Cybergun Thompson M1A1

Cybergun Thompson M1A1

Postby Knuckles » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:55 pm

Provided by: AirSocom | Product Page
Publish Date: March 3, 2008

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The Thompson holds the distinction of being the first weapon to be labeled and marketed as a "submachine gun". The Tommy gun also has a darker, more sinister past from its use in the hands of prohibition era mobsters, earning the moniker "Chicago Typewriter." Up until the National Firearms Act of 1934, it was perfectly legal (and not-at-all unusual) to walk into your corner hardware store and buy a fully automatic Model 1928 Thompson SMG .45 ACP Anti-Bandit gun.

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In 1938, the 10.5 pound Thompson M1a1 submachine gun was adopted by the US Military at a per gun cost of about $209. By the end of the war the cost had been reduced to $45 by cutting corners and cranking out horribly ugly and unfinished, but absolutely functional weapons. The Thompson saw service through three wars and continues to be manufactured by Auto-Ordnance. You can still pick up a new semi-auto only version, but it will cost you about 10 times the 1938 price.

AirSOCOM provided AP with this replica for review. It is made by Cybergun and marketed by Palco, and with a sticker price of $179 it's a whole lot easier on your wallet than the real steel version. The AirSOCOM website advertises their replicas as "Officially Licensed" and Frank Harris, the director of marketing for Auto-Ordnance confirms that AirSOCOM is indeed a licensed reseller. While my replica did have a nice heft to it and felt great, it only weighed 8 ¼ pounds fully loaded with .20s and the battery installed. The external dimensions are an exact match to the real steel M1a1 which weighs in at a little over 10 pounds. Auto-Ordnance did make a Thompson with an aluminum receiver, which offers a viable explanation for the difference in weight.

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The cardboard box featured some very sharp color graphics and touted some lofty statements about the replica's performance. Such claims as "Accuracy: Can hit a quarter at 45 feet", "426 FPS with .12s" and my favorite: "Pictures are not contractual. Actual product may vary slightly, as well as mentioned features (Velocity, power range...)." The box contained a Styrofoam insert that held the replica and accessories in place. There was a layer of plastic shrink wrap around the foam to hold everything snug during shipping.

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The replica is solid feeling with no wobble or creaks. Almost the entire replica is metal, except for the lower receiver which is a matte black ABS. The 70 round magazine is made from a similar plastic. The plastic-wood stock and forend is pretty convincing looking, but the seam lines are rough in a couple of spots. The muzzle was shipped with an orange plastic cap molded over it for safety and compliance.

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The controls are uncomplicated and located on the left of the replica. As with the real steel version, a left handed operator would have a difficult time using this rifle. The magazine release is a large "C" shaped lever that rides along the receiver just above the trigger on the left side. To change a magazine, push up on the lever and yank down on the magazine. Right above the magazine release are the safety and fire selectors. They both simply rotate 180 degrees: "Semi/Full" and "Safe/Fire". The one in front is the selector and the rear is the safety. These simple controls operate flawlessly and provide a positive feel for the fire mode you are currently in. Unfortunately the pin on my selector fell off during testing. It still functions fine; it's just not as easy to flip the switch.

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The operating rod handle slides back and slams home with a satisfying clank. That is all it does as the hop-up control is a notched black wheel located in the ejection port with no fake bolt covering it. There is a simple peep-sight protected by steel ears at the rear of the receiver. It adjusts for both windage and elevation by simply manipulating it with your fingers. The metal butt plate opens to reveal a compartment big enough for the mini battery that ships with the gun. With a bit of Dremel work I think it would fit a large, but I was unable to get one in there.

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This Thompson still features the same weak point between the receiver and forend that is found on the Tokyo Marui versions. If you sling your replica or fall on it, it'll snap like a twig. It's an interface between plastic and metal and there's just not much room there to beef things up enough to make it strong. Considering the cheap green fabric sling that is included with the package, you probably wouldn't want to use it anyways. I find the Thompson to ride quite comfortably on my hip, either horizontal or vertical.

When performing the Chronograph tests, I wanted to put the "426 FPS" to the test so I loaded up with some .12s and got three solid readings in the 450s, proving that they weren't kidding. With .20s it shot 337, 341, 348 so it's a little too hot for CQC work but just fine for outdoor skirmishes. At 45 feet it shot a 7-inch group on automatic, and a 2.5-inch group on semi. I did not test the .12s for accuracy. This thing is a laser. It shoots flat, and consistently floats BBs far beyond what you would expect from a stock gun.

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This Version 6 gearbox is a faithful reproduction of the Tokyo Marui model in almost every regard. It is not reinforced and over-greased but well put together. It has nylon bushings and is surprisingly well shimmed with metal shims. The spring guide is white polycarbonate, as well as the piston, nozzle, tappet plate, and cylinder head. The ported piston head is made of black polycarbonate. I fired well over 1,000 rounds during my testing with this replica and I think it shows remarkably good wear on the gears.

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I had a blast evaluating this replica. It fields well and shoots like a laser. It is simple to disassemble and upgrade. Parts are still tricky to find, but they are out there. The replica itself is sturdy enough and shoots fine out of the box. I would recommend this piece for anyone looking for a less expensive and/or licensed and trademarked alternative to the venerable Tokyo Marui version. There's no rails, no lasers, no lights, just a good old fashioned workhorse.

Thank you to AirSocom for providing us with the replica for review. Head on over to their website for a full selection of licensed Airsoft replicas.

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Please buy your gear from Rick Fisher; perhaps he can buy a Life.
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