Thompson or AR?


July 2, 2007, 09:14 PM
Unfortunately, not full autos. At the semi-local Gander Mtn, there be:
1. A Colt Lightweight Sporter, about $800. It's .223, fixed stock, some kinda 4x scope. A2 carry handle (like the A2 configuration). Normally see Colts going for astronomical prices, so I thought it might be a good deal.
2. A M1 Thompson semi, also about $800. Going price, maybe a tad cheaper.

I don't yet have my CCW badge or walk-on-the-wall boots, so mall-protection choices are not an issue.
Torn betwixt the two, since I have no practical use for either. Not likely that either would be for HD uses. Mags seem to be cheap(ish) for both.
Any deep insights on this issue?

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Joe Demko
July 2, 2007, 09:22 PM
No deep insights. Just the opinion that the .223 is more fun for a broader range of targets and ranges than the .45 when both are fired from a long gun.

July 2, 2007, 09:25 PM
I've never fired one, but I've picked up several Thompsons and they weigh about twice what an AR does.

July 2, 2007, 09:25 PM
Auto Ordnance has had a shakey reputation stemming back from its West Hurley days, and Khar Arms doesn't seem to be making great headway. I've heard/read mixed reviews of both their Thompsons and their M1 Carbines, and handled and shot one of the M1 lightweights. I wasn't overly impressed. I think in the long run, the Colt would be a much better investment from both a financial and a versatility standpoint.

What would I do?

Yes, I voted AR, but I'd buy the Thompson M1A1. I've been through the AR phase, and they didn't really do anything but suck my wallet dry as the damn things multiplied in my safe. So I sold the 5 EBRs in favor of Garands, a Carbines, '03, '03A3, and a few other walnut stocked beauties. Plus the M1 would fit my WWII collection of ETO small arms (yeah, well, I ain't shellin' out 18k for a Bridgeport Thompson, so.....)

ETA: I realize this is contradictory, however confusing my "insight" may be, I hope it helps:D

July 2, 2007, 10:36 PM
Thompson. You won't regret it. AR's are great, but Thompsons are so much fun to shoot. I've handled many AR's and a few Thompsons, (including my 1927A1 SA). You'll forget shooting an AR - not so in my opinion with a Tommy Gun... ;)

M2 Carbine
July 2, 2007, 11:14 PM
I've got both.

AR first, Thompson somewhere around sixth or seventh.

July 2, 2007, 11:39 PM
Get the AR now, the walk-on-the-wall boots later.

I never felt a 45ACP carbine was useful for anything with its rainbow trajectory and as much as I love the Thompson in the movies, it's just not the same with that long 16" Pinocchio barrel.

AR15s on the other hand make great target rifles. They have excellent sights and the capability to make some fairly long distance shots without too much trouble if the crosswind isn't too bad. They also make good ranch/farm carbines, good varmint guns, and a decent home defense gun, all using the appropriate ammo of course.

Nomad, 2nd
July 3, 2007, 01:08 AM

July 3, 2007, 01:17 AM
For the money, the Thompson clones don't seem to be that cheap where I live; AR's are a "dime a dozen", but you could turn that tommy around into some cash. That got my vote.

July 3, 2007, 01:41 AM
The Thompson brings back childhood memories so I voted for that one -- even tho it is a semi auto.

July 3, 2007, 02:04 AM
Thompson is more fun to shoot in my opinion. Im also a WWII buff, so I choose that. I bought one last year and put a short barrel on it. I got it "to have" in my WWII collection but end up shooting it more than some of my other guns. :D Fun and cheaper to shoot then .223

July 3, 2007, 02:25 AM
I bought an uzi carbine once and it was a nightmare. The thing with those wierd fun guns is your on your own. Its not like their trying to win LE/GOV contracts or competing in a cutting edge market. I'm not saying your screwd if it breaks but problems with them can be a real headache since so few people have them. Good luck

July 3, 2007, 02:42 AM
I'd say buy the AR first. It is probably the one that you'll end up shooting more because of accuracy and cheaper ammo. I've no doubt that the Tommy Gun is fun to shoot, and I plan on getting one my self when I have the extra cash (and can get the barrel chopped), but unless you allready have a good collection, you'll get more mileage out of the AR.

July 3, 2007, 06:43 AM
I have fondled the Thompsons several times and would really like to have one....IF the trigger would allow some rapid-fire on occasion.

The ones I have tried had lousey triggers. I mean really long, squishy and heavy. Not to mention crunchy. And from what I have read, the design does not lend itself to much improvement....although I might be wrong, never had one apart to see what's inside and can't see spending the cash just to find out.

For me to like having one, it would need to be quadruple-tappable and maybe even bump-fireable. Crunching through a couple 30 rounders should be fun, not work. If you could get a 1911-like 4lb trigger-pull on one, I'd sign up.

Sam Adams
July 3, 2007, 11:23 AM
AR for shooting (more accurate, lighter, effective at far longer ranges).

Tommy Gun for the sheer fun of it - dress up in a pinstripe suit with an old-style hat and have some pics taken for posterity...your grandkids will wonder if you were in the Mafia. Showing the gun - especially with the 50-round drum magazine, will immediately produce lots of pie-eyes and open mouths. Finally, which one would you rather confront a home intruder with? The big maw and the drum mag on the Tommy Gun are instantly recognizeable and about as intimidating as a 12-gauge pump.

I have an AR, and I aspire to a Tommy Gun someday.

July 3, 2007, 11:43 AM
I would be happy to have to make that choice... since i already have the AR my vote would go the to Thompson... as others have stated that would be a blast to shoot.

Chuck R.
July 3, 2007, 12:13 PM
Iíve got a Colt 6920 and an early Auto Ord Thompson M1 that I inherited.

Youíve got to look at the Thompson as it was intended which is a reproduction of a SMG with all itís faults and some additional ones added to get it by the ATF. Itís an 11 lb toy thatís a hoot to shoot, and a crowd pleaser at the range (for a semi). One cool feature is due to the .45ACP I can use it on my steel targets without tearing them up. Mine is out now being reworked and upgraded by the tommygunner.

IF you donít want either one for any ďpracticalĒ purpose as your post indicates, Iíd get the Thompson for two reasons:

Itís the least practical of the two.
By being .45ACP youíll probably plink with it more.


July 3, 2007, 12:23 PM
I have both too. The Thompson is fun to unload into targets at short range but it is brutal to shoot at long range targets. I went so far as to put a scope on mine. I couldn't turn my head after firing an L drum.

The AR, on the other hand, is a joy to shoot long range. Ammo is a lot cheaper too.

July 3, 2007, 12:31 PM
I don't have an AR, but might like one someday. I do have the Thompson.
As others have noted for sheer fun the Thompson is the way to go. I don't know about others, but I get consistent 1" - 2" groups at 75 yards using just the adjustable pinhole sights and it's been fairly reliable so far.
It may not have a 3 oz. trigger but I guess they figured that if you're man enough to carry that monster in combat you're man enough to pull a heavier trigger.
Yes, It's heavy as hell - especially with a fully loaded 50 rd. drum magazine (about 9-10 lbs total). I wouldn't even want to guess what it weighs with the 100 rd drum :what: let alone carry it into combat.
That's why God invented lightner & longer shooting guns like the AR :D.

Carl N. Brown
July 3, 2007, 12:46 PM
Try a scale: Thompsom M1--full auto SMG or the TM1 semi auto
carbine in steel -- are 11 to 12 pounds loaded with a XXX 30 shot stick.

The M21 or M28 SMG or the TM27 semi auto carbine version run
15 pounds or so with a L 50 shot drum.

They are heavy, and the alloy frame versions of the semi-auto
Thompson carbines are "only" 8 pounds empty. Quotes meaning not lite.

A thompson with C 100 shot drum is as heavy as a 1918 BAR .30-06.

They look good, though, and have a lot of historical appeal.

Snake Eyes
July 3, 2007, 12:48 PM
Fred Thompson ALL THE WAY! He's our only hope. I would never, ever vote for that ARon Paul guy--he's a complete fruitcake that only wants to open the borders to drug running vermin! Fred Thompson is the SALVATION OF THE FREE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Never mind.


full metal
July 3, 2007, 07:09 PM
That's a good deal on the thompson,you can alway's get a ar-15 but you won't see another tommy for that price.

July 3, 2007, 08:01 PM
I voted AR. I had a Thompson semi. It was an interesting novelty, but wasn't reliable, had a very heavy trigger, and a few other problems.

No contest, in my opinion.

July 3, 2007, 09:04 PM
Just traded in my Thompson 1927A1 for a Beretta CX4 45ACP.

The Kahr elicited buyer's remorse for me due to it's burdensome weight, incompatibility with unmodified GI stick magazines, and questionable overall fit and finish quality.

July 4, 2007, 10:21 PM
Whenever I handle the semi-auto Thompsons, I am disappointed in their "feel". To me, they are too long (they were originally designed with a much shorter barrel), and have a blocky, clumsy feel. The Kahrs and A-O's I have handled seem to have sharp edges and loose forends, more often than not. I have been tempted at times, but I figure it's the kind of gun you shoot 50 times, yawn, and put away. It makes a lot of noise, but the 45 ACP is certainly a 100 yard or less proposition (if that).

The AR, on the other hand, is produced in pretty much its original size and have tons of aftermarket add on choices, the option of changing "uppers", and it is downright practical for many uses...

...just my opinion.


Old Time Hunter
July 4, 2007, 10:30 PM
Had the opportunity to shoot a full auto, original Thompson was a hoot. Much easier to warm up to the Thompson for me! AR's don't do anything for me, to real history.....GO Vic Morro and COMBAT!

July 5, 2007, 01:28 AM
in semi-auto , Thompson is ok , in full auto , a huge ball of smiles...

AR all the way.

July 5, 2007, 02:12 PM
Had a Thompson, most expensive , least reliable gun I ever owned, sold it at a loss as quickly as I could. Hunted hogs with my friends AR15, awesome gun.

July 5, 2007, 10:43 PM
I have only messed with a Thompson a couple of times and it was the real deal with all the bells and whistles. Don't ever pass up the chance if you get it . Truth be told on the same day I got to run a 20 rd mag through a M16. At the time I had not even shot an Ar!
The answer to your question lies within! It all depends on what you want this gun to do. To my way of thinking if you are not totally sure in what you want the AR would be a beter bet as it can be easily reconfigured to almost whatever you want to do with it

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