FBI’s Norfolk Office Still Rocking 75-Year-Old Tommy Guns

Rat-a-tat-tat you dirty rat. The FBI’s Norfolk office is straight up gangsta’ and they’ve got the hardware to prove it.

For the last 75 years the Norfolk branch has retained three very interesting relics of the past: Tommy guns. The nostalgic firearms are normally tucked away in the building’s massive gun vault, but every once in a while the “Chicago typewriters” are shown off at local gun ranges, repots HamptonRoads.

“Every agent wants to see them,” said Agent Mike McMahon. “But very few have ever shot one.”

But McMahon recently brought two of the three Tommy guns to the Chesapeake Police Department’s firing range, giving local FBI agents an opportunity of a lifetime.

McMahon says the bureau has updated their firearms throughout the years, from the Tommy gun to the MP-5, and now to the AR-15. But the gangster gun of old still reigns supreme when it comes to the cool factor.

“It starts with a ‘C’ and ends with an ‘L.’ It’s cool,” said McMahon. “A gun from the days of Pretty Boy Floyd? Are you kiddin’ me?”

Unfortunately, the FBI retired most of their Tommy guns in the 1970’s. They were swapped out with the more potent MP-5, but the bureau quickly realized that the $2,500 submachine guns were expensive to repair, and later updated again to the AR-15, which costs only $1,000 and is able to penetrate through body armor.

“Would you like to try it?” McMahon offered to one of the police officers at the range.

The answer was an immediate affirmative, and moments later a burst of fully automatic gunfire sang through the air.

So why did McMahon dust off the outdated Tommy guns and bring them out the firing range?

“We’re doing it today because we can,” said McMahon. “And because it’s fun.”

(This article was submitted by freelance writer Brent Rogers)

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • ejharb July 28, 2017, 6:01 pm

    We’re doing it because we can.
    And YOU CANT!


  • Keith July 9, 2017, 5:59 pm

    Full automatics are fun to shoot. It’s a waste of ammunition and has very little practical purpose in real life. I hope they get rid of the Federal sound suppressor restrictions. I have read a sound suppressor reduces the sound of a supersonic firearm by about 30 decibels. Why do we have all the restrictions on them? That is hardly silent when the average gun shot is about 160 decibels.

  • pjw July 7, 2017, 12:13 pm

    LEOs and media types enjoy shooting FA as much as those who are committed to the Second Amendment. Unfortunate
    that they’re elite sensibilities won’t allow the average person to exercise those rights unmolested.

  • Barry Nestle June 2, 2017, 8:17 am

    I got to shoot a Thompson several months ago. A real treat. Real cool to think that this gun was used back in the twenties.

  • Dave Hicks July 1, 2016, 11:35 pm

    More potent MP 5 ? Most factory MP 5’s are 9M/M some 40 caliber and 45 converted ones in the US. Thompson’s are 45 more potent than either caliber.

    • RLGordon September 1, 2017, 6:41 am

      The FBI had MP5’s chambered in 10mm–I once was allowed to shoot one. If that was in fact the chambering, then the MP5 was a lot more potent than 45acp.

  • pete November 6, 2015, 1:53 pm

    I’m not so happy to see in the video that no one was within arms reach of her and the gun, while she was firing, in case the gun got away from her. I know the tommy gun is pretty mild to fire, but stranger things have happened. The FBI is not really known for their firearms prowess, are they?

    • Roger Smith June 5, 2017, 1:56 am

      Pete,you think that was her first time,she laughed in a pretty low tone,kinda like cigarette throat,kinda like after you two got thru ?

  • Mike September 3, 2015, 10:24 am

    I think it’s cool they are keeping a few of these around, even if it’s just for publicity purposes.

    • Al September 28, 2015, 9:59 am

      It pays tribute to their roots as a publicity stunt (Al Capone and the prohibition).

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