In many ways, the Thompson and its history reflects the character of the American boys sent overseas to fight in WWII — scrappy dogfaces with lots of fight and some mischief in their background who were shipped out to do a job and do it well. That interesting parallel alone is enough to give the gun its iconic status, but the gun’s performance in combat leaves no doubt.

The Marine Corps had been using the Thompson SMG for years before WWII started, but after the United States entered the war, the Thompson finally was placed in full production to stock the arsenals of the United States. While it may have come along too late for the first great war, the Thompson SMG proved to be one of the most effective and desired firearms in the hands of U.S. soldiers around the world. Some even argue that had the Thompson not been in the hands of American soldiers, we might not have won the war.

The Thompson SMG I introduced for the soldiers in WWII was simplified to make the manufacturing process easier. Gone were the drum magazines and ladder sights of the earlier models. Instead, a fixed peep sight and straight 30-round magazines were introduced. The elaborate vertical foregrip was also removed and replaced with a more traditional handguard design.


  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Barrel: 10.5″
  • Size: 32″
  • Weight: 10.6 lbs. empty
  • Operation: friction delayed gas blowback
  • Capacity: 20 / 30 round stick magazine

Accessories for the Thompson submachine gun - the iconic American-made "Tommy gun" carried and prized by U.S. troops lucky enough to get one. The gun performed well in the close street fighting that was encountered frequently during the invasion of France.

A Marine of the 1st Marine Division draws a bead on a Japanese sniper with his tommy-gun as his companion ducks for cover. The division is working to take Wana Ridge before the town of Shuri. Okinawa, 1945 [Via Wikipedia]

[Via Knight Kappers]


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