This brought the rate of fire down to about rounds per minute. To identify these modified guns, the Model number was overstamped with number 8 over the last digit. The gun was made in. However, a few were made in a more powerful. The Thompson, also known as the Tommy Gun and the Chicago Typewriter, particularly in the press, was used extensively in the FBI until the late s or early s.
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When John Cox went through new agent training in , his class shot Thompsons. Back in the s when the Thompsons were in heavy use, a carrying case was designed and built to FBI specifications.
The black case, made by the Kansas City Trunk Company, held the gun with stock stored separately, a cleaning rod, and had room for four round magazines and one round drum mag. The bronze lug of the Blish system was dropped but the rear of the receiver had to be reinforced for reliability. Several courses were designed for the Thompsons. The course consisted of 50 rounds fired from 15 to 50 yards, both single fire and full-auto in bursts.
Many police agencies, large and small, bought them. Unfortunately, this became a prime source of Tommy guns for gangsters. Many crooks, including Dillinger, stole them from police departments. The various field offices could keep a small number for tours and shooting demonstrations, and a few were kept at Quantico for use on the popular FBI tour in Washington, DC. In total there were guns destroyed. A few more were retained at Quantico. This destruction order was found to be premature, as there was no official replacement designated.
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The Bureau was then without operational submachine guns. The shortage caused a scramble for temporary replacements and several substitutes were acquired. They were, of course, in. The Gun Vault already had a grease gun in. Several MAC 10s were also acquired. Former Agent, Tom Riley, who also happened to be my firearms instructor, told me that he arranged with his contacts in the Marine Corps to obtain surplus firearms from the Navy depot at Crane, Indiana. Later, he borrowed sample weapons from the Marines to evaluate for possible replacements for the Thompsons.
Prior to their being phased out, the Academy Gun Vault received an interesting phone call from a supply unit of the U.
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Marine Corps. They asked if the FBI still used Thompsons and if the agency needed any spare parts, free of charge and transportation included.
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The Gun Vault replied yes and soon forgot about the offer. Some months later, a phone call from Mainside, Quantico, advised the shipment of parts had arrived. Lester Limerick, then head gunsmith, told them he would have a pickup truck sent to the depot to pick them up. There are most of two boxcars full of parts for you! The Marine Corps had found a way to clear all its old inventory off the books with one call.
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The Gun Vault had to sort through thousands of parts, many still wrapped for long-term storage, to pull what they needed. A rumor is still going around that most of the parts were buried somewhere on the academy grounds. Indeed, the FBI could probably buy a new range complex for what those parts would be worth today. We had already had experience with the short version of this gun, the Kurtz, and the SD, the suppressed model. The gun was accurate, reliable and easy to fire.
To help overcome this, 9mm tracer ammunition was made available to some SWAT and HRT members who wished to add them to the bottom of their magazines as an advanced warning that they were about to go dry, a trick used by fighter pilots during WWII. I recently discovered one of the most unusual Thompsons the FBI ever owned.
It was of a Thompson in 10mm!
What on earth would the FBI want to convert one to that caliber? But my latest trip to Quantico confirmed that one was in inventory, assembled at the Academy Gun Vault, but no one still there could tell me why it was made. By the time they had the project completed, the was being dropped but they were so far along the FBI decided to still purchase the guns.
I also noted that the report is a definite attention grabber form others at the range. Be prepared to answer questions. There is also a learning curve to loading and shooting the drum mag and to me, it seems to jam and have a few miss-fires that may be operator error. Which means I will have to shoot it more! To say the least, this is a great iconic gun from days past.
Great looking firearm. Fairly heavy but after awhile I got comfortable with it. Very stiff at first and had a few feeding issues but after rounds or so it smoothed out. Definitely a nice range toy and very accurate.
This was using the stick mag loaded with Federal ball ammo. I received this Thompson reproduction in perfect condition. Came in a nice hard plastic case. What an awesome machine that any collector would like to have. I love BUD's does price matching, product arrived on time with no issues. This is one of several purchases I've made with BUD's and I've always been happy, I give 5 stars in all categories and will likely make future purchases.
Thanks, AMR. This gun is heavy as heck but looks great. This is the gun you buy to show-off to your friends. However, mine had feeding problems from the beginning and I had to send it back for repairs to Auto Ordnance. After eleven weeks I got it back and it seems to be working better. I only recommend this gun to people with expendable cash. Very high maintenance gun but again it looks great and 45 acp is pretty cheap.
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