Also known as the Tommy Gun, the Thompson was a popular submachine gun that became [in]famous during prohibition, when gangsters would use it because of the high volume of automatic fire it made available from such a compact firearm and it could be attained legally.
Designed during World War I by General John T. Thompson, the Tommy Gun was available in the .45 Caliber ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) cartridge, and was used by the US Army through WW2. The means of operation is direct blow-back, although early models made use of the Blish lock, turning the mechanism into a delayed blow-back system. After WW2 it saw limited service in Korea, and was carried unofficially by a smattering of soldiers in Vietnam. Domestically, it was used by law enforcement, most prominently by the FBI, until 1976 when it was declared obsolete, and all Thompsons in government possession were destroyed, except for a few token museum peices and training models. Owing to both its gangster and WWII connections, Thompsons are highly sought after collector's items. An original 1928 gun in working condition can easily fetch $15,000. Semi-auto replicas are currently produced by the Auto-Ordnance Company, which is operated as a division of Kahr firearms.
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