The “Tommy Gun” aka The Thompson M1A1 Submachine Gun

Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, one sound was familiar to both gangster and policemen alike, that was the sound of the “Chicago Typewriter”, aka the Thompson M1A1 Submachine Gun, also known as the “Tommy Gun”. The Thompson .45 ACP  submachine gun is probably the most iconic weapons of the 20th century. It has served villains, law enforcement and the American military and served each very well.

First developed  John T. Thompson in 1918, it was designed with trench warfare in mind, it was supposed to be a weapon for the American forces fighting in France. During an attack, when the American forces reached the enemy line of trenches, it was to act as a “trench broom” to sweep-out any opposing forces still in the trenches. It came too late for the military to use during the first world war, so afterwards, it went up for sale to anyone who could afford it. Sadly, the “Tommy Gun” was made famous during the Great Depression by bank robbers and bootleggers. It is the iconic “Gangster” gun.


Thankfully, it did make it into the hands of the U.S. military after America entered the second World War on December 7th, 1941 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The Thompson served in both the Pacific and European Theaters until the end of the war in 1945. It packs a punch using the .45 caliber ACP cartridge and has a very high rate of fire. As any could attest to, if you were being shot at with a Thompson and were hit, you were going down. In my opinion, it still stands today as one of the finest submachine guns ever made.

*”The Thompson submachine gun is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1918, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals. The Thompson submachine gun was also known informally as the “Tommy Gun”, “Annihilator”, “Chicago Typewriter”, “Chicago Piano”, “Chicago Style”, “Chicago Organ Grinder”, “Trench Broom”, “Trench Sweeper”, “The Chopper”, and simply “The Thompson”. The Thompson was favored by soldiers, criminals, police, and civilians alike for its large .45 ACP cartridge, accuracy, and high volume of automatic fire. It has since gained popularity among civilian collectors for its historical significance.”

H/T – *Wikipedia

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