Anonymous asked in SportsOutdoor RecreationHunting · 9 years ago

$20 Guns: Why was the STEN gun so popular, and the M3 Grease Gun so despised?

The STEN gun cost 4 pounds 3 Shillings by the time the Mk. III version was made. That's when the Pound was worth about four bucks. The STEN was preferred by British Commonwealth soldiers to the Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk 1 Rifle and the Thompson Submachine Gun. 4.5 Million STENS were made. They were also made by the Canadians at the Long Branch Arsenal. The Germans were so impressed with them they manufactured them for their Volkssturm.

The M3 Grease Gun was wildly unpopular with Americans. It cost roughly $20 by late 1944 to manufacture Only 600,000 we made. American troops preferred the Garand, Thompson Submachine Gun and .30 Carbine to it.

Why was the STEN gun so popular, and the Grease Gun so hated?



The MP-40 was very popular with Americans. Had they had access to a good supply train of MP-40 magazines and 9mm ammo, many Americans would have used one in preference to American weapons.

7 Answers

  • akluis
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Best Answer

    So much false info.

    Guide Lamp Division of GM made the M3 for $15 each. This means it was cheaper than your STEN calculation. Also, the conversion rate for dollars to pounds was held at an artificial level during WW2, so you can't really do an accurate cost-comparison without knowing how artifically out-of-sync the currencies were.

    STENs were liked because it was better than being unarmed, but the Lanchester was the preferred SMG. In fact, the last Lanchester SMGs left service in 1970, about 10 years after the last STENs were disposed of.

    STENs had a repuation for misfiring, for firing when jarred hard, and for firing when set down if you hit the cocking handle just right.

    The M3 greasegun was 'wildly unpopular' because the thing was as crude as the STEN. The Thompson was much better, so if you got the M3 you generally weren't too happy about it. Of course the average US grunt didn't have to worry about arms shortages the way the Brits did.

    as far as the Volksstrum...

    Do you even realize what that was? Okay every fight capable man was being drafted to the German army, THEN you have the older guys who wanted to fight but were a bit to old or hand other issues, like missing an eye or something, they formed the Home Guard...the Volksstrum was 'everyone else' from age 16-60. If you were a 'little person' or walked with twin canes because you had polio in your child hood, or heck if you were missing both your arms you were still part of the Volksstrum at the very end of least in name.

    The Volksstrum used as many german weapons as they could, but also used a ton of captured guns. Yes, they developed the MP 3008 which was basically a STEN designed to take a magazine at the bottom and use the MP38/40 magazine, but was a TOTAL DESPERATION weapon being built in any little shop that could manage. It wasn't chosen because the STEN was good, but because the STEN was the simplest 9mm design they could get their hands on.

    The Germans were FAR from impressed with the STENs, but desperate men do desperate things.

    Oh, and for another poster, the STEN was NOTHING like the fine Swedish K aka Carl Gustav M/45

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    When I served in Vietnam I had a chance to fire both a Grease Gun and the M-1 Thompson. The Grease Gun, had this terribly cheap, stamped metal, look to it. It clanked and rattled and the wire stock was uncomfortable. Despite the butt ugly look, it was dependable. The Thompson, on the other hand, even though hard used when I got it; was a real delight to shoot. It is a handsome gun, well made, and was comfortable to shoot. It was also more accurate than the Grease Gun.

    Other than pictures of the STEN, I've no experience with it. I think the closest I came was my partner's Swedish K

    Damn fine gun. Shot the 9mm. Almost no recoil and out to about 50 or so yards, you could dump the entire 36 round mag into about a ten inch circle in one long burst. Could not do that with a Thompson.

    If the STEN was anything like the K, it is no wonder it was popular.

  • 9 years ago

    The Grease gun is inaccurate and crudely made, the Sten is more accurate and slightly less crudely made. I, for one, would have been very disappointed if I knew that the army had Thompsons in the inventory and issued me an M-3.

    The grease gun is kind of fun to fire, but it jumps so wildly that it is almost impossible to keep a burst on target. Some of the tankers that I knew were still being issued the grease gun in the early nineties. It was the loader's personal weapon on the M-60A3 tank. When the M-60s were finally replaced with M1s the loaders were issued M-16s.

  • como
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    The Sten Gun

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Irv S
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    The American troops had a much wider familiarity with rifles and fire-arms in general

    The long firing delay on that heavy open bolt mechanism,

    (with it's heavier breach-block dictated by the .45 ACP round),

    made it difficult to place a shot accurately, especially annoying

    to one familiar with a decent rifle.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    It could be that the Grease Gun looked similar to the German MP40s.

  • 9 years ago

    Any short, light automatic weapon will be easier to shoot and more controllable when it uses Parabellum ammo vs. .45ACP. I remember the M3's we had in my unit. I guess the idea was that if you put out enough rounds, you're bound to hit something.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.