The Sterling line of submachine guns was first developed in the 1940s by George W. Patchett and the Sterling Armament Company. During the late 1940’s, trials were conducted to find a suitable replacement for the Sten submachine gun. In 1953, after years of trials and testing, the Sterling was adopted by the British Army. The Sterling and its variants remained in army service until the early 1990s, when they were phased out by the L85A1 assault rifle. During its service in the British Military, the Sterling was extremely popular among the troops due to its extreme reliability, respectable accuracy and adequate firepower. Sterling submachine guns are blowback-operated and magazine fed with selective fire options. The Sterling also was produced with a unique buttstock, which folded down and below the receiver to maintain compactness. The submachine gun was also widely exported to more than 70 countries that utilized and cloned the Sterling.