A couple of modern day Tommy Guns from Auto Ordnance.

A couple of modern day Tommy Guns from Auto Ordnance.

What’s more fun than shooting a new Thompson 1927A-1 “Deluxe Semi-Auto”? Not much.

I had the chance to try one out at the 2015 Shooting Industry Masters. The folks from Kahr Arms, owners of Thompson gun-maker Auto Ordnance, sponsored a side match at the Masters event. Side matches are more like fun demonstrations than actual competitions. Event attendees shell out five bucks to shoot a side match, all of which goes straight to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s First Shots program. Vendors like Kahr / Auto Ordnance donate time, people, guns, ammunition and stage props to create these side matches. Appropriate for the Roaring 20s theme of this year’s Shooting Industry Masters, the folks at Kahr found the perfect team to run the Thompson Shootout side match – the Zoot Shooters.

Zoot Shooters Association participants dress in 1920s-1940s costumes and use guns appropriate for the pre-1940 era in competition stages called “capers.” You’ll find guns like Colt 1903s, original 1911s (and modern replicas), and, of course, Thompsons. With that type of experience, what group is better qualified to run the Thompson Shootout side match?

The Zoot Shooters representing Kahr’s Auto Ordnance Division brought along a few Thompson 1927A-1 “Deluxe Semi-Auto” models equipped with30-round stick and 50-round drum magazines. For the handgun portion of the shootout, they brought some Auto-Ordnance 1911PKZSE “WWII Parkerized” models. Reproduction of the 1911A1  configuration, they’re pretty close to what might have been used by Prohibition-era cops and robbers.

Shooting the semi-auto Thompson 1927 A-1 is somewhat akin to the feel of a particularly heavy airsoft rifle. Its 13-pound heft, without a loaded 50-round drum, makes launching .45 ACP slugs exceptionally tame. The sensation is not a sharp bang, but rather an airsoft-like “whoosh” as the bullet fires and exits the barrel. It’s a highly-addictive plinker, especially on steel plates.

If you feel the need for a little nostalgia, check it out. MSRP is $1,461.