1. TERMS & CONDITIONS OF SALE. The following conditions of sale make up the entire terms and conditions on which items listed in Rock Island Auction Company’s (known hereafter as “RIAC”) catalog, on the internet web site and addendum sheets will be offered for sale or sold by RIAC. All bidders who participate by bidding in this auction agree to the terms and conditions of sale and agree to be bound by same. Any notices, posted or oral, during the sale, are also part of our terms and conditions of sale agreement. Acceptance of a bidder card or a bidder number constitutes acceptance of the following terms and conditions of sale. The purchaser’s rights and RIAC’s respective rights and obligations hereunder are governed by Illinois law. By bidding at RIAC’s auction, whether in person or by agent, sealed bid, telephone bid, via the internet or other means, the purchaser or bidder agrees that the contract created by these terms and conditions of sale is made and performed in the County of Rock Island, State of Illinois and further agrees that should any dispute arise from this contract the sole and exclusive jurisdiction for contractual disputes is Rock Island County, State of Illinois. THE AUCTIONEER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OF THE PURCHASER INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE PURCHASER BIDDING ON THE WRONG LOT.
2. BUYER”S PREMIUM. All bid prices “hammer prices” (“hammer prices” mean the price at which a lot is knocked down to the purchaser) will be subject to a buyer’s premium 18.5% payable by the purchaser. The buyer’s premium shall be reduced to 15% provided the payment is paid by cash or the equivalent of cash (cashier’s check, wire transfer, or approved personal check). If the account is settled by credit card, the buyer’s premium then shall be the standard 18.5%. This is not an aggregate percentage on the total items bid, but rather a per item percentage rate. In addition, if the purchaser utilizes RIAC’s live bidding platform ‘RIAC Live’, there will be an additional 1% of the hammer price added to the buyer’s premium. The premium, which includes the additional 1% if the purchaser utilizes RIAC’s live bidding platform ‘RIAC Live’, is added to the purchaser’s successful bid and the two together equal the total purchase price. RIAC has been authorized by the consignor to retain as part of RIAC’s remuneration, the buyer’s premium, which includes the additional 1% of the hammer price if the purchaser utilizes RIAC’s live bidding platform ‘RIAC Live’, payable by the purchaser.
3. SALES TAX.
RIAC is a Marketplace Facilitator (as defined in the applicable regulations for each state) for purposes of collecting and submitting sales tax for each applicable state. A Marketplace Facilitator is a business that contracts with sellers to facilitate the sale of tangible goods and administers all aspects of the transaction. A Marketplace Facilitator is required to collect sales tax from the buyer and remit such sales tax to the state to which the items are shipped. The sale tax is based on the ship to address. If the item is picked-up from the RIAC facility or shipped to an Illinois address, Illinois sales tax of 8.5% will be collected. Generally, all items included on the invoice are taxable.
To establish a tax free sale, a copy of a valid reseller’s permit or other instrument or information establishing a sales tax exemption, as required by the applicable state, must be provided to RIAC’s satisfaction. Please refer to our website, rockislandauction.com, for additional information regarding resale certificates. Any purchaser claiming a sales tax exemption yet unable to provide satisfactory proof to RIAC at the time of payment will be required to pay the applicable tax to RIAC and thereafter seek a refund from the applicable state. Buyer agrees to pay RIAC the actual amount of tax due if the incorrect amount of sales tax was collected at the time of purchase for any reason.
Sales tax is required to be collected and remitted in all states except the following:
States with no sales tax: Alaska (certain cities, counties and boroughs require RIAC to collect sales tax), Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.
State with no sales tax for Marketplace Facilitators: Missouri (Prior to 1/1/2023) .
Other: District of Columbia (DC)-RIAC does not meet the thresholds to require the collection of sales tax.
4. METHOD OF PAYMENT. Auction sales are strictly for cash, cashier’s check, personal checks (with prior approval of RIAC’s management), MasterCard, Visa, AMEX or Discover. NOTE TO FOREIGN BUYERS: Method of payment will be U.S. currency, certified check drawn on an American bank or wire transfer.
5. TERMS OF PAYMENT. At the announcement of “SOLD”, the highest bidder will have purchased the offered lot. All sales are final at the fall of the Auctioneer’s hammer or at the announcement of “SOLD”. The purchase is subject to all the terms and conditions set forth herein. The purchaser assumes full responsibility thereof and if requested will sign a confirmation of the purchase. The purchaser further agrees to pay the Total Amount Due. The Total Amount Due must be paid in full the day of sale if attending in person, otherwise upon receipt of the buyer’s invoice. All property must be removed from RIAC’s premises at the purchaser’s expense no later than 5:00 p.m. five days following the date of sale unless otherwise agreed. If the property is not removed within five days following the date of sale, it will be stored at RIAC’s facility at a cost of $50 per month. The purchaser will then be unable to pick up the purchased lots until the storage fees are paid to RIAC. If the purchased lots are not picked up and storage fees paid to RIAC, the items will be sold pursuant to the Illinois Labor and Storage Lien Act, 770 ILCS 45/0.01 et seq. and/or 770 ILCS 50/0.01 et seq.
Each purchaser at this auction grants RIAC a security interest in the property purchased. Any of the purchaser’s property and all monies held or received by RIAC on the purchaser’s behalf will be retained as collateral security for the purchaser’s obligations to RIAC. RIAC may apply against such obligations monies held or received by RIAC for the account of, or owing to, the purchaser. RIAC retains all rights of a secured party under the Illinois Commercial Code. Whenever the purchaser pays only a part of the Total Amount Owed for one or more lots purchased, RIAC may apply such payments, at RIAC’s sole discretion, to the lot or lots RIAC chooses. Payment will not be deemed made in full until RIAC has collected the Total Amount Due in cash or good funds. RIAC has the sole discretion to determine what is considered good funds. In the event Purchaser pays by check and the check is returned due to insufficient funds, stopped payment, closed account, or for any other reason, and Purchaser already has possession of the property, such possession of the property will be deemed theft by deception and/or theft under 18 U.S.C. § 922(u), which may result In penalties of a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment in federal prison for up to 10 years, or both. In addition to remedies available to RIAC and the consignor by law, if the purchaser does not comply with the terms and conditions of sale (this includes but is not limited to payment in full of the Total Amount Due), RIAC, at its option, may either: (1) cancel the sale and retain as liquidated damages all payments made by the purchaser; or (2) resell the property either publically or privately, and in such an event the purchaser shall be liable for the payment of the deficiency, plus all costs and expenses of both sales and RIAC’s commission for both sales at RIAC’s standard rates, as well as any other damages, including but not limited to loss of profits. The purchaser hereby waives any and all notices of disposition of collateral and sale required under the Illinois Commercial Code. The purchaser is also responsible for all other charges due hereunder, in addition to any attorney’s fees incurred by RIAC, incidental damages, and any other damages incurred by RIAC.
6. INTEREST AND DEFAULT. Payment of the Total Amount Due is due upon receipt of the buyer’s invoice. If the amount noted within the buyer’s invoice is not paid in full within 15 days of the auction, RIAC has the right and will charge the purchaser’s credit card of record on file for the total invoice amount. Interest will be charged on all unpaid balances at the rate of 1-1/2% per month (18% APR), or the highest allowable rate under Illinois law, whichever is lower, beginning 15 days after the date of purchase/auction. The purchaser acknowledges that should the purchaser not comply with any of the terms and conditions of sale, including payment of the full amount indicated on the buyer’s invoice, the damages incurred by RIAC includes, without limitation, consignor commission, loss of use of money for an indefinite period, costs to relist the item and potential depreciation of the item, and loss arising on the resale of the lot, whether such damages are now known or may become known in the future. Accordingly, in the event the purchaser fails to pay the full amount indicated on the buyer’s invoice within 45 days after the auction, purchaser shall be immediately liable for liquidated damages in an amount equal to 30% of the amount on the buyer’s invoice. These liquidated damages are in addition to the total amount invoiced on the buyer’s invoice and any applicable interest. RIAC shall hold any money deposited in partial payment on account of any liability of the defaulted item and will apply it at the sole discretion of RIAC to the outstanding debt.
7. WITHDRAWAL. RIAC reserves the right to withdraw any property from the auction prior to sale.
8. PROTESTS, DISPUTES AND THE AUCTIONEER. RIAC reserves the right to reject a bid from any bidder. The highest bidder, acknowledged by the Auctioneer, will be the purchaser. The Auctioneer shall have sole and final discretion as to the disposition of any dispute including the re-offer and resale of any article in dispute. RIAC’s records will be deemed conclusive in all respect in the event there is any dispute after the sale.
9. FAILURE TO DELIVER PURCHASER’S PROPERTY. If RIAC is prevented by fire, theft, or any other reason from delivering any property to the purchaser, RIAC’s liability shall be limited to the sum actually paid therefore by the purchaser and shall in no event include any incidental or consequential damages.
10. GUARANTEE. All property offered for sale is as is, where is. ALL SALES ARE FINAL. THERE WILL BE NO REFUNDS AND NO EXCHANGES. RIAC does not guarantee or make warranties on any lot sold. The bold headline of the description is the only written statement RIAC will guarantee as correct. Descriptions in the catalog are opinion. They are written as an aid to potential bidders. RIAC acknowledges that there may be errors in what is written beyond the bold headline description. RIAC recommends that you personally view any item you bid on or have an acknowledged expert view the item. Statements starting with the word condition are opinions, not statements of fact or guarantees. If a dispute about a lot arises it is the purchaser’s responsibility to provide a written statement by an acknowledged qualified expert within 30 days after the auction that the bold headline is in fact incorrect. The 30 day return period IS NOT calculated from the date payment is made or the date the items are received. The 30 day return period will not be extended due to delay in payment or delay in receipt of the goods. If the expert’s statement is indeed correct RIAC will make a full refund upon return of the merchandise, provided that the merchandise is returned in the same condition it was received. In the unlikely event that you need to return the merchandise to RIAC, Purchaser is responsible for all shipping costs. RIAC must again reiterate the guarantee is only on the bold headline of the description and RIAC will only honor this guarantee within 30 days of an auction. This right to return an item purchased at an auction shall be expressly limited to situations where errors occurred in the bold headline description of an auction item and such 30-day return provision shall not apply to a return of an auction item for any other reason. RIAC will have no further obligation, i.e., no refunds or returns will be accepted, if the above conditions are not met. Items offered for sale as described in the catalog or any bill of sale, advertisement, addendum sheet, or elsewhere as to authorship, period, culture, source, origin, measurement, quality, rarity, provenance, importance, exhibition, or physical condition are qualified statements of opinion and not representations or warranties. No employee of RIAC or any person purporting to act on behalf of RIAC is authorized to make on RIAC’s or the consignor’s behalf, any representation or warranty, oral or written, with respect to any lot or item for sale.
11. BINDING EFFECT, MODIFICATIONS, AND SEVERABILITY. The terms and conditions of sale shall bind the successors and assigns of all bidders and purchasers and inure to the benefit of RIAC’s successors and assigns. No waiver, amendment or modification of the terms hereof (other than posted notices or oral announcements during the sale) shall bind RIAC unless specifically stated in writing and signed by RIAC. If any part of these terms and conditions of sale is for any reason invalid or unenforceable, the invalid portion shall be stricken and the rest of the terms and conditions of sale shall remain valid and enforceable.
12. RESERVES. Some items in this auction may be subject to reserve (the confidential minimum price below which the lot will not be sold). If a lot is offered with a reserve, RIAC may implement that reserve by bidding on behalf of the consignor. No reserve will be allowed higher than the high estimate and in many cases the reserve is lower than the low estimate. This bidding will not generally constitute opening bidding. If RIAC declares an opening bid and no advance to that bid is received RIAC will pass the item. However, once bidding is opened RIAC will bid on behalf of the consignor to reach the reserve price. The Auctioneer may reject nominal bids, which are small opening bids or very nominal advances made with the purpose of disparaging an item. If a lot fails to achieve a bid equal to or exceeding 25 – 30% of the low estimate, the item may be passed and not sold and may not be re-offered until a later sale. This determination of whether to sell the item at the current auction or re-offer it at a later auction is at the sole discretion of the Auctioneer. RIAC buys items on the open market or may offer a guarantee to a consignor. In either event, RIAC can have an ownership or other financial interest in the item(s) being auctioned. Such interest in the item(s) being auctioned may not be disclosed. If RIAC has an interest in an offered lot and the proceeds therefrom, other than our commission, RIAC may bid on the offered lot to protect such interest and such bidding shall not be prohibited under Section 13 below. Items which are not reserved are sold at the Auctioneer’s discretion.
13. BIDS OF CONSIGNORS. Consignors, other than RIAC, are not allowed to bid on their own merchandise nor have any agent bid on their behalf. If the Auctioneer recognizes such bidding or is advised of same, the Auctioneer reserves the right to withdraw any or all items consigned by the offending consignor. It is not prohibited conduct under this Section 13 when an Auctioneer bids on behalf of the consignor to reach the reserve price as provided In Section 12 above.
14. FINANCIAL INTEREST IN PROPERTY. Purchaser acknowledges that RIAC has a financial interest in all items offered for sale since it is paid a seller’s commission and buyer’s premium. Additionally, Purchaser acknowledges that a conflict of interest may exist because RIAC, its officers or employees, or an entity owned by one or more of them, may have a financial interest in an item offered for sale beyond the seller’s commission and buyer’s premium, which may include an ownership interest or a guaranteed amount offered by RIAC to a consignor of an item for sale.
15. ABSENTEE BIDDING. As a service to anyone wishing to place bids in advance of the sale RIAC may accept bids on behalf of potential bidders at RIAC’s own discretion by telephone or sealed bid using the forms RIAC provides. A Sealed Bid must be received and credit approved in advance of the sale date. It is the Bidder’s responsibility to establish credit before bidding, or RIAC will accept a 15% deposit in the amount of the total bids submitted. (Deposits will be returned within ten (10) days after sale if not successful.) A Sealed Bid form is enclosed in the back of the catalog. Bids may also be faxed to (309) 797-1655. Additionally, on-line bidding is available on RIAC’s website. Purchasers acknowledge that by bidding absentee via mail, e-mail, telephone, through internet providers, or any other absentee means (i.e., not in person bidding), no fiduciary duty exist between the bidder and RIAC. Purchaser acknowledges that RIAC has a fiduciary duty to the sellers and not to the bidders or purchasers. Purchaser acknowledges that RIAC owes no duty to disclose the ownership of any item being auctioned. Any absentee bid is executed as if the bidder was actually present and bidding themselves. RIAC will attempt to execute bids in a manner such that the bids will prevail at the lowest bid possible. RIAC assumes no responsibility for failure to execute telephone, sealed, or website/online bids for any reason whatsoever or for failure to execute bids such that the bids do not prevail at the lowest bid possible.
16. TELEPHONE BIDDING. In order to bid on a lot over the telephone at the time it is being sold the bidder must contact RIAC in advance to make arrangements. The bidder must contact RIAC by 2:00 p.m. the day preceding the sale to make arrangements to bid via telephone. If the bidder contacts RIAC after 2:00 p.m. the day preceding the sale, RIAC cannot guarantee that the bidder’s bids will be executed. A representative of RIAC will contact the bidder on the day of the sale, prior to the requested lot(s) going up for sale. Telephone Bids may be faxed to (309) 797-1655 or they can be submitted through our online service.
BY PARTICIPATING IN TELEPHONE BIDDING, THE BIDDER AND PURCHASER UNDERSTAND, ACKNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT TO THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION BEING RECORDED.
“Cover-Me Bids”: As a Telephone Bidder be aware that there is the risk of RIAC not being able to reach the Telephone Bidder. Therefore the Telephone Bidder may want to consider allowing his or her phone representative to execute bidding on his or her behalf. At the time of arranging for the phone bids, the Telephone Bidder need simply give the maximum amounts he or she is willing to bid on each lot in the event RIAC is unable to reach the Telephone Bidder. This amount is only utilized if the Telephone Bidder is not on the phone with his or her representative. If the Telephone Bidder is reached via telephone, the phone representative will rely on the Telephone Bidder’s verbal instructions only. “Cover-me bids” are not mandatory; the Telephone Bidder can place them at his or her discretion. “Cover me bids” are simply a safety net in case the Telephone Bidder cannot be reached in time or not at all. All terms provided under Section 13 above apply to any “Cover-Me Bids”, including but not limited to all acknowledgements made by Purchaser and any disclosure of the absence of any duties by RIAC.
Online bidding is available through third party providers. Potential bidders are informed that those third party services charge an additional buyers premium above and beyond the premium charged by RIAC.
17. FIREARMS LAWS. All post – 1898 firearms must be registered in compliance with federal and Illinois state law. Purchasers of post – 1898 firearms must complete state and federal registrations forms at Rock Island Auction Company, 7819 42nd Street West, Rock Island, IL 61201, unless otherwise specified. A 3-day waiting period is mandatory for modern handguns and modern long arms. Dealers and out-of-state purchasers must have in their possession on the day of sale, signed copies of their Federal Firearms License (FFL) in order to accept same-day delivery of modern weapons. Purchasers who act as agents for FFL dealers must have a letter of agency as well as a signed copy of the dealer’s FFL.
18. CLASS 3. All firearms designated as Class 3 must be registered in compliance with the NFA registry. Upon purchase, all interstate transfers are done from RIAC to a Class 3 dealer, one with a FFL/SOT License, in your area. There is not a transfer fee to the buyer at that time. When the transfer is approved, the firearm is shipped to the Class 3 dealer. The Class 3 dealer then prepares a Form 4 transfer to the buyer. The buyer pays a $200 tax stamp fee at that time. The only interstate transfers that can be done to an individual are those where the buyer has a Curio & Relics License and the firearm that is being purchased has been classified by the ATF as a NFA Curio & Relic. A $200 federal tax payment is required to file the transfer paperwork. This fee, as well as the Total Amount Due is due at the time of purchase in order to process the paperwork. The new owner of the Class 3 firearm will be required to complete 2 forms: 1) ATF Form 4 and 2) fingerprint card. These forms will be provided to you by RIAC. Note: if state or local law requires a permit or license to purchase, possess, or receive NFA firearms, a copy of the transferee’s (buyer) permit or license must accompany the application. RIAC then mails the paperwork for the Federal Transfer Tax to BATFE. RIAC will receive back one of the Form 4’s (they are sent in duplicate) with a Federal Tax Stamp attached to it. This is given to the new owner upon delivery of the NFA firearm. No further tax is due. Please check the status of your state before you bid or purchase to be sure of your eligibility to own and possess a Class III firearm as the laws continue to change. SPECIAL NOTE: If you are an SOT (Special Occupation Tax) payer (Class 3 dealer) you are able to transfer functional NFA firearms to or from other SOT payers and government agencies with BATFE approval, but without having to pay a transfer tax. RIAC makes no warranties or representations that the above-mentioned forms, fees, licenses and/or approvals will be sufficient for you to own or use your purchased firearm(s). Consult with your federal, state, and local laws, law enforcement personnel, or legal counsel to make sure you may legally own, possess, or use the purchased firearm(s) and that all fees, licenses and approvals are completed.
19. CONDITION OF FIREARMS. RIAC makes no warranties or representations whatsoever and no employee or consultant of RIAC has the authority to do otherwise, concerning the operation of firing condition, fitness for use, safety to store, or reliability, of any firearm, ammunition, or parts. Use of any firearm or ammunition purchased at RIAC is entirely at the user’s risk. RIAC offers for sale the lots as “collector” lots only. RIAC strongly recommends that all weapons, ammunition, etc. purchased at auction be examined by a competent gunsmith. RIAC expressly disclaims any liability whatsoever for accident, injury or damage resulting to any person from the storage or subsequent use of any such lot.
20. ENDANGERED OR PROTECTED SPECIES OR WILDLIFE. Any property made of or Incorporating endangered or protected species or wildlife may have import and export restrictions established by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES). These items are not available to ship internationally and in some cases, domestically. Additionally, these items may be subject to confiscation by state or federal officials if the proper documentation authorizing their sale is not produced. By placing a bid, the bidder acknowledges that he is aware of the restriction and takes responsibility in obtaining and paying for any license or permits relevant to delivery of the item(s). RIAC does not accept liability for the inability to ship the purchased items or if such item(s) is (are) confiscated by state or federal officials prior to their shipment or transport to the successful bidder.
21. DELIVERY, SHIPPING, AND STORAGE CHARGES. All delivery, shipping and storage charges must be paid by the successful bidder prior to delivery of the firearm.
22. SHIPPING. If RIAC is asked to ship the purchased lots, there will be a separate charge for such shipping. Shipping charges will be based upon what it costs RIAC to ship the purchased lots to the purchaser. If packing and handling of purchased lots is done by RIAC, it is done entirely at the risk of the purchaser. All items must have shipping insurance; this insurance is mandatory. RIAC will not charge any labor charges for shipping. RIAC is not liable for any acts of omissions in packaging or shipping. Purchased lots handled by outside carriers or packers, including those RIAC may have recommended, may carry their own insurance and any claims for losses or damages should be addressed directly to the outside carriers or packers. RIAC will arrange for packing and shipping at RIAC’s earliest possible convenience. RIAC will attempt to ship as soon as possible; however, due to RIAC’s high volume of absentee bids, shipping can take up to two weeks after full payment is received. In the case of crating or any exceptional packaging, the purchaser will be charged RIAC’s cost from outside agents. Purchaser pays shipping, packing materials, and insurance charges. RIAC reserves the right to purchase the outside shipper’s insurance, to be self-insured, or a combination of both.
Ammunition lots will ship to FFL’s only. If picking up must have FOID or FFL. All state and local laws apply.
The shipping of any purchased items outside of the United States is hereby classified as “foreign export”. All foreign export is the sole responsibility of the purchaser.
23. DISPUTES UNDER THIS CONTRACT. Purchaser and RIAC agree to mediate any dispute or claim arising between them resulting from the purchaser participating in the auction or any resulting transaction, with the exception of the failure of the purchaser to make full payment of the purchaser’s obligations to RIAC. In the event the purchaser fails to make full payment to RIAC, RIAC may, but is not required to, proceed directly to court. Furthermore, the purchaser and RIAC agree that should Mediation be necessary, Mediation fees, if any, will be borne equally by the parties. Purchaser and RIAC are required under the terms and conditions of sale to enter into Mediation before arbitration or any court action. Should a party commence legal action other than Mediation without giving written notice to the other party, the party so commencing the legal action will not be entitled to recover attorney’s fees even if they would otherwise be allowed in the action. All mediation, arbitration and court proceedings, whether in state or federal court, shall be filed and conducted solely within Rock Island County, State of Illinois, and not in any other jurisdiction.
Should Mediation not settle the dispute between the parties the purchaser and RIAC agree that any dispute or claim, in law or equity, resulting from the participation in the auction or any resulting transaction shall be settled in neutral binding arbitration utilizing the standards of American Arbitration Association and must be initiated and carried out in Rock Island County, State of Illinois. Any bidder or purchaser agrees that the election of restricting any and all claims to Arbitration is a voluntary decision and is evidenced by the bidder or purchaser’s participation in the auction. The purchaser specifically agrees to the following: I have read the terms and conditions of sale and by my participation in this sale I agree all disputes arising out of my participation will be first submitted to Mediation, and if Mediation is not successful in resolving the dispute I then submit to neutral binding Arbitration with RIAC and any other entity under this contract. No lawsuit shall be filed until a person has in good faith completed all Mediation and Arbitration proceedings as required hereunder.
24. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY PROVIDED ABOVE, ALL PROPERTY IS SOLD “AS IS”. NEITHER ROCK ISLAND AUCTION COMPANY NOR THE CONSIGNOR MAKES ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE TITLE, MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS OR CONDITION OF THE PROPERTY OR AS TO THE CORRECTNESS OF DESCRIPTION, GENUINENESS, ATTRIBUTION, PROVENANCE OR PERIOD OF THE PROPERTY OR AS TO WHETHER THE PURCHASER ACQUIRES ANY COPYRIGHTS OR OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN LOTS SOLD OR AS TO WHETHER A WORK OF ART IS SUBJECT TO THE ARTIST’S MORAL RIGHTS OR OTHER RESIDUAL RIGHTS OF THE ARTIST. ALL FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION ARE SOLD AS COLLECTOR LOTS ONLY. FITNESS TO FIRE OR OTHERWISE DISCHARGE THE ARM OR AMMUNITION IS EXPRESSLY DENIED BY ROCK ISLAND AUCTION COMPANY. A COMPETENT GUNSMITH SHOULD BE CONSULTED BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO USE OR FIRE ANY FIREARM OR AMMUNITION. THE PURCHASER EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGES AND AGREES THAT IN NO EVENT SHALL ROCK ISLAND AUCTION COMPANY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.
Sheriff to auction off 1921 Thompson submachine gun valued at $37,000
NEW PHILADELPHIA On Sept. 11, the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office will be auctioning off a piece of its history — a Thompson Model 1921 machine gun that was purchased by former Sheriff Abe Laird on May 13, 1934.
NEW PHILADELPHIA On Sept. 11, the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office will be auctioning off a piece of its history — a Thompson Model 1921 machine gun that was purchased by former Sheriff Abe Laird on May 13, 1934.
The proceeds from the sale will go for a good cause — providing new guns, weapon-mounted lights, holsters and magazine pouches for every member of the department.
The auction will be held at 7 p.m. at the Tuscarawas County Justice Center, 2295 Reiser Ave. SE, New Philadelphia, conducted by Steve Cronebaugh Auction Services. Other items for sale will include two 37-mm tear gas launchers and several rifles and shotguns.
If you're interested in purchasing the Thompson sub machine gun, plan to have plenty of money to spend. The weapon was recently appraised by Tracie Hill of Newark, a national expert on the gun. He fixed the value at $37,000.
But it could possibly go much higher.
"I will be shocked — and I mean absolutely shocked, because we're having serious conversations with very wealthy people — if it doesn't bring $50,000," Tuscarawas County Sheriff Orvis Campbell said.
One potential buyer will be flying in from Wyoming for the auction.
The weapon was exhibited last Friday in Newark at an annual meeting of Thompson enthusiasts. "To these enthusiasts, the moment they saw it, they're like, are you kidding me?" the sheriff said. "This is almost the Holy Grail of Thompsons."
The weapon is nearly original. The only thing missing is the original carrying case, which is a good thing, said Lt. Brian Alford. If it had been left in the case, it would have likely rusted. Instead, it has been stored in the open air in the department's armory and has been cleaned several times a year.
Also, the Thompson's serial number (2575) is low, which means it is an early version. "That's what's got people excited," Campbell said.
"We always knew, for as long as I've been here, that this was a special Thompson, but we didn't know to what rate," he said.
Sheriff's office personnel are unsure what the weapon was used for, though the sheriff speculated it might have been employed during riots at deep mines in Tuscarawas County during the Depression era.
Alford said the Thompson was something that all members of law enforcement wanted at that time. "You put a 50-round or 100-round drum in this, it'll empty a 100-round drum in less than 8 seconds," he said. "It was a game-changer."
Alford was also the last person to fire the weapon. That occurred about five years ago during SWAT training.
Normally, when the sheriff's office conducts an auction, the money goes to the county. But commissioners agreed to let the department keep the money to buy guns and use what is left over for future weapons-related needs.
"Otherwise, we wouldn't have sold it," Campbell said.
Commissioners approved a resolution Monday for the sale.
"Sheriff Campbell is doing his best due diligence to make more proceeds for his office and to protect all of us," Commissioner Joe Sciarretti said. "So those monies, as the resolution stated, are going toward new firearms."
Campbell noted that members of his department buy their own firearms.
"That can be problematic," he said. "One, it's a problem for ordering ammunition, and it's also a problem for training."
One year, 10 or 12 deputies got together and bought new weapons, but the sheriff's office had already ordered ammunition of a different caliber.
There's another reason."When we start here, we have young guys who don't have much money, and they might be using something not as reputable and good," he said. "So we're just going to issue weapons."
The possibly of getting new weapons is behind the sale of the Thompson.
"That's the only reason we're doing it," Campbell said. "And it does bother me. But the second part of it is, when we found out there was such a group of aficionados, it probably belongs with one of them. The government's good at a lot of things, we're not good with antiques."
Reach Jon at 330-364-8415 or at [email protected]
On Twitter: @jbakerTR
Thompson submachine gun
American submachine gun
"Tommy Gun" redirects here. For the Clash song, see Tommy Gun (song). For the book, see Tommy Gun (book). For similar uses, see Tommy Gunn.
"Chicago Typewriter" redirects here. For the Korean TV series, see Chicago Typewriter (TV series).
|Thompson Submachine Gun, Caliber .45|
Model 1921 Thompson with vertical foregrip and 100 round Type "C" drum magazine
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||See Users|
|Designer||John T. Thompson|
|No. built||Approximately 1.75 million of all variants, including:|
|Variants||See Variants section|
|Action||Blowback, Blish Lock|
|Rate of fire||approx. 1500 rpm (Annihilator)|
|Muzzle velocity||935 ft/s (285 m/s)|
|Effective firing range||164 yds (150 m)|
|Feed system||(M1 and M1A1 models do not accept drum magazines)|
The Thompson submachine gun (also known as the "Tommy Gun", "Chicago Typewriter", "Chicago Piano", or "Trench Broom") is a blowback-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fedselective-firesubmachine gun, invented by the United States ArmyBrigadier generalJohn T. Thompson in 1918. It was originally designed to break the stalemate of trench warfare of World War I, but was not finished until after the war ended.
The Thompson saw early use by the United States Marine Corps during the Banana Wars, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Irish Republican Army, the Republic of China, and the FBI (following the Kansas City Massacre).
The firearm became notorious during the Prohibition era, used as a signature weapon of various organized crime syndicates in the United States in the 1920s. It was a common sight in the media at the time, and was used by both law enforcement officers and criminals.
The firearm was widely adopted by the U.S. military during World War II, and was used extensively by the Allied troops during the war. It was designated as the M1928A1, M1 and M1A1 during this time. More than 1.5 million military Thompson submachine guns were produced during World War II.
It is the first weapon to be labeled and marketed as a "submachine gun".
The original fully automatic Thompsons are no longer produced. Numerous semi-automatic civilian versions are still being produced by the manufacturer Auto-Ordnance. These models retain a similar appearance to the original, but have various modifications in order to comply with US firearm laws.
History and service
Brigadier generalJohn T. Thompson was the original developer of the Thompson submachine gun, who spent most of his career in the ordnance department of the U.S. Army. He envisioned it as being a fully automatic rifle in order to replace the bolt-action service rifles then in use (such as the American M1903 Springfield).
Brigadier general Thompson came across a patent issued to the American inventor John Bell Blish in 1915, while searching for a way to allow his weapon to operate safely without the complexity of a recoil or gas-operated reloading mechanism. Blish's design (then known as the Blish Lock) was based on the supposed adhesion of inclined metal surfaces under pressure. Thompson gained financial backing from the businessman Thomas F. Ryan and proceeded to found a company, which he named the Auto-Ordnance Company, in 1916, for the purpose of developing his new "auto rifle".
The Thompson was primarily developed in Cleveland, Ohio. Its principal designers were Theodore H. Eickhoff, Oscar V. Payne, and George E. Goll. By late 1917, the limits of the Blish Lock were discovered (which is essentially an extreme manifestation of static friction), and, rather than the firearm working as a locked breech, the weapon was instead designed to function as a friction-delayed blowback action. It was found that the only cartridge currently in service suitable for use with the new lock was the .45 ACP. General Thompson envisioned a "one-man, hand-held machine gun" chambered in .45 ACP to be used as a "trench broom" for the ongoing trench warfare of World War I. Oscar V. Payne designed the new firearm along with its stick and drum magazines. The project was titled "Annihilator I". Most of the design issues had been resolved by 1918; however, the war ended two days before prototypes could be shipped to Europe.
At an Auto-Ordnance board meeting in 1919, in order to discuss the marketing of the "Annihilator", with the war now 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". Thompson intended for the weapon to provide a high volume of automatic, man-portable fire for use in trench warfare—a role for which the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) had been determined ill-suited. The concept had already been developed by German troops using their own BergmannMP 18 (the world's first submachine gun) in concert with their Sturmtruppen tactics.
The first Thompson entered production as the M1921. It was available to civilians, but, because of the weapon's high price, initially saw poor sales. The Thompson (with one Type XX 20 round "stick" magazine) had been priced at $200 in 1921 (roughly equivalent to $2,902 in 2020).
M1921 Thompsons were sold in small quantities to the United States Postal Inspection Service so they could protect the mail from a spate of robberies. It was also sold to the United States Marine Corps who used their Thompsons in the Banana Wars. Thompsons had also been widely used throughout China, where several Chinese warlords and their military factions running various parts of the fragmented country made purchases of the weapon, and subsequently produced many local copies.
The Thompson saw popularity as a point-defense weapon for countering ambushes by Nicaraguan guerrillas (in the Banana Wars) and led to the creation of four-man fire teams which had as much firepower as a nine-man rifle squad. Federal sales were then followed by sales to police departments in the US, as well as to various international armies and constabulary forces; chiefly in Central and South America.
The major initial complaints concerning the Thompson were its cumbersome weight, its inaccuracy at ranges over 50 yards (46 m), and its lack of penetrating power using the .45 ACP cartridge.
Some of the first batches of Thompsons were bought (in America) by agents of the Irish Republic (notably the Irish politician Harry Boland). The first test the Thompson in Ireland was performed by Irish Republican Army unit commander Tom Barry, of the West Cork Brigade, in the presence of IRA leader Michael Collins. They purchased a total of 653 units, though US customs authorities in New York seized 495 of the units in June 1921. The remainder found their way to the Irish Republican Army by way of Liverpool, England, and were used in the last month of the Irish War of Independence (1919–21). After a truce with the British in July 1921, the Irish Republican Army imported more units, which were used in the subsequent Irish Civil War (1922–23). The Thompson was not found to be very effective in Ireland; having caused serious casualties in 32 percent of the action in which it was used.
The Thompson achieved early notoriety in the hands of Prohibition and Great Depression-era gangsters and the lawmen who pursued them. It was also depicted in Hollywood films during this era, most notably regarding the St Valentine's Day Massacre. The Thompson guns used in the massacre are still being held by the Berrien County Sheriff's Department. The Thompson has been referred to by one researcher as the "gun that made the twenties roar".
In 1926, the Cutts Compensator (a muzzle brake) was offered as an attachment option for the Thompson. Models with the compensator were cataloged as No. 21AC, at the original price of $200. The plain Thompson (without the attachment) was designated No. 21A at a reduced price of $175.
In 1928, Federal Laboratories took over distribution of the weapon from Thompson's Auto Ordnance Corporation. The new cost was listed as $225 per weapon (equivalent to $3,391 in 2020), with $5 per 50-round drum and $3 per 20-round magazine.
Nationalist China acquired a substantial quantity of Thompson guns for use against Japanese land forces. They began producing copies of the Thompson in small quantities for use by their armies and militias. In the 1930s, Taiyuan Arsenal (a Chinese weapons manufacturer) produced copies of the Thompson for Yan Xishan, then warlord of Shanxi province.
The FBI had also acquired Thompsons in 1933 following the Kansas City Massacre.
World War II
In 1938, the Thompson submachine gun was adopted by the U.S. military and was used during World War II.
There were two military types of Thompson submachine gun:
- The M1928A1, which had provisions for both box and drum magazines, utilized the Cutts muzzle brake, had cooling fins on the barrel, and employed a delayed blowback action with the charging handle on the top of the receiver.
- The M1 and M1A1, which had provisions for box magazines only, did not have cooling fins on the barrel, had a simplified rear sight, and employed a straight blowback action with the charging handle on the side of the receiver.
Over 1.5 million military Thompson submachine guns were produced during World War II.
Military users of the M1928A1 units had complaints of the "L" 50-round drum magazine. The British Army criticized "the [magazine's] excessive weight, [and] the rattling sound they made" and shipped thousands back to the U.S. in exchange for 20-round box magazines. The Thompson had to be cocked, bolt retracted, ready to fire, in order to attach the drum magazine. The drum magazine also attached and detached by sliding sideways, which made magazine changes slow and cumbersome. They also created difficulty when clearing a cartridge malfunction ("jam"). Reloading an empty drum with cartridges was a difficult and involved process.
In contrast, the "XX" twenty-round box magazine was light and compact. It tended not to rattle, and could be inserted with the bolt safely closed. The box magazine was quickly attached and detached, and was removed downward, making clearing jams easier. The box magazine tripped the bolt open lock when empty, facilitating magazine changes. An empty box was easy to reload with loose rounds. However, users complained that it was limited in capacity. In the field, some soldiers would tape two "XX" magazines together, in what would be known as "jungle style", to quicken magazine changes.
Two alternatives to the "L" 50-round drum and "XX" 20-round box magazines were tested December 6, 1941, at Fort Knox, Kentucky. An extended thirty-round box magazine and a forty-round magazine, which were made by welding two 20-round magazines face to face, jungle style, were tested. The testers considered both superior to either the "XX" box or "L" drum. The 30-round box was approved as the new standard in December 1941 to replace the "XX" and "L" magazines. (The concept of welding two box magazines face-to-face was also carried over to the M42 submachine gun.)
The staff of Savage Arms looked for ways to simplify the M1928A1, and produced a prototype in February 1942, which was tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground in March 1942. Army Ordnance approved adoption (as the M1) in April 1942. M1s were made by Savage Arms and by Auto-Ordnance. M1s were issued with the 30-round box magazine and would accept the earlier 20-round box, but would not accept the drum magazine.
The Thompson was used in World War II in the hands of Allied troops as a weapon for scouts, non-commissioned officers (corporal, sergeant, and higher), and patrol leaders, as well as commissioned officers, tank crewmen, and soldiers performing raids on German positions. In the European theater, the gun was widely utilized in British and Canadiancommando units, as well as in the U.S. Armyparatrooper and Rangerbattalions, where it was issued more frequently than in line infantry units because of its high rate of fire and its stopping power, which made it very effective in the kinds of close combat these special operations troops were expected to undertake. Military Police were fond of it, as were paratroopers, who "borrowed" Thompsons from members of mortar squads for use on patrols behind enemy lines. The gun was prized by those lucky enough to get one and proved itself in the close street fighting that was encountered frequently during the invasion of France. A Swedish variant of the M1928A1, the Kulsprutepistol m/40 (submachine gun, model 40), served in the Swedish Army between 1940 and 1951. Through Lend-Lease, the Soviet Union also received the Thompson, but due to a shortage of appropriate ammunition, its use was not widespread.
In the Malayan Campaign, the Burma Campaign and the Pacific Theater, Lend-Lease issue Thompsons were used by the British Army, Indian Army, Australian Armyinfantry and other Commonwealth forces. They used the Thompson extensively in jungle patrols and ambushes, where it was prized for its firepower, though it was criticized for its hefty weight and poor reliability. Difficulties in supply eventually led to its replacement in Australian Army units in 1943 by other submachine guns such as the Owen and Austen, and British forces also largely replaced it with the Sten gun. Thompsons were also given to the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy. New Zealand commando forces initially used Thompsons but switched them for the more reliable, lighter, and more accurate Owen during the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal campaigns. 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 protective armor vests. (In 1923, the Army had rejected the .45 Remington–Thompson, which had twice the energy of the .45 ACP). 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 Browning Automatic Rifle in its place as a point defense weapon.
The Army introduced the U.S. M3 and M3A1 submachine guns in 1943 with plans to produce the latter in numbers sufficient to cancel future orders for the Thompson, while gradually withdrawing it from the first-line service. However, due to unforeseen production delays and requests for modifications, the M3/M3A1 never replaced the Thompson, and purchases continued until February 1944. Though the M3 was considerably cheaper to produce, at the end of World War II, the Thompson, with a total wartime production of over 1.5 million, outnumbered the M3/M3A1 submachine guns in service by nearly three to one.
After World War II
Thompson submachine guns were used by both sides during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Following the war, Thompsons were issued to members of Israel's elite Unit 101, upon the formation of that unit in 1953.
During the Greek Civil War, the Thompson submachine gun was used by both sides. The Hellenic Armed Forces, gendarmerie and police units were equipped with Thompson submachine guns supplied by the British and later in the war by the United States. The opposing Communist fighters of the Democratic Army of Greece were also using Thompson submachine guns, either captured from government forces or inherited from ELAS. ELAS was the strongest of the resistance forces during the period of Greek Resistance against the Germans and Italians and were supplied with arms from both the British and the United States. After the demobilization of ELAS, an unspecified number of arms were not surrendered to the government but kept hidden, and were later used by the Democratic Army of Greece.
The Thompson also found service with the KNIL and the Netherlands Marine Corps during their attempt to retake their former colony of Indonesia. Captured examples were later used by Indonesian forces against Dutch forces and during by Indonesian infiltrators during the 1965 Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation.
By the time of the Korean War in 1950, the Thompson had seen much use by the U.S. and South Korean military, even though the Thompson had been replaced as standard-issue by the M3/M3A1. With huge numbers of guns available in army ordnance arsenals, the Thompson remained classed as Limited Standard or Substitute Standard long after the standardization of the M3/M3A1. Many Thompsons were distributed to the US-backed Nationalist Chinese armed forces as military aid before the fall of Chiang Kai-shek's government to Mao Zedong's communist forces at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 (Thompsons had already been widely used throughout China since the 1920s, at a time when several Chinese warlords and their military factions running various parts of the fragmented country made purchases of the weapon and then subsequently produced many local copies). During the Korean War, US troops were surprised to encounter communist Chinese troops armed with Thompsons (amongst other captured US-made Nationalist Chinese and American firearms), especially during unexpected night-time assaults which became a prominent Chinese combat tactic in the conflict. 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 war when it was constantly mobile and shifting back and forth. Many Chinese Thompsons were captured and placed into service with American soldiers and marines for the remaining period of the war.
The Yugoslav Army received 34,000 M1A1 Thompsons during the 1950s as part of a US Military Aid to Yugoslavia Agreement. These guns were used during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s.
During the Cuban Revolution, the Thompson submachine gun was used by both Batista's army and Fidel Castro's guerrillas. Both the latter and the Brigade 2506 also used some during the bay of Pigs Invasion.
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 partially replaced by the MAC-10, albeit during Vietnam, the fully automatic fire provided by the M16 made the Thompson less effective than it previously had been. Still, not only did some U.S. soldiers have use of them in Vietnam, they encountered them as well. The Viet Cong liked the weapon and used both captured models as well as manufacturing their own copies in small jungle workshops.
The Australian government destroyed most of their Thompson machine carbines in the 1960s. They shipped their remaining stocks to arm the forces of Lon Nol's Khmer Republic in 1975. They were then captured and used by the Khmer Rouge.
In the conflict in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles (1969–1998), the Thompson was again used by the Irish Republican paramilitaries. According to historian Peter Hart, "The Thompson remained a key part of both the Official IRA and Provisional IRA arsenals until well into the 1970s when it was superseded by the Armalite and the AK-47."
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 they were declared obsolete and ordered destroyed in the early 1970s.
Because of their quality and craftsmanship, as well as their gangster-era and WWII connections, Thompsons are sought as collector's items. There were fewer than 40 pre-production prototypes. The Colt Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut was contracted by the Auto-Ordnance Corporation to manufacture the initial mass production of 15,000 Thompson Submachine Guns in 1920. An original Colt Model 1921 A or AC, Model 1927 A or AC, Model 1928 Navy A or AC, properly registered in working condition with original components can easily fetch from US$25,000 to $45,000+ depending on condition and accessories. For WWII, approximately 1,700,000 Thompson Submachine Guns were produced by Auto-Ordnance and Savage Arms, with 1,387,134 being the simplified World War II M1 and M1A1 variants (without the Blish lock and oiling system).
A Model 1921A believed to have been owned by Bonnie and Clyde, but without historical documentation to substantiate this provenance, sold at auction on January 21, 2012, in Kansas City for $130,000.
Early versions of the Thompson, the Model 1919, had a fairly high cyclic rate of fire, as high as 1,200 rounds per minute (rpm), with most Model 1921s at 800 rpm. In 1927, the U.S. Navy ordered 500 Thompsons but requested a lower rate of fire. Thompson requested Payne to develop a method of reducing the cyclic rate of fire. Payne then replaced the actuator with one that was heavier, and replaced the recoil spring with one that was stiffer; the changes reduced the rate of fire from 800 to the 600 rpm of the U.S. Navy Model 1928. Later M1 and M1A1 Thompsons averaged also 600 rpm. This rate of fire, combined with a rather heavy trigger pull and a stock with an excessive drop, increases the tendency for the barrel to climb off target in automatic fire. Compared to more modern submachine guns, the Thompson is quite heavy, weighing roughly the same as the contemporary M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle, and requires a lot of cleaning. This was one of the major complaints about the weapon by U.S. Army personnel to whom it was issued.
Although the drum magazine provided significant firepower, in military service it was found to be overly heavy and bulky, especially when slung on the shoulder while marching. The M1928A1 Thompson drum magazine was rather fragile, and cartridges tended to rattle inside it, producing unwanted noise. For these reasons, the 20-round and later 30-round box magazines soon proved most popular with military users of the M1928A1, and drum compatibility was not included in the design of the wartime M1 and M1A1 models. The Thompson was one of the earliest submachine guns to incorporate a double-column, staggered-feed box magazine design, which undoubtedly contributed to the gun's reputation for reliability. In addition, the gun performed better than most after exposure to rain, dirt, and mud.
The selective-fire (semi or fully automatic) Thompson fires from the "open bolt" position, in which the bolt is held fully to rearward by the sear when cocked. When the trigger is depressed, the bolt is released, traveling forward to chamber and simultaneously fire the first and subsequent rounds until either the trigger is released or the ammunition is exhausted. This eliminates the risk of "cook-off", which can sometimes occur in closed-bolt automatic weapons.
The Thompson submachine gun varies in field strip procedure, depending on the variant. World War II-era M1 variants and RPB models field strip more easily than the M1921.
The 1928 variant can be disassembled easily by first detaching the stock, then sliding off the lower receiver and then simply removing the internal parts, cleaning them, and then putting it back together. When opened up, the Thompson features a small number of parts that need to be removed including the spring, bolt, Blish Lock, and actuator bolt.
Persuader and Annihilator
There were two main experimental models of the Thompson. The Persuader was a belt-fed version developed in 1917/18. It was partially built, but never completely finished. The Annihilator, serial no. Ver 10 prototypes were similar in appearance to the later models, but without the rear sight and butt stock mounts. The Annihilator prototypes first were fed from a 20-round box magazine, but later, the 50- and 100-round drum magazine models were developed.
Starting with the Serial no. 11, the Model 1919 takes the final appearance of the later Thompsons with the rear sights and butt stock. The Model 1919 was limited to about 40 units; the first built did not use the drums, as it was too difficult to fire. Many variations have been noted within this model. The weapons had very high cyclic rates up to 1,500 rpm. This was the weapon Brigadier General Thompson demonstrated at Camp Perry in 1920. A number of Model 1919s were made without butt stocks, rear and front sights, but the final version closely resembled the later Model 1921. This model was designed to "sweep" trenches with bullets. The New York City Police Department was the largest purchaser of the M1919. Some experimental calibers aside from the standard .45 ACP (11.4x23mm) were the .22LR, .32 ACP, .38 ACP, and 9mm.
.351 WSL variant
Only one prototype was made in .351 WSL using a standard 20" barrel which had a ROF of 1000rpm.
Thompson .30 Carbine
The layout and ergonomics of the Thompson submachine gun were also considered for the role of a Light Rifle before the adoption of the M1 Carbine. It was based on the M1921/27 variants. However, it was turned down without testing due to logistical problems.
A .30–06 variant was intended as a rival to the M1918 BAR. It had an extended receiver with a recoil buffer and fed from 20 round magazines.
The Model 1921 (M1921) was the first major production model. Fifteen thousand were produced by Colt for Auto-Ordnance. In its original design, it was finished more like a sporting weapon, with an adjustable rear sight, a blued, finned barrel and vertical foregrip (or pistol grip) and the Blish lock. The M1921 was quite expensive to manufacture, with the original retail price around $200, because of its high-quality wood furniture and finely machined parts. The M1921 was famous throughout its career with police and criminals and in motion pictures. This model gained fame from its use by criminals during Prohibition, and was nicknamed "tommy gun" by the media.
The Model 1923 was a heavy submachine gun introduced to potentially expand the Auto-Ordnance product line and was demonstrated for the U.S. Army. It fired the more powerful .45 Remington–Thompsoncartridge which fired a heavier 250 gr (0.57 oz; 16 g) bullet at muzzle velocities of about 1,450 ft/s (440 m/s) and energy about 1,170 ft⋅lb (1,590 J), with greater range than the .45 ACP. It introduced a horizontal forearm, improved inline stock for accuracy, 14 in (36 cm) barrel, bipod, and bayonet lug. The M1923 was intended to rival the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), with which the Army was already satisfied. The Army did not give the Model 1923 much consideration, so it was not adopted.
Model 1921AC (1926)
While not a new model in the usual sense of incorporating major changes, in 1926 the Cutts Compensator (a muzzle brake) was offered as an option for the M1921; Thompsons with the compensator were cataloged as No. 21AC at the original price of $200.00, with the plain M1921 designated No. 21A at a reduced price of $175.00. The Model 1921 was thereafter referred to as Model 1921A or Model 1921AC, though some collectors still refer to it as the Model 1921.
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 Model 1928s were Model 1921s with weight added to the actuator, which slowed down the cyclic rate of fire, a United States Navy requirement. On these guns, the model number "1921" on the receiver was updated by stamping an "8" over the last "1". The Navy Model 1928 has several names among collectors: the "Colt Overstamp", "1921 Overstamp", "28 Navy", or just "28N".
The 1928 Thompson would be the last small arm adopted by the U.S. Army that used a year designation in the official nomenclature. With the start of World War II, major contracts from several countries saved the manufacturer from bankruptcy. A notable variant of the Model 1928 with an aluminum receiver and tenite grip, buttstock, and forend, was made by Savage.
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. Though it could use both the 50-round drum and the 20- or 30-round box magazines, active service favored the box magazines as the drums were more prone to jamming, rattled when moving, and were too heavy and bulky on long patrols. 562,511 were made. Wartime production variants had a fixed rear sight without the triangular sight guard wings and a non-ribbed barrel, both like those found on the M1/M1A1.
In addition, the Soviet Union received M1928A1s, included as standard equipment with the M3 lighttanks obtained through Lend-Lease. These submachine guns were used to a limited extent by the Red Army.
An M1928A1 with an unusual inline stock, modified with elevated sights to increase accuracy, also was produced. Some Thompsons were built with a folding stock, similar to M1A1 Carbines used by Allied tank crews, drivers and paratroopers and submarine raiders.
Thompson Machine Carbine (TMC)
In 1940, Commonwealth troops in Egypt and North Africa were issued commercial model Lend-Lease Colt- and Savage-manufactured M1928s. Section leaders carried them instead of pistols or rifles. Many of the Colt models had French-language manuals packed with them as they had been abruptly diverted to England after the fall of France. They soon discovered that the weapon was prone to jamming due to sand. To fix this, the armorers removed the Blish Lock and replaced it with a hex bolt to keep the cocking handle and bolt together. The 20-round Type XX magazines had their peep-holes welded shut to keep sand out and the 50-round Type L drums were discontinued. Ammunition was scarce as it was either in small lots of Lend-Lease commercial ammo or obtained from adjacent American troops. It was later replaced by the 9mmSten gun and Lanchester SMG.
The Japanese captured enough Thompson M1928 SMGs and ammunition when they captured Hong Kong and Malaysia that it became a limited standard weapon. The only Japanese submachine gun, the Type 100, was limited in number, and lacked the reliability or stopping power of the Thompson. Ammunition was usually in US 42-round Lend-Lease commercial cartons or Australian 28-round military cartons captured from the Commonwealth forces that was sampled, tested, and resealed with Japanese arsenal stickers.
Models used in the Pacific by Australian troops had their sling swivels remounted on the left side to allow it to be fired more easily while prone. A metal sling mount was fitted to the left side of the wooden buttstock. Ammunition was manufactured in Australia or obtained from adjacent American troops. It was later replaced by the Owen Machine Carbine.
Responding to a request for further simplification, the M1 was standardized in April 1942 as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M1. Rate of fire was reduced to approximately 600–700 rpm.
First issued in 1943, the M1 uses a simple blowback operation, with the charging handle moved to the side. The flip-up adjustable Lyman rear sight was replaced with a fixed L sight. Late M1s had triangular guard wings added to the rear L sight, which were standardized on the M1A1. The slots adjoining the magazine well allowing the use of a drum magazine were removed. A new magazine catch with the provision for retaining drum magazines removed, was produced, but most M1s and later M1A1s retained the original. The less expensive and more-easily manufactured "stick" magazines were used exclusively in the M1, with a new 30-round version joining the familiar 20-round type. The Cutts compensator, barrel cooling fins, and Blish lock were omitted while the buttstock was permanently affixed. Late production M1 stocks were fitted with reinforcing bolts and washers to prevent splitting of the stock where it attached to the receiver. The British had used improvised bolts or wood screws to reinforce M1928 stocks. The M1 reinforcing bolt and washer were carried over to the M1A1 and retrofitted to many of the M1928A1s in U.S. and British service. Late M1s also had simplified fire control switches, also carried over to the M1A1. Certain M1s had issues with high rate of fire climbing up to ~800 RPM. The exact cause remains unknown, but was resolved with the transition to the M1A1.
The M1A1, standardized in October 1942 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. The main difference between the M1 and M1A1 was the bolt. The M1 bolt had a floating firing pin and hammer, the bolt of the M1A1 had the firing pin machined to the face of the bolt, eliminating unnecessary parts. The reinforced stock and protective sight wings were standard. The 30-round magazine became more common. In 1939, Thompsons cost the government $209 apiece. By the spring of 1942, cost-reduction design changes had brought this down to $70. In February 1944, the M1A1 reached a low price of $45 each, including accessories and spare parts, although the difference in price between the M1 and M1A1 was only $0.06. By the end of the war, the M1A1 was replaced with the even lower-cost M3 (commonly called the "Grease Gun").
The Model 1927 was the open bolt semi-automatic version of the M1921. It was made by modifying an existing Model 1921, including replacing certain parts. The "Thompson Submachine Gun" inscription was machined over to replace it with "Thompson Semi-Automatic Carbine", and the "Model 1921" inscription was also machined over to replace it with "Model 1927." Although the Model 1927 was semi-automatic only, it was easily converted to fully automatic by installing a full-auto Model 1921 fire control group (internal parts). Most Model 1927s owned by police have been converted back to full-auto. The original Model 1927 is classified as a machine gun under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (a) by being "readily convertible" by swapping parts and (b) by a 1982 BATF ruling making all open bolt semi-automatic firearms manufactured after the date of this ruling classified as machine guns.
The Model 1927A1 is a semi-automatic replica version of the Thompson, originally produced by Auto-Ordnance of West Hurley, New York for the civilian collector's market from 1974 to 1999. It has been produced since 1999 by Kahr Arms of Worcester, Massachusetts. It is officially known as the "Thompson Semi-Automatic Carbine, Model of 1927A1." The internal design is completely different to operate from the closed bolt and the carbine has a barrel length of 16.5 in (420 mm) (versus open bolt operation and barrel length of 10.5 in (270 mm) for the fully automatic versions). Under federal regulations, these changes make the Model 1927A1 legally a rifle and remove it from the federal registry requirements of the National Firearms Act. These modern versions should not be confused with the original semi-automatic M1927, which was a slightly modified M1921 produced by Colt for Auto-Ordnance.
The Model 1927A1 is the semi-automatic replica of the Thompson Models of 1921 and 1927. The "Thompson Commando" is a semi-automatic replica of the M1928A1. The Auto-Ordnance replica of the Thompson M1 and M1A1 is known as the TM1, and may be found marked "Thompson Semi-Automatic Carbine, Caliber .45M1".
The Model 1927A3 is a semi-automatic, .22 caliber version of the Thompson produced by Auto-Ordnance in West Hurley.
The Model 1927A5 is a semi-automatic, .45 ACP pistol version of the Thompson originally produced by Auto-Ordnance in West Hurley from the 1970s until the early 1990s or late 1980s. It featured an aluminum receiver to reduce weight. It has since been replaced with the Kahr Arms TA5 Pistol, which features a 10.5" barrel and steel receiver, unlike the 1927A5's 13" barrel and aluminum receiver.
As per the NFA (National Firearms Act of 1934), the "1927A5 .45 ACP Pistol" is simply classified as a "Firearm" (Any type of firearm with an overall length of 26" or greater, that does not have a buttstock) as it neither fits the definition of a Pistol or Rifle under federal law. This categorization also legally allows it to have 1921 or 1928 style foregrip equipped, unlike other "pistol style" Thompson variants, without an AOW (Any Other Weapon) Tax Stamp.
The 1928A1 LTD is a civilian semi-automatic conversion by Luxembourg Defense Technology (LuxDefTec) in Luxembourg. They are made from original 1928A1 guns of various appearance (with or without Cutt's compensator, ribbed or smooth barrels, adjustable or fixed sights), that were imported Lend-Lease guns from Russia.
In an attempt to expand interest and sales overseas, Auto-Ordnance entered into a partnership with and licensed the Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA) in England to produce a European model. These were produced in small quantities and have a different appearance than the classic style. The BSA 1926 was manufactured in 9mmP and 7.63mm Mauser and were tested by various governments, including France, in the mid-1920s. It was never adopted by any military force, and only a small number were produced.
Special purpose variant
A special purpose machine pistol variant of the Thompson is manufactured by RPB Industries of Atlanta.
A version with a threaded barrel for suppressors, side folding stock, and modified sights.
All variants and modified versions of Thompson submachine guns (even semiautomatic-only versions) are prohibited by name in Canada, as part of Prohibited Weapons Order No. 13 in 1995. Consequently, they cannot be legally imported or owned except under very limited circumstances. For example, to own one the person must be "grandfathered" and have owned one before the bill was passed against it. The submachine gun is not grandfathered like in the U.S., only the owner. The submachine gun can only be sold to other grandfathered individuals; this keeps prices extremely low as the number of permitted licensed individuals is very small and dwindling with time. Eventually, all prohibited guns will be out of circulation.: Part 1.86 
The perceived popularity of submachine guns such as the Thompson with violent gangsters in the 1920s and 1930s was one of the main reasons given for passage of the National Firearms Act by the United States Congress in 1934. One of its provisions was that owners of fully automatic firearms were required to register them with the predecessor agency of the modern Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The law also placed restrictions on the possession, transfer, and transport of the weapons.
There are several U.S. made automatic and semi-automatic variants, copies, or replicas. The semi-automatic versions are less regulated by federal law.
The possession of any fully automatic firearm is prohibited in the UK by the Firearms Act 1968; prohibited firearms can be possessed on a section 5 certificate, but these are not issued for sporting purposes. A fully automatic firearm that has been converted to semi-automatic fire, such as the Model 1927, is prohibited by the Firearms Act 1988, as is any centre-fire purpose-made semi-automatic weapon, such as the Model 1927A1. It is now effectively impossible for a firearm of this type to be legally possessed by a member of the general public, except in certified deactivated condition or where specifically manufactured as a semi-automatic in calibre .22LR.
The gun, in a government approved semiautomatic conversion or clone, can legally be owned by hunters and sport shooters. With a design date prior to 1942 it is not considered a "weapon of war." Only the fully automatic version is a prohibited weapon. As a long gun, it can be bought by hunters (even if it cannot be used to actually hunt for legal reasons). There are disciplines in government approved sport shooting rulebooks that allow this type to be used, therefore the gun can be bought by sport shooters, too.
- Argentina: M1928 and M1 Thompson
- Australia: Used by Australian forces during WWII until it was replaced by the Australian-made Owen submachine gun.
- Brazil: Used by the Brazilian forces from WWII until the mid-1980s.
- British India: Widely used by the Indian Army in the Malayan Campaign, in the European theatre and Burma Campaigns
- People's Republic of China: Unlicensed copies
- Republic of China
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- France: The M1928A1 was used as the Pistolet-mitrailleur 11 mm 43 (C.45) M. 28 A1. The M1A1 was also used.
- West Germany: Used post World War II; received from the U.S government.
- Greece: Used by Greek armed forces, resistance fighters, Gendarmerie and police units during World War II and immediately postwar period.
- Indonesia: Examples captured from Dutch forces were used during the Indonesian National Revolution and later by Indonesian Army Special Forces in the 1950–70s
- Iraq: Iraqi insurgents(
- Iran: Used by the Imperial Iranian military.
- Ireland: 123 used by the Irish Defence Forces during the Emergency.
- Italy: Captured examples pressed into use by the Italian Army prior to September 8, 1943. Also supplied to partisans and to the Italian Co-belligerent Army. After the war, it was mostly issued to Italian Air Force troopers and the Carabinieri.
- Japan: Were used in some quantities by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force
- South Korea: Limited received U.S government used during the Korean War and Vietnam War. After the Vietnam War all Thompson SMGs were scrapped.
- Kingdom of Laos: Limited received by U.S government and used during the First Indochina War and Vietnam War.
- Luxembourg: M1A1 in service 1952–1967, replaced by Uzi.
- The Netherlands: In early World War II, at least 3,680 Thompsons acquired through Lend-Lease
- New Zealand: M1928 and M1928A1
- Nicaragua: The Nicaraguan National Guard received M1928A1s and some were captured by Sandino's rebels.
- North Korea: Chinese-made Thompsons used by the Korean People's Army in the Korean War.
- North Vietnam: Unlicensed copies. Used by Viet Minh in the First Indochina War.
- Pakistan: Used by the Pakistani army during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
- Poland: Used by the Polish Armed Forces in the West during WWII and by resistance fighters during the Warsaw Uprising (from supply drops)
- Portugal: Small number bought for police use, designated m/1928
- Union of South Africa
- South Vietnam
- Soviet Union
- Turkey: Used between 1950s–1970s, saw action in Korean Warand 1974 Cyprus Invasion
- Ukraine: observed, unknown user
- United Kingdom. First issued to the GHQ Liaison Unit ('Phantom') in February 1940, in advance of main War Office contracts.
- United States: Employed by the United States Marine Corps and by the United States Army 1938, including paratroops in World War II.
- Uruguay Uruguayan Army and Navy they used from 1942 it until the late 80s.
- Vietnam Used by Việt Minh and Viet Cong during Vietnam War.
- ^"The Sandino Rebellion, 1927–1934". Sandinorebellion.com. Retrieved 2011-12-25.
- ^ abHart 2003, pp. 187–188
- ^ abcdeBishop, Chris (1998). Guns in Combat. Chartwell Books, Inc. p. [page needed]. ISBN .
- ^ abMcNab, Chris (2002). 20th Century Military Uniforms (2nd ed.). Kent: Grange Books. p. 47. ISBN .
- ^ abWindrow, Martin (15 Nov 1998). The French Indochina War 1946–54. Men-at-Arms 322. Osprey Publishing. p. 24. ISBN .
- ^ abLaffin, John (15 Jun 1982). Arab Armies of the Middle East Wars 1948–73. Men-at-Arms 128. Osprey Publishing. p. 32. ISBN .
- ^ ab"Weapons of the Malay CTs 1948–1960". 17thdivision.tripod.com.
- ^ abcDyker, David A.; Vejvoda, Ivan (9 December 1996). Yugoslavia and After: A Study in Fragmentation, Despair and Rebirth (1st ed.). London: Routledge. p. 120. ISBN .
- ^ abSmall Arms Survey (2012). "Surveying the Battlefield: Illicit Arms In Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia". Small Arms Survey 2012: Moving Targets. Cambridge University Press. p. 321. ISBN . Archived from the original(PDF) on August 30, 2012.
- ^Yenne 2009, p. [page needed].
- ^ abcdefgWar Department (1943-10-11). TM 9-2200 Small Arms, Light Field Mortars and 20-mm Aircraft Guns. War Department. p. 59.
- ^ abcWar Department (1943-10-11). TM 9-2200 Small Arms, Light Field Mortars and 20-mm Aircraft Guns. War Department. p. 57.
- ^"Full Power/Full Auto: The Thompson Goes Metric And the MP5 Goes American". www.americanrifleman.org.
- ^"Thompson 1921 Submachine Gun". Modern Firearms. 27 October 2010.
- ^Schroeder, Michael J. (2019-03-26), "Digital Resources: The Sandino Rebellion Digital Historical Archive, Nicaragua, 1927–1934", Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.77, ISBN , retrieved 2021-07-05
- ^ abcIannamico, Frank (1999). The U.S. M3-M3A1 Submachine Gun. Harmony, Maine: Moose Lake Publishing. pp. 14, 55. ISBN .
- ^ abJames, Gary (1996–2006). "Development of the Thompson Submachine Gun".
- ^Hatcher, Julian S. (1947). Hatcher's Notebook. Military Service Publishing Co. p. 44.
- ^"The Unofficial Tommy Gun Page". www.nfatoys.com.
- ^ abcdIannamico 2000, p. [page needed]
- ^Gudmundsson, Bruce. (1995). Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914–1918. Praeger Press.[page needed]
- ^Smithsonian National Postal Museum, Postal Inspectors: The Silent Service, Unexpected Duties. "The Postal Inspection Service became the first law enforcement agency to purchase the Thompson submachine gun ..."
- ^ abcdFitzsimons 1977, p. 2487
- ^Schroeder, Michael J. (2019-03-26), "Digital Resources: The Sandino Rebellion Digital Historical Archive, Nicaragua, 1927–1934", Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.77, ISBN , retrieved 2021-07-05
- ^ abcBert Kortegaard (2000-09-21). "M1A1 Thompson Submachine Gun". Rt66.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-17. Retrieved 2011-12-25.
- ^Ryan, Meda (2003). Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter. Mercier Press. p. 125. ISBN .
- ^Ashcroft, Brent. "St. Valentine's Day Massacre: Tale of two guns". WZZM 13 News.
- ^"Thompson Model 1928 Submachine Gun". National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- ^Helmer, William J. (1969). The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar. MacMillan. p. [page needed]. ISBN
Thompson Submachine Gun: The Original Black Gun
Today because of media hype, an M-16 or AK-47 is probably what most people – at least those who don't know firearms – think about when an automatic weapon is mentioned. The AK-47 may be the world's “most popular” firearm, but it's likely neither it nor the M-16/AR-15 would be around today had it not been for John Taliaferro Thompson. J.T. Thompson, of course, was the inventor the submachine gun that bears his name.
Thompson served in the Spanish-American War as Chief Ordnance Officer, and was so successful in running the supply operations to Cuba that he was the youngest officer to be promoted to the rank of colonel at the time. It was during this brief war he saw the effects of automatic weapons on the battlefield. Following the war Thompson was appointed chief of the Small Arms Division for the U.S. Army Ordnance Department. There he supervised the development of the M1903 Springfield rifle. He also chaired the board that approved the M1911 .45 caliber pistol.
For many career officers that could have capped a successful career, but when World War I broke out in 1914 and reached its trench warfare stalemate, Thompson began to consider how an automatic weapon could be employed. With the U.S. Army on the sidelines, he actually retired from the military and took a position with Remington Arms Company as chief engineer. There he oversaw production of the Pattern 1914 Enfield rifles for the British and the Mosin-Nagant rifles for Russia. Today Remington versions of either of those fine weapons are sought after by collectors.
While working at Remington, Thompson devised a “trench broom” concept to clear enemy trenches. He studied a number of weapons of the era and, together with John Blish, a commander in the U.S. Navy, formed the Auto-Ordnance Company.
When the United States finally entered the war in the spring of 1917, Thompson returned to active duty and was promoted to Brigadier General, serving as Director of Arsenals. His “trench broom” concept arrived too late for the war, but it is likely it could have made a difference for allied forces if it had.
Tracie L. Hill, Thompson submachine collector and author, explains.
“It depends if the U.S. military would have allowed it be used. The U.S. was a little afraid of using our advances. One example is the Pedersen Device, which was a highly classified program in the U.S. military at the time. But had Thompson's trench broom arrived in time, and more importantly been applied correctly, it could have done a lot of good. However, that is the biggest bugaboo – military thinkers really didn't know what to do with a submachine gun.”
Hill points to the German's use of the MP-18, a small arm that was indeed revolutionary, but only issued in limited numbers and primarily to the so-called “storm troopers.”
“It was used by those shock troops, but once the allies wiped them out the following wave was again equipped with bolt action rifles. The tactics needed to catch up with technology.”
The Thompson prototype at the Rock Island Arsenal Museum. This is one of only a handful of the original prototypes to survive. As noted it is above a modern black gun, suggesting its importance in the development of the firearms to come. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
There was also the fact that other automatic weapons didn't fare so well in the trenches, notably the French Chauchat and even the British Lewis Gun. Thompson's prototype – then known as the “Annihilator I” – was actually set to ship to Europe but the war ended before any were actually field tested.
Says Capt. Dale Dye, USMC (Ret.),
“The mud and dirt that had been a problem with the Chauchat and Lewis Gun would have been a problem for Thompson's prototypes. Bolt action rifles were just easier to keep clean, so it is hard to say if the Thompson in its early stages could have survived trench warfare. It could have been a problem or at least problematic. It wouldn't have been a war winning gun immediately.”
The First Submachine Gun
In fact the war did come to an end before any Thompson prototype had a chance to be tested. The future of the project was also very much put in question, but it was decided at an Auto-Ordnance meeting in early 1919 to rebrand the Annihilator as the “Thompson Submachine Gun,” making it the first weapon to actually bear the moniker of “submachine gun,” even if the MP-18 had already undergone its baptism of fire.
General John Taliaferro Thompson holding the Thompson Sub Machine Gun M1921 (Photo: Creative Commons)
The Thompson entered production as the M1921, and while it may be difficult to comprehend today, it was actually marketed to civilians with a 20 shot “stick” magazine. The original price was around $200.00, which was a considerable amount of money in that day and age. One now famous ad from the time showed a rancher fending off rustlers with a Thompson with the tag line “The Most Effective Portable Fire Arm In Existence.” The ad further suggested it was an “ideal weapon for the protection of large estates, ranches, plantations, etc.”
Even more shocking is the fact that Auto-Ordnance Corporation had offices at 302 Broadway in New York City! Clearly it was a very different time.
The Thompson was not a hit with civilians however. The cost was simply too high, and for most people there was no need for an automatic weapon. However, the M1921 was sold to the United States Postal Inspection Service and was carried by agents to protect mail on trains and in trucks. The weapon had arrived too late for the U.S. military in World War I, but in the 1920s the United States Marine Corps was among the early adopters of the Thompson, putting the weapon to use in China, Central America and the Caribbean. The USMC was the first to consider how an automatic, close-quarters weapon could be employed as part of a nine-man rifle squad.
It was also used in by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against the British in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) and then by both sides in the subsequent Irish Civil War. However, despite the fact that several hundred were likely smuggled into Ireland the actual body count from the weapon – death or serious injury – was relatively small.
The receiver section close up – the Thompson features both single shot (semi-automatic) and fully automatic rate of fire, and it offers a thumb-activated safety. The magazine release is also located on the left side by the wooden grip and it is thumb-activated as well. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
During the 1920s and 1930s the firearm earned several other monikers including “the Chicago typewriter” and was once dubbed, “the gun that made the 1920s roar,” due to is early use by Prohibition and Depression-era gangsters. It is true that the Thompson was wielded by gangsters and bank robbers alike, and was used in such high profile events as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, but the truth was that its cost – especially with added features such as the Cutts Compensator, which helped stabilize the weapon – made it cost prohibitive for even organized crime gangs.
Simply put, the Thompson was never used in such large numbers as Hollywood films would have you believe — but it looked the part.
“It is very iconic. It had a silhouette that was recognized by people for years. And anytime Hollywood did a period piece the gun was reintroduced to a new generation.” Hill
What the gangsters and other criminals did for the Thompson is what could be seen as “field testing” as they learned of its strengths and weaknesses. As Hill says,
“Gangsters were free thinkers. Thought outside the box and they pretty much taught the world how to use it in combat!”
The National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934
The use of the Thompson, the BAR and other automatic weapons by bank robbers – including the 1933 Kansas City Massacre that left several FBI agents dead, and the attempted assassination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the same year – resulted in new laws that required automatic weapons to be registered and taxed.
The National Firearms Act of 1934 created a $200 tax, which was seen a prohibitive at the time, and covered machine guns, short-barreled rifles (SBR), short-barreled shotguns (SBS) as well as silencers. A later amendment to this law set the minimum barrel length at 16 inches, which remains the length for rimfire and centerfire rifles to this day. It is important to note that it was this law that categorized various weapons including machine guns.
World War II and Beyond
With the civilian market essentially a nonentity for the Thompson, it could have been the end of the line for it. However, in 1938, and despite the fact that its design was almost 20 years old, the U.S. military actually adopted the weapon.
The 1928A1 version was in use at the beginning of the Second World War. It was noted for having a Cutts compensator, cooling fins on the barrel and it employed a delayed blowback action, with a charging handle that was on the top of the receiver. It could be used with both box and drum magazines, with the latter proving to be unpopular.
“It was heavy and slow to load. We sent a bunch as Lend-Lease the UK; that was the 1928 model with the drum magazine. But it was hard to manufacture and the British found them too finicky, something the Marines also found in the early days of WWII.”
There was little in the way of an alternative, as the M1 Garand was still being introduced and the BAR wasn't available in large numbers. Besides the M1903 Springfield it was really up to the Thompson to do the job when America entered the Second World War.
USMC Sgt. John Wisbur Bartlett Sr. of the 1st Marine Division carrying an M1A1 Thompson on Okinawa in 1945. (Photo: USMC Photo – Public Domain)
“The Thompson was the only option at the beginning of the war. That is why it was the go to gun for the allies. Fortunately it was improved as the M1A1 version.” Hill
The M1 and M1A version was produced without cooling fins and it featured an improved rear sight. As the drum was disliked anyway, it had provisions for a box magazine. These models also employed a straight blowback while the charging handle was put on the side.
By war's end more than 1.5 million military Thompson submachine guns were produced by Auto-Ordnance as well as by Savage Arms. It was widely used by scouts, non-commissioned officers, patrol leaders, commissioned officers and tank crews.
The biggest problem with the Thompson was its cost, and by 1943 the U.S. military began to replace the Thompson with the M3 and M3A1 submachine guns. However, production delays meant that the Thompson was never removed from service.
The M1A1 Thompson (Below) was to be replaced by the M3 “Grease Gun” as a cost saving and production measure. These are in the collection of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. (Photo: Peter Suciu)
John Thompson passed away in 1940 before the United States entered the war and thus was unable to see the effect that his weapon would have on the battlefield. However, his legacy lived on with the gun that bears his name.
After the war the Thompson was used in a number of conflicts in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the Greek Civil War, the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War and even into the Vietnam war.
“One thing that people forget is that it was a worldwide gun. It set the ground for all future guns, how to fire it, how to employ submachine guns. It could be argued that it was used as a test bed for what the M-16 as well. It had bolt in line with shoulder stock, sights that were above the action, and really the modern black rifle might not have looked the way it did if not for the Thompson.” Hill
The Thompson in Popular Culture
Few guns are as instantly recognizable in movies, TV shows and video games as the Thompson submachine gun. As Hill noted, it was iconic; a go to gun for directors looking to showcase a period weapon. The original M1921 version was seen as early as the 1931 gangland classic Little Caesar, while the M1928A1 version's debut on the screen was in the espionage thriller Sundown in 1941. This model of the Thompson was seen in the 1943 film Gung Ho!
Says Dye, who never carried one on screen, but did carry one in training.
“It is a weapon that looks good on film. It is a solid gun, but it eats ammo like nothing else. You need to carry five or six extra mags of .45 ACP and that is heavy. The weapon itself is heavy, so when you're not in situations where you're using it in combat it loses a lot of its attraction. That said, I'm still glad we had it when we needed it.”
Thompson Submachine Gun: The Original Black Gun (Specs)
Type: Submachine Gun
Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 20, 30 round box magazine; 50, 100 round drum magazine
Rate of Fire: 600-1200 RPM
Fire Modes: Semiautomatic/full-automatic
Submachine gun thompson original
.45 caliber, 10.5" spiral milled barrel (Finned Barrel), S/N 91. Remington stock and buttplate with correct Remington markings, an anchor on the front of the buttstock near the frame, "R" markings internally on the parts of the buttplate. Matching assembly number's on the buttplate and stock. Marked on the left side of the frame "Model of 1921" over the serial number. Colt markings in five lines. The right side marked "Auto-Ordnance New York USA" in two lines. Patent markings in six lines. Blue finish, with walnut stock and pistol grip with a foregrip.
An early 2 digit serial number Model 1921 Colt Thompson sub-machine gun issued to the Consolidated Coal Company during The Coal Mine Wars (1890 - 1930). Consolidated Coal company originally formed in Maryland in 1864 and began to purchase smaller mines to eliminate competition. One of the first coal companies purchased by Consolidated Coal was the Fairmont Coal Company. The owners of Fairmont Coal Company were a prominent political family, the Fleming-Watson family. The Fleming-Watson family begin to purchase shares of Consolidated Coal Company and by the early 1900s owned a majority stake. Governor Aretas Brooks Fleming, along with support from his relative, U.S. Senator Clarence W. Watson, John Rockefeller and U.S. Senator Johnson Newlon Camden, the company was able to expand into neighboring states such as Kentucky. In the fall of 1911, Consolidated Coal Company purchased a 100,000-acre tract of land from Northern Coal and Coke Company and named the community "Jenkins," in honor of one of the board members George C. Jenkins. Consolidated Coal began to build the infrastructure needed to establish the town, and city government was soon established and officially incorporated in January of 1912. Following incorporation, Consolidated Coal began to sell businesses and land back to the community.
Like many businesses, Consolidated Coal went into receivership in 1929 during the early years of the Great Depression. The Fleming-Watson family lost control of the company at this time, but Consolidated Coal Company survived under the new name "Consol Energy." During the receivership years, Consolidated Coal begin selling off its holdings and assets including this Model 1921 Colt Thompson sub-machine gun. It was sold to the Jenkins Police Department and registered in 1934. A copy of the original registration will be provided.
This Model 1921 Colt Thompson sub-machine gun witnessed a dynamic time in the history of the United States. The Coal Mine Wars were the largest uprising since the Civil War, and mostly isolated in the Appalachian region. These armed uprisings were the result of the economic exploitation of the miners. As the miners were organizing to overthrow the company town system in which miners were paid with company script only accepted at company-owned stores instead of legal tender, the coal companies used private law enforcement to protect its financial interest in the status quo of conducting business. There is no doubt this Model 1921 Colt Thompson sub-machine gun was used by the coal company to protect payroll as it came in on the rail system or by the private law enforcement hired by the coal company to "keep order" against the organization of the labor unions.
Fully transferable to a form 3 or 4.
This rare Colt Thompson retains most of its original Colt factory blue finish with the expected edge wear. The frame finish is turning plum through the safe and fire markings once again to be expected on an original 1921 Thompson. The remainder of the frame has most of the original bright blue finish. The stock has only minimal nicks and dings from the police department rack. The pistol grip and foregrip are excellent. Bore is very good. Overall this Thompson remains in excellent condition for a two-digit 1921 Colt Thompson and has all its original matching parts.
Ride home for several days. So I went, in civilian clothes, jumped quietly onto the train, onto the first car that hit, and already on the way I move along the cars. To my 0, although I still don't understand how the car can be zero. An uncle in the form of a conductor slows me down, asks where I am going, show the ticket, and he.
Tells me that I need to deal with such a carriage and invites me to sit in the compartment, in an empty one.
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And this is not at all from a long abstinence, just all her men were insipid compared to her son. She herself was always ready for experiments in sex, she did not find support from men. At best, it was not understanding; at worst, insults and accusations of perversion followed.