Book Review: Amateur’s Guide to the Colt’s Thompson SMG

Tom Davis Jr, having previously written on the history of the Thompson SMG in British WWII use, has recently released a buyer’s guide to the Colt’s Thompson SMG. This is not intended to be a history of the gun – although it does include some elements of that, like a remarkably thorough section on the semiautomatic 1927 model Thompson. Instead, this book is intended to be a buyer’s guide to the world of the Colt Thompson. Or, as the subtitle says, “how to be an informed buyer in a very expensive market”.

The market for a Colt’s Thompson is, indeed, a very pricey one. Only 15,000 Thompsons were made by Colt, and they are the pinnacle of collectibility, much higher valued than the multitude of WWII production guns that would come afterward (to say nothing of West Hurley guns). What Davis’ book does is describe in detail how to inspect a Colt’s Thompson to determine what is right and what is wrong with it, prior to purchase. This is a task not really focused on by the other Thompson literature published, and this is definitely a book worth getting for anyone interested in joining the ranks of Thompson owners.

It’s an expensive book for its size, at $50, but that’s simply an appropriate introduction to the world of the Colt Tommy Gun. If you hesitate at that outlay, you should just drop any notion of buying one of the guns. Available through Amazon:


  1. I knew Thomson since very young, as my family had a policeman. I used some several times,when i was transfered in a secondary unit during my national service in ’94.I was the only one to disasemble them in a whole regiment…
    BUT,if the site refers to all around the world, the people outside some states of U.S.A. who don’t have access to the gun market, expect to see something they can’t see, have or even touch. Something mechanically exeptional, even curious. Books,-expensive, very specific topic ones and riscky to mail-order-, ammo tests, excavations,interviews,far away-museum summaries, etc, don’t meet people’s expectations, at least not as before, when every day had something new, except the sound of the MG 34! The gun community is not expanded ala Americana all over the globe, hopefully for some places…

  2. If you are only interested in the great history of the Thompson ( Colt, Savage, Auto Ordinance Bridgeport, Auto Ordinance West Hurley ) a better book is ” American Thunder” by Frank Iannamico also ” The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar” by William Helmer is pretty good as well. Both on Amazon.

  3. “Nothing beats the good old Tommy Gun!”
    I doubt the M1921 was used for drive-by car attacks, but who knows? At least the Thompson through a window doesn’t look as silly as a Villar-Perosa and tripod bolted to a sidecar.

  4. It is great to see a buyer’s guide specifically designed for the Colt Thompson world rather than just a historical reference. Davis provides valuable insight into the intricacies of inspecting before purchase, something often overlooked in other literature. I have much to compare it to, as I studied many books on the history of iconic gun companies for my assignment. Another finding for me was this source which allowed me to handle any homework task without fuss. Now I don’t have to worry about not getting my homework done on time and can focus more on my interests. Thank you for sharing this video. I’m sure for anyone interested in owning a Thompson or exploring the exciting world of firearms, Davis’ book is a significant investment.

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