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GUNS Magazine Digital April 2011 - Page 36

HOLT BODiNSON The Auto-ordnance M1. nown as the “Chicago Piano,” “Chopper,” “Thompson,” k “Tommy Gun” and the “Gun that Made the ’20s Roar,” General John Taliaferro Thompson’s submachine gun shot its way into history in the hands of soldiers, sailors, policemen, G-men and the likes of Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger, Machine gun kelly, the Baker gang and—let’s not forget—the silver screen of Hollywood. While it still endures on the wide screen as the classic American “gangster” gun, the Tommy Gun took good care of its legitimate handlers from WWII through Korea and into Vietnam. Now, thanks to the work of Kahr’s Auto-Ordnance Corporation, we, too, can enjoy owning and shooting this American military icon. “Our boys in the infantry, now in the trenches, need a small machine gun, a gun that will fire 50 to 100 rounds, so light that he can drag it with him as he crawls on his belly from trench to trench, and wipe out a whole company single-handed,” wrote General John T. Thompson in the closing days of WWI. thE GENERAL’S tOMMy GUN holt found the notch on top of the fixed rear sight (above) provided a better sight picture than the peep. The Thompson’s oddly shaped buttplate (below) is not easy to shoulder. it’s better under the armpit! Thompson was a West Pointer, a distinguished small-arms ordnance officer at the Springfield and Rock Island Arsenals, earning the unofficial title, “Father of the Springfield Rifle.” After conducting the famous Thompson-LaGarde handgun ammunition tests in 1904, Thompson championed the development of the .45 ACP cartridge and the adoption of the Colt Model 1911. He was an outspoken advocate of putting greater automatic firepower into the hands of front-line troops—a position that did not endear him to his more conservative ordnance associates, who remembered that Thompson was responsible for enabling 2nd Lt. John Parker to sneak a battery of Gatling guns over to Cuba for use in the battle of San Juan Hill. So in November 1914, Thompson suddenly announced his retirement and went to work for the Remington Arms Company to design and supervise the construction of the famous Eddystone arms plant for the production of the Enfield Pattern 14 in The Auto-ordnance m1 handles just like the real deal except for the longer 16-1/2" barrel. 36 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • APRIL 2011

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