View Full Version : machine guns pre 1934

gunboy 3
May 28, 2001, 05:31 PM
I read online (Unofficial Tommy Gun Page) that Thompson sub-machine guns were sold in hardware stores. Is anyone out there in possession of a link or reference that would show this?

May 28, 2001, 06:28 PM
No link but in the days of yore, hardware and general mercantile stores were the primary place to buy firearms. Thompsons had a fair amount of popularity among farmers and ranchers for pest control.

We could still usem for "pest" control


May 28, 2001, 07:23 PM
I don't know about Thompsons but the only retail gun outlet within 160 miles of my home is the local True Value hardware store. And they have a very good selection to boot.

Jay Baker
May 28, 2001, 07:27 PM
Back in the good 'ol days, you could buy a Thompson, or about anythig else, through the mail. Now, the communistnazis have just about destroyed the Constitution. Ahhh, the good ol' days.... J.B.

May 28, 2001, 07:27 PM
Prior to 1968 you could still order a gun from Sears and the mailman would bring it to your door without a second thought.

May 28, 2001, 07:28 PM
One of the best sources of info is William Helmer's book "The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar". Before the Federal Firearms Act, there were only a few local restrictions on full auto ownership. However, gangsters still had to buy through a straw man because nobody would have sold to them directly. On a side note, Thompsons were no where near as common as the movies would suggest. 99% of bootleggers never owned one, and those who did own them couldn't shoot worth crap. In one case, over 1,000 rounds were fired from a Thompson in a Chicago gangland shootout. The result? One bystander slightly injured. They worked much better when the gangsters could line their enemies against a wall and fire at point-blank range.

May 28, 2001, 09:15 PM
The original run of Thompson guns from 1921 - 28 Models (10,000) units languished and mostly remained unsold until WWII. The Auto Ordnance Co. had the guns built by Colt. The Tommy Gun came into its own when the gomit bought em for WWII.

May 28, 2001, 09:29 PM
Moving to the Full Auto forum.

May 28, 2001, 09:42 PM
A lot of the big name gangsters prefered the BAR and would raid NG armories to get them.

James K
May 28, 2001, 10:30 PM
Thompsons were quite legal at that time and could be sold in sporting goods and hardware stores, but were rarely stocked because of the high dollar cost. One price I have seen was $225, when a dollar was worth 25-30 of today's dollars.

Actually the TSMG was effectively off the market prior to 1934 as the company policy after 1931 was to sell only to LE agencies, military, and institutions requiring them for security purposes.