The Sterling is a pressed-steel open bolt selective-fire 9mm SMG of superlative design. The bolt features spiral cuts to clear battlefield crud from the action and the side-mounted magazine allows for a low profile when firing from the prone. Sterlings are also designed to feed from Sten magazines as needed. The Sterling’s 34-round double-column, double-feed magazine is likely the finest SMG magazine ever contrived.

The Sterling magazine sports a gentle curve to accommodate the geometry of the 9mm Parabellum round and is readily disassembled. It also features a roller-bearing follower ensuring a smooth uninterrupted flow of ammunition into the action. The end result is an unusually reliable and accurate close quarters tool.

The Sterling’s 6-lb. weight and sedate 550 rpm rate of fire make the gun exceptionally controllable. Two- and three-round bursts are painless with a disciplined trigger finger. The L2A3 represents the apogee of open-bolt 9mm subgun design and remains a personal favorite.