Auto Ordnance Thompson “SMG” Carbine





A few weeks ago I got my hands on one of the  .45 ACPThompson Semi Auto carbines. The gun is obviously a semi auto copy of the iconic WW2 Submachine gun that every one has seen knows it on sight if not by name.  I have been curious about these for years ,I have fired Class III full auto originals before and it is very fun SMG and very, very easy to use and control.  So when offered a chance with one I was more than happy to get some time with it.  My fun ended very fast once I started to work with it.

The gun is a heavy brute like the original and the 16 inch barrel does not do it any favors. That is to be expected though since it is what it is.  One thing I noticed right off the bat was the butt stock was not made correctly. The angle of the butt plate was at such a degree the gun stock would slide off the shoulder. It was very hard to keep it on the shoulder during firing. It required a very awkward effort to keep it up  while fighting the weight.   The next problem was the tolerances of the gun around the magazine well and breech. When firing the gun, your off hand would get burn up with burning and un burnt powder and anything else it felt like spitting out of the gap. Very hard to concentrate while shooting and not pleasant at all. At times, even with gloves and long sleeves I was had some real painful small burns.

As far as the sights go, the rear aperture was not even close to zero. The POI was often a 10 to 12 inches low  from 25 to 50 yards. Once I used the open notch at the top of the rear sight intended for very close range, I was able to shoot close to point of aim.


The shots at the bottom were aimed at the highest dot. I tried several distance and got no better until moving to the open notch.


This group is fired form 25 yards off a bench with an old bunch of Winchester silver tip .45 ACP. I was shocked to say the least. The gun is certainly capable of very decent accuracy.  The group below was fired at 25 yards under the same conditions but using Federal Hydra Shock.


Both groups are 5 round strings. Of course I had to use the rear sights open close range notch on the top of the sight. Otherwise there was not way to get close to POI or even shoot a group of any quality.


The group above is from 100 yards using Winchester Ranger T   230 grain hollow points. Again I had to use the close quarters notch. Not too bad considering what we are using. Since it was starting to get dar I was not able to move the bench and fired prone using only the old elbows in the dirt method. It is not to bad regardless,and some conclusions can be drawn from this target and the 25 yard groups. I would  expect the gun to be fairly accurate.


Lastly I fired a little over 10 rounds at the head of the Q target from 50 yards off hand, This was very hard to pull off thanks to the improperly made stock and its freakish angle that made holding it on the shoulder for a cheek weld an olympic level event.

Now, the biggest problem in addition to these other complaints is… The gun just will not work.  I was able to sometimes get as many as 10 consecutive rounds to feed before I was clearing malfunctions. Often it was failure to feed, bolt not going fully into battery. Double feeds, failures to eject or any number of strange things. While helping me test the gun I and my friend found that sometimes we could use our thumb to close the bolt  when the gun would not fire and often we would have to pull the trigger four times before the FCG would work. The bolt is small and smooth and hard to get a hold on. Both of us had our thumbs and hands mangled trying to clear it and keep it working. After about 500 rounds and a bucket of oil to try to keep it working we gave up.



Do not buy this “gun” it is pure garbage.  This is tyical of my experiences with Auto Ordnance products personally from this POS to the companies “1911” clones.  I have never seen anything good from them.  It really is a shame for a once great name.


  1. Sorry – the gun is only designed to use FMJ rounds. HP rounds always jam. Mine runs 100% with ball rounds.

    The “CQB notch” at the top of the aperture is for a 250 yard zero on a GI gun.

    Your front sight is too tall – something left over from the 10.5 inch gun

    I just filed mine down to get it to the POA – I have a M1928 model. Too tall is better than too short.

    Sometime it takes a while to get the gun broken in, but a lot of us have spent a lot of time and money to get ours running. Sometimes they are just crap. At least your rear sight didn’t fall off.

    Maybe the mag was bad. Real Thompson mags can be modified by Dremel grinding the round hole on the back of the bag to match the oval hole on the SA mag. Careful fitting is the key. GI mag catches can also be modified to fit – the receiver is ,10 shorter than an SMG receiver so the bolts won’t fit, but the mags don’t have to be modified.

    Polishing the chamber might help. Also the bolt guts and firing pin.

    AO does have a decent warranty program.

    We have these guns for fun, I wouldn’t call it a modern combat weapon. The are not much like a real SMG due the ATF requiring modifications for sale.

    If other users have comments or need help, try:

    Thanks for all of your reviews!.

    • sorry but the thompson had all the problems with ball ammo, the hollow points fed fine, regardless on a gun made now and with the expectation that people would want to use their choice in ammo, that is no excuse. it was not made in 1927. it was made recently. so the company has no excuse for that

      the gun had multiple problems and is a piece of shit. it literally fell apart as I shot it, since it is not mine it was model loaned to me anyway I am not going to attempt to get it fixed. I just wanted to review one as it is . and it is long gone. I doubt there is much danger in anyone thinking it as a suitable replacement for something better, Im sure there will be people who want one because they can not afford a transferable Thompson, but I strongly advise everyone to never buy one

  2. Such a shame for what was such a bad ass weapon. Love the honesty and lack of sugar coating. I do wonder though I’m assuming this fires from the closed bolt? I wonder if that has a detrimental effect on the reliability among the rest of the crap.

    • yeah its closed bolt. if anything closed bolt would make it more reliable if it was a decently made gun., open bolts are not famous for being reliable . that is why the USMC would not let the SAW gunner, ( m249 uses open bolt) be the first man through the door when room clearing.


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