SHOT Show 2024: The Year Thompson Met Stoner

Every year, SHOT Show seems to have a theme, more or less. A type of gun, caliber, or something that ties together multiple new product releases from a range of companies. A few years ago, it was the year of the Hi-Power. Before that, it was the year of 5.7x28mm.

This year, the major theme everyone seems to be paying attention to is lever action rifles, many fed by AR mags. However, there is another theme that seemed to come out of nowhere. It’s seemingly what would have happened if Eugene Stoner met John Thompson.

The rise of the AR Tommy Gun simply can’t be ignored. There are three different guns this year that are weird amalgamations of the Thompson and AR-15.

The Bishop AR45 Rifle

Bishop is a custom manufacturer of high-powered rifles and rifle rounds. The ladies behind Bishop produce some powerful wildcat rounds and cool rifles like a lever action .458 SOCOM rifle. This year, they released the custom-made AR45 Rifle.

The AR45 is an AR-based pistol caliber carbine that uses GLOCK magazines and chambers the .45 ACP cartridge (10mm will also be available upon request). This is a blowback-operated gun, and it uses a custom set of receivers. The upper features a left-side charging handle for that Thompson feel.

A quick glance reveals a gun that’s somewhat bizarre but also attractive. The AR45 has a wood stock and wood front and rear pistol grips. The handguard is cut to expose the barrel, and it looks a lot like a Cyberpunk Tommy gun. The barrel features the cooling fins from the Thompson and a replica of the old-school Cutts compensator.

It’s a fairly unique, high-end custom-built PCC with a guarantee of a 1-inch group at 50 yards.

Kahr AR Tommy Gun

If someone was going to make a modern Tommy Gun, it would be Kahr. Kahr makes a ton of more traditional Tommy guns as it is. The AR Tommy Gun is a bit more Tommy Gun than AR, but the AR influence is very clearly there.

The gun is basically a Thompson carbine with a 16-inch barrel. The tip of the barrel even has a modern Cutts compensator. As we go towards the stock, things get a little weird and more AR-ish. The barrel is surrounded by an M-LOK rail that leads back to the receiver. Here, we get the Thompson magwell that still clings to Thompson drums and magazines.

The stock is an AR type six-position stock. This side charging model allows for a huge rail atop of the gun, which makes adding optics super-easy. Oh, and to finish it all off, it has an A2 pistol grip.

The Kahr Tommy Gun looks huge and heavy, and I can’t tell if I like it or not.

The Diamondback DB9R

Oh boy. When this is the most “normal” gun on the list, you know we’re in for a treat. The Diamondback DB9R was a show-stopper at Range Day. Sadly, it wasn’t on the line to shoot but only displayed on the booth to ogle before you started shooting.

The DB9R takes on a Tommy Gun look without the Tommy Gun caliber. It’s a 9mm option, and it’s more AR than Tommy Gun.

What makes it Tommy-is is the presence of three distinct features. Let’s start with the furniture. The gun has a wood stock, a wood pistol grip, and a massive Tommy-style wood grip up front. At the end of the barrel sits a replica of the Cutt’s compensator adopted to the AR threading and 9mm caliber. Finally, the gun comes with a Magpul D50 drum.

Other than that, it’s more AR than not. The gun has standard AR controls, uses GLOCK magazines, and sports a nice, long M-LOK rail. It’s simpler than the other two guns here but also likely much more affordable.

The Weird Vein of AR Tommy Guns

Of all the things I anticipated about SHOT this year, the presence of three guns that integrate features of the Thompson SMG and the AR-15 weren’t on my bingo card. Still, it’s a big market out there and I guess there’s room for everyone and type of gun.

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