Thomson M1A1 Run and Gun (Full Auto)

The American Thompson submachineguns are perhaps the most iconic SMGs in the world. They have graced the hands of heroes and villains, but the humble M1A1 is the result of many cost cutting measures designed to get guns to our boys during WWII quickly and cheaply. In fact, M1A1s reduced the cost of the famous SMG to less than a quarter of what it cost to build a M1928. So, how will it fare on the run and gun course?

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Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Riot

    “I’m going to switch it over to auto”

    Our favourite words

    • Thank God for Ventura Munitions!

      • iksnilol

        I imagine millitary MG guys say: “Thank God for taxpayers”


        • TVOrZ6dw

          I used to get tired loading all the ammo cans into the track, but now I look back and miss those days. I can’t imagine what one day on the range today would cost with all you can eat ammo for M2, M6, M203, and M16.

          • iksnilol

            I say look at the bright side. You don’t have to hump all the ammo and the big gun anymore.

            Even a PKM is a heavy gun

  • Joe

    Would the bolt be as jarring in closed bolt semis?

    • No. In a closed bolt semi you are only dealing with a lightweight hammer or striker moving forwards. In an open bolt gun, you have the entire reciprocating mass.

  • Jim

    God but I envy your job. Imagine having to operate these firearms and report on them not having any fun at all! LOL!

  • RenHoek

    Alex you should try to get your hands on a Sterling SMG or a Sten to keep in line with run and gunning the submachine guns.

  • Did Patrick do his run?

  • Lance

    Ok Alex 3 tries you need to do. MP-40 SMG, PP-19 Bison 9x18mm SMG and Yes Trapdoor Springfield.!!

    • mosinman

      Lance i doubt he has access to a PP-19

      • iksnilol

        Uh, considering the amount of money (we presume) Alex has the only thing I honestly believe he doesn’t have is an F-35.


        • adverse

          If he had a F-35, he would be broke by now.

  • mosinman

    I wonder how much smoother a M1928 Thompson would be

    • TVOrZ6dw

      A back to back comparison between the two would have been great.

  • 2hotel9

    Nice video. Got to say, you need more time on that chopper, perhaps dig up an old Mud Marine to teach you the finer points. The bolt movement becomes much less a problem with more shooting time, the flinch goes away pretty quickly. Your trigger discipline was good, keeping it to 3-5 rd bursts is one of the harder things to get into people’s heads.

    Got to agree with TVO, a side by side between A1 and 1928 would be sweet. I have fired both and personally prefer the A1. Then again, I like Grease Guns and Stens, too.

  • Dave

    The simplified rear M1A1 sight has a fixed welded leaf with an aperture, and at the top surface, a notch or open sight. Why? How does it work?

    • iksnilol

      I presume you’d use the notch for farther targets?

      • Joshua

        it’s a fairly interesting Idea actually, ostensibly, the aperture is your close range zero, on a rifle it would commonly be 100-200 yards, on a sub-gun often it’s 50-100 yards depending on who designed it, then the notch is your long range, often 200 yards for a sub-gun. it also works as a panic sight, you bring the gun to your shoulder you see the notch first, line it up and pull. Most people firing when you don’t give them time to think will pull low, so having your panic sight raise their point of impact can be helpful.

    • 2hotel9

      Depends on who manufactured it. Savage production M1A1’s did not have a notch in upper quadrant of rear sight, AutoOrd models did. Replacement parts packages had the notched rear sight, again, depending on who made them. I have shot A1s with both sights, and a couple with what we now call “peep” rear sights. Once you get into after market manufacture God alone knows what you will run into. Don’t get me started on South American and Asian variations. 😉

  • adverse

    U no mad? U be no mad, otay?

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Confused as you seem to be able to load and reload most guns just fine… But someone lost your damn mind in the Scorpion Evo3 video, looking like you never handled a gun in your life.

    Also…. not sure who “designed” your “run and gun” course… But it’s bad. It’s three steps between each position and a variance of standing or kneeling : May I suggest a proper drill like a 200y run down?

  • Alexandru Ianu

    Now do an MP38/40 – the fire rate should be low enough that you could simulate semi.

  • st4

    M2 Carbine next plz?

  • W.P Zeller

    All that weight… yeah, until you shoot it.
    Where was the recoil? On semi, there was so little muzzle rise it looked like blanks.
    Suddenly, an urge to rush to the gun store is present.
    As much as I regret the coming of Pistol Caliber Carbine to USPSA pistol matches, if I had a Thompson(ish), I’d probably shut up and shoot PCC.

  • Zebra Dun

    Mud Test?