View Full Version : Thompson?

June 11, 2004, 07:40 PM
I have no idea if this is the right place to post this, but I wanted to ask how familiar any of you are with the Thompson sub-machine gun used by Paratroopers and Marines in World War II. I'm into WWII reenacting, and am looking for a place to buy them, rent them, etc.

Anyone care to discuss?


June 11, 2004, 08:22 PM
Don't know if you are aware of the process of buying full-auto firearms, but a Thompson submachinegun is going to run around $15,000 to $30,000 depending on model and condition.

Here are a couple of online places that list Thompsons. You will need to contact a local Class III dealer to handle the transfer.

GunsAmerica (http://www.gunsamerica.com/1255/1255-random-1.htm)
Subguns.com Ads (http://www.subguns.com/classifieds/?db=nfafirearms&category=All+Items+in+this+Category&query=category&search_and_display_db_button=on&results_format=headlines)

June 11, 2004, 09:45 PM
The cheap way to go would to be get an Airsoft or other replica gun or a nonfiring replica. For between $100 and $300 you should be able to get a nice functioning replica gun which will shoot either BBs or plastic pellets depending on the brand. http://www.airsoftatlanta.com/rifle.htm

Needless to say these are not actual firearms, but if you are doing historical reenactments it would be uncool to shoot real bullets at your fellow historians. ;)

Edited to say that I looked up the Amazon.com site and they have Tokyo Marui brand Thompson M1A1 replicas (these are the ones that shoot 6mm plastic BBs) for $361.95. I guess prices have gone up since the last time I looked at them.

June 13, 2004, 03:30 PM
There are also new-manufacture semi-auto Thompsons available. I've seen them for about $800.

They look like real ones, and fire, just are not Full-Auto.

June 13, 2004, 05:05 PM
thanks for all the replies....just a note that it would be firing blanks, not actual ammo.

June 13, 2004, 07:44 PM
One would hope so! :D

Just in case you aren't aware of it, the ultimate book on the venerable Thompson is called, "The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar". "The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar" (http://www.rutgersgunbooks.com/Thompson.shtml) by William J. Helmer. IIRC it was his Master's thesis.

June 19, 2004, 07:54 PM
I've been talking with some various arms dealers, and one of them referred me to this page:

I've talked with the owner of Philly Ordanance, and he says these are still available.

The site says it's sold for $255-is this a steal? about normal?

Also, im sorry for asking all these dumb questions, but I just have no clue what half the terms on that page mean-for instance, what does it mean by 80% receiver? Can this gun be adapted to fire normal blanks?

Thanks alot all!

June 19, 2004, 10:32 PM
80% receiver means the receiver is only 80% complete, therefore the whole thing is not considered a firearm by the government. It would take some machining and parts to adapt it to fire blanks. It would probably be a lot easier and cheaper to buy a completed semi-auto Thompson.

June 20, 2004, 07:03 AM
Someone also recommended me to this:

It qualifies as a SBR because it's only 10 inch. I believe I could get away with that, and its only around $1300.

How much modification would it need to fire blanks?

June 20, 2004, 09:43 PM
More on the Airsoft M1A1 Thompson: http://www.nipponhobbies.com/airsoft/m1a1.htm


June 27, 2004, 07:35 AM
Someone also recommended me to this:

It qualifies as a SBR because it's only 10 inch. I believe I could get away with that, and its only around $1300.

How much modification would it need to fire blanks?

Can anyone vouch for this?

July 8, 2004, 06:34 PM
anyone? :rolleyes:

Johnny Guest
July 9, 2004, 02:24 PM
younghistorians, you wrote: Can anyone vouch for this? Uh, what? That Auto-Ordnance is selling an SBR version of the M1 TSMG? Apparently they are. Also, a short barrel version of the model of 1928.

If you are asking about a blank-firing adaptation of the SBR, perhaps one of the other members could come up with an answer. Seems I noticed that at least one member has some experience in movie special effects (SFX! :) ) and might have some suggestions.

I believe I've read that it is more difficult to make a .45 ACP cal firearm function with blanks than some other calibers, such as 9x19mm. And I know there are a lot of blank-firing "non-gun" replicas sold, chambered for a special, 8mm (that's eight mike-mike) blank, so that might be the way to go.

Making a semi-auto gun funtion properly firing blanks is a good deal more complicated than just loading up the magazine and shooting. Turns out to be quite a bit of work:

1. If you adapted to either 8 or 9 mm blanks, you'd need to at least a chamber insert, or possibly an entirely different barrel. Not so for .45 ACP

2. To make the gun function semi-automatically, you'd need some sort of barrel constriction device installed.

3. I'm really out of my depth here - - I'd think you'd need to reduce the weight of the bolt and actuator, and lessen the recoil spring resistance as well.

4. If you DID go to the smaller caliber blanks, you'd need a proper magazine - - The standard TSMG mags wouldn't handle other than .45 cal blanks.

Anyone know of a reliable source of .45 ACP blanks? On reflection, I think the blank firing adaptation in cal .45 would end up being easiest, even if the per-round cost was higher.

Late addition: a source for SOME blank ammo - -

Best of luck - -