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Encyclopedia > Thompson submachine gun
Submachine Gun, Caliber .45, M1

Thompson M1A1 on display at Virginia War Museum
Type Submachine gun
Place of origin Flag of the United States United States
Service history
In service 1938–1971 (officially, U.S. military)
Used by U.S. military, FBI, Swedish Army, British Army, Canadian Army, Australian Army
Wars World War II, Korean War, First Indochina War, Vietnam War
Production history
Designer John T. Thompson
Designed 1917–1919
Manufacturer Auto-Ordnance Company (originally), Colt, Savage Arms
Produced 1921–present (replicas)
Number built 1,700,000 aprox.
Variants Persuader & Annihilator, M1921A1, M1927, M1928A1, M1A1
Specifications
Weight 4.9 kg (10.8 lb) empty (M1928A1)
4.8 kg (10.6 lb) empty (M1A1)
Length 852 mm (33.5 in) (M1918A1)
811 mm (32 in) (M1/A1)

Cartridge .45 ACP (11.43 × 23 mm) or 9 mm Parabellum (9x19mm)
Action Blowback
Rate of fire 600-1200 rpm, depending upon model
Feed system 20 or 30-round detachable box magazine
50 or 100-round drum

The Thompson submachine gun is an American submachine gun that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight of the time, being used overwhelmingly by both law enforcement officers and criminals.[1] The Thompson was also known as the "Tommy Gun", "Chopper", "Chicago Typewriter" and "Chicago Piano". The Thompson was favored by soldiers and civilians alike for its compactness, large .45 ACP bullet, and high volume of automatic fire. TommyGun is a retro development toolkit. ... Tommy Gun was London punk rock band The Clashs seventh single, and the first single taken from their second album Give Em Enough Rope. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1146x524, 149 KB) Summary Picture taken on trip to Virginia War Museum, March 14, 2006 Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... The MP5 is a third-generation submachine gun that is widely used by law enforcement tactical teams and military forces. ... Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... The United States Armed Forces are the military services of the United States. ... F.B.I. and FBI redirect here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ... Canadian Forces Land Force Command (LF) is responsible for army operations within the Canadian Armed Forces. ... The Australian Army is Australias military land force. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Combatants  United Nations:  Republic of Korea  Australia  Belgium  Canada  Colombia  Ethiopia  France Greece  Luxembourg  Netherlands  New Zealand  Philippines South Africa  Thailand  Turkey  United Kingdom  United States Medical staff:  Denmark  Italy  Norway  Sweden Communist: Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea  Peoples Republic of China  Soviet Union Commanders Syngman Rhee Chung... Combatants French Union France State of Vietnam Cambodia Laos Viet Minh Commanders French Expeditionary Corps Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque (1945-46) Jean-Étienne Valluy (1946-8) Roger Blaizot (1948-9) Marcel-Maurice Carpentier (1949-50) Jean de Lattre de Tassigny (1950-51) Raoul Salan (1952-3) Henri Navarre (1953-4... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... For other persons named John Thompson, see John Thompson (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see CMC. Colts Manufacturing Company (CMC--formerly Colts Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company) is a United States firearms manufacturer founded in 1847. ... // Savage Arms was founded in 1894 by Arthur Savage in Utica, NY. Perhaps best-known for the Savage Model 99 which is a hammerless lever action rifle, which is no longer in production. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... .45 ACP cartridges .45 redirects here. ... ball and hollowpoint 9mm Luger rounds are popular handgun ammunition. ... In firearms terminology, an action is the system of operation that the firearm employs to seal the breech (in a breech-loading firearm), and to load consecutive rounds. ... Blowback is a system in which automatic or semi-automatic firearms operate through the energy created by combustion in the chamber and bore acting directly on the bolt face through the cartridge. ... (for paintball markers also)Rate of fire is the frequency at which a specific weapon can fire or launch its projectiles. ... A 30-round STANAG magazine. ... A drum magazine. ... The MP5 is a third-generation submachine gun that is widely used by law enforcement tactical teams and military forces. ... Prohibition in the United States aimed to achieve alcohol abstinence through legal means. ... .45 ACP cartridges .45 redirects here. ... This article is about firearms projectiles. ... M2 Browning machine gun An automatic firearm is a firearm that automatically extracts and ejects the fired cartridge case, and loads a new case, usually through the energy of the fired round. ...

Contents

History and service

The Thompson Submachine Gun was designed by General John T. Thompson, who was inspired by the trench warfare of World War I to develop a "one-man, hand-held machine gun", firing a rifle caliber round. While searching for a way to allow such a weapon to operate safely, Thompson came across a patent issued to John Bell Blish. Thompson found a financial backer, Thomas Fortune Ryan, and started the Auto-Ordnance Corporation in 1916 for the purpose of developing his weapon. The principal designers were Theodore H. Eickhoff, Oscar V. Payne, and George E. Goll. By late 1917, the limits of the Blish lock were discovered, and it had been found that the only cartridge currently in U.S. service suitable for use with the lock was the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol). The project was then titled "Annihilator I", and by 1918, most of the design issues had been resolved. However, the war ended before prototypes could be shipped to Europe. For other persons named John Thompson, see John Thompson (disambiguation). ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Rifle (disambiguation). ... John Bell Blish John Bell Blish (September 8th, 1860 - December 22nd, 1921) Known mostly for inventing the Blish lock, used in the Thompson submachine gun. ... The Blish Lock is a friction-lock designed by John Bell Blish, that takes advantage of the fact that under extreme pressures, certain dissimilar materials will resist movement through friction greater than normal friction laws would predict. ... .45 ACP cartridges .45 redirects here. ...


At an Auto-Ordnance board meeting in 1919 to discuss the marketing of the "Annihilator", with the war over, the weapon was officially renamed the "Thompson Submachine Gun". While other weapons had been developed shortly prior with similar objectives in mind, the Thompson was the first weapon to be labeled and marketed as a "submachine gun".[2]


The Thompson first entered production as the Model of 1921. It was available to civilians, though its high price resulted in few sales. Model of 1921 Thompsons were first sold in small quantities to the U.S. Post Office (to protect the mail from a spate of robberies[3]), followed by several police departments in the United States and minor international sales to various armies and constabulary forces, chiefly in Central and South America. Thompsons were also acquired by the Irish Republican Army from supporters in the U.S. and were used in the latter stages of the Irish War of Independence and Civil War. USPS and Usps redirect here. ... Constabulary may have several definitions. ... For other uses, see Central America (disambiguation). ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... This article is about the historical army of the Irish Republic (1919–1922) which fought in the Irish War of Independence 1919–21, and the Irish Civil War 1922–23. ... Combatants Irish Republic United Kingdom Commanders Michael Collins Richard Mulcahy Cathal Brugha Important local IRA leaders Henry Hugh Tudor Strength Irish Republican Army c. ... The Irish Civil War (June 28, 1922 – May 24, 1923) was a conflict between supporters and opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 6, 1921, which established the Irish Free State, precursor of todays Republic of Ireland. ...

A lance corporal of the East Surrey Regiment, British Army equipped with a Thompson M1928 submachine gun (drum magazine), 25 November 1940
A lance corporal of the East Surrey Regiment, British Army equipped with a Thompson M1928 submachine gun (drum magazine), 25 November 1940

The Thompson achieved most of its early notoriety in the hands of Prohibition and Depression-era gangsters and in Hollywood films. Nationalist China also acquired a quantity for use against Japanese land forces, and eventually began producing copies of the Thompson in small quantities for use by its various armies and militias. Image File history File links Corporal,_East_Surrey_Regiment_1940. ... Image File history File links Corporal,_East_Surrey_Regiment_1940. ... Lance Corporal (LCpl or L/Cpl) is a military rank used by some elements of the British, Commonwealth, and U.S. armed forces. ... The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. ... A drum magazine. ... is the 329th day of the year (330th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The term Prohibition, also known as A Dry Law, refers to a law in a certain country by which the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. ... For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ... Hollywood redirects here. ... Nationalist China was an informal phrase to describe the Republic of China government in Taiwan during the Cold War. ...


In 1938, the Thompson submachine gun was adopted by the U.S. military, serving during World War II and later into the Korean War, as well as early stages of the Vietnam War. Other Allied countries purchased the Thompson as well, notably the United Kingdom and France. Modifications to simplify production and reduce cost were made in 1942, resulting in the M1 and M1A1 models, which were commonly carried by both non-commissioned and commissioned officers. The United States Armed Forces are the military services of the United States. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Combatants  United Nations:  Republic of Korea  Australia  Belgium  Canada  Colombia  Ethiopia  France Greece  Luxembourg  Netherlands  New Zealand  Philippines South Africa  Thailand  Turkey  United Kingdom  United States Medical staff:  Denmark  Italy  Norway  Sweden Communist: Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea  Peoples Republic of China  Soviet Union Commanders Syngman Rhee Chung... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000... This article is about the independent states that comprised the Allies. ... A non-commissioned officer (sometimes noncommissioned officer), also known as an NCO or Noncom, is an enlisted member of an armed force who has been given authority by a commissioned officer. ... In military organizations, a commissioned officer is a member of the service who derives authority directly from a sovereign power, and as such holds a commission from that power. ...


There were two military types of Thompson SMG. The M1928A1 used a 20- and later 30-round box magazine, or 50- and 100-round drums. It had cooling fins on the barrel, and its cocking handle was on the top of the receiver. The M1 and M1A1 had a plain barrel without cooling fins, a simplified rear sight, a 20- and later 30-round box magazine, and the cocking handle was on the side of the receiver. The M1928A1 along with the regular M1928 was the choice of the Marines. The M1A1 was the choice of the Army. Thompson intended the weapon as an automatic 'trench-broom' to sweep enemy troops from the trenches, filling a role the BAR had proved incapable of.[4] Ironically, this concept was adopted by German troops using their own submachine guns in concert with sturmtruppen tactics.[5] This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Browning Automatic Rifle (more formally first as the Rifle, Caliber . ... In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small, lightly-equipped infantry forces attacking enemy rear areas while bypassing enemy front-line strongpoints, isolating them for attack by follow-on friendly troops with heavier weapons. ...


The Thompson found particular utility in World War II in the hands of Allied troops as a weapon for scouts, non-commissioned officers, and patrol leaders. In the European theater, the gun was widely utilized in British and Canadian Commando units, as well as U.S. paratroop and Ranger battalions. A Swedish variant of the M1928A1, called Kulsprutepistol m/40 ("Submachine Gun m/40" [Directly translated "Bullet spurt pistol"]), served in the Swedish Army between 1940 and 1951. Through Lend-Lease, the Soviet Union also used the Thompson, but this practice was not widespread. For other uses, see Commando (disambiguation). ... An American Paratrooper using a T-10C series parachute Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and formed into an airborne force. ... Official force name 75th Ranger Regiment Rangers Other names Airborne Rangers Army Rangers Task Force Ranger U.S. Army Rangers Branch U.S. Army Chain of Command USASOC Description Special Operations Force, rapidly deployable light infantry force. ... Symbol of the Austrian 14th Armoured Battalion in NATO military graphic symbols This article is about the military unit. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Lend-Lease program was a program of the United States during World War II that allowed the United States to provide the Allied Powers with war material without becoming directly involved in the war. ...


In the Pacific Theater, Australian Army infantry and other Commonwealth forces initially used the Thompson extensively in jungle patrols and ambushes, where it was prized for its firepower, though its hefty weight and difficulties in supply eventually led to its replacement by other submachine guns such as the Owen and Austen. The U.S. Marines also used the Thompson as a limited-issue weapon, especially during their later island assaults. The Thompson was soon found to have limited effect in heavy jungle cover, where the low-velocity .45 bullet would not penetrate most small-diameter trees, or Japanese helmets or protective vests (in 1923, the Army had rejected the .45 Remington-Thompson, which had twice the energy of the .45ACP).[6] In the U.S. Army, many Pacific War jungle patrols were originally equipped with Thompsons in the early phases of the New Guinea and Guadalcanal campaigns, but soon began employing the BAR in its place, especially at front (point) and rear (tail) positions, as a point defense weapon.[7][8] A map of the Pacific Theater. ... The Australian Army is Australias military land force. ... Infantry of the Royal Irish Rifles during the Battle of the Somme in World War I Infantry or footmen are very highly disciplined and trained soldiers who fight primarily with small arms(rifles), but are trained to use everything from their bare hands to missle systems in order to neutralize... The Commonwealth of Nations as of 2007 Headquarters Marlborough House, London, UK Official languages English Membership 53 sovereign states Leaders  -  Queen Elizabeth II  -  Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma Appointed 24 November 2007 Establishment  -  Balfour Declaration 18 November 1926   -  Statute of Westminster 11 December 1931   -  London Declaration 28 April 1949  Area  -  Total... Box Log Falls, Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia Jungle usually refers to a dense forest in a hot climate, such as a tropical rainforest. ... In military tactics, to patrol, or conduct a patrol, is to conduct reconnaissance of a designated area or route. ... An ambush is a long established military tactic in which an ambushing force uses concealment to attack an enemy that passes its position. ... The Owen Gun, which was known officially as the Owen Machine Carbine, was an Australian submachine gun designed by Evelyn (Evo) Owen in 1939. ... The Mark I Austen was a 9 millimeter Australian submachine gun developed during the Second World War by the Lithgow Small Arms Factory. ... This article is about velocity in physics. ... A person wearing a helmet. ... This article is about the island in the Pacific Ocean. ...


By the time of the Korean War, the Thompson had been withdrawn from service as a standard-issue submachine gun with U.S. forces. It was replaced by the M3/M3A1 submachine gun, and the M1/M2 carbine. Many Thompsons were distributed to Chinese armed forces as military aid before the fall of Chiang Kai-Shek's government to Mao Zedong's Communist forces in 1949. During the Korean War, American troops were surprised to encounter Chinese Communist troops heavily armed with Thompsons, especially during surprise night assaults. The gun's ability to deliver large quantities of short-range automatic assault fire proved very useful in both defense and assault during the early part of the conflict. Many of these weapons were recaptured and placed back into service with American soldiers and Marines for the balance of the war. The M3 Grease Gun (more formally United States Submachine Gun, Cal. ... The M1 Carbine (formally the United States Carbine, Caliber . ... Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975) was the Chinese military and political leader who assumed the leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925. ... Mao redirects here. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ...


The Thompson was also used in limited issue by the U.S. Marine Corps (carrying over from their Post Office service[9]) as the M1928 in a series of interventions in Central America, particularly Nicaragua, where it was popular with the Marines as a point-defense weapon for countering ambush by Sandinista guerrillas. United States Marine Corps Emblem The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is the second smallest of the five branches of the United States armed forces, with 170,000 active and 40,000 reserve Marines as of 2002. ... Sandinista! is also the name of a popular music album by The Clash. ... Guerilla may refer to Guerrilla warfare. ...

Serb paramilitaries during the Siege of Sarajevo. An M1A1 Thompson submachine gun is being held in the background. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev
Serb paramilitaries during the Siege of Sarajevo. An M1A1 Thompson submachine gun is being held in the background. Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev

During the Vietnam War, some South Vietnamese army units and defense militia were armed with Thompson submachine guns, and a few of these weapons were used by reconnaissance units, advisors, and other American troops. It was later replaced by the M16. Image File history File links Evstafiev-bosnia-sarajevo-serbs-toast. ... Image File history File links Evstafiev-bosnia-sarajevo-serbs-toast. ... Combatants ARBiH (1992-95)  NATO (1995) JNA (1992) VRS (1992-95) Commanders Jovan Divjak Mustafa Hajrulahović Vahid Karavelić Nedžad Ajnadžić Stanislav Galić (1992-94) Dragomir MiloÅ¡ević (1994-95) Strength 40,000 (1992) 30,000 (1992) The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege in the history of... The sky over the city where we were happy by Mikhail Evstafiev, oil on canvas, 2006 Mikhail Aleksandrovich Evstafiev (Russian: Михаил Александрович Евстафьев; born in 1963), is a Russian artist, photographer, writer. ... Anthem Thanh niên Hành Khúc (Call to the Citizens) Capital Saigon Language(s) Vietnamese Government Republic Last President¹ Duong Van Minh Last Prime minister Vu Van Mau Historical era Cold War  - Regime change June 14, 1955  - Dissolution April 30, 1975 Area  - 1973 173,809 km² 67,108... The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) was a military component of the armed forces of the Republic of Vietnam (commonly known as South Vietnam). ... Lebanese Kataeb militia A Militia is an army composed of ordinary [1] citizens to provide defense, emergency or paramilitary service, or those engaged in such activity. ...


The Thompson was also used by U.S. and overseas law enforcement and police forces, most prominently by the FBI. The FBI used Thompsons until 1976, when it was declared obsolete. All Thompsons in U.S. government possession were destroyed, except for a few token museum pieces and training models. F.B.I. and FBI redirect here. ... This article describes the government of the United States. ...


The Thompson, or copies of the gun, are still seen from time to time in modern day conflicts, such as the Bosnian War. Combatants Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Predominantly Bosniak) Army of Republika Srpska, Yugoslav Peoples Army, various paramilitary units from Serbia and Montenegro (Serbian) Croatian Defence Council, Croatian Army (Croatian) Commanders Alija Izetbegović (President of Bosnia and Herzegovina) Sefer Halilović (Army chief of staff 1992-1993) Rasim...


Operating characteristics

Thompson SMG Model M1928A1, field stripped for cleaning
Thompson SMG Model M1928A1, field stripped for cleaning
Thompson SMG Model M1A1, field stripped for cleaning
Thompson SMG Model M1A1, field stripped for cleaning

The Thompson, especially the early Model 1921, has a fairly high rate of fire at 900+ rounds per minute (rpm)[citation needed], higher than many other submachine guns of smaller caliber. This rate of fire, combined with a rather heavy trigger pull and a stock with excessive drop, increases the tendency of the gun to climb off target in automatic fire.[10][11] Compared to modern 9mm submachine guns, the .45 Thompson is quite heavy. By the standards of the day the Thompson was one of the most effective and reliable submachine guns available. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 538 pixelsFull resolution (2169 × 1458 pixel, file size: 847 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Thompson Submachine Gun, Model of 1928A1 with Lyman peep-sight, disassembled for maintenance or cleaning. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 538 pixelsFull resolution (2169 × 1458 pixel, file size: 847 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Thompson Submachine Gun, Model of 1928A1 with Lyman peep-sight, disassembled for maintenance or cleaning. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 378 pixelsFull resolution (1194 × 564 pixel, file size: 207 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) M1A1 model Thompson Submachine Gun, field stripped for normal cleaning. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 378 pixelsFull resolution (1194 × 564 pixel, file size: 207 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) M1A1 model Thompson Submachine Gun, field stripped for normal cleaning. ... This article lists firearm cartridges which have a bullet in the 9 mm (.354 in) caliber range. ...


Because of its gangster-era and World War II connections, Thompsons are highly sought as collector's items. An original Model 1928 in working condition can easily fetch US$20,000 or more. Semi-automatic versions are currently produced by Auto-Ordnance Company, a division of Kahr Firearms. Approximately 1,700,000 of these weapons were produced by Auto-Ordnance, Savage Arms, and Colt, with 1,387,134 being the simplified World War II M1 and M1A1 variants (without the Blish lock and oiling system[12]). USD redirects here. ... Walther P99, a semi-automatic pistol from the late 1990s A semi-automatic firearm is a gun that requires only a trigger pull for each round that is fired, unlike a single-action revolver, a pump-action firearm, a bolt-action firearm, or a lever-action firearm, which require the... // Savage Arms was founded in 1894 by Arthur Savage in Utica, NY. Perhaps best-known for the Savage Model 99 which is a hammerless lever action rifle, which is no longer in production. ... For other uses, see CMC. Colts Manufacturing Company (CMC--formerly Colts Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company) is a United States firearms manufacturer founded in 1847. ...


Variants

Persuader and Annihilator

There were two main experimental models of the Thompson. The Persuader was a belt-fed version developed in 1918, and the Annihilator was fed from a 20 or 30-round box magazine, which was an improved model developed in 1918 and 1919. Additionally, the 50- and 100-round drum magazines were developed. A disintegrating belt feeding into an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, from a United States Army training manual A non-disintegrating belt feeding into a . ... A drum magazine. ...


Model of 1919

The Model 1919 was limited to about limited to about 40 units, with many variations noted throughout. The weapons had very high cyclic rates around 1,500 rpm.[13] This was the weapon Brigadier General Thompson demonstrated at Camp Perry in 1920. Almost all M1919s were made without buttstocks and front sights, and the final version closely resembled the later Model 1921. The City of New York Police Department was the largest purchaser of the M1919. This model was designed as an automatic Colt .45 to "sweep" trenches with bullets. Camp Perry is a National Guard training facility located on the shore of Lake Erie in northern Ohio near Port Clinton. ... Colt 45 is a term used to designate two distinctly separate firearms produced by Colts Manufacturing Company: The Single Action Army, also known as the Peacemaker—the gun that won the West The M1911, designed by John Browning and the official sidearm of the United States armed forces...

  • Caliber: .45ACP (11.4x23mm), .22LR, .32ACP, .38ACP, and 9mmP[14]
  • Weight (empty): 3.75 kilograms (8 lb 4 oz)
  • Length: 808 millimeters (31.8 in)
  • Barrel length: 267 millimeters (10.5 in)
  • Cyclic rate of fire: 1,500 rpm (actual delivered, about 700)
  • Capacity: 20- or 30-round box; 50 or 100-round drum; 18 rounds .45 Peters-Thompson shot cartridges
  • Range: 55 yd (50 meters)

Model of 1921

The "Anti-Bandit Gun": 1920s ad of the Thompson Model of 1921 for United States law enforcement forces
The "Anti-Bandit Gun": 1920s ad of the Thompson Model of 1921 for United States law enforcement forces

M1921 was the first major production model. Fifteen thousand (15,000) guns were produced by Colt for Auto-Ordnance Corporation. In its original design, it is finished more like a sporting weapon, with a blued, finned barrel and vertical foregrip. It is a semi-blowback weapon incorporating the Blish lock. The M1921 was quite expensive to manufacture, with the original retail cost around $225, because of its high quality wood furniture and finely-machined parts. The Model 1921 was famous throughout its career with police and criminals and in motion pictures. The weapon had a relatively high 900+rpm[citation needed] rate of fire. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (519x669, 265 KB) Summary Front Cover of a Brochure Selling Thompsons in the 20s Thompsonad1sm. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (519x669, 265 KB) Summary Front Cover of a Brochure Selling Thompsons in the 20s Thompsonad1sm. ... Advert redirects here. ... For other uses, see Police (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Wood (disambiguation). ... For the UK band, see Furniture (band). ... A lathe is a common tool used in machining. ...


Model of 1923

The Model 1923 was introduced to potentially expand the Auto-Ordnance product line and was demonstrated for the U.S. Army. It fired the .45 Remington-Thompson cartridge from a 14-inch (35.5 cm) barrel, with greater range and power than the .45 ACP. It introduced a horizontal forearm, sling, bipod and bayonet lug. The M1923 was intended to fill the role of the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), but the Army was satisfied with the BAR and did not give the Model 1923 much consideration, so it was not adopted. The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A bipod is a support device that is similar to a tripod or monopod, but with only two legs. ... For other uses, see bayonet (disambiguation). ...


BSA Thompsons

Main article: BSA 1926 Thompson

In an attempt to expand interest and sales overseas, Auto-Ordnance partnered with and licensed Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) to produce a European model. These were produced in small quantities and have a different appearance than the classic style. BSA Thompsons were produced in calibers such as 7.65mm Parabellum (called .30 Luger in the U.S.) and 9 mm Para, and were tested by various governments, including France in the mid 1920s. The design was never successfully marketed. The BSA 1926 Thompson was a 9mm version of the Tommy Gun produced for the British Forces. ... The Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) was a British manufacturer of vehicles, firearms, and military equipment, and still exists as an airgun sport manufacturer and distributor. ... The 7. ... Luger may mean: Luger pistol 7. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Model of 1927

The M1927 was the semi-automatic-only version of the Model 1921. It was made by modifying an existing M1921, including replacing certain parts. The "Thompson Submachine Gun" inscription was machined over to replace it with "Thompson Semi-Automatic Carbine", and the "Model of 1921" inscription was also machined over to replace it with "Model of 1927." Although the Model 1927 was semi-automatic only, it was easily converted to fully automatic by utilizing certain M1921 parts, and is classified as a machine gun under the National Firearms Act of 1934. The National Firearms Act (NFA), cited as the Act of June 26, 1934, Ch. ...


Model of 1928

The Model 1928 was the first type widely used by military forces, with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps as major buyers through the 1930s. The original M1928s were M1921s with weight added to the actuator, which slowed down the cyclic rate of fire, a U.S. Navy requirement. With the start of World War II, major contracts from Britain and France saved the manufacturer from bankruptcy. This model was standardized as the M1928. Rate of fire is the speed at which a specific firearm or artillery piece can operate. ... Notice of closure stuck on the door of a computer store the day after its parent company, Granville Technology Group Ltd, declared bankruptcy (strictly, put into administration—see text) in the United Kingdom. ...


M1928A1

M1928A1 at Fort Knox, Kentucky, June 1942
M1928A1 at Fort Knox, Kentucky, June 1942

The M1928A1 variant entered mass production before the attack on Pearl Harbor, as on-hand stocks ran out. Changes included a horizontal forend, in place of the distinctive vertical foregrip ("pistol grip"), and a provision for a military sling. Despite new U.S. contracts for Lend-Lease shipments abroad to China, France, and the United Kingdom, as well as the needs of American armed forces, only two factories supplied M1928A1 Thompsons during the early years of World War II. The weapon was mostly used in the U.S. military by the Marine units in the Pacific Theater. Though it could use both the 50-round drum and the 20- or 30-round magazines, active service showed the drums were more prone to jamming and extremely heavy and bulky, especially on long patrols. 562,511 were made. Image File history File links Halftrack-fort-knox-4. ... Image File history File links Halftrack-fort-knox-4. ... Fort Knox is a census-designated place on the border of Hardin and Meade Counties in Kentucky that includes the housing for the Fort Knox Army base and the Fort Knox Bullion Depository. ... This article is about the actual attack. ... Grip is a term with many uses: grip, a job in film industry key grip, the chief grip on a set grip, or hilt, part of a sword grip is used to describe how a tennis racquet is held. ... The word sling may refer to one of the following: A sling (weapon) is a device used to hurl projectiles A sling is one of any sort of mixed alcoholic drink, also known as a cocktail. ...


In addition, the Soviet Union received M1928A1s, included as standard equipment with the M3 light tanks obtained through Lend-Lease. The weapons were never issued to the Red Army, however, because of a lack of .45 ACP ammunition on the Eastern Front, and were simply put in storage. As of September 2006, limited numbers of these weapons have been re-imported from Russia to the United States as disassembled "spare parts kits", the entire weapon less the receiver (as required by Federal law). The Stuart was an American light tank of World War II named after the Civil War general Jeb Stuart. ...


M1

The M1, formally adopted as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M1, was a result of further simplification. The bolt was modified and rate of fire was also reduced to approximately 600-700 rpm. The M1 utilized a simple blowback operation, the charging handle was moved to the side, and the flip-up adjustable rear sight replaced with a fixed aperture (peep sight). The slots adjoining the magazine well allowing use of the drum magazine were removed, as were the Cutts compensator, the barrel cooling flanges, and the Blish lock. Blowback is a system in which automatic or semi-automatic firearms operate through the energy created by combustion in the chamber and bore acting directly on the bolt face through the cartridge. ... a big (1) and a small (2) aperture For other uses, see Aperture (disambiguation). ... The muzzle brake of the 105 mm gun on an AMX 10 RC fighting vehicle. ...


The less expensive and more-easily manufactured "stick" magazines were used exclusively in this version, with a new 30-round version joining the familiar 20-round type.


The M1 also has a permanently attached buttstock, and was first issued in 1942. Folding stock of a SIG 550 rifle A stock or buttstock or shoulder stock is present in many firearms and some crossbows, and performs three functions - to facilitate easy and steady holding and aiming of the weapon prior to and during firing (which may be further assisted by a sling...


M1A1

Both sides of the Thompson M1A1

The multi-piece firing pin of the M1 was supplanted by a simplified firing pin machined into the face of the bolt. The 30-round magazine was very common. Reinforcement wings were added to the fixed rear sight. Image File history File links M1A1. ... Image File history File links M1A1. ...


The M1A1, formally adopted as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M1A1, could be produced in half the time of the M1928A1, and at a much lower cost. In 1939, Thompsons cost the government $209 apiece. By the spring of 1942, cost reduction design changes had brought this down to US$70. In February 1944, the M1A1 reached a low price of US$45 each, including accessories and spare parts. By the end of 1944, the M1A1 was replaced with the even lower-cost M3 (commonly called "Grease Gun"). The M3 Grease Gun (more formally United States Submachine Gun, Cal. ...


Model 1927A1

The Model 1927A1 is a semi-automatic only version of the Thompson, produced by Auto-Ordnance (West Hurley, New York) for the civilian gun market from 1974 to 1999. It is officially known as the "Thompson Semi-Automatic Carbine, Model of 1927A1." The internal design is completely different and operates from the closed bolt. It has been produced since 1999 by Kahr Arms of Worcester, Massachusetts. This weapon should not be confused with the earlier M1927 produced by Colt for Auto-Ordnance, although its name and designation references the earlier weapon. West Hurley is a census-designated place located in Ulster County, New York. ... For other uses, see Worcester (disambiguation). ...


Model 1927A3

The Model 1927A3 is a semi-automatic, .22 caliber version of the Thompson produced by Auto-Ordnance in West Hurley.


Model 1927A5

The Model 1927A5 is a semi-automatic, .45ACP version of the Thompson produced by Auto-Ordnance in West Hurley. It featured an aluminum receiver to reduce its weight, since it has no buttstock. In order to classify as a pistol under U.S. laws, it had to be made with a 13 inch barrel to meet the 26 inch overall length requirements of a pistol featuring a vertical foregrip.


Civilian ownership in the United States

Because of the perceived popularity of submachine guns such as the Thompson with gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s, the United States Congress passed the National Firearms Act in 1934. Among its provisions, all owners of any fully-automatic firearm were required to register them with the predecessor agency of the modern Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The law also placed severe restrictions on the possession, transfer and transport of the weapons. Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political... The National Firearms Act (NFA), cited as the Act of June 26, 1934, Ch. ... The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (abbreviated ATF, sometimes BATF or BATFE) is a United States federal agency; more specifically a specialized law enforcement and regulatory organization within the United States Department of Justice. ...


All prospective buyers had to register with the government and pay the $200/item transfer tax. Registration required the prospective buyer to declare a reasonable need for owning the weapon, to supply a citizenship certification, photographs and fingerprints. In addition, a certification from state or local law enforcement or court officers the buyer is not under investigation for a crime and possession of the weapon will not violate state or local law is required. Once the paperwork is submitted to the ATF, the FBI performs a thorough background check. Only after the purchase had been cleared (a process normally taking at least four months), may the new owner take possession of the weapon.


Owners are forbidden to move the gun out of their state of residence without obtaining prior permission from the ATF. The owner is required to keep the weapon within his exclusive control and may not loan it without immediate supervision to anyone. Thompsons, as well as all other kinds of fully automatic weapons, are under a legal ban in at least nine states and the District of Columbia. ...


There are several U.S. made semi-automatic variants. These are less regulated at the federal level but are still banned in several states because of their resemblance to the fully-automatic version.


Notwithstanding the legality of ownership, hundreds, if not thousands, of these and other weapons of World War II are in the possession of veterans as "bring back" items. With the number of veterans decreasing rapidly, these weapons fall into the possession of the families as illegal weapons, usually unbeknownst to them. Current law does not allow any of these weapons to be registered. Congress is considering an amnesty law which would permit "bring backs" to be registered and thus save these historic and valuable arms. [15]


Many M1928A1s are still retained in the former Soviet Union, and some have recently been demilitarized by cutting the receiver and imported into the U.S. as spare parts kits.


See also

The M3 Grease Gun (more formally United States Submachine Gun, Cal. ... The Reising was an American submachine gun patented in 1940 and manufactured by Harrington & Richardson. ... US firearms that were captured and redesignated by the Third Reich. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Ray Bearse, "The Thompson Submachine Gun: Weapon of War and Peace", in Murtz, Gun Digest Treasury (DBI Books, 1994), p.210
  2. ^ Development of the Thompson Submachine gun 1996-2006, Gary James
  3. ^ Fitzsimons, Bernard. Encyclopedia of Weapons and Warfare (Phoebus, 1977), Volume 23, p.2487
  4. ^ Fitzsimons, op. cit., Volume 3, p.272
  5. ^ Gudmundsson, Bruce, Storm trooper Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914-1918, Praeger Press, 1995
  6. ^ Bearse, op. cit., p.213
  7. ^ Dunlap, Roy F., Ordnance Went Up Front, Samworth Press, 1948
  8. ^ George, John (Lt.Col), Shots Fired In Anger, Samworth press, 1948
  9. ^ Fitzsimons, ibid.
  10. ^ Dunlap, Roy F., Ordnance Went Up Front, Samworth Press, 1948
  11. ^ George, John (Lt.Col), Shots Fired In Anger, Samworth press, 1948
  12. ^ Fitzsimons, op. cit., Volume 23, p.2488
  13. ^ Bearse, in Amber, p.210.
  14. ^ Fitzsimons, Volume 23, p.2487, "Thompson".
  15. ^ H. R. 1141 - Veterans' Heritage Firearms Act of 2007

References

  • Albert, David and Sig, Mike. (2005). Thompson Manuals, Catalogs, and Other Paper Items. Self Published.
  • Bannan, James F. and Hill, Tracie L. (1989). Notes On Auto-Ordnance. South West Publishing Co.
  • Burrough, Bryan. (2004). Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI. The Penguin Press.
  • Cox, Roger A. (1982). The Thompson Submachine Gun. Law Enforcement Ordnance Company.
  • Dunlap, Roy F. (1948). Ordnance Went Up Front. Samworth Press.
  • Ellis, Chris. (1998). The Thompson Submachine Gun. Military Book Club.
  • George, John (Lt. Col). (1948). Shots Fired In Anger. Samworth Press.
  • Gudmundsson, Bruce. (1995). Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914–1918. Praeger Press.
  • Helmer, William J. (1969). The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar. MacMillan, also Gun Room Press.
  • Herigstad, Gordon. (1996). Colt Thompson Serial Numbers. Self Published.
  • Hill, Tracie L. (1996). Thompson: The American Legend. Collector Grade Publications.
  • Hogg, Ian V. and Weeks, John. (1989). Military Small Arms of the 20th Century. DBI Books Inc.
  • Huon, Jean. (1995). Les pistolets-mitrailleurs Thompson. Barnett Editions, also Editions Crepin-LeBlond.
  • Iannamico, Frank. (2000). American Thunder: The Military Thompson Submachine Gun. Moose Lake Publishing.
  • Iannamico, Frank. (2004). American Thunder II: The Military Thompson Submachine Gun. Moose Lake Publishing.
  • Iannamico, Frank. (2004). United States Submachine Guns. Moose Lake Publishing.
  • Johnson, Melvin M. and Haven, Charles J. (1941). Automatic Arms. William Morrow and Co.
  • Nelson, Thomas B. (1963). The World's Submachine Guns, Volume I. International Small Arms Publishers.
  • (Portuguese) Olive, Ronaldo. (1996). Guia Internacional de Submetralhadoras. Editora Magnum Ltda.
  • Sharpe, Philip B. "The Thompson Sub-Machine Gun (in Police Science)" Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1931-1951), Vol. 23, No. 6. (Mar. - Apr., 1933), pp. 1098-1114.
  • Smith, Charles H. A brief story of Auto-Ordnance Company.
  • Weeks, John. (1980). World War II Small Arms. Galahad Books.
  • Wilson, R.K. (1943). Textbook of Automatic Pistols. Small Arms Technical Publishing Company.

External links

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Thompson Submachine Gun: How Products are Made (2378 words)
A machine gun is a weapon that fires a continuous stream of bullets as long as the trigger is held down.
Thompson became a specialist in small arms, and by 1903 he was working on modernizing many of the Army's weapons designs.
Colt refused to manufacture more of the submachine guns because of the bad press the weapon had received, and the Thompson was redesigned and somewhat simplified to fill the World War II orders.
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A submachine gun is a firearm that combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the ammunition of a pistol, and is usually between the two in weight and size.
The Thompson submachine guns had been in development at the same time and even earlier as the Bergman and Beretta, but development was put on hold in 1917, when the US and the weapon's designer (Thompson) entered the war.
Prominent recent examples of the submachine gun are the Israel Military Industries Uzi submachine gun, the Heckler and Koch MP5 series, the Ingram MAC-10, the Skorpion, the Sterling and the FN P90 (itself part of a new generation of 'personal defence weapons', firing cartridges intermediate in power between a pistol and assault rifle round).
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