, the marketing materials and illustrations taken from the various manuals and parts lists. Additional fittings include bayonets, magazines, sights and the genuine silencer, rather than being simply a suppressor. From early inspiration thanks to the German Schmeisser MP 28, on through their Lanchesters, the Royal Navy Patchetts and then the Sterling itself. It competed for orders with the Sten Mk 5 and the Madsen but the Sterling won through and was a very tough and popular weapon. I was amazed that over 1.6 million were made. There were adaptations, including pistols and the book illustrates and describes the silencer, which fits a Sterling and a type which is apparently still in service with the British Army.
The story of the company and the detail of their products is simply stunning. The research that must have gone into this is a real credit to the authors. I own a Sterling (albeit de-activated) and now feel I know so much more about it, and the company that made it, before it was sold and swallowed up by British Aerospace in 1989. Definitely recommended.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.

Robin