Kahr Thompson 1927A-1 Carbine

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posted on October 29, 2009
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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 1⁄2pounds 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 1⁄2pounds 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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