The Thompson Submachine Gun, Colt + Numrich Arms and Puzzles
Philip A. Fecher

Recently two items by Gordon Herigstad have appeared in T.C.N., issues 146 and 145 The following represents opinions formed by reading and talking with TSMG persons including the late Curtis Earl.

Firstly, the item in TCN 146 which discussed the validity and value of certain Colt TSMG which have a NAC serial number, in this case NAC3. I own Co1t/NAC5, Model 1921A about which I will comment and describe. I recall seeing Colt/NAC 1, NAC 3 and others at the Curtis Earl shop in Phoenix in 1981. At that time there was an increasing purchase price for declining NAC serial numbers. Col t /NAC 1 was not in my judgment reasonably for sale. It seemed to me that Curtis saw the Colt/NAC guns to be of sufficient importance that he wanted to keep Number One for his own display. In any event, I acquired Colt/NAC5 as I thought it represented the best value for dollar.

During my visit, Curtis Earl stated that these guns were registered and produced by Numrich Arms from receivers, frames and parts included in the material remaining from the Colt/Savage/Auto-Ordnance period of manufacture. He referred to the Helmer book which comments on the history of the transactions which put Numrich into Auto-Ordnance. We all know now that complete guns, receivers, frames, parts, prototypes, the machine tools and drawings required to produce the Thompson were in the cases acquired by Numrich. Both the Helmer and Cox book refer to this story.

I compared Colt / NAC5 with original Colt guns on hand and concluded that it was an interesting variation. It is definitely an original Colt receiver being clearly marked.  It was plain that it was not a complete Colt gun and was not likely to ever have been one.

In this respect I agree with Gordon. It is quite possible that none of the Colt/NAC guns now existing were complete when Numrich discovered them. More likely they were receivers and frames and parts. Also likely, every existing Colt/NAC gun is a bit different.

In the Cox book, page 24, he refers to 1928 models being sold to the Virginia State Police. Roger Cox states that these guns were originally Model 1928A1 which had the numbers ground off. No doubt it is possibly true. On the other hand it is obvious that Cox never saw a Colt/NAC gun or he would have surely made a comment about it since his book was primarily a Colt TSMG book.