Look closely at this picture. It’s not a Thompson Submachine Gun, but an air gun. Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wy. Gift of Thomas K. Hutchinson.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a Tommy Gun? A very obvious “no” to the first two, but the third requires a second glance. It is actually an air gun made in Coney Island, NY in the mid-twentieth century.
I use a picture of this gun in a lecture about perception and firearms. When I ask what type of firearm it is, someone invariably says, “a Tommy gun.” I do it to illustrate how easily perception becomes reality and how one technology can be confused with another, resulting in a spiral effect of misinformation. But that’s a dissertation for another day because this air gun is just plain cool.
It’s a Feltman Pneumatic Machine Gun designed to look like a Tommy Gun. It comes in .160 in. caliber (No. 1 lead shot). Made by Feltman Products of Coney Island, NY, this air gun is a hose pneumatic (ours is missing said hose, unfortunately). It was made for “Shoot Out the Star” targets at arcades. They were manufactured from the 1930s through the 1990s. You may better know the company by its more recent name, Shooting Star Games.
I don’t know about you, but the possibility of having a fully automatic air gun sounds like a pretty sweet holiday gift to me. And at 1,200 rounds per minute, it’s an air gun that stands apart from the crowd.
To see the previous Gun of the Week—a U.S. Springfield-Allin Conversion Model 1866 ‘Trapdoor’ Rifle___—_click here. Stay tuned for a new gun next Wednesday. For more information, check out the Cody Firearms Museum page here, or follow the Cody Firearms Museum on Facebook and Twitter.