View Full Version : Auto-Ordnance(Kahr) Thompson SBR vs Thompson Pistol

October 27, 2011, 02:46 PM
Could somebody in the know explain to me why a new Auto-Ordnance Thompson SBR has to go through a Class III dealer & a new Thompson Pistol, which is the same gun in every respect MINUS the buttstock doesn't???...OR is this just one of those laws that MAKES NO SENSE.

If this has been adressed in another thread, point me to it. I searched before asking & couldn't find the answer.

October 27, 2011, 02:56 PM
It is a law that makes no sense, but it has been the law (Federal) for a long time now. The key issue is Short Barreled Rifle (SBR), which was defined in the National Firearms Act of 1934 and regulated since then.

October 27, 2011, 03:20 PM
I know about the NFA, I guess I was hoping, praying there was something more to it. Something out there I was missing.

So you can have a 10 inch barrelled Tommy gun w/o going through a class three dealer as long as it doesn't have a buttstock...

...boy, I'm glad we are on top of "buttstock regulation". Dangerous things, those buttstocks.

Done with the sarcasm now. I do thank you TXHootus for the response.

Willie Lowman
October 27, 2011, 03:22 PM
It has been covered in the NFA section 100 times before. It's because they said so.

If you want a nifty little .45 carbine (SBR Thompson) you fills out your forms, pays for your stamp and you wait like the rest of us.

If you want an awkward, heavy, very high capacity .45 pistol (Thompson pistol) buy that and quit your crying.

Seriously, shoot a SBR and shoot the same gun without a stock and you will know the SBR is the better gun. In the 1930s there was a problem with people shortening the barrel (but not removing the stock) of weapons so they could rob banks and such. That is why we have that law. Because they said so.

October 27, 2011, 03:29 PM
Believe me, I'm not crying...& I WILL BE A GOOD BOY & fill out the forms, pay for the stamp & wait... you're not the first person I've heard mention awkward & heavy in the same sentence when describing a Thompson pistol. Actually, those adjectives are a bit kind compared to what I've heard others say about them.

I do know about the days of the "Mail order Tommy Gun" & the gangsters that used them, but I DID NOT know about them shortening barrels, but not removing buttstocks. Thanks for the insight. It helps make a BIT more sense of that aspect of the NFA.

I guess I should have been more clear in the first post. I know about the NFA, not an expert, but enough to keep me out of trouble. I was looking for an "historical" answer, more of a "why does this part of the NFA exsist".

44 AMP
November 3, 2011, 09:15 PM
First off, the SBR and the pistol are not exactly the same gun. They are nearly the same gun, but there is both a slight physical, and a huge legal difference.

The SBR is the standard semi auto carbine, just with the 10.5" original Tommygun length barrel. The frame where the stock attaches is flat, and tapped for the stock attachment screws, the same as the regular carbine.

The pistol is virtually identical in appearance, except that the frame where the stock would have been attached is not flat, it is rounded, and there are no mounting holes for the stock screws.

The real Tommygun (full auto) had a 10.5" barrel, and some models had a detatchable buttstock (button catch) and others could be unscrewed.

Never heard of any gansters shortening the barrel of a Tommygun. They would sometimes take off the buttstock.

Bonnie & Clyde were noted for shortening the barrels and butts of BARs they stole from govt armories.

The NFA 34 was our first national gun control law, and as near as I can tell was passed to give work to those Feds put out of work by the repeal of Prohibition.

It restricted ownership of full auto firearms, short barrel rifles and shotguns, and devices intended to muffle the sound of a shot, commonly called Silencers.

Tommyguns, fell under the full auto section, even though they were also short barreled. In general, any stocked firearm under 26" overall length, or with a barrel under 16" (rifled) or 18" (smoothbore) is covered under the NFA. Also, a handgun with a barrel over 16" (and no buttstock) is also covered.

There have been, in recent years, some exceptions allowed, under curio & relic rules, but for many years, there were virtually no exceptions.

The semi auto Tommygun, is outwardly nearly the same as the full auto, but internally, it is quite different.

Basically, the semi auto carbine is a rifle, or SBR, leaglly, because the manufacturer registers the receiver as such. And the pistol is a pistol for the same reason.