WWII Savage M1928A1 with Colt 1921A verticle forgrip.

The Story of the Thompson Sub Machinegun

This web site is dedicated to General John T. Thompson for his amazing invention, the Submachine gun. And to all of us who admire this piece of American history.  


My thoughts on Energy Policy

The Thompson Submachine gun was born from the mind of General John T. Thompson. Gen. Thompson was driven with the thought of creating a hand held machinegun that would help end the First World War. At this time in history, machineguns were large heavy weapons manned by several soldiers. The thought of a compact machinegun, small and light enough for a single soldier to operate, fascinated Thompson. It was his never ending devotion to developing the light weight machinegun, combined with a series of well timed world events, that led to the creation of the worlds first practical Submachine gun; The Thompson Submachine gun.

The Story of the Thompson submachine gun is a story of patriotism, dreams, intrigue, disappointment, greed and questionable business practices. It covers only a short span of American History, about 25 years from 1920 to 1945, but has had a lasting impact on the American culture. It would be unlikely for anyone to picture the roaring twenties without a Tommy gun blazing away from the window of a black sedan. It is also difficult to picture the U.S. Army on patrol in the French villages of WWII, without seeing a soldier carrying his Thompson; ready to provide a deadly cover fire if needed.

Whether you are a firearms enthusiast or not, the Story of The Thompson submachine gun is a fascinating story to read. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I've had putting it together in this Web page tribute to General John T. Thompson.

-Thompson Resources-


The Thompson Submachine Gun


  • Osprey Publishing's new series 'Weapon', looks at the development, use, and impact of a number of weapons including the Thompson Submachine gun. For further information on this book please visit www.ospreypublishing.com.

    For a 25% off discount on this book, please use the promo code THOMPSON.


  • For anyone interested in the history of the Thompson submachine gun, the following book is a MUST read: The Gun That Made the Twenties ROAR, by William J. Helmer, The Gun Room Press, Highland Park, NJ 08904. ISBN O-88227-007-25. This book can be ordered directly from Auto Ordnance Corp. at telephone number 914-679-7225.
  • Another excellent source of Tommy Gun photographs and in-depth information are the two books: "Thompson: the American Legend, THE FIRST SUBMACHINE GUN", and The Ultimate Thompson Book by Tracie Hill.   Published by Collector Grade Publications, PO Box 1046 Cobourg Ont. K9A 4W5 Canada."
  • THOMPSON SUBMACHINE GUN ITEMS: Vertical front grips, semi-finished receivers, non-firing display guns, barrels, parts, manufacturing drawings, videos, reprints of original handbooks, manuals, books, tools & catalogs.  For additional information contact Doug Richardson at his web site www.thompsonsmg.com   Tell Doug you saw his name mentioned on The Unofficial Tommy Gun Page.
  • An excellent video tape on the history of the Thompson Submachine gun is produced by Rimfire Productions and Mr. William Douglas. "The Thompson Submachine Gun" video tape contains detailed images of the early prototypes, and some of the little known and rare Thompsons. Such as the Model 1923 and 1929 Thompsons, the British BSA Thompsons, the model M1A2 and T-2 Thompson and the only known prototype of the experimental .30-06 BLOWBACK operated Thompson.   The cost of the two-hour video is $39.95 plus $3.95 shipping/handling and is sent by Priority Mail.   Also available is the Roger Cox Thompson book SUPPLEMENT, 38-page soft-cover printed in 1986 updating his 1982 hardcover book. Adds 238 more Colt serial #'s and their original purchasers than in his earlier work. Sections on how '86 McClure-Volkmer law affected Thompson collecting, buying/selling, legal aspects of ownership, new info on drums and hard-cases, and more. These original supplements had a much smaller print-run than the book itself. Condition is like new. High-gloss, quality paper.  Available through the William Douglas Military Museum, PO Box 1193 Dunedin, FL 34697-1193. Tel. 727-736-3993, Fax 727-734-4220, E-mail GunsRus@ix.netcom.com or to order call toll free at 1-800-209-4681. Mr. Douglas was a contributor to the excellent book by Tracie Hill mentioned above.
  • TommyGunner.com an excellent source of Thompson related links, accessories, spare parts, services, etc.
  • Thompson spare parts and Dummy Guns  can be purchased from Sarco, Inc. 323 Union St, PO Box 98, Stirling, NJ 07980. Tel. 908-647-3800.
  • Thompson spare parts can be purchased from Ohio Ordnance Works, PO Box 687, Chardon, OH. 44024. Tel: 440-285-3481. Fax: 440-286-8571.
  • Non functional Fake Thompsons can be purchased from Collector's Armory,  To order call 1-800-544-3456 ext. 515.  (See review in Feb 98 TCN)
  • Non functional Fake Thompson can be purchased from Cheaper Than Dirt,  1-800-421-8047. 2522 NE Loop 820, Fort Worth, TX  76106-1809.
  • Replica Thompson Airsoft guns can be purchased from AirSplat.com.  Click on the link to Spring Airsoft Rifles and Machineguns.
  • US Tommy Gun replicas by MGC  (Model Gun Corporation) of Japan.   This company is no longer in business and these replicas are from 12-25 years old.  Contact RepliGun.us.

Legal Doublespeak

This Internet Web Site, and its Author, are in no way associated with The Auto Ordnance Corporation of West Hurley, NY. or any of its affiliates. Private use of the information and images presented here (except for those in the On-Line Edition of the Thompson Collectors News and The American Thompson Association) is granted with the following conditions: (1) Although much effort has been made to provide information that is as accurate as possible, it is understood that no claim is made as to the accuracy of the information presented within these pages. (2) The information and images may only be used if they portray the private use of firearms, and firearms owners, in a positive manner. Use of these images or information, by any anti-gun oriented organizations or individuals is prohibited.

Permission to use information or images presented in the "On-Line edition of the THOMPSON COLLECTORS NEWS" must be obtained from the Thompson Collectors Association. Permission to use information or images from "The American Thompson Association" must be obtained from Tracie Hill..

The Unofficial Tommy Gun Page,
Copyright 1996-2010 Gary James
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This page was last updated April 03, 2013

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