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The Disassembly and Cleaning Guide for the Thompson Submachine Gun

In this article, you will learn a step-by-step guide on how to disassemble and clean the Thompson Submachine Gun, also known as the Tommy Gun. We will provide you with a video and detailed instructions to help you efficiently take apart and clean this firearm. Additionally, we will provide you with some historical background on the Thompson Submachine Gun, giving you a deeper understanding of its significance. So, whether you are a gun enthusiast or simply interested in learning more about this iconic weapon, this article will provide you with valuable information and guidance.

Overview of the Thompson Submachine Gun

The Thompson Submachine Gun, also known as the Tommy Gun, is a classic firearm that gained popularity during the early 20th century. Designed by John T. Thompson in 1918, the Tommy Gun was primarily used by law enforcement officers, soldiers, and gangsters in the United States. Its distinctive design and automatic firing capabilities made it a powerful weapon during its time.

Introduction to the Thompson Submachine Gun

The Thompson Submachine Gun was initially designed as a trench-clearing weapon during World War I. However, due to the end of the war, it saw limited use in the military. Instead, it became increasingly popular among law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, and gangsters during the Prohibition era.

With its sleek design and rapid-fire capabilities, the Thompson Submachine Gun quickly became a symbol of power and authority. Its popularity continued to grow as it made its appearances in numerous movies, cementing its place in popular culture.

Historical Context of the Thompson Submachine Gun

During the early 1900s, there was a rising need for more efficient and powerful firearms. The development of the Thompson Submachine Gun answered this demand. While not widely used in military combat, the Tommy Gun played a significant role in law enforcement and criminal activities throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Due to its association with organized crime, the Thompson Submachine Gun was heavily regulated in the 1930s. The National Firearms Act of 1934 required individuals to register their Tommy Guns and pay a tax to possess them. This regulation significantly reduced the use of the Tommy Gun in criminal activities and led to a decline in its popularity.

Necessary Tools and Materials

If you own a Thompson Submachine Gun or are interested in learning how to disassemble and clean one, it is essential to have the necessary tools and materials handy.

Tools Required for Disassembly and Cleaning

  1. Phillips screwdriver
  2. Flathead screwdriver
  3. Armorers wrench (specifically designed for firearms)
  4. Punch set
  5. Cleaning rod
  6. Bore brushes
  7. Cleaning patches
  8. Precision oil applicator or lubricant
  9. Microfiber cloth

Cleaning Materials Needed

  1. Gun cleaning solvent
  2. Gun lubricant
  3. Rust preventative oil

Having these tools and materials readily available will ensure a smooth and efficient disassembly and cleaning process.

Disassembling the Thompson Submachine Gun

Before you begin disassembling your Thompson Submachine Gun, it is crucial to follow proper safety precautions and ensure the firearm is unloaded.

Step 1: Unloading and Safety Precautions

Ensure the firearm is pointed in a safe direction and remove the magazine if one is inserted. Visually inspect the chamber to ensure there are no rounds present. Engage the safety mechanism, if applicable, to prevent accidental discharge.

Step 2: Removing the Stock

Using a Phillips screwdriver, remove the screw located on the top of the stock. Once the screw is removed, gently pull the stock away from the receiver. Set the stock aside for cleaning.

Step 3: Removing the Grip

On the underside of the grip, there is a screw that securely holds it in place. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen and remove this screw. Carefully lift the grip away from the receiver, being mindful of any wires or connections. Set the grip aside for cleaning.

Step 4: Removing the Bolt and Barrel

To remove the bolt and barrel assembly, locate the latch on the left side of the receiver. Pull the latch to the rear, allowing the bolt and barrel assembly to slide forward. Once the assembly is free, remove it from the receiver.

Cleaning the Individual Components

Now that you have successfully disassembled your Thompson Submachine Gun, it’s time to clean each component thoroughly.

Cleaning the Stock

Using a gun cleaning solvent and a cleaning cloth or brush, wipe down the stock to remove any dirt, grime, or residue. Pay close attention to the hard-to-reach areas around the screws and corners. Once clean, dry the stock with a microfiber cloth.

Cleaning the Grip

Similar to the stock, use a gun cleaning solvent to clean the grip. Pay attention to any wires or connections and ensure they are not damaged during the cleaning process. Dry the grip thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.

Cleaning the Bolt and Barrel

The bolt and barrel assembly are critical components of the Thompson Submachine Gun and require meticulous cleaning. Using a bore brush and gun cleaning solvent, scrub the barrel to remove any fouling or debris. Run cleaning patches through the barrel until they come out clean.

For the bolt, use a cleaning brush or cloth soaked in gun cleaning solvent to remove any residue or build-up. Pay special attention to the firing pin and extractor. Dry both the barrel and bolt assembly thoroughly before proceeding.

The Disassembly and Cleaning Guide for the Thompson Submachine Gun

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Proper Maintenance and Lubrication

Proper maintenance and lubrication are essential for preserving the performance and longevity of your Thompson Submachine Gun.

Applying Lubrication to Key Components

Using a precision oil applicator or lubricant, apply a small amount of lubrication to the moving parts of the bolt and barrel assembly. Pay attention to areas such as the bolt track and the contact points between the bolt and receiver. Apply a thin layer of lubrication to the stock screws and any other areas that may experience friction.

Preventing Rust and Corrosion

To prevent rust and corrosion, apply a rust preventative oil to the exterior surfaces of the Thompson Submachine Gun. Use a microfiber cloth to spread a thin and even layer of oil, ensuring all metal surfaces are covered.

Storing the Thompson Submachine Gun

When storing your Thompson Submachine Gun, ensure it is in a secure and dry location. Consider using a gun safe or a dedicated gun storage case to protect it from dust, moisture, and unauthorized access. Periodically inspect and maintain your firearm to ensure it remains in optimal condition.

Reassembling the Thompson Submachine Gun

After cleaning and lubricating the individual components, it’s time to reassemble your Thompson Submachine Gun.

Step 1: Installing the Bolt and Barrel

Align the bolt and barrel assembly with the receiver, ensuring the latch on the left side of the receiver is pulled to the rear. Gently slide the assembly back into the receiver until it fully engages. Push the latch forward to secure the bolt and barrel assembly in place.

Step 2: Reattaching the Grip

Carefully position the grip over the receiver, aligning any wires or connections. Use a flathead screwdriver to tighten the screw on the underside of the grip, ensuring it is snug but not overtightened.

Step 3: Reinstalling the Stock

Align the stock with the receiver and insert the screw at the top. Use a Phillips screwdriver to tighten the screw until it is secure, but again, be cautious not to overtighten.

The Disassembly and Cleaning Guide for the Thompson Submachine Gun

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Testing and Safety Checks

Once your Thompson Submachine Gun is reassembled, it’s crucial to perform a functionality test and safety checks before use.

Checking the Functionality of the Thompson Submachine Gun

Ensure the safety mechanism is engaged. With an unloaded firearm, pull the charging handle to the rear and release it. The bolt should go forward smoothly, loading a round into the chamber. Engage and disengage the safety mechanism, ensuring it operates correctly. Check other key functions, such as magazine insertion and ejection, to ensure proper operation.

Performing Safety Checks

Inspect the Thompson Submachine Gun for any signs of damage, such as cracks or loose parts. Verify that the firing pin is not sticking out when the bolt is closed. Check that the magazine well is clear and free of obstructions. These safety checks are crucial to prevent accidents and ensure the safe operation of the firearm.

Tips and Precautions

Here are some expert tips and important safety precautions to keep in mind when disassembling and cleaning your Thompson Submachine Gun.

Expert Tips for Disassembly and Cleaning

  • Familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual for your specific Thompson Submachine Gun model. It may contain additional disassembly and cleaning instructions.
  • Take your time during the disassembly and cleaning process. Rushing or forcing parts can result in damage.
  • Use cleaning solvents and lubricants specifically designed for firearms to ensure optimal cleaning and protection.

Safety Precautions to Follow

  • Always ensure the firearm is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction.
  • Engage the safety mechanism and follow proper handling procedures at all times.
  • Wear appropriate eye and ear protection when disassembling or shooting the Thompson Submachine Gun.

The Disassembly and Cleaning Guide for the Thompson Submachine Gun

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about disassembling and cleaning the Thompson Submachine Gun.

Common Questions about Disassembly and Cleaning

Q: How often should I clean my Thompson Submachine Gun? A: The frequency of cleaning depends on usage. For regular shooters, it is recommended to clean the Thompson Submachine Gun after every use or every few hundred rounds.

Q: Can I use household cleaning solvents and lubricants for my Thompson Submachine Gun? A: It is strongly recommended to use cleaning solvents and lubricants specifically formulated for firearms. Household products may contain chemicals that can damage or adversely affect the firearm.

Troubleshooting Tips

Q: My bolt is not sliding smoothly. What should I do? A: Ensure the bolt and barrel assembly is properly cleaned and lubricated. Check for any visible debris or build-up that may be causing friction. If the issue persists, consult a professional gunsmith for further assistance.

Q: What should I do if I encounter a rusted component? A: Use a cleaning solvent and a non-abrasive brush to remove the rust. Once the rust is removed, apply a rust preventative oil to prevent future corrosion.


The Thompson Submachine Gun, with its iconic design and historical significance, remains a sought-after firearm. Proper disassembly, cleaning, and maintenance are crucial to its optimal performance and longevity. By following the step-by-step guide and employing proper safety precautions, you can ensure your Thompson Submachine Gun remains in excellent condition for years to come. Remember to consult the owner’s manual and seek professional assistance if needed.


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