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Glossary of terms
Automatic The common name for .. seU-loading Or semi-automatic pistol. This has been used throughOut the Profile Sedes to denote the above. Backst.rap (18) The part ol tha Irame which lorms the rear 01 the grip. Barrel (2) The tube down which the bullet is guided. Bent (13) Notoh in hammer. Breech Rear portion of barrel. Chamber Part 01 the gun that receives the charge or camidge. Disconnector (11) .A device to prevent multiple shots being fired on asingle pull of the trigger, Eject.or A part designed to assist the removal oltha empty case. Extractor weapons. Firing follower (20) Same as ejector but more often applied to automatic
Magazine (10) A container 10. cartridges used to feed a gun automatically. Magazine Catch (8) The catch that holds the rneqazlne in place in th"9un, Mainspring (12) The spring that actuates the hammer. Muzzle The open end olthe barrel. Receiver (6) The main housing for the major components. Recoil Sp.ing (5) The spring that controls the movement 01 the slide cr other moving components upon firing. Recoil Spdng Guide (4) A guide that prevents the recoll spring from becoming damaged. Safety Catch (9) A device to prevent the gun' being fired. Seer (14) A lever that transmits movement hom the nigger to the hammer. Slide (1) The sliding breech block often containing the extractor and .he firing pin. used to close the rearof the barrel. Stocks (Grips) (7) Wooden or plastic pieces used as a handle. Trigger (15) A lever which is used to release the hammer mechanism. Trigger Bar (17) A lever connecting rhe !rigger to the seer.
Pin (19) The pin that detonates the cartridge priming. (16) Part 01 the magazine that guides (he cartddges upwards.
Frame (6) See Receiver. Hammer (3) A device to detonate the priming of the cartridge Or actuate the fidng pin,
This publicity. was not the kind that the producers had in mind! What self-respecting gangster in a film would appear without his Tommy gun? Even the sale of the Thompson to the Law Enforcement Agencies did not make it respectable nor make the fortune of Auto Ordnance." Dominic Behan. Thompson died in 1940 atthe age of 80.An Irish soldier in the jungle of Burma equipped with a Thompson submachine gun Model1928 (lWM) Thompson Submachine Gun A. Where the bayonets flash. however. The Thompson submachine gun was named after General John T. certainly originate the term submachine gun as well as giving the Thompson its name. although credited by some to John Thompson alone. a Director of Auto Ordnance Corporation. Cormack "We're off to Dublin in the green. however. and so lived to see this success. R. Thom pso n in conjunction with Commander John Bliss and Thomas Ryan in 1916 and had its offices in New York City. The Thompson submachine gun was a joint design. Auto 0 rd na nee was formed by J. Where helmets glisten in the sun. Thompson. Thompson did. T. in the green. After the death of 61 . It was not until long after the Prohibition era that the Thompson lost its image as the gangland weapon and it was only the advent of the Second World War that made the Thompson a volume-produced weapon. Despite the fact that for at least the first part of its history. and the rifles crash To the echo of a Thompson gun. the weapon was not a commercial success its name became a household word and it received a great deal of publicity. J.
1 showing interim magazine arrangement After an abortive attempt to develop a ·30 calibre automatic rifle it was decided to start a su bmachine gun design.2 showing odd shaped actuator and standard drum magazine fitting 62 . from what can be ascertained (the records are incomplete).The BSA produced Thompson inspired autornattc rifle. and was chambered for ·45 ACP cartridges. over 1OOOrpm. The prototype production. This earlv prototype would seem to have no relation to the later gu ns other than the 'H' piece in the lock. The original Thompson prototype is an odd -looking weapon and. The belt advancing mechanism was on the right side of the weapon. was belt-fed with a butt and had two pistol grips. which started some time before 1919. Prototypes Thompson No. was at the plant of Warner and Swassev. The 'H' piece in the above weapon was made of steel unlike that of the later weapons. The firm was then taken over by Russell Maguire of Maguire Industries and remained in their hands until December 1951 when George Numrich Junior acquired the name and spares forthe Numrich Arms Corporation. Thompson No. The gun had a very high rate of fire. This weapon was not a success (8 SA) First prototype Thompson with tape feed The Thompson submachine gun in its well-known at the hands of an American policeman (NumrichArms CorpNAC) environment Thomas Ryan he left Auto Ordnance in 1928.
which depended on the adhesion of an angled surface to hold the 'H' piece into engagement with locking slots was a dasiqn feature which Captain John Bliss of the US Navy patented on 30 June 1913. One technical feature. As there were only a very few. later weapons were made with sights and a stock.000 Model 21 submachine guns. possibly only one. The Bliss Hesitation Lock showing the angle surfaces on the bolt and the bronze 'W piece (Low/and Brigade Depot) Cased Thompson subrnachine gun Model 1921 manufactured by the Auto Ordnance Corp.Model 1919 In 1919 the first proper Thompson. This was dropped and then reinstated in later models. This gun had a box magazine and pistol twin grips. was a fixed firing pi n. of each modification produced. Auto Ordnance contracted with Coltto produce the parts for 15. The hesitation lock system. as a result of the enthusiasm shown by the military. Notice the case can accommodate H)O-rou nd dru m when the adaptor is removed (Smithsonian tnst) Model 1921 In 1920 the Thompson was demonstrated to the military at Camp Perry. The results of this demonstration were to be far-reaching because. all Model 1919 guns can be classed as prototypes. which appeared then. the lack of a stock would seem to rule out accurate shooting to say nothing of the lack of sights. This 63 . was produced. the Model 1919.
and1 00round drum magazines were still offered as an option to this 20-round box magazine.nd drum magazi.Model 1921 Thompson submachlna gun with Colt markings filled with a 20-rou nd box magazine (L" wlend Brigade Depot) Thompso n Model1921 with 20-rou nd box magazine filled and a 50-rou. The Thompson was not having a com mercia I success.ne below. however. and a box magazine. as it had been found that on fully automatic fire the gun was not easily controlled. They tasted Auto Ord ns nee for nearly 20 years I The Model 21 had a detachable butt. The gun weig hs9' 751b. The M odel1 921 co ntin ued to be offered for sale by Auto Ordnance as late as 1933. bolt the cyclic rate was reduced from 1 000 rou nds per min ute to 800 rounds per rni nute. was not maintained and. in fact these 15. only sample lots to various Governments and a few to small law enforcement agencies kept th e prod uction I:i e moving. lyman adjustable si g hts. Th e sales drive incl uded n offers of the weapon in a variety of calibres. The 50. Sales were not impressive.000 basic guns were to provide parts for a succession of later models. h as an overa III ength of 31 ·8i na nd a 10 ·5i n barrel. Notice the raised Lyman backsight (LowlandBrigade Depot) enthusiasm. By rnodificahans to the. Thompson Military Model1921 equipped with a bayonet and 20-round box magazine (NAC) 64 .
- \ -. ----..uomatic rifle.351 Ql._ .45. car. A.. This cartridge was an elongated and uprated '45 ACP.. ."y cal.'.romalie pistol cartridge Thomp. It is possible that these were origi nally intended for the Mode11923. with a 16in Springfield bayonet and biped. The Model1923 was also offered as a military model. co( .n! cartridge cal .. A special magazine was needed and the one used with the shot cartridge. Once again the parts for this gu n were modified from the 1 921 Model with a new lengthened 20-shot box magazine.45 7 Auta'1I-a~ic blank car/ridge cal . . was an attempt to provide a submachine gun with morethan the power of a standard pistol rou nd. 2 . 45 65 . as far as can be ascertained..Baronet and Scabbard ----.. makes it a truly powerful round.. The cartridge. 9mm parabellum (the most popular of all submachine gun rounds). The catalogue for the 1921-23 Thompson shows The cartridges which were offered for the Mode11923. straight-sided case offered by Mauser as an export option on the Broomhandle). compared with the -45 ACP with its 180 grain bullet and 85Ofps.r 9 mlm 5 Luger 9 mlm au. . Bialik Crtrlridge Disc ana Cap e Hider 1I1axim Silencer The accessories available for Model 1921 including bayonet. cou p led with a m uzzl eve locity of 14501ps. flash hider. the case being one inch long and the bullet weighing 250 grains. The Model 23 was.l. 9mm Mauser (this was a powerful. which took 18 of them..'l eli ~ -t -===Jj~. ~~t~ --.45 4 Mau&e. 7 ·63 Mauser and ·30 Luger. never marketed in quantity and as a result the few which were manufactured are collector's pieces._./. S. 45 mi.1 ~\ -\-\ --- '.h ~-~-- ".-. and the Thompson shot cartridge.ridge 3 U. Th is.li!ary cartridge. 'Ii!' ~ or. It is doubtful whether these calibres were ever made in quantity. silencer and a blank cartridge adaptor (NAC) Model 1923 In 1 923 a rare and technically interesting variation was introduced.--1 --'I .lt is doubtful whether the weapon was in fact chambered for all these cartridqes (NAC) that there were also offered as alternative cartridges: ·351 (a cartridge offered by Winchester forthe 1907 Winchester self-loading rifle). which was designed in conjunction with Remington and called the Remington-Thompson . It is worth quoting some passages from the cata- Remington Thompson. was probably used. In 1952 N umrich Arms sold a n umber of Thompson finned barrels in calibres 9mm Luger.on .. Fla.
It 'has a fire power equivalent to a squad or more of men armed with ha nd loaded military muskets I' A final and by no means warranted boast: 'The Thompson Gun when thus used is more accurate than a pistol. Notice the smooth barrel jacket and lack of forward pistol grip (NAC) There were various mounts specified for use with the Thompson subrnachine gun. This layout fired at an estimated 45. This was the mounting of no less than 28 Thompsons in the floor of an aircraft to give strafing power. safer than a rifle and more effective than a shotgun.Thompson military model subrnachine gun 1923 with bipod fitted.yds in six seconds. Thompson submachine guns mounted in banks in an aircraft (NAC) 66 . One of the most bizarre projected uses of the 1921-23 was the forerunner of the 'gunships' of the Vietnam war. A few sales of th is type wou Id have ma d e th e fortu ne of Auto Ordnance! Below and lop left offacing page: The forerunner of the Vietnam War Gunship. This fact was probably some consolation to the man who fired '3000 rounds without overheating'.' This was in police work! The model 1923 had an overall length of 36i n and had a 14 '51n barrel. The two further gu ns carried in the cockpits would seem to have been superfluous.000rpm covering an area of 5280sq. Illustrated above is the motor-cycle sidecar variation (NAC) loqus. 'A rate of 125 accurately aimed shots per minute can be easily attained I' and 'an unlimited number of rounds can be fired without bruising or shocking the body'.
Model 1928 manufactured by the Auto Ordnance Corp showi ng the magazine release. in the form of the US Navy Department. Below: Model 1921 (Pattern Room Enfield) British Hamesslorcarrying two 50-round drum magazines . the finned barrel and a sling swivel fitted to the vertical foregrip Above: Modell 928 filled with slin9 swivels and a horizontal . it was looked upon as a carbine rather than a submachine gun. There were a large n umber of odd letter codes on the 1927 and these should not be mistaken formodel numbers (Model 27 S-CDS-S=Special Grade. finally ordered a small number of Thompsons for the Marine Corps Expeditionary Force in Nicaragua. Notice the patent dates on the 20"round box rnaqazi ne Model 1928 The Government of the United States. This was in 1928 and the first military use after the enthusiasm shown at the origi nal Camp Perry demonstrations. the forward pistol grip was deleted. D=Drum Magazineand S=Sling Swivels). notice the date 1941 (Pattern Room Enfield) 67 . This weapon can be very easily converted to the fully automatic version by the substitution of a few standard 1921/1928 parts. The only possible explanation was that. Why Auto Ordnance thought that a submachine gun that fired semiautomatic would sell better than a fully automatic one cannot be explained. Model1928 showing the right side with a 20-round box magazine fitted. On the above version.foregrip. horizontal foregrip and Cutts Compensator Model 1927 The Model1927 was another attempt to use up Model 1921 parts held in stock and was a semiautomatic version of the 1921.(Pattern Room Enfield) Model 1928 complete with sling. as it was sold in very small numbers to Police Departments and private individuals. and M odel1921 machined off. The marRings on the receiver rather bear this out as the 'Model192T and 'Thompson semi-automatic carbine' were stamped on it. often called the Navy Version. The Model 1928 wasthe basic 1921. selector switch and safety. a straight wooden fore-end substituted. C=Cutts Compensator. once more with modifications.
Various methods of ca"ying the Thornpsonsubmechlne gun and its magazines were adopted. In an attempt to reduce the m uzzle eli rnb on fully autorna tic fire a Cutts Compensator was on ce agai n fined.. was slowed to 700rps by modifyi.gain and substituting a larger recoil spring. The Cutts Compensator worked on the principle of diverting the gases in an upward direction thro ugh slots at the end of the barrel and thus tending to force the muzzle downwards. The Cutts Compensator and the attachment pin showing the vertical slots 68 .Cutts and was introd uced in1 926.ng the lock assembly once a. All th ese weapo ns were restamped 'U S Navy'. It was designed by Colonel Richard M. The rate of fire.. Illustrated are a n umbsr (NAC) and sling swivels fitted. which at 800rps was still found to be too fast.
The weapon was identical to the Navy Mode11928. Cutts Compensator and 50-found drum magazine (lWM) Abo ve and below: British soldiers equ ipped with Modell 928 Thorn pson submachine guns complete with sling. Auto Ordnance struggled on with a series of gadgets and modifications to make the Thompson a more attractive and marketable proposition. also adopted the Model1 928. 20-round box magazine and Cutts Compensator (lWM) 69 . These gadgets inc lu d ed two i nteresti ng types of ammunition: the first a crowd control round which was a ·45 ACP case with an elongated capsule containing bird shot.The Lyman adjustable rear sight fitted to the early Thompson submachine gun Model 19Z8 A1 The US Cavalry. not so humane and British soldier with full battle kit complete with a Thompson 1928 with vertical foregrip. The second. as only some 400 guns were ordered. finding that it needed a weapon to equip its vehicle personnel. but was stamped '1928 A 1" Even this contract cannot be called a g~eat success.
The trigger mechanism not stripped as this is a workshop job :l:lllll...!.f'" ...Model 1921 Thompson with box magazine fitted Lyman sights raised and a 50-round drum magazine Lowland Brigade Depot © Protite Publications Ltd Top view of a Model 1921 showing the actuator knob and the Lyman rear sight Lowland Brigade Depot © Profile Publications Ltd A field stripped Model 1921.f.r.
-.~-~"II - -------- .Right side of a Model 1921 fitted with a box magazine Lowland Brigade Depot © Profile Publications Ltd Model 1928 Thompson fitted with box magazine and Cutts compensator Lowland Brigade Depot © Profile Publications Ltd The bolt from a Model 1921 showing the angled slot and above the 'H' piece ---_.
Lend. the British military changed their policy from one of not needing the gangsters' weapon to an urgent request for as many Thompson su bmachine guns as Auto Ordnance could supply. it was too heavy and bulky. These were not new and were experimented with mostly with the same lack of success as they had had before. and in late 1939 they ordered 3750 Modell 928 weapons. 72 .111 battle kit and Thompson submachine guns Model 1928. Notice the solider second from the left has the drum magazine winder missing (IWM) presumably not intended for crowds. when fired split up and. This sub-contract continued until the American Government took over the responsibility for the supply of weapons to Britain in 1941 with the advent of Lease. apart from its feeding not being 100% reliable. a ball bearing and a jacket which. Savage and Auto Ordnance continued to produce Thompson but under US Government contract. This request A detachment of Coldstream Guards advancing equipped with 1. It was made up of a core. was a type of multiple ball round. But with the advent of World War Two and in particular. The 1 DO-round drum magazine was dropped.)(-··_··_··_-x Cutaway drawing of the Thompson submachinegu n Model 1928 Al (NAC) Royal Scottish Fusiliers posed for action in 1940. tripled the effectiveness of the bullet. the retreat to Dunkirk. The French Government were the first to order it for their Army. as it was found that. Notice the soldier in the foreground has the Lyman backsight raised (/WM) could not be metwith any success by Auto Ordnance so they subcontracted toSavaqe Arms. in theory.
Model 1928 A2 The 1928 A 1 version of the Thompson was far from an ideal weapon for wartime production as it required extensive milling operations and hand finishing. were redesigned so that they could be produced on non-critical machines such as presses. Parts. Notice the shielded rear sight (Pattern Room Enfield) 73 . all deleted. the barrel cooling fins. the Cutts Compensator and the Lyman back sight. All weapons produced at this time by Savage had serial numbers prefixed with an S. Savage and Auto Ordnance made a detailed study as to how the weapon could be simplified. e. Notice also the magazine manufactured by the Crosby Co Thompson Model Ml early production weapon fitted with a silencer. Left side of Thompson Model M 1 shown with 20round box rnaqazine fitted. the safety lever. The result was the 1928 A2 model which had the pistol grips.g. and those by Auto Ordnance with AO. Notice the sim pie backsig ht and lack of a slot to take the drum magazine Thompson Model Ml showing the much simplified fire and safe levers. Compare the size of the silencer used to give relatively good efficiency with that supplied originally (Pattern Room Enfield) Thompson Model M 1 from an early production run showi ng the 1928 type of selector and safe lever also shown is the 30-round box magazine (Pattern Room Enfield) Thompson Model M1A1 fitted with a sling. This weapon has the smooth barrel horizontal foregrip and non-remove ble butt An M 1 Thom pson manufactured by Auto Ordnance Corp.
but the actuator does not move forward to chamber a round.e. • The Bolt Author's Note The weapon cannot be cocked because the bolt will not move back unless by gravity.d these manoeuvres out in the comfort of a barracks and cannot imagine them being practical under battle conditions. Contrary to the widely held opinion that the Thompson would function without the H piece. but the deletion of the H piece and the oiler was a logical development when wartime conditions are borne in mind. up till this time. the 42M1. *The ability to fire without the H piece is given as the reason for the development of the blowback version. One point to note is that the box magazi nes are loaded vertically into the gun but the box must be slid in from the side. One of the prime functions of the Bliss lock apart from any locking value was the factthat a considerable reduction in the rate offire was achieved. Notice the simple backsight and lack of a slot to take the drum magazine the earlier models but the drum magazine was abandoned and cannot be used on this weapon. it not only will not. i. Thompson Model Ml Al fitted with a 30-round box mag8zirle (Pattern Room Enfield) 74 . was produced in limited quantity.. On the 42M1 the hammer was deleted but a separate firingpin integral with the bolt was retained . Many parts remained interchangeable with An Ml Thompson manufactured by Auto Ordnance Corp.Model M1 The M 1 Thompson saw the end of the Bliss delayed lock and the adoption of a simple blowback design. In 1942. an interim model. there was a separate firing-pin which was struck by the hammer. been hammer-fired. All weapons had. The Author has tri .
ro u nd box for riot cartridge XV II I A 50· rou nd drum magazine ready for loading. but only one or two are known to have survived the war. There were some515. D. B. The weapon was rejected because it suffered a large number of breakages during the tests. A number of experimental weapons were rna nutactured before and during the war. A ·22 conversion unit. th e . The wood fore. best known copy bei n g the Chin ese. All weapons are aasilvrecogn ised by th €I profusi on of Chinese letters on the receivers. This featured a sirn pie tu be receiver minimum number of components and was a simple blowback design. They were designated as follows: 20-round box type XX 50-round drum type L 30-round box type XXX 1OO-round drum type C 18 .The little-known T2 submachina gun which was submitted unsuccessfully to compete with the G rease Gun (T.nes The basic magazines which were available were two box and two drum with the addition of a. Noti. The Thompson was copi ed by ma ny nati 0 ns. During 1942. Nelson-« The World's SMG·s) Model M1A1 The fi nal version of th e Th ompso n featured the deletion of the separate pin and the substitution of on e mach ined on to the fa ce of the bolt.end almost covered th e receiver and the weapon weig hed 81b. ca lied the T2. The 31 components cost only 50 dollars to make and the ·45 calibre gun used the standard Thompson box magazines and the alternative 9mm version a special one. Some of these weapons were manufactured at the Chinese Military Arsenal at Shansi during the mid 1930s. Hammond.OOO manufactured before the availability of the M3A 1 'Grease Gun' became sufficient for the Thompson to be relegated to the status of a 'limited standard weapon'. Magazi. when the search for a simple submachine gun wasin full swing Auto Ordnance submitted a gun desiqned byW. designed by Robbins was available.ce the rotors and the spiral track which the cartridqas follow (Lowland Brigade Depot) 75 . box forthe riot cartridge. The Thompson was chambered for the M 1 carbine car1ridge and also for 9mm parabailum.
round box mag'ilzine. Shown dearly on the 50-rou nd drum magazine is the winder with the instruction to wind nine clicks iPettem Room Enfield) ___ I -~ ~ ! Th e magazines weig h as fo! lows : Empty drum 50 roun d 2 ·631b Empty box 20 round '38!b Full drum 50 round 4'951b Full box 20 round 1 '311b The fact that the 1 00.N otice the comparative sizes of the 20.round drum magazine. Ihe 50-rou nd drum magazine and the 100. A Modell 921 Thompson showing the stot into which the drum rnaqazinas fit (L 0 wfand Brigade Depot} 76 .rou nd d rum was aba ndoned for unreliable feeding would seem only one of the reasons when one considers the loaded weight.
A crude copy of an M 1 Thompson manufactured by the Viet-Congo Notice how closely the basic outline follows the M 1 (West Point) 77 .
tting a selector switch for semi/fully a utom atic fire and cham beri ng it fur 9mm parabellum. 4----Simila. In 1929 the 8e.7 -7 ·63 Mauser: Weig ht 9.2 but chambered for the Belgian 9mm Bayard cartridge. No. as a pposed to the bottom on the Auto Ord nan ce produced weapons. Some of the teatu res.The Ei~.2-Calibre ·45 ACP 700rpm. No. Notice I'he small variatio ns in design between each model (r..eSA would seem to have been used in the Auto Ordnance model 1928 indicating that there was some co-operation between the two firms. Weight 1Otlb. eSA and Auto Ordnance decided to cooperate with an en trv.pl··. Nelson-The World's SM G's) 78 . arabeliu m.A. Post-19'51 N umrich Arms have continued to sell the Thompso n M ode I M 1A 1 to Iaw enforcement A variety of eSA produced Thompson subrnachine guns.r to the No. This was the 1929 BSA mode! of which the following serial numbers are known: NO.B S.ningh am Sma II Arms Com pa ny modified th e basic I 921 model in 1926 by fi.uard was moved back and tne butt attached to the back of the receiver. It is in 9mm . The trigger g. Length 35 ·37in with a Cutts Compensator fitted. No.lgi an Govern merit ra n a competiti on to find the most suitable submachine gun for their Armv. duced Thompson s .of the . B.8-The same as the above but stamped ·30 Mauser. number 2 is 32in long and weighs 7!lb. Th e B SA 1926 model serial.1 b with a forward curved magazine.
Cong (W6'st Point) 79 . Many rumours have been circulated about the Iega! semi-a uto matic version going into production again. During 1954 Numrich made an experimental version for the M 1 carbi ne cartridg e but this was not put into production.agencies and to foreign Governments. However th e Thompson is stilli n active servi ce with the South Vietnamese Army and it would seem that like any g.Cong copy 01a Thompson subrnachine gun showing a variety of fea·turesfrom different models. M any copies of the Tho mpso n have been made ranging from 'offlclal' Chinese copies to the two Vietnamese weapons illustrated.ood soldier it will never die. They also assem bled a nu mber of Model 1921/28 from spares. but nothing has come of these yet. A relatively well rna n ulactured copy of the Thompson subrnachine gun made in a jungle workshop by the Viet-Cong (WestPoint) A Viet. The weapon was captured from the Viet.
The successor Grease Gun to the Thompson submachine g u n~ The (Pauem Room En/ie/d) CIOSI111Pof Modell 921 markings (L o wlandBrigadl1 Dl1pot) 80 .
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