topbar for interface

Tokyo Marui Thompson M1A1

Review date: 5/31/2002
Model: Thompson M1A1
Type: AEG
Manufacturer: Savoy6
Retailer: Wargameclub

27 May '02 or '43?

I have to ask myself that every time i pick this gun up. Now, I have to say that this is the first and so far, only, AEG that I have. But it's not the first that I have gotten to use in the field. So yeah, I'm somewhat of a Noobie... but let's hope my constant messing around with it counts for something. But first, let's get a little bit of background for the 3 or 4 people on the planet who haven't seen much of this gun before.

A Little History Lessson

The M1A1 was an attempt to streamline the production of the M1928A1 Thompson SMG which at the time required large amounts of time to hand machine most of its components. Also, the fact that with all that work the price was around $210 in 1940 made the goverment think of a more simplified version. Most of the work on the M1 and M1A1 was done by Savage Arms after they were contracted to produce the M1928A1 in 1941. The bolt assembly, reciever, barrel and other parts were redesigned to need as little hand tooling as possible. They had the new M1 ready by April, 1942 and the M1A1 came out in October of the same year. By late 1943 and early 1944 the new SMG designed by Army Ordinance, the M3 "Grease Gun", was beginning to be issued in quantity, mostly to vehicle crews, but was beginning to filter out into the infantry. But the M1A1 was still being sought after by infantry and airborne units in both the European and Mediteranean theatres.

In the Pacific, the Marines used it heavily, but many Army personel in the front lines prefered the M3, when avialiable. This was due to the close similarity in the sound of the Thompson to the Japanese 7.7mm Nambu LMG, which could draw friendly fire at night or in the close quarters of the jungles.

The Find

Now, I personally had to wait almost 5 months to get this gun. At the time I wanted it it was out of stock at all the retailersm - probably because of the Fall, 2001 run of Band of Brothers on HBO. When I saw it back in stock in February of this year, I had to jump on it! I got it from Wargameclub for two reasons: 1) Siezure guarantee, and 2) Local deposit with Bank of America. The total for the gun with shipping was $281 and once my payment cleared into their account, it took about 4 days to arrive to me in NW Florida. Also, props to Brian at Maryland Airsoft getting me my hi-caps and bb's in a very timely manner.


The things that are most impressive about this gun right out of the box are both it's weight and solidness. Having had the opportunity to fire the real-steel version several years ago, I can say that Tokyo Mauri's efforts are right on target. With a battery and a full hi-cap, the gun weighs as much as the real one. If you are looking for something to carry at the shoulder all day, this is NOT the gun for you. Also, the safety and selector switches and mag release take some getting used to if you have been using more current weapons. For awhile changing mags was a real problem because it's almost impossible to actuate the mag release with the firing hand if you are a righty. Luckily, I got some timely advice from some of my older customers at work - who had used this gun in WW2 and Korea - on how to change mags quickly and how my web gear needs to be set up for it. For the most part, if you are a righty, just change mags with the left hand while holding it with the other and of course keep your magazines on that side, too. The hop up is adjustable from both the upper reciever - through what would normally be the ejection port - and from underneath in the mag well. Stock, this gun runs at about 700 rpm and about 280 to 300 fps, depending on the charge of the battery. The large battery goes into a compartment in the stock that has a latch on the buttplate. Personally, I run with a 1800 mAh Piranah battery from Tactical Air Sports. (Which only took 3 days to get to me from the day I ordered it, PROPS to them.) I've had this battery last nearly a full day (shot about 8000 rnds) on a single good 9 hour charge. The main thing you have to remember is to check the screws regularly, especially the ones on the sling swivel mounts and the mounting screws at the base of the barrel assembly. As usual, keep it clean and well lubricated like you would with any other AEG. Because this gun has so much metal (i.e. the reciever and barrel assembly) you should really try and keep some sort of lubricant on the outside of it since TM's blueing can wear off quickly with heavy field use. Also make sure that you keep the mags lubricated as well.

Field Gear

There are 3 kinds to fit this gun: the standard 60rnd and 420rnd hi-cap which are the same size as the real 30rnd mags, and the 190rnd hi-cap which is the same size as the real 20nd mags. The military came out with several different pouches to carry ammo for this gun, most of which are fairly rare and go for a good price nowadays - especially on Ebay. Originally, the most common clips were the 50rnd drum and the 20rnd stick mags. Both of these had carriers, but the most common was the 5 cell mag pouch for the 20rnds. Later on in the war the men in the field kept on using the 5 cell pouch after the introduction of the 30rnd mags. According to the vets I talked with, most of them preffered the 5 cells to the 6 or 10 mag bags because you could carry mags more quietly. The only way to keep the bags quiet was to stick used mags back in the bag which could lead to confusion, especially at night, under fire. My load out consists of just a simple web belt, canteen and cover, UHC .45 springer and issue holster, first aid kit and a mag pouch that was originally intended for the mags from the M3A1 SMG (my next airsoft purchase). Right now I'm only using 3 420 hi-caps and a 60 rnd standard, but I should be getting 2 more 420's and a 5 cell repro from I.M.A. here soon. Then I can head out to play with at least 2100 rnds.


This gun in the field, is a very 'point and shoot' type weapon. The sight setup is very open and it is easy to aquire targets with it.

All in all, this gun is definately a must have for anyone who wants a solid AEG and a very close representation of a classic SMG.

Savoy6, out.

Review by: Savoy6.


[Back to Top]
© Copyright 2004 by Lance Eppley & Joey Araniego