Skip to comments.The Iconic Tommy Gun
Posted on 01/04/2019 4:57:17 AM PST by w1n1
Few firearms have earned the mystique that the Thompson submachine gun has enjoyed for nearly a century. The long association that the "Tommy Gun" has had with gangsters, G-men and G.I.s has made it a movie star, a prized collectible, and an American icon.
Thompson believed recoil or gas operated weapons were too heavy and complicated for this role and sought a new method of operation. He formed the Auto-Ordnance Company (AOC), found financial backing, and hired engineers to help develop this weapon.
Thompson seized upon the concept of the Blish Lock, developed by John Bell Blish (a career U.S. naval officer and inventor), as the key element for the design.
The principle is that dissimilar materials adhere to each other on an inclined plane with greater force than similar materials. When work revealed that the .30-06 cartridge was too powerful for this system, the weapon was designed around the standard .45 ACP pistol round instead. In the final design, an H-shaped bronze wedge would adhere to the steel bolt to keep the breech closed until pressure dropped to a safe level.
The resulting weapon was dubbed the Annihilator I. This initial offering resembled later versions of the Thompson SMG, except that instead of a buttstock, it had only rear and forward pistol grips. The distinctive drum magazine also appeared for the first time. However, by the time the prototypes were ready, the war was over, and Auto-Ordnance now had to figure out how to sell a gun designed and produced for a war that had just ended. Read the rest of Tommy gun.
I suspected an original one of these is worth a pretty penny. Looks like they go for around $25,000.
I have an SS Black Widow Luger (42). I get a Thompson submachine gun and I’ll be happy. The wife......Not so much.
Which is about the going price for any transferable submachine gun these days.
Transferable fully automatic M16s go for around the same price, due mostly to their transferability, not their collectability.
They issued one to my dad and he was too small to use it so he swapped it for a carbine. If you are not going to use a weapon, get the lightest one to carry.
The Thompson remains one of the most collectable full-auto firearms, with prices ranging from $15,000 for a 1970s production gun up to $45,000 or more for a Model 1921 or Model 1928.
A chopper or Chicago typewriter.
While reading this article a Warren Zevon tune waifted into my head...
That’s a scary picture of an old white racist with an assault rifle. /s/
I own a semi-auto version called a Fox.45 carbine. fun to shoot even in semi-auto form. AOC makes or made a semi-auto version that as recently as a few years ago were readily available for 750 to 1500 dollars
I’ll check it out.
The Blish lock and oiling system were complicated and ultimately unnecessary. When Savage Arms simplified the design during WWII into the Thompson M1 and M1A1 models (yes, the U.S. Army used “M1” a lot), they went to a straight blowback action, and it worked just fine.
Fox started out with a knockoff
of the “Grease Gun.”
I have fired a Thompson submachine BB gun at the state fair :)
Yes, with side ejection.
Massive and well made, all milled if I recall correctly.
Nice scene in Patton of a soldier killing two vultures feasting on corpses after El Alamein, in single-shot mode: longer barrel and sighting radius obviously enhanced performance and accuracy of the .45 ACP.
There was also the M1941 Johnson, used mostly (entirely?) by the Marines.
Hope it’s not a Spitfire!
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