Rifles > Semi-Auto

Kahr Thompson 1927A-1 Carbine

This semi-automatic, .45 ACP-cal. “Tommygun” has great historical interest as Auto-Ordnance manufactured a broadly similar model.


Following World War I, Gen. John Taliferro Thompson conceived the idea of a compact, select-fire, delayed blowback-operated "trench broom" chambered in .45 ACP. Thompson formed the Auto-Ordnance Corp. to market his submachine gun to the military, law enforcement agencies and private security companies.

Today, you can own a unique piece of American firearm history in the form of the Auto-Ordnance Thompson Model 1927A-1 semi-automatic carbine. This model has great historical interest as Auto-Ordnance manufactured a broadly similar model Thompson in the 1930s. We recently received a 1927A-1 for test and evaluation from Kahr Arms, which bought the Auto-Ordnance name, manufacturing rights and tooling from the previous owner, Numrich Arms.

Designed nearly 80 years ago for the labor-intensive manufacturing techniques of that era, Kahr re-tooled the Thompson for modern CNC machining technology which controlled costs and improved quality, fit and finish. The Kahr/Thompson Model 1927A-1 carbine comes equipped with many historical features closely associated with the Thompson-a Cutts Compensator on the muzzle of a finned barrel, twin vertical pistol grips with finger grooves, a steel receiver with a top-mounted operating knob and a buttstock with considerable drop at the heel. Of course the Thompson 1927A-1 carbine is chambered for the classic .45 ACP cartridge fed from 20- or 30-round, detachable stick magazines.

The 16 1⁄2-inch barrel of the Kahr/Thompson gets greater muzzle velocity out of factory .45 ACP ammunition than from a pistol-length barrel. In addition, the 13-pound weight, Cutts Compensator and twin pistol grips of the Thompson significantly reduces actual and perceived recoil, thus making the carbine easier to control.

To conform with Federal requirements, the Kahr/Thompson 1927A-1 carbine differs from originals in several ways. First, the Kahr/Thompson is semi-automatic only and fires from a closed bolt while most original Thompsons were selective-fire and fired from an open bolt.

Second, the barrel of the Kahr/Thompson 1927A-1 carbine is longer than the original in order to meet Federal minimum barrel length requirements. Also to meet Federal requirements, the buttstock assembly of the Kahr/Thompson is fixed, whereas on the original it was detachable. In our opinion, these changes do not detract from the aesthetics, proportion or historical attraction of the Khar/Thompson 1927A-1.

Our Deluxe test carbine has a "service grade" polish on the metal parts with a rich, deep-blue finish. A Commando" model with a Parkerized finish is also offered. The walnut stocks feature a non-detachable sling swivel on the toe of the buttstock and a smooth steel buttplate.

Made almost exclusively of machined steel, the Kahr/Thompson is a large, heavy gun. Nonetheless, it comes to the shoulder cleanly and is easy to control. Kahr offers a "lightweight" model with an aluminum receiver weighing 9 1⁄2 pounds for those with a yen for a lighter gun.

The 1927A-1 is equipped with a blade front sight and a V-notch rear sight. Raising the ladder assembly changes the rear sight unit to a large aperture. In firing the Kahr/Thompson with a variety of .45 ACP brands and loads, we experienced no failures of any kind with FMJ bullets, but hollow-points tended to hang up. Trigger pull was quite heavy at 8 1⁄2 pounds with substantial take-up and a gritty letoff. With most brands of ammunition, the 1927A-1 can consistently place aimed shots on a B-27 silhouette pistol target at 50 yards.

Kahr's Thompson 1927A-1 carbine will appeal to veterans who carried the Thompson in combat as well as to museums, military collectors, filmmakers and reenactors. In addition, the Kahr 1927A-1 earns high ratings from shooters in the "fun to shoot" and "pride of ownership" categories due to its very low recoil and high standards of workmanship.

Manufacturer: Kahr Arms/Auto-Ordnance; (845)735-4500; Tommygun.com
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Blowback, semi-automatic-only rifle
Receiver: Blued or Parkerized carbon steel or anodized aluminum alloy
Barrel: Blued 161⁄2" finned with Cutts Compensator
Rifiling: Eight grooves, 1:16" RH twist
Magazine: Detachable steel 30-round double-column or 10-round drum
Sights: Blade front, folding leaf rear adjustable for elevation
Trigger: Single-stage, 81⁄2 lbs. pull
Stocks: Walnut: length of pull, 1613⁄16"; drop at heel, 31⁄2"; drop at comb, 13⁄4"
Overall Length: 401⁄4
Weight: 13 lbs. (91⁄2 lbs. with aluminum receiver)
Suggested Retail Price: $977


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12 Responses to Kahr Thompson 1927A-1 Carbine

Andre wrote:
April 25, 2013

Bought the 1927A1, I test fired it, with no problems at all. Love it! Very liitle recoil with the heavy weapon, about 13 lbs. I hope to keep this until I die, then my son gat's it. Awesome semi auto!

SPC J. C. Goode wrote:
April 01, 2013

You should fire approx. 300-500 soft nose rounds through it when it's first out of the box to break in the action (Good rule for all Semi Auto's/Carbines). Its expensive these days 45ACP's are expensive, but it will cut down on the load/eject failures.

njohns wrote:
February 27, 2013

If shells jam feeding into the chamber you can lightly grind the sharp shoulders down a little where the wide feed slot on either side of the chamber narrow down to the chamber. The sharp edges kick the bullets sideways in front of the chamber. Sloping these guides into the chamber solves the problem. My gun was continually jamming until I did this. Now it performs flawlessly!

Susan wrote:
January 27, 2013

We bought one and jams are a constant problem and the drum is a joke. I sent the whole shabang back to the factory and it came back no better. I tried both factory and reloads. When iy jams its a two persom job to get it cleared. Most disappointing gun we own. The only reason I still have it is I hope one day somebody who knows what they are doing can fix it.

Antoine wrote:
April 15, 2012

Will drum clips fit the replica Khar Thompson?

rodney wrote:
December 19, 2011

Does anyone know if i can just get the action part for thompson 1927a

W. Riley wrote:
September 29, 2011

I have the 1927 Commando with 30 rd mags and also a 1911 with 7 rd mags. I fire them at least once a month. They go 'steady' together. My shooting buddies have a 9mm and the other has a .40 cal, and as much as they 'swear' by those guns (and they are good guns) even they admit that holding a .45 like the kind(s) I have, gives a person "a very secure feeling" that you just don't get with other guns. I think the real beauty about these weapons is that they were designed so well for their time, that they still don't need much improvement today. They still look the same. It makes me feel like I own a piece of history. I get to fire the same kind of weapons that my grandfather and father fired, and they still deliver an exceptional amount of firepower in a very brief amount of time. Very well made.

Richie wrote:
August 08, 2011

I have both the M1A1 and the 1927 pistol. Both work fine with many thousands of ball rounds (mostly Wolf steel) through each. The 50-round drum that came with the 1927 works fine. The guns even fire my 200-grain handloads reliably. The adjustable sight on the 1927 does not remain upright while firing.

Andy Gisondi wrote:
July 06, 2011

I have one for over 10 years never had a problem with jams with ball ammo the drum is a pain in the neck (old 10 round)but looks good for display have had 2 problems shooting in a match the extractor pulled out of bolt company fixed it the rear sight ladder is spring is week and sight has to be tighten every couple of shots rear sight is my complaint with it

C.D. Johnson. wrote:
May 20, 2011

Does Kahr make a trigger cam for the 1927-A1? I would like to fire mine faster than I can pull the trigger?

B Dickson wrote:
March 25, 2011

Doors have jambs, guns jam. How many brands of .45 ball have you tried?

R. Whitworth wrote:
March 08, 2011

I have never been able to fire a full mag without at least one jamb. most times I have several. most friends tell me to adjust "lips" of mag. I've adjusted them every which way but loose and still have jambs. I always wanted a Thompson but I'm sorry I bought it.