There is something about old models of guns, especially military firearms. At the 2013 SHOT Show, Kahr, Auto-Ordnance and Magnum Research put out a few throwbacks I thought the world should see. The Thompson sported a familiar configuration. A 30-round stick magazine and that huge reciprocating charging handle. Unlike many modern semi- or fully-automatic sporting rifles, it’s fun to actually see the charging handle fly back toward you when the weapon cycles. It still strikes me as odd when I see old model firearms fresh from the factory. Most of the originals have very aged wood and no shortage of dents and scratches from years of improper storage or heavy use. Seeing clean and shiny new Thompson sub-machine guns decorating the walls on the side of a huge portrait of Winston Churchill holding a Thompson is just plain cool looking.
Just below the Thompson, hanging innocently enough, is one of the most fun firearms to shoot that I have ever known—the famous M1 Carbine. Several models, including a curious California version looked right at home with their historical company. Even though the .30 Carbine cartridge is anemic by modern military and hunting standards, the gun still handles beautifully. Originally designed for rear echelon forces and officers, the M1 carbine and its variants stayed with the U.S. Military through three wars. The weapon’s small stature came out of a need for non-standard infantry troops to defend themselves when needed. The Army never intended to use it as a main battle rifle. Outside of the United States, nearly 60 foreign countries adopted the carbine for their own use. The Israeli police still use the M1 carbine today as a standard long gun for non-combat elements and Mash’az volunteers.