While you may know of today’s standard U.S. Army infantry rifles, and those of the 20th Century, how about those present at Lexington and Concord or the line of Springfield muskets from 1795 through 1865? What came after?
For all this and more, check out the easy 2,000-word primer I did for this last weekend at Guns.com.
Complete with the super-detailed cutaways, this 1942 U.S. Army training film covers the non-Blish lock operation of the M1928A1 and M1/M1A1 made by Savage Arms and Auto-Ordnance after April 1942.
The most common Tommy guns of all time, these were made in quantity (562,511 M1928A1s and a million “United States Submachine Gun, Cal. .45, M1” and M1A1), though they were all replaced by the cheaper M3 Grease Gun soon after the war.
Private Bruce Rutherford and doggoes cleaning his “Chicago Typewriter”
From the 1920s through the 1960s, many civilian police forces, such as these cops in Tacoma, Wash, had a few Tommy guns on the racks “just in case” phasing them out after Vietnam with 1033 Program M16A1s
The St. Louis Metro Police Department is parting with most of its huge and historic Thompson submachine gun collection in a move to get a good deal on new duty guns.
Twenty-seven of the city’s 30 Tommy guns will be sold to Midwest Distributors for $22,000 apiece. All told, the Kentucky-based firm will pay $618,500 for the transferrable .45 ACP s sub guns and some other surplus weapons. This is on top of $597,000 paid by Minneapolis-based Bill Hicks & Co. for 1,748 used Beretta handguns currently carried by the department.
The money will go to offset the cost of new Berettas at $450 a pop to equip every officer with as well as a quantity of AR-15s to be used as patrol rifles.
More in my column at Guns.com.
That stock comes off, you know?
Plymouth Borough, outside of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, isn’t big, but they have had a vintage and transferrable Tommy gun in their city’s arsenal since Prohibition that they want to get rid of if the price is right.
Furthermore, it’s not your average burp gun– it’s a Navy overstamp 1921 Colt-made Thompson.
Often thought of by militaria collectors as the holy grail of U.S. sub guns, the overstamp came about when Auto Ordnance moved to offload their stock of Colt-made M1921 Thompsons and, modifying them slightly by reducing their cyclic rate of fire from 800 rounds per minute to a more pedestrian 600, over-stamped the “1” in 1921 with an “8.”
The Title II/Class 3 weapon is listed on Gunbroker, with a current price of $28,000 and two days to go before the bidding ends.
In recent years several agencies have liquidated their stocks of aging Tommy guns including St.Louis PD who put a cool $1 million worth of the .45 ACP SMGs up for sale in 2014 and another North Carolina department who moved to swap a pair of Thompsons for 88 newer semi-auto Bushmasters.
In 2015, the town of Kinston, North Carolina, who had picked up an overstamp to ward off possible tobacco payroll robbers in 1935, sold their gun for $36,750, which is about average for the model.
Back in the days where men wore fedoras, drove cars that weighed more than a tank, and only mixed whiskey with more whiskey, the Thompson submachine gun was the benchmark for defense needs. The military used it. The criminals loved it. And the FBI considered it standard issue for a while.
And they had to qual with it…
Read the rest in my article at Firearms Talk.com