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Thompson Auto Ordnance 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by TimM, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. TimM

    TimM Well-Known Member

    I am considering a Thompson Auto Ordnance 1911 in trade but I am not at all familiar with the pistol. Does anyone have any opinions on this gun?
  2. NoAlibi

    NoAlibi Well-Known Member

    I wanted a Colt S/S Delta Elite in 10mm, but in 1989 money was tight so for $179 I bought a new Auto Ordinance "tenth of a mm auto". That was what the slide had engraved on it ( .10 MM ) - turned out you could chamber and fire one or two 10mm auto cartridges in it before it jammed.

    It took radiusing the chamber throat, replacing the ejector, lowering the ejector port, tweaking the extractor and replacing the magazine to make it reliable and a trigger job to make it shoot-able. I was able to do most of the work and the only cash outlay was for the magazines and ejector.

    I put a grip panel scope mount on it, attached a red dot sight and shot bowling pins with it. A 190 grain bullet at maximum velocity really sent those pins off the table.

    If the trader will let you take it to the range then you'll have some idea what you're really getting into.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  3. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Based on my experiences with Thompson Auto Ordnance...

    Walk away.
  4. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Well-Known Member

    Auto Ordnance made decent frames once upon a time, as even a few pros were using them to build their race guns, but they were few and far-between and Colt and SA still dominated. As far as whole guns go, they were probably a bit more reliable than AMT, but that's not saying much.
  5. DasFriek

    DasFriek Well-Known Member

    Now that AO is part of Kahr i wonder if much has changed?
    How long has Kahr owned them now?
    Im a member of the Kahr forums so i guess i could ask their but it isnt like you guys are busy or anything right? lol

    But i too heard all the not so good things about their 1911's.
    Which is sad as almost anyone can make a decent 1911 these days, Well except Kimber that is. <~~~~~ 100% joke guys, Don't kill me!
  6. PKGinc

    PKGinc New Member

    I own an auto ordinance 1911. it's a 2006 model i bought used. I guess it comes down to what you are using it for. I like mine for plinking and would trust it for when shtf. It has jammed here and there and it has fixed sights. Bottom line its a cheap 1911 that i dont care if it gets beat up and worn out. Have not found any rounds it will not feed.
  7. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    I place Auto Ordnance 1911s in the same category as Charter Arms revolvers. There was a very brief period when they made some 1911s that were not great but good enough to build on. The vast majority of them though, as Tuner warned, walk away. They have some serious dimensional problems as well as subpar machining and drilling.
  8. PKGinc

    PKGinc New Member

    Das-all the paperwork with my auto ordinance says it's made by kahr, 2006 model. The receipt says 349.00 NIB
  9. DasFriek

    DasFriek Well-Known Member

    Thanks PKGinc, Im not surprised to see Kahrs name on the paperwork, But that does give a good idea of some time-line.
    Well i do wonder when a company is bought out and taken over just how far does the new parent company stick its nose into the newly obtained companies business.

    If Kahr went in and revamped everything and were bent on quality and finish like they are with the Kahr line of guns then things should be vastly different than the past record AO once had.
    Ive never really heard about any influence being pushed onto AO.

    I love a good 1911, Even ones i cant afford.
    But i gotta admit i havent seen much new from Kahr except the new CM9 which is hardly anything thats a big surprise.
  10. Magnuumpwr

    Magnuumpwr Well-Known Member

    PKGinc, your thompson will digest HP ammo without problems? The paper attached to mine when purchased new, advised to shoot only ball ammo. After having it polished at the ramp and barrel, it will shoot anything loaded into it.
  11. Silverado6x6

    Silverado6x6 Well-Known Member

    I have an older AO and I was refinishing it a couple of days ago and noticed a hairline crack running all the way across the top behind the breech from the first row of the serrations, never saw it until I gave it an acid bath.

    My poor mans version of a ceramic coat (I used Duplicolor high heat ceramic paint) came out pretty nice but I will still have to replace the slide, the frame has the curved mainspring housing and no front checkering, not a bad finish on the frame but the slide looks like crap especially with the cheap looking Thompson embossing.

    Personally I think its good for a first timer 1911 custom job, not an all out high dollar job but a good starting platform for a novice.

    The new Kahr GI 1911 being sold have had excellent reviews and have been said to best show what WW2 era Colts looked like. And the price is good.
  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Thompson AO never made anything in-house. All parts were supplied by outside vendors, and everything except the barrels, pins, and springs were investment cast.

    That's a recoil stress crack, and is pretty common with AO's "Supplied by the Lowest Bidder" investment cast slides. Being that it's the most likely place for even a machined barstock slide to fracture, a casting can't hope to stand up to as much use. A good quality cast frame is as good as a machine frame, with little difference in durability and service life...if any. The slide is a different story. The slide and barrel assembly is the gun. The frame is essentially just a gun mount and a housing for the controls. All the high stresses are in the slide.

    In the 80s, AO pistols were cheap. NIB, they could often be had for less than 200 bucks out the door, and the guys who jumped on'em in droves were bustin' slides left and right if they shot'em hard. The lucky ones noticed it before the rear end of the slides broke completely off and realized what it meant. The unlucky ones sometimes found themselves in the ER waiting for a surgeon to come in and remove the slides from their faces.
  13. Blue Line

    Blue Line Well-Known Member

    I've had one since the mid eighties and haven't had one problem, great gun that goes bang when the trigger is pulled. If your looking for a fancy race gun, it aint. This gun is just like the gun I had in the Army and thats what I wanted. Can't beat it for the price. Mine is 45 acp.
  14. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I had an early 90s 1911, and it was stiff and rickety, traded from a friend for a guitar. The front sight popped out. I got rid of it at the first opportunity.
  15. Silverado6x6

    Silverado6x6 Well-Known Member

    My AO frame took the ceramic paint well, I baked it at 350F for two hours, not as good as the NIC brand of ceracote I hear but so far it looks pretty darn good.

    The stripper I used was nothing more than a top quality toilet bowl cleaner, took the blueing off immediately, left it with an almost parkerized look, I gave it two light coats in every nook and cranny, inside and out including the rails.

    When I do another possibly this one all over again the next time I will have a bead blast cabinet and the ceracote or the Brownells moly-cote epoxy spray.
  16. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Well-Known Member

    Had one, POS, stay far away.
  17. longknife12

    longknife12 Well-Known Member

    I bought a AO with the SN below 10K...guy had fitted bushing/match barrel and trigger. Polished ramp and fitted slide. About 5K rds later, no bobbles at all! For me, it has been good.I wouldn't buy a new one!
  18. russ45

    russ45 Well-Known Member

    I bought an auto ordnance receiver at a pawn shop and put a tactical solutions 2211 upper on it. It is my best shooting 22 and that receiver has the best trigger of any of my 1911's. I can't comment on the upper, but the lower is first rate IMO. I do believe that the reason this lower was for sale was that the upper had split.
  19. dogngun

    dogngun Well-Known Member

    Take the money you get from selling your trade material

    and buy a RIA... many Auto Ordinance are "Challenging" pistols and I assume you want to shoot it rather than "fix" it.


    The "Thompson" name was owned by Numrich-they sold the auto pistols and a semi auto version of the Tommy gun...they are now made by Kahr.
  20. Nicky Santoro

    Nicky Santoro Well-Known Member

    And now for something completely different......

    I have a West Hurley (pre Kahr) AO bought NIB 25 years ago. After polishing the feed ramp and replacing the mag with Wilsons and MecGars, it's been 100%.

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