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Viper MkI: A Simplified Steampunk Sten


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today at the National Firearms Centre, part of the British Royal Armouries collection in Leeds. And we are taking a look at a Viper Mk 1. This is a sort of a modification, it’s a play on the Sten gun that was developed in the UK just after World War Two. And this was actually developed for military policemen in post-war occupation Germany. And the idea was to give them a submachine gun that could be fired one-handed. Now it’s not entirely clear what they were doing with the other hand at this time, like, why does the gun have to be one-handed? But that was very literally what the the directive was, and so they went through a couple different
versions of these and this is the Mark 1. So it is basically a simplified
Sten gun, if you can believe that. And yeah, we’ll pull this apart in just a
minute. They did actually simplify the Sten gun, encased it in this wooden housing, and it’s set up
with a grip in front, a 20 round magazine on the side (20 rounds was a little less obtrusive). And then a sling on the back that is intended… You’re supposed to carry this over
one shoulder, hanging straight down … presumably under a garment,
or perhaps on the outside of a garment. I guess that depends if you’re the
military policeman or the 1930s bank robber. But you can see a curve right here, a
recess, and that’s to go up under your arm. So this is intended to be fired just like this. (Swing it around that way.) That sits up
under your arm. There are no sights on the gun. You just have a trigger in the front. Don’t even
have a trigger guard because … who needs that? 20 round mag on the side, and it
allows you to presumably hose down fleeing criminals in occupation West Germany. Let me show you this thing up close. I have to point out, from a video perspective this
is a really kind of a difficult gun to properly display, because it’s got stuff coming out in every axis. And
so there’s no good single angle to show you this from. Let’s see, at the back here you
can see the nice checkering or, you know, the patterning on
the side to give it some texture. A metal butt plate, we’ll be taking that off in a moment.
The sling is actually supposed to go through here on both sides up top, but … the twine
that they used in this is very fragile today and it has already broken … in a couple
of places. So we’ll be delicate with that. On the top you can see sort of the remnant of the Sten gun. You have a Sten type bolt handle, but it’s coming
out the top of the receiver instead of the side. And you do have a safety notch back here, which is good,
because that’s the only safety mechanism in the gun. … Lock that back like so. And then that’s the position where it’s ready to fire. Up front here we have the magazine well, still
coming out the side. So the tube has been reworked, … there’s a lot more to actually building
this than you might expect at first glance. So the tube has been recut so that it …
still has an ejection port on the side, but now has the bolt handle on the top. I’m sorry, the magazine well on the side,
the ejection port’s on the opposite side. The barrel nut has been replaced, of course.
No front sight, just a plain bare barrel there. And our pistol grip has no trigger guard, just an open trigger. You’ll also notice that there is no selector lever on
this anywhere. Where the original Sten was actually a select-fire gun, because it was intended for
section leaders who needed to be able to, you know, fire precise shots in semi-auto as if they were carrying rifles.
That’s been ditched on this, and it’s full-auto or nothing. Now, disassembly is going to
involve removing the nose cap, the butt plate, and these two screws. So, let’s start at the back end, we’ll take the butt plate off.
This is just held in place by a couple little tension tabs. I can slide that off, just a pressed metal butt plate. You see the back end is open there, but we’ll
see that better when we take … both sides off. We can then unthread the front. When
I first took this off I made a comment, a joking comment, of: “So do you think they just threaded the wood?” And lo and behold, they just threaded the wood. So
there’s a… It’s not quite, you know, heavy-duty sharp metal threads, there’s actually a piece of
pressed sheet metal inside this nose cap to act as threading. Go ahead and take the magazine out.
And then we’ve got our two screws. (That’s that one.) Another very thoughtful feature here is
that these screws are actually captive. So there’s a little wire spring down inside there, and
that’s going to prevent these screws from coming out. So this one’s unthreaded completely,
but it’s not going anywhere. Like I said, there’s more to
this than you would initially expect. And now, take it very gingerly and gently, lift that up, and presto, there’s now our cutaway Viper Mark 1. You can note some of the simplifications here, the barrel nut has been removed, the barrel’s
just permanently threaded into the receiver here. The trigger has been substantially simplified, in fact, let me
get a regular Sten Mark 2 and show you that for comparison. So here’s a regular Sten, you can see the barrel
nut system has been changed up completely, magazine well has been
changed because it doesn’t have a … sleeve going over the receiver here.
Of course the receiver is a brand new purpose-built receiver, because
the slot for the bolt handle is not adjacent to the … opening for the ejection port. And then on the original Sten we have
the whole trigger mechanism back here, where this one has a trigger bar extending up
to the front. And on the original Sten we have a semi-auto mechanism built in here as well. And of course the back end of the receiver
has also been simplified to just be a simple internal cap, instead of having this
extra flanged area for a stock attachment. So all you’ve got here is a couple of pins put into the wood, and when you pull the trigger, it’s gonna drop the sear. That’s all there is to a simple submachine gun firing system. If we look over here, you can see
that the hole for the other end of this sear pivot pin has been lined, so
there’s a metal collar in there. So it’s not just operating against the
wood, which would quickly egg out, although the spring retaining pin is just a hole in the wood. There’s a really neat thing you can see on the inside. This
was obviously handmade, because you can see the scribe marks. Someone actually had a block of wood and
they had to, by hand, cut this into the proper shape for this wooden housing. And so you can see
the lines here denoting each critical element. So we’ve got the curve there to
make sure that this is thick enough, our cross lines here to indicate exactly
where you want to drill the hole for the screw. It’s really neat to be able to see those
guide marks still in place on the inside. Now, needless to say, this was never actually adopted. There were several other versions of
the Viper that were developed as well. In fact in a little while we’ll have a video
on another … totally different design, intended for the exact same role. But this is probably the only one that they
ever made, and the whole concept is really kind of obviously ludicrously bad. You can almost understand the hip fire… Well, you can certainly understand
hip firing in a military context. The idea of having a gun designed specifically
for it, to the literal exclusion of sights or any really sort of shoulder stock (although
it is possible to fire this from the shoulder), but without any sights, OK, that
doesn’t seem like a great idea. But then when you deliberately put it in
a civilian context of a military policeman, you would think that this would pose a tremendous
hazard to any innocent folks who might be around when someone decides to do something that
provokes a military policeman into shooting. So all sorts of good reasons why
this never went into production. But it’s certainly a really interesting gun to take a look at, so. Big thanks to the British Royal Armouries
for giving me the opportunity to come in here and take this apart and
show it to you guys. This is definitely a one of a kind gun, so nowhere
else we can find this. Big thanks to them, and of course our thanks to my patrons, who’s
financial support makes it possible for me to travel to places like the Royal Armouries to show you guns like this. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Viper MkI: A Simplified Steampunk Sten

  1. Built on a design made by Clyde Barrow, who cut down a stolen BAR by shortening the barrel with a hack saw. then sawed off the back of the stock, and put a rope sling on it, much like this design, he called it his "Whippit" gun because he could keep it under his arm, and under his jacket, then just whip it out when he was in the bank. Worked great for him, of course it was firing the 30-06 round instead of the paltry 9mm so he put out some real fire power with his unit.

  2. That is Cool and Stupid all at the same time. Bullpup Design under the arm firing system but with no sights and no trigger guard. Like someone knew how to make a firearm but has never used a firearm in real world conditions. Would love to see her work! Thanks IAN Amazing as always!

  3. I mean, if you want to get silly, I suppose you could use another one of these in your offhand too.

  4. How can you simplify a sten? Anything more simple than that would be grabing a bullet and hitting it with a hammer

  5. Definitely seems like it was designed for split second usage, maybe if the carrier is ambushed and needs pistol like quickness to mow down multiple perps.

  6. I want to learn how to hand make things with the quality and precision that this was made with.

  7. Pretty sure that the configuration was favored by someone trained in point shooting and the design looks good for rapid deployment from a trench coat or other covering garment. Maybe it was intended as a protective detail weapon.

  8. Can I suggest the idea is purely British: the MP look unarmed at night or a distance but try to knock them out there is a burst of politeness. Also explains the one handed nature, not meant to hit but more to scare unless super close.

  9. My only real thought is if you are modifying it so you can basically only hip fire and it is supposed to hang at your side why put the magazine so that it will continually hit your body as you walk move it so it feeds vertically from the top.

    And then you put sights on the base of the magazine so that even though you are hip firing you can still aim.

  10. "Stuff coming out of every AXIS"' eh? I assume mostly bullets exited the axis criminals with this thing.

  11. "Simplifed Sten-gun" is a contradiction in terms. Its much like saying "trimmed a few unnecessarys off the old Liberator. Got it down to the bear essentials" lol

  12. Nothing says "to be used around civilians" more than a hipfired, onehanded and unaimable machinepistol

  13. 2:05 "…hose down fleeing criminals in occupational West Germany…"
    First thing that came to mind was "…also known as refugees…"

  14. I think this is really cool. I have no idea why. Probably because even Gun Jesus needs gloves to handle it.

  15. Some post-war guns still look incredibly futuristic.. very cool looking thing, though I half expected the Stock to be Bakelite..

    Thanks Gun Jesus

  16. If it weren't for the handmade housing it would probably have been cheaper than the Sten. I still wouldn't want to try shooting either way.

  17. What did they have a lot of in post war Germany? Roadblocks and checkpoints. This smg would allow a vehicle to be covered whilst either flagging down a vehicle or covering people whilst checking documents.

  18. I'm guessing the one handed design is so that it can be operated when checking someone's documents, patting them down or otherwise using your left hand on a subject whilst keeping the weapon on them ready to fire.

  19. Could have been designed for injured soldiers, I'm sure a lot of guys had permanent arm injuries, and if they could get them armed and back in service that wouldn't have been a bad idea. Especially amputees

  20. I think this was made to be used among the poverty-stricken masses of Germany so that it would present minimal monetary value for scrapping the metal….

  21. They needed to be able to shoot it one handed, as the other hand would be holding an English-German phrase book!😂🤣😂

  22. My thought on seeing it was that the driver of an English car would be able to use that weapon with their right hand while in pursuit of another automobile.

  23. to me this actually makes some sense in a way that you can use it as a superio firepower to a normal gun in urban areas when you must chase some thieves in houses and very narow and short streets were visible range is max 15 -20 meters at best. one hand because robbery and other things would usualy happen at night and you can hold a bigger flashlight or a german sheppard dog leash and chase enemy trough buildings and like i said short narrow streets were a thief would normaly try to run and hide. but the fact that must be held right above the hips is a turn of.they should have made it to be pressed against the shoulder . but 20 rounds on full auto..hmm.not really good.

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