CYMA Thompson M1A1 RIF
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
One of the many aspects of airsoft that I truly enjoy is the fact that, whatever your interest in firearms, you are more likely than not going to be able to find a replica that fits into any era. From WWI to current day there are replicas out there that cross over from pure airsoft skirmishing to living history display with ease. Being a re-enactor with group membership and valid insurance gives you a defence in law to legally own an airsoft replica, and there are many re-enactors I know that will go down the airsoft route rather than buy a de-activated firearm. Not only will they end up with something that with a little effort is perfectly suitable for display, but they will also end up with a properly serviceable skirmish gun should they decide to follow this route too.
Now I have to admit that I actually sit in both camps. I do like to get out to an airsoft game with my friends, but I also enjoy the historical aspect immensely too. Many Site Operators take this as read from their player base, offering specifically themed days, and WWII airsoft has proved particularly of interest to many.
Luckily for the allied forces the perfect replica is out there in the form of the Cybergun-licenced CYMA M1A1 Thompson sub machine gun, and it’s a replica that is truly not going to break the bank! The M1A1 was the militarised version of the 1928 model that was made famous by the gangsters and police officers during the Prohibition years in the USA. With its distinctive drum mag and angled gangster foregrip, the Tommy Gun ruled the streets. That’s not to say that it was perfect though; in fact far from it, as the early guns made use of the ‘Blish Principle’, a way of slowing down the operation of the breech utilising the friction created by a pair of metal blocks sliding against one another.
The CYMA Thompson ticks a lot of historical boxes. It’s a full 1:1 scale replica constructed entirely out of metal, with trademarks properly licenced from Saeilo Enterprises Inc via Kahr Arms, who bought Auto Ordnance, one of the original manufacturers of the Thomspon in 1999; it’s believed that Auto Ordnance manufactured nearly 900,000 Thompsons!
Out of the box the M1A1 feels good and hefty in the hands, the only slight drawback for me being the ‘plastic’ woodwork. Luckily there are numerous manufacturers out there who provide real wood aftermarket kits for the Thompson, so a quick search online and a few extra quid spent will soon rectify this. If you do invest in the real wood kit then the metal furniture is simply transferred from the original plastic parts to the aftermarket ones; the metal sling swivels are very sturdy and the addition of a period sling really finishes the gun off nicely.
The battery for the Thompson is stored in the butt, and is easily accessed; I now run mine on a 7.4 mini LiPo battery that gives great performance sending a .20g BB downrange at a healthy 335fps. Spring quality though has varied in the M1 models, so do check to make sure yours complies with site limits. There are steel gears and a metal gearbox, both of which are easy to work on. The hop up adjustment is situated openly where the ejection port would normally be, directly above the magazine. It’s a wheel type which is easily adjusted and stays firmly set once adjusted. The magazine itself as standard is a 380 round HiCap, but both 20 and 30 round MidCap magazines can be purchased as accessories; much as some of you might wish for the drum mag, this too was something mothballed with the demise of the M1928A1 model, although you can find them if you search hard enough!
Sights are pretty rudimentary with the rear sight only being very slightly adjustable for windage. That said, once you have the hop dialled in correctly the M1A1 is actually more than adequately accurate out to about 35 metres, more than enough for most skirmishes. Controls are going to be a little unusual if you’re used to a modern day M4; you do still get safe, semi and full auto modes, but these are set by manipulating two separate levers above the pistol grip on the left hand side. You’ll also find the magazine release catch here, although in honesty it’s a lever rather than a catch!
Whether, like me, you collect certain replicas because of their historical significance or are a player that just wants something different, I would certainly give the CYMA Thompson your consideration. Expect to pay around £220 for the M1A1 and a little more for the M1928; you’ll find both models stocked by most good airsoft stores, but mine came originally from Airsoft World.
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