Invented in 1918 by John T. Thompson, the Thompson Submachine Gun became infamous during the Prohibition era and was used by both criminals and law enforcement officers at the time. It’s also dubbed the Tommy Gun, Chicago Typewriter, Annihilator, and many other nick-names due to its widespread use at the time.
It was a favorite amongst soldiers, police officers, criminals, and civilians because it fires a large .45 ACP cartridge. It also has a high volume of fully automatic fire and is considered highly accurate. It has gained popularity among collectors in recent decades for its historical significance. When focusing on the Prohibition Era and World War II, it’s almost impossible not to see, hear, or read about the Thompson Submachine Gun because of its critical significance during these time periods. All of this makes it one of the best known firearms in United States history and abroad.
The fully automatic original version is no longer produced due to firearm regulations, however, semi-automatic versions are still produced and sold to civilians. Auto Ordinance continues to manufacturer these modified versions that retain the original appearance, however, modifications have been made over the years to continue complying with US firearm laws.
Original pricing was about $200 in 1921, the equivalent of $2,685 in 2016. This initial M1921 model was sold in small quantity to the United States Postal Inspection Service because, during this time, they were experiencing a spate of robberies and their employees needed protection. This model was also sold to the US Marine Corps. While it has fallen out of official use today, it remains a top pick for civilian shooters and collectors.