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The first prototype Thompsons submachine guns (and it was Thompson who coined that term, by the way) were produced in 1919 and dubbed the “Annihilators”. The gun was intended to be a military weapon to equip American soldiers in World War One, but by the time the gun was developed the war had ended. Still, Thompson and his Auto-Ordnance company contracted with Colt to manufacture 15,000 of the guns. These were the Model of 1921, and they were marketed to both the US military and as many European armies as Thompson and his salesmen could reach. They found few takers in the climate of the early 1920s, however, and sales were slow.
This is the first in a 5-part series about the development of the Thompson, concluding with a trip to the range to fire three different patterns side by side…
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