The Thompson is a blend of art and machine. By today’s standards, it’s too heavy- too much steel and wood. But here at Gunsite, while firing the Thompson, one thought comes to mind for this Chicago boy: It’s perfect.
1919, as America reeled from the war to end all wars, John Tolliver, or in my neighborhood, Taliaferro Thompson- a career army officer, created the firearm that would make his name immortal. The Thompson sub-machine gun did indeed make the 20’s roar. But, it has survived into the 21st century, not because of its prodigious war making capabilities, but because John T Thompson inadvertently created an enduring work of art.
Thompson’s first customer was the Irish republican army, better known as the IRA, who ordered 600 of the new sub-machine guns. Most of those guns were seized, but at least 140 Thompsons made it to Ireland. Today’s smaller, lighter caliber sub guns like the MP7 and the FNP90, have replaced the Thompsons on the front lines. But, the Thompson still holds its own against these modern high-tech weapons.