Thompson submachine gun
Overview
 
The Thompson is an American submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

, invented by John T. Thompson
John T. Thompson
John Taliaferro Thompson, , was a United States Army officer best remembered as the inventor of the Thompson submachine gun.-Early life:...

 in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals. The Thompson was also known informally as: the "Tommy Gun", "Trench Broom", "Trench Sweeper", "Chicago Typewriter", "Chicago Piano", "Chicago Style", and "chopper".

The Thompson was favored by soldiers, criminals, police and civilians alike for its ergonomics, compactness, large .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

 cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

, reliability, and high volume of automatic fire
Automatic firearm
An automatic firearm is a firearm that loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired.The term can be used to refer to semi-automatic firearms, which fire one shot per single pull of the trigger , or fully automatic firearms, which will continue to load and fire ammunition...

.
Encyclopedia
The Thompson is an American submachine gun
Submachine gun
A submachine gun is an automatic carbine, designed to fire pistol cartridges. It combines the automatic fire of a machine gun with the cartridge of a pistol. The submachine gun was invented during World War I , but the apex of its use was during World War II when millions of the weapon type were...

, invented by John T. Thompson
John T. Thompson
John Taliaferro Thompson, , was a United States Army officer best remembered as the inventor of the Thompson submachine gun.-Early life:...

 in 1919, that became infamous during the Prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

 era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals. The Thompson was also known informally as: the "Tommy Gun", "Trench Broom", "Trench Sweeper", "Chicago Typewriter", "Chicago Piano", "Chicago Style", and "chopper".

The Thompson was favored by soldiers, criminals, police and civilians alike for its ergonomics, compactness, large .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

 cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

, reliability, and high volume of automatic fire
Automatic firearm
An automatic firearm is a firearm that loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired.The term can be used to refer to semi-automatic firearms, which fire one shot per single pull of the trigger , or fully automatic firearms, which will continue to load and fire ammunition...

. It has since gained popularity among civilian collectors for its historical significance.

Development

The Thompson Submachine Gun was developed by General John T. Thompson
John T. Thompson
John Taliaferro Thompson, , was a United States Army officer best remembered as the inventor of the Thompson submachine gun.-Early life:...

 who originally envisioned an auto rifle
Thompson Autorifle
The Thompson Autorifle was a semi-automatic rifle that used a Blish Lock to delay the action of the weapon. It was chambered in .30-06, with the 1923 model in 7.62mm Russian rifle rounds....

(semi-automatic rifle) to replace the bolt action service rifles then in use. While searching for a way to allow such a weapon to operate safely without the complexity of a recoil
Recoil operation
Recoil operation is an operating mechanism used in locked-breech, autoloading firearms. As the name implies, these actions use the force of recoil to provide energy to cycle the action...

 or gas operated
Gas-operated reloading
Gas-operation is a system of operation used to provide energy to operate autoloading firearms. In gas-operation, a portion of high pressure gas from the cartridge being fired is used to power a mechanism to extract the spent case and chamber a new cartridge. Energy from the gas is harnessed...

 mechanism, Thompson came across a patent issued to John Bell Blish
John Bell Blish
John Bell Blish Known mostly for inventing the Blish lock, used in the Thompson submachine gun. Blish licensed the patent for his lock to the Auto-Ordnance Corporation in 1915 in trade for company stock....

 in 1915 based on adhesion of inclined metal surfaces under pressure. Thompson found a financial backer, Thomas F. Ryan
Thomas Fortune Ryan
Thomas Fortune Ryan was a U.S. tobacco and transport magnate. Part of his fortune paid for the construction of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond, Virginia.-Early days:...

, and started the Auto-Ordnance Company
Auto-Ordnance Company
Auto-Ordnance was a U.S. arms development firm founded by retired Colonel John T. Thompson of the U.S. Army Ordnance Department in 1916. Auto-Ordnance is best known for the Thompson submachine gun, notorious as a gangster weapon of the Roaring Twenties and famous as a military weapon of the Allied...

 in 1916 for the purpose of developing his auto rifle. The principal designers were Theodore H. Eickhoff, Oscar V. Payne, and George E. Goll. By late 1917, the limits of the Blish Principle
Blish lock
The Blish Lock is a breech locking mechanism designed by John Bell Blish based upon his observation that under extreme pressures, certain dissimilar metals will resist movement with a force greater than normal friction laws would predict. In modern engineering terminology, it is considered to be an...

 were discovered: rather than working as a locked breech, it functioned as a friction-delayed blowback
Blowback (arms)
Blowback is a system of operation for self-loading firearms that obtains energy from the motion of the cartridge case as it is pushed to the rear by expanding gases created by the ignition of the propellant charge....

 action. It was found that the only cartridge currently in U.S. service suitable for use with the lock was the .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

 round. Thompson then envisioned a "one-man, hand-held machine gun" in .45 ACP as a "trench broom" for use in the on-going trench warfare
Trench warfare
Trench warfare is a form of occupied fighting lines, consisting largely of trenches, in which troops are largely immune to the enemy's small arms fire and are substantially sheltered from artillery...

 of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. Payne designed the gun itself and its stick and drum magazines. The project was then titled "Annihilator I", and by 1918, most of the design issues had been resolved. However, the war ended before prototypes could be shipped to Europe.

At an Auto-Ordnance board meeting in 1919 to discuss the marketing of the "Annihilator", with the war over, the weapon was officially renamed the "Thompson Submachine Gun". While other weapons had been developed shortly prior with similar objectives in mind, the Thompson was the first weapon to be labeled and marketed as a "submachine gun". Thompson intended the weapon as an automatic 'trench-broom' to sweep enemy troops from the trenches, filling a role for which the BAR had been proven ill-suited. Contemporaneously, this concept was developed by German troops using their own Bergmann
Theodor Bergmann
Theodor Bergmann was a German businessman and industrialist best remembered for the various revolutionary firearms his companies released. Like many entrepreneurs of the era, his activity was centered on bicycles and the nascent automobile...

 MP18
MP18
The MP18.1 manufactured by Theodor Bergmann Waffenbau Abteilung was the first practical submachine gun used in combat. It was introduced into service in 1918 by the German Army during World War I as the primary weapon of the Stosstruppen, assault groups specialized in trench combat...

 submachine guns in concert with sturmtruppen
Infiltration tactics
In warfare, infiltration tactics involve small, lightly equipped infantry forces attacking enemy rear areas while bypassing enemy front line strongpoints and isolating them for attack by follow-up troops with heavier weapons.-Development during World War I:...

tactics.

Early use

The Thompson first entered production as the M1921. It was available to civilians, though its high price resulted in few sales. (A Thompson with one Type XX 20 shot "stick" magazine was priced at $200.00, at a time when a Ford automobile sold for $400.00.) M1921 Thompsons were sold in small quantities to the United States Postal Inspection Service
United States Postal Inspection Service
The United States Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service. Its jurisdiction is defined as "crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S...

 (to protect the mail from a spate of robberies) and the United States Marine Corps. Federal sales were followed by sales to several police departments in the United States and minor international sales to various armies and constabulary
Constabulary
Constabulary may have several definitions.*A civil, non-paramilitary force consisting of police officers called constables. This is the usual definition in Britain, in which all county police forces once bore the title...

 forces, chiefly in Central
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

 and South America. The Marines put their Thompson Submachine Guns to use in the Banana Wars and in China. It was popular with the Marines as a point-defense weapon for countering ambush by Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

n guerrillas and led to the organization of 4 man fire teams with as much firepower as a 9 man rifle squad
Squad
In military terminology, a squad is a small military unit led by a non-commissioned officer that is subordinate to an infantry platoon. In countries following the British Army tradition this organization is referred to as a section...

. The major complaints against the Thompson were its weight, inaccuracy at ranges over 50 yards, and the lack of penetrating power of the .45 ACP pistol cartridge.

Some of the first batches of Thompsons were bought in America by agents of the Irish Republic
Irish Republic
The Irish Republic was a revolutionary state that declared its independence from Great Britain in January 1919. It established a legislature , a government , a court system and a police force...

, notably Harry Boland
Harry Boland
Harry Boland was an Irish Republican politician and member of the First Dáil.-Early life:Boland was born in Phibsboro, Dublin on 27 April 1887. He was active in GAA circles in early life, and ultimately joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood...

. The first test of a Thompson in Ireland was performed by West Cork Brigade commander Tom Barry
Tom Barry
Thomas Barry was one of the most prominent guerrilla leaders in the Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence.-Early life:...

 in presence of IRA leader Michael Collins
Michael Collins (Irish leader)
Michael "Mick" Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the...

. A total of 653 were purchased, but 495 were seized by US customs authorities in New York in June 1921. The remainder made their way to the Irish Republican Army
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 by way of Liverpool
Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

 and were used in the last month of the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

 (1919–21). After a truce with the British in July 1921, the IRA imported more Thompsons and they were used in the subsequent Irish Civil War
Irish Civil War
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State as an entity independent from the United Kingdom within the British Empire....

 (1922–23). They were not found to be very effective in Ireland however. In only 32% of actions where it was used did the Thompson cause serious casualties (death or serious injury) to those attacked.
The Thompson achieved most of its early notoriety in the hands of Prohibition
Prohibition
Prohibition of alcohol, often referred to simply as prohibition, is the practice of prohibiting the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale, and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages. The term can also apply to the periods in the histories of the countries during which the...

 and Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

-era gangsters, motorized bandits and the lawmen who pursued them and in Hollywood
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Hollywood is a famous district in Los Angeles, California, United States situated west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a metonym of American cinema...

 films about their exploits, most notably in the St Valentine's Day Massacre. It has been referred to by one researcher as the "gun that made the twenties roar."

In 1926 the Cutts Compensator (a recoil 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.

In 1928 Federal Laboratories took over distribution of the weapon from Thompson's Auto Ordnance Corporation. The cost at this time was US$225 per weapon, with $5 per 50-round drum and $3 for 20-round magazine.

Nationalist China also acquired a quantity for use against Japanese land forces, and eventually began producing copies of the Thompson in small quantities for use by its various armies and militias. In the 1930s, Taiyuan Arsenal
Taiyuan Arsenal
Taiyuan Arsenal was established by the Shanxi warlord, Yan Xishan. He had become the Governor-General of Shanxi province in 1912. From the outset he was very interested in building an arsenal for manufacturing weapons to equip his Army. His motto was, "Armed force is the backing of justice". ...

 produced copies of the Thompson for Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan
Yan Xishan, was a Chinese warlord who served in the government of the Republic of China. Yan effectively controlled the province of Shanxi from the 1911 Xinhai Revolution to the 1949 Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War...

, the warlord of Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

 province.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 first acquired Thompsons in 1933 following the Kansas City Massacre
Kansas City Massacre
The Kansas City massacre was the shootout and murder of four law enforcement officers and a criminal fugitive at the Union Station railroad depot in Kansas City, Missouri, on the morning of June 17, 1933. It occurred as part of the attempt by a gang led by Vernon Miller to free Frank "Jelly" Nash,...

.

World War II

In 1938, the Thompson submachine gun was adopted by the U.S. military
Military of the United States
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

, serving during World War II and beyond.

There were two military types of Thompson SMG. The M1928A1 had provisions for box magazines and drums (the drums were disliked because of their tendency to rattle and jam). It had a Cutts compensator
Muzzle brake
Muzzle brakes and recoil compensators are devices that are fitted to the muzzle of a firearm or cannon to redirect propellant gases with the effect of countering both recoil of the gun and unwanted rising of the barrel during rapid fire...

, cooling fins on the barrel
Gun barrel
A gun barrel is the tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity....

, and its charging handle was on the top of the receiver. The M1 and M1A1 had a barrel without cooling fins, a simplified rear sight, provisions only for box magazines, and the charging handle was on the side of the receiver. Over 1.5 million military Thompson submachine guns were produced during World War II.

There were complaints from military users of the M1928A1 that the "L" fifty round drum magazine was heavy, noisy and slow to reload, and the "XX" twenty round box magazine was limited in capacity. Two alternatives were tested December 6, 1941 at Fort Knox: an extended thirty round box magazine and a forty round magazine made by welding two twenty round magazines face to face. Testers considered both superior to either the "XX" box or "L" drum. The thirty round box was approved as standard in December 1941 to replace the "XX" and "L" magazines. (The concept of welding two box magazines face-to-face was carried over with the UD 42 submachine gun.)

The staff of Savage Arms looked for ways to simplify the M1928A1, producing a prototype in Feb 1942 which was tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground Mar 1942; Army Ordnance approved adoption as the M1 in Apr 1942. M1s were made by Savage Arms
Savage Arms
The Savage Arms Company is a firearms manufacturing company based in Westfield, Massachusetts, with a division located in Canada. The company makes a variety of rimfire and centerfire rifles, as well as marketing the Stevens single-shot rifles and shotguns...

 and by Auto-Ordnance
Auto-Ordnance Company
Auto-Ordnance was a U.S. arms development firm founded by retired Colonel John T. Thompson of the U.S. Army Ordnance Department in 1916. Auto-Ordnance is best known for the Thompson submachine gun, notorious as a gangster weapon of the Roaring Twenties and famous as a military weapon of the Allied...

. M1s were issued with the thirty round box magazine and would accept the earlier twenty 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 ranking), and patrol leaders. In the European theater, the gun was widely utilized in British and Canadian Commando
Commando
In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and...

 units, as well as the U.S. Army paratrooper
Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

s and Ranger
Army Ranger
Army Ranger can refer to:* Canadian Rangers, a component of the army of the Canadian Forces* Irish Army Rangers* Pakistan Army Rangers* United States Army Rangers* Vietnamese Rangers, part of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam...

 battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

s who used it widely because of its high rate of fire, its stopping power and because it was very effective in close combat. A Swedish variant of the M1928A1, called Kulsprutepistol m/40 (meaning "submachine gun model 40"), served in the Swedish Army
Swedish Army
The Swedish Army is one of the oldest standing armies in the world and a branch of the Swedish Armed Forces; it is in charge of land operations. General Sverker Göranson is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Army.- Organization :...

 between 1940 and 1951. Through Lend-Lease, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 also received the Thompson, but due to a shortage of appropriate ammunition in the Soviet Union, usage was not widespread.

In the Pacific Theater
Pacific Theater of Operations
The Pacific Theater of Operations was the World War II area of military activity in the Pacific Ocean and the countries bordering it, a geographic scope that reflected the operational and administrative command structures of the American forces during that period...

, Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and other Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 forces initially used the Thompson extensively in jungle
Jungle
A Jungle is an area of land in the tropics overgrown with dense vegetation.The word jungle originates from the Sanskrit word jangala which referred to uncultivated land. Although the Sanskrit word refers to "dry land", it has been suggested that an Anglo-Indian interpretation led to its...

 patrol
Patrol
A patrol is commonly a group of personnel, such as police officers or soldiers, that are assigned to monitor a specific geographic area.- Military :...

s and ambush
Ambush
An ambush is a long-established military tactic, in which the aggressors take advantage of concealment and the element of surprise to attack an unsuspecting enemy from concealed positions, such as among dense underbrush or behind hilltops...

es, where it was prized for its firepower, though its hefty weight of over 10 pounds and difficulties in supply eventually led to its replacement by other submachine guns such as the Owen
Owen Gun
The Owen Gun, which was known officially as the Owen Machine Carbine, was an Australian submachine gun designed by Evelyn Owen in 1939...

 and Austen
Austen MK I
The Austen was a 9 millimetre Australian submachine gun derived from the British Sten gun developed during the Second World War. In total 19,914 Austens were produced during the war by Diecasters Ltd of Melbourne and W. T...

. 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
Velocity
In physics, velocity is speed in a given direction. Speed describes only how fast an object is moving, whereas velocity gives both the speed and direction of the object's motion. To have a constant velocity, an object must have a constant speed and motion in a constant direction. Constant ...

 .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
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 and Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal
Guadalcanal is a tropical island in the South-Western Pacific. The largest island in the Solomons, it was discovered by the Spanish expedition of Alvaro de Mendaña in 1568...

 campaigns, but soon began employing the BAR
Browning Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rifle was a family of United States automatic rifles and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed...

 in its place, especially at front (point) and rear (trail) positions, as a point defense weapon.

The Army introduced the U.S. M3 and M3A1
M3 submachine gun
The M3 was an American .45-caliber submachine gun adopted for U.S. Army service on 12 December 1942, as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M3. The M3 was designed as a more cost-effective alternative to the Thompson, optimized for mass production...

 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 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. 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

By the time of the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, the Thompson had seen much use by the U.S. and South Korean Military, even though 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 Chinese armed forces as military aid before the fall of Chiang Kai-Shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

's government to Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

's Communist forces in 1949. During the Korean War, American troops were surprised to encounter Chinese Communist troops heavily armed with Thompsons, especially during surprise night assaults. The gun's ability to deliver large quantities of short-range automatic assault fire proved very useful in both defense and assault during the early part of the conflict. Many of these weapons were captured and placed into service with American soldiers and Marines for the balance of the war.

During the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

, the Thompson submachine gun was used by some of Fidel Castro's Rebel Guerillas.

During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, some South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

ese army
Army of the Republic of Vietnam
The Army of the Republic of Viet Nam , sometimes parsimoniously referred to as the South Vietnamese Army , was the land-based military forces of the Republic of Vietnam , which existed from October 26, 1955 until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975...

 units and defense militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

 were armed with Thompson submachine guns, and a few of these weapons were used by reconnaissance units, advisors, and other American troops. It was later replaced by the M16. Not only did some U.S. soldiers have use of them in Vietnam, but they encountered them as well. The Vietcong liked the weapon, and used both captured models as well as manufacturing their own copies in small jungle workshops.

In the conflict in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, known as 'The Troubles' (1969–1998), the Thompson was again used by the Irish Republican paramilitiaries. According to historian Peter Hart, "The Thompson remained a key part of both the Official IRA
Official IRA
The Official Irish Republican Army or Official IRA is an Irish republican paramilitary group whose goal was to create a "32-county workers' republic" in Ireland. It emerged from a split in the Irish Republican Army in December 1969, shortly after the beginning of "The Troubles"...

 and Provisional IRA arsenals until well into the 1970s when it was superseded by the Armalite and the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

."

The Thompson was also used by U.S. and overseas law enforcement and police forces, most prominently by the FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

. The FBI used Thompsons until 1976, when it was declared obsolete. All Thompsons in U.S. government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 possession were destroyed, except for a few token museum pieces and training models.

The Thompson, or copies of the gun, are still seen from time to time in modern day conflicts, such as the Bosnian War
Bosnian War
The Bosnian War or the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The war involved several sides...

.

Collector interest

Because of their gangster-era and World War II connections, Thompsons are highly sought as collector's items. There were less than forty 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 can easily fetch US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

25,000 or more. For World War II, approximately 1,700,000 Thompson Submachine Guns were produced by Auto-Ordnance and Savage Arms
Savage Arms
The Savage Arms Company is a firearms manufacturing company based in Westfield, Massachusetts, with a division located in Canada. The company makes a variety of rimfire and centerfire rifles, as well as marketing the Stevens single-shot rifles and shotguns...

, with 1,387,134 being the simplified World War II M1 and M1A1 variants (without the Blish lock and oiling system). Post World War II, Numrich Arms acquired Auto-Ordnance and resumed small scale production of both full automatic and semi-automatic only versions at West Hurley. Semi-automatic
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

 only versions configured as civilian-legal rifles are currently produced by Auto-Ordnance Company, a division of Kahr Arms
Kahr Arms
Kahr Arms is an American small arms manufacturer founded by Kook Jin "Justin" Moon , who currently serves as CEO and President. It is owned by the Saeilo Corporation , a subsidiary of Tongil Group, a South Korean business group associated with the Unification Church...

, for the collector market at prices ($1100.00 to $1400.00) considerably lower than the prices for originals.

Operating characteristics

Early versions of the Thompson had a fairly high cyclic rate of fire, as high as 1,200rpm (rounds per minute), with most police Model 1921 at 850rpm and military Model 1928 at 720. Later M1 and M1A1 Thompsons averaged 600 rpm. This rate of fire, combined with a rather heavy trigger pull and a stock with an excessive drop, increases the tendency of barrel climbing off target in automatic fire. Compared to modern 9mm submachine guns, the .45 Thompson is quite heavy. This was one of the major complaints against the weapon made by servicemembers of militaries that issued the Thompson.

Although the drum magazine provided significant firepower, in military service it was found to be overly heavy and bulky, especially when slung on patrol or on the march. It was also rather fragile, and cartridges tended to rattle back and forth 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, double-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 select fire (semi- or full 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 forcefully forward to chamber and simultaneously fire the first and subsequent rounds until either the trigger is released or the ammunition is exhausted.

Disassembly

It must be noted that the Thompson submachine gun field strips depending on variant. World War 2 era M1 variants and RPB models field strip easier compared to the M1921.

Persuader and Annihilator

There were two main experimental models of the Thompson. The Persuader was a belt-fed
Belt (firearm)
A belt or ammunition belt is a device used to retain and feed cartridges into a firearm. Belts and the associated feed systems are typically employed to feed machine guns or other automatic weapons...

 version developed in 1918, and the Annihilator was fed from a 20 or 30-round box magazine, which was an improved model developed in 1918 and 1919. Additionally, the 50- and 100-round drum magazine
Drum magazine
A drum magazine is a type of firearms magazine that is cylindrical in shape, similar to a drum. Instead of rounds being stored flat, as in a more common box magazine, rounds in a drum magazine are stored in a spiral around the center of the magazine, facing the direction of the barrel.There are...

s were developed.

Model 1919

The Model 1919 was limited to about 40 units, with many variations noted throughout. The weapons had very high cyclic rates around 1,500 rpm. This was the weapon Brigadier General Thompson demonstrated at Camp Perry
Camp Perry
Camp Perry is a National Guard training facility located on the shore of Lake Erie in northern Ohio near Port Clinton. In addition to its regular mission as a military training base, Camp Perry also boasts the largest outdoor rifle range in the world...

 in 1920. Almost all Model of 1919s were made without buttstocks and front sights, and the final version closely resembled the later Model of 1921. The New York City Police Department
New York City Police Department
The New York City Police Department , established in 1845, is currently the largest municipal police force in the United States, with primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within the five boroughs of New York City...

 was the largest purchaser of the Model of 1919. This model was designed as an automatic Colt .45 to "sweep" trenches with bullets. Some experimental calibers were .45 ACP
.45 ACP
The .45 ACP , also known as the .45 Auto by C.I.P., is a cartridge designed by John Browning in 1904, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic .45 pistol and eventually the M1911 pistol adopted by the United States Army in 1911.-Design and history:The U.S...

 (11.4x23mm), .22LR, .32 ACP
.32 ACP
.32 ACP , also known as the .32 Automatic is a pistol cartridge. It is a semi-rimmed, straight-walled cartridge developed by firearms designer John Browning, initially for use in the FN M1900 semi-automatic pistol...

, .38 ACP
.38 ACP
The .38 ACP also known as the .38 Auto was introduced at the turn of the 20th century for the Browning designed Colt M1900. The cartridge headspaces on the rim. It had first been used in his Model 1897 prototype, which Colt did not produce...

, and 9mmP.

Thompson .30 Carbine

The layout and ergonomics of the Thompson submachine gun was also considered for the role of a Light Rifle before the adoption of the M1 Carbine
M1 Carbine
The M1 carbine is a lightweight, easy to use semi-automatic carbine that became a standard firearm for the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and was produced in several variants. It was widely used by U.S...

. This platform was based on the M1921/27 variants and worked well but due to the war effort was found expensive for mass production and defied the concept of a Light Rifle. However it did form the basis of the Thompson Light Rifle
Thompson Light Rifle
The Thompson Light Rifle was an attempt by Auto-Ordnance to manufacture a light rifle for the US Armed Forces. The overall weapon was based on their well proven .45 ACP submachine gun...

, a development of this variant with a barrel shroud which housed a quick barrel change device similar to the MG42
MG42
The MG 42 is a 7.9mm universal machine gun that was developed in Nazi Germany and entered service with the Wehrmacht in 1942...

 but was refused in favor of the mentioned M1 Carbine.

Model 1921

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
Foregrip
A foregrip is the grip on the front of a firearm that helps to control the gun, and prevent burns from the barrel during firing. A vertical foregrip can also allow for easier horizontal movement of the firearm, as it creates a firmer grasping point than conventional hand guards. Some firearms...

 (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.

Model 1923

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
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

. It fired the more powerful .45 Remington-Thompson cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 which fired a heavier 250-grain (16,2 gram) bullet at higher muzzle velocities of about 1450 fps (440m/s), with greater range than the .45 ACP. It introduced a horizontal forearm
Forearm (firearm component)
In firearms, the forearm is a section of the weapon between the receiver and the muzzle. It is used to hold the firearm steady and is usually made out of wood or composite material...

, improved inline stock for accuracy, 14-inch barrel, bipod
Bipod
A bipod is a support device that is similar to a tripod or monopod, but with two legs. It provides significant stability along two axes of motion .-Firearms:...

 and bayonet
Bayonet
A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear...

 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 of 1923 much consideration, so it was not adopted.

Model 1926

While not a new model in the usual sense of incorporating major changes, in 1926 the Cutts Compensator (a recoil 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.

Model 1928

The Model 1928 was the first type widely used by military forces, with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps as major buyers through the 1930s. The original Model 1928s were Model 1921s with weight added to the actuator, which slowed down the cyclic rate of fire, a U.S. Navy requirement. The Navy Model 1928 has several names by collectors today they are; the 'Colt Overstamp', 'The 1921 Overstamp', '28 Navy', or just '28N'. The "overstamp" term refers to the '1' in '1921' being stamped over with an '8'. 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
Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

. A notable variant of the Model 1928 with an aluminium receiver and tenite grips, handguard, made by Savage.

M1928A1

The M1928A1 variant entered mass production before the attack on Pearl Harbor
Attack on Pearl Harbor
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941...

, as on-hand stocks ran out. Changes included a horizontal forend, in place of the distinctive vertical foregrip ("pistol grip
Pistol grip
On a firearm or other tool, the pistol grip is that portion of the mechanism that is held by the hand and orients the hand in a forward, vertical orientation, similar to the position one would take with a conventional pistol such as the M1911....

"), and a provision for a military sling
Sling (firearms)
In the context of firearms, a sling is a type of strap or harness designed to allow a shooter to carry a firearm on his/her person and/or aid in greater hit probability with that firearm...

. 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 showed 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 that found on the M1/M1A1.

In addition, the Soviet Union received M1928A1s, included as standard equipment with the M3 light tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s obtained through Lend-Lease. The weapons were never issued to the Red Army, however, because of a lack of .45 ACP ammunition on the Eastern Front, and were simply put in storage. As of September 2006, limited numbers of these weapons have been re-imported from Russia to the United States as disassembled "spare parts kits", the entire weapon less the receiver (as required by Federal law).

M1

Answering the call 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
Blowback (arms)
Blowback is a system of operation for self-loading firearms that obtains energy from the motion of the cartridge case as it is pushed to the rear by expanding gases created by the ignition of the propellant charge....

 operation, the charging handle was moved to the side, and the flip-up adjustable Lyman rear sight was replaced with a fixed L sight. Late M1 Thompsons had the triangular rear sight guard wings added to the L sight which was standardized on the M1A1 version. The slots adjoining the magazine well allowing use of the drum magazine were removed. 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
Muzzle brake
Muzzle brakes and recoil compensators are devices that are fitted to the muzzle of a firearm or cannon to redirect propellant gases with the effect of countering both recoil of the gun and unwanted rising of the barrel during rapid fire...

, barrel cooling fins, and Blish lock were omitted while the buttstock
Stock (firearm)
A stock, also known as a buttstock or shoulder stock, is a part of a rifle or other firearm, to which the barrel and firing mechanism are attached, that is held against one's shoulder when firing the gun. Stocks are also found on crossbows though a crossbow stock is more properly referred to as a...

 was permanently affixed.

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 multi-piece firing pin of the M1 was supplanted by a simplified firing pin machined into the face of the bolt. The 30-round magazine 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. By the end of the Second World War, the M1A1 was replaced with the even lower-cost M3
M3 submachine gun
The M3 was an American .45-caliber submachine gun adopted for U.S. Army service on 12 December 1942, as the United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M3. The M3 was designed as a more cost-effective alternative to the Thompson, optimized for mass production...

 (commonly called "Grease Gun").

Model 1927

The Model 1927 was the open bolt semi-automatic-only 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
National Firearms Act
The National Firearms Act , 73rd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, , enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as , is an Act of Congress that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The...

 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 machineguns.

Model 1927A1

The Model 1927A1 is a semi-automatic only version of the Thompson, originally produced by Auto-Ordnance of West Hurley
West Hurley, New York
West Hurley is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 2,105 at the 2000 census.West Hurley is located in the Town of Hurley and is inside the Catskill Park. The community is northwest of Kingston, New York on Route 28.It was one of many villages that were flooded...

, New York for the civilian collector's market from 1974 to 1999. It has been produced since 1999 by Kahr Arms of Worcester
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

. 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 barrel length of 16.5 inches (versus open bolt operation and barrel length of 10.5 inches (266.7 mm) for the full 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
National Firearms Act
The National Firearms Act , 73rd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, , enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as , is an Act of Congress that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The...

. These modern versions should not be confused with the original semi-automatic Model of 1927 which was a slightly modified Model of 1921 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".

Model 1927A3

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

Model 1927A5

The Model 1927A5 is a semi-automatic pistol version, .45 ACP version of the Thompson originally produced by Auto-Ordnance in West Hurley. It featured an aluminum receiver to reduce weight. It has been produced since 2008 by Kahr Arms of Worcester, Massachusetts as the "M1927A1 TA5".

BSA Thompsons

In an attempt to expand interest and sales overseas, Auto-Ordnance entered into a partnership with and licensed Birmingham Small Arms Company
Birmingham Small Arms Company
This article is not about Gamo subsidiary BSA Guns Limited of Armoury Road, Small Heath, Birmingham B11 2PP or BSA Company or its successors....

 (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 9 mm and 7.63 Mauser calibre 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 manufactured by RPB Industries of Atlanta

Silenced variant

A version with a threaded barrel for suppressors, side folding stock and modified sights.

Canada

Thompson submachine guns (including all variants or modified versions) are classified as Prohibited Weapons in Canada. Consequently, they cannot be legally imported or owned except under very limited circumstances. For example, to own one it must be "grandfathered" from before the bill was passed against it.

United States

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
National Firearms Act
The National Firearms Act , 73rd Congress, Sess. 2, ch. 757, , enacted on June 26, 1934, currently codified as amended as , is an Act of Congress that, in general, imposes a statutory excise tax on the manufacture and transfer of certain firearms and mandates the registration of those firearms. The...

 by the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in 1934. One of its provisions is that all owners of any fully automatic firearm were required to register them with the predecessor agency of the modern Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a federal law enforcement organization within the United States Department of Justice...

 (ATF). The law also placed restrictions on the possession, transfer, and transport of the weapons. For example, North Carolina restricts fully automatic weapons except for soldiers, law enforcement, and merchants with a permit who need them to defend their business.

There are several U.S. made automatic
Automatic firearm
An automatic firearm is a firearm that loads another round mechanically after the first round has been fired.The term can be used to refer to semi-automatic firearms, which fire one shot per single pull of the trigger , or fully automatic firearms, which will continue to load and fire ammunition...

 and semi-automatic
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

 variants, copies, or replicas. The semi-automatic versions are less regulated by federal law.

Users

Limited, sometimes unlicensed copies.: 123 used by the Irish Defence Forces during the Emergency.: Captured examples were pressed into use by the Italian Army prior to September 8, 1943. Also supplied to partisans and to the Italian Co-Belligerent Army
Italian Co-Belligerent Army
The Italian Co-Belligerent Army , or the Army of the South , was the army of the Italian Royalist forces fighting on the side of the Allies during World War II....

. After the war, it was mostly issued to Italian Air Force
Italian Air Force
The Italian Air Force has gone under different names in different periods:*Regia Aeronautica , from 1923 to June 1946*Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana, the air force of Italian Social Republic during World War II...

 troopers and the Carabinieri
Carabinieri
The Carabinieri is the national gendarmerie of Italy, policing both military and civilian populations, and is a branch of the armed forces.-Early history:...

.: M1A1 in service 1952-1967, replaced by Uzi.: In early World War II, the Netherlands acquired at least 3,680 Thompsons through Lend-Lease.: Unlicensed copies.: Bought a small amount to be used by the Police, designated m/928: Adopted by the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 in 1938.

Non-state groups

  • The American Mafia: La Cosa Nostra.
  • The Provisional IRA used the 1921 variant, mainly during the early 1960s to 1970s.

See also

  • List of U.S. Army weapons by supply catalog designation SNL A-32
  • Jungle style
    Jungle style
    The term "Jungle Style" usually refers to the practice of taping or securing two gun magazines together, with one taped upside down while the other is inserted into the rifle. However, a rifle may also be jungle styled by using plastic divider or cradle in which the two magazines sit, usually upright...

    , the practice of taping two gun magazines together

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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