The Thompson submachine gun is one of the most iconic American guns ever produced. It conjures up powerful images of the 1920s and 30s prohibition era. In wartime, it helped carry soldiers and Marines to victory in Europe and the Pacific in World War II.


Colt Thompson M1921AC
Ike wasn't always into Thompsons, but when he got the bug, he couldn't stop collecting both the guns and accessories. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

For a long time, Ike, a retired law enforcement officer who is also a gun collector, wasn't interested in owning Thompsons. But then a friend of his offered to trade two Thompsons for Ike's Maremont M60 machine gun. Ike reluctantly agreed, but he's glad he accepted. Ever since then, he's been in love with them, and he can't stop collecting. 

He currently has three Colt Thompsons along with many accessories. Two of them are in the 99-percent category in terms of condition, which makes them very valuable. He also has a Savage M1 Thompson that was made for the war. War Thompsons, as Ike refers to them, are more common and worth less, but they are still awesome guns.


Colt Thompson M1921AC
A closeup of the Cutts Compensator on Ike's Colt Thompson M1921AC. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Ike's Colt Thompson M1921AC is one of the nicest guns that he owns. The AC stands for the Cutts Compensator. 15,000 Colt Thompson M1921ACs were produced starting in 1926. Ike's once belonged to the Moline, Illinois, police department. The condition is immaculate, and all of the parts are correct. "It's a very important thing for Thompson collectors to know when you buy a Thompson, to know if it's re-finished, or if the parts have been changed," said Ike.

Colt Thompson M1921AC cleaning repair kit
According to Ike, one of the most valuable and hard-to-find accessories for Colt Thompsons is the cleaning and repair kit worth up to $10,000. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Although his Thompson is not for sale, he figures it's worth around $120,000. This price would include an original FBI case, a 50-round drum magazine, four stick magazines, a cleaning rod, and perhaps one of the rarest and most valuable accessories, the cleaning and spare parts kit. "It's one of the rarest accessories for the Colt Thompson," said Ike. "And they go between $7,000 to $10,000, if you can find one for sale. I haven't seen one for sale in 10 years."


Savage M1 Thompson
Ike's Savage M1 Thompson submachine gun. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Another of Ike's Thompson's that he loves is his Savage M1 Thompson. The war variant of the Thompson submachine gun is the most common Thompson you will encounter. It was produced in great quantity for World War II. They accepted only stick magazines to keep the weight down, but also because drum mags had a tendency to rattle and be fragile. They were also more complex to manufacture. The war Thompson's had a side actuator to charge the gun instead of a top actuator on the M1921's.

Thompson submachine gun magazines drum mags
Besides collecting Thompsons, Ike also collects many of the accessories, all of which are extremely sought-after. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Ike's Savage Thompson belonged to a Texas police department many years ago, and he doesn't think it's ever been fired. Since it was made prior to 1984, it is transferable. He thinks it's worth between $25,000 to $30,000.


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