Thompson Light Rifle

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Thompson Light Rifle
Type Assault Rifle
Place of originUnited States
Production history
ManufacturerAuto Ordnance
Producedprototypes only
Cartridge .30 Carbine
Caliber 7.62mm
Action Delayed Blowback
Rate of fire 600–1200 rpm
Feed system20/30 round box magazines

The Thompson Light Rifle was an attempt by the Auto-Ordnance Company to manufacture a light rifle for the United States Armed Forces. The overall weapon was based on their well proven .45 ACP submachine gun, although the original .30 Carbine caliber rifle was based on the M1921/27 variants. It worked well but due to the war effort was found expensive for mass production and its weight defied the concept of a Light Rifle. [1]

Auto-Ordnance Company

Auto-Ordnance is a U.S. arms development firm founded by retired Colonel John T. Thompson of the U.S. Army Ordnance Department in 1916. Auto-Ordnance is best known for the Thompson submachine gun, notorious as a gangster weapon of the Roaring Twenties and famous as a military weapon of the Allied forces in World War II.

The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The President of the United States is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and forms military policy with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), both federal executive departments, acting as the principal organs by which military policy is carried out. All five armed services are among the seven uniformed services of the United States.

.45 ACP Pistol cartridge designed by John Browning

The .45 ACP , or .45 Auto (11.43×23mm) is a handgun cartridge designed by John Browning in 1905, for use in his prototype Colt semi-automatic pistol. After successful military trials, it was adopted as the standard chambering for Colt's M1911 pistol, being named .45 ACP.


The only major differences from the Light Rifle and SMG was the barrel shroud which housed a quick barrel change device similar to the MG42 and pressed steel components to ease production and reduce weight. The in-line stock reduced barrel climb improving accuracy. The Thompson Light Rifle was more reliable and accurate than the M1 Carbine that was adopted and also came with the capability of select fire, which made it close to the likes of the StG-44.

Auto-Ordnance also submitted two other models not based on the Thompson SMG for tests in the .30 Carbine competitions in May and June, 1941. Their first Light Rifle was a more conventional rifle with recoil-operated locked-breech action and weighed about 5.5 pounds. [2] The modified version tested September, 1941 was semi-auto only, had 80 parts, and was found difficult to disassemble and reassemble. [3]

See also

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  2. Larry Ruth, M1 Carbine: Design, Development & Production, Gun Room Press, 1979, ISBN   0-88227-020-6, pp. 12, 13.
  3. Larry Ruth, M1 Carbine: Design, Development & Production, Gun Room Press, 1979, ISBN   0-88227-020-6, pp. 20, 21.