Review: Standard Manufacturing 1922 .22-Caliber Tommy Gun
It’s about half the scale of a real Thompson Model 1921 submachine gun that it mimics. If you’ve ever shot an original “Tommy Gun” or owned one of Auto-Ordnance’s M1927A1 semiautos, it could be argued that the best reason to own one that fires .22LR is that it doesn’t require a fortune to shoot. It’s all about having fun — and what fun it is.
There are other benefits to owning a Standard Manufacturing Model 1922, as well. For example, the receiver is made from aluminum, which means that there is considerable weight savings as compared to a similarly configured .45-caliber Tommy Gun. (The last we checked, an M1928A1 or semiauto from Auto Ordnance averaged near 11 pounds. This scaled-down rimfire weighs half of those, which makes it more endearing to shoot.
Different, also, is that the Standard Manufacturing 1922 operates using a blowback action that contains a semicircular bolt. There is a large extractor and fixed ejector. Since rimfire ammunition varies greatly in pressures and velocities, building a gun that effectively cycles a range of ammunition deserves credit be given to engineering, especially when having to work another firearm’s appearance and ergonomics. In our hands, this .22 Tommy ate everything it was fed from both the 10-round stick magazine or optional 50-round drum magazine.
Predictably, Standard’s 1922 worked with standard and high-velocity loads. The real challenge was the lower-velocity benchrest loads that don’t break 1,000 feet per second (fps). If a gun cycles light target loads — in my case Lapua and Eley’s match loads — it will cycle anything found in a gun store.
The Thompson’s design is actually comfortable and stable to shoot. It helps to have the front, grooved vertical pistol grip that compliments the rear. Naturally, the furniture on these are shaped walnut.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Tommy Gun’s controls, take a few minutes to read the owner’s manual. Once you understand the safety and magazine release, you’ll find this plinker to be very intuitive to operate. The bolt handle is positioned at the top of the receiver and the knurled knob has a cutout so it doesn’t obscure the sights. The three-position safety is located on the left side of the receiver and it moves vertically to cycle from safe to fire to lock positions.
With the lock mechanism engaged and the bolt held open, you can remove or insert either the stick or drum magazines — but there’s a trick to that as well.
A magazine lock lever is located on the left side of the receiver just ahead of the triggerguard, and when the lever is rotated completely downward to the vertical position, the magazine is locked in place. Rotate the lever 90 degrees to the horizontal and the magazine slips to the left out of the gun. Magazines are held in place by an extension that fits into a cutout in the rifle so that there’s no chance they’ll loosen. With a full magazine in place, you can pull back on the bolt handle and release to chamber a round. Now, you’re ready to fire.
The trigger was good but heavier than expected at 5.2 pounds. Also good, if not surprising, was its accuracy. Limited to iron sights at 50 yards, groups averaged at or less than 2 inches!
While this country may have moved past the periods of frontier expansion, Prohibition, as well as wars in Europe and the Pacific, these three new offerings from Standard Manufacturing still deserves a place in the heart of America’s shooting public — and in your gun safe.
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