According to the book American Thunder II by Frank Iannamico, in 1931 the U.S. Army Infantry Board said the Tommy Gun “has no place as a standard article of the Infantry.” They did allow the weapon might be usable for riot control and guard duty. It wasn’t until 1939 when the U.S. Army decided to buy 951 Model 1928 Thompson submachine guns for issue to armored vehicles.

The U.S. Marine Corps — as always willing to be out of step with the U.S. Army — welcomed Tommy Guns and requested 50- and 100-round drum magazines. They began with the Model 1921, but changes were requested by the Navy and Marines and some Model 1921s were converted. The Model 1921’s rate of fire of 800/900 rounds per minute was slowed to about 700 RPM and a Cutts Compensator was attached at the muzzle to hold down muzzle climb. These were over-stamped “Model 1928.” According to Iannamico’s book, in the ’20s and ’30s Marines used these Thompsons in the Banana Wars of Central America and also in China.

In the late 1930s an astute businessman named Russell Maquire obtained controlling interest in the Auto-Ordnance Corporation. What he got were patents, spare parts and a small quantity of the first 15,000 Colt-made Thompsons. However, Maquire predicted a new war would break out in Europe and prepared for it. Colt rejected his requests for more Tommy Gun manufacture so Maquire convinced Savage Arms Corporation of Utica, N.Y., to accept a contract for 10,000 Thompson Model 1928s. The French beat the British to the draw by buying 3,000 Model 1928s early in 1940. They ordered 3,000 more but were conquered by the German Wehrmacht prior to delivery.