90 years after the introduction of the 1927 Thompson submachine gun the “Tommy” still remains an iconic piece of Americana. Images of gangsters, prohibition-era smugglers, g-men, and even WWII heroes come to mind. The history of the “Tommy gun” and John Thompson is actually much richer than is commonly known:
- John Thompson was responsible for the adoption of .45acp into military service.
- He himself was a West Point graduate and actually retired from military service twice.
- John Thompson also worked for Remington during which he was responsible for the construction of Remington’s Mosin Nagant factory.
- Development of his “trench broom” was part of a mission to find an intermediate between traditional handguns and rifles. There is much more history to be found at Kahr’s website here.
Auto Ordinance of the Kahr Firearms produces a semi-auto version of the “Tommy” in various versions. We were luck enough to get our hands on their “Chicago Typewriter” complete with a drum magazine and “violin” case”. We’ll be spending some more time with this beautiful piece of history, but wanted to show some of the essentials. Watch the video below to see what it’s like to wield one of these beautiful pieces of walnut and steel.
The model seen in the video is the T1B-14 which has the following specifications taken directly from their product page:
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 15″, Finned (with compensator 16.5″)
Length: 39″ overall / 29.5″ (without buttstock)
Weight: 12.5 lbs.
Sights: Blade front, open rear adjustable
Magazines: One 20 round stick magazine
Stock: Walnut detachable stock and vertical foregrip
Warranty: 1 Year
Is 12.5lbs a bit of a bear to carry? Yes. Does it make it any less fun to shoot? No, the weight makes .45acp feel more like .380 and unlike the full-auto versions that we’ve tried at events the fresh recoil assembly in our T&E gun kept the reciprocating mass from slamming into the receiver and resulted in a very smooth shoot. If I have any complaints about the Chicago Typewriter it’s that it’s too easy to burn up a couple boxes of ammo.
Editors note: It was John Moses Browning who designed the .45 ACP but Thompson pushed for the adoption with the M1911 as the military needed a more capable sidearm round.