Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: 1-35 and University Parks Drive | PO Box 2570, Waco, TX 76702-2570 | (254) 750-8631
Exhibits & Artifacts: 1928 Thompson Submachine Gun from Ranger Captain Hardy B. Purvis
H. B. “Butch” Purvis Donation of a 1928 Thompson Submachine Gun
from Ranger Captain Hardy B. Purvis
B. “Butch” Purvis of Mertzon, Texas, has donated an important
artifact used by Texas Ranger Captain Hardy B. Purvis and Texas Ranger
L. Hardy Purvis.
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame is very grateful to Mr. Purvis for giving
this one of a kind artifact – an 1928 Thompson Submachine Gun
with accessories and Police case -- to future generations.
1928 .45 Caliber Thompson Submachine Gun, with drum magazine, detachable
stock, “Police” style hard case and 5 box magazines
This US Navy Model
of 1921 over stamped 1928 Thompson Submachine gun was manufactured by
the Colt Patent Firearms Company from May 1, 1922 – May 6, 1922
and was shipped to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in Beaumont,
Texas. Records do not indicate if the Sheriff’s Office ordered
this machine gun for Texas Ranger Captain Hardy Purvis or if he acquired
it from them after they purchased the weapon.
states that Captain Purvis carried this weapon throughout his career
and eventually pasted it down to his son Texas Ranger L. H. Purvis.
Family history does not indicate that either man fired the weapon in
the performance of their duties although both officers were said to
have carried it regularly as a part of their personal arsenal.
The Auto-Ordnance Colt Thompson Submachine Gun
Colt Patent Firearms Company contracted with the Auto-Ordnance Company
to manufacture 15,000 Thompson submachine guns Model of 1921A. These
firearms were capable of 800 rounds per minute, had Lyman sights, finned
barrels, and walnut stocks. These firearms were sold to various military
organizations throughout the world and marketed as “Anti-bandit”
firearms to police agencies throughout the United States. In 1928, the
US Navy procurement system working for the US Marine Corp, requested
a modified Thompson that would fire only 600 rounds per minute and had
a horizontal fore arm. This reduction in rate of fire was intended to
make the firearm more manageable when fired on full-auto and to conserve
With the assistance
of Oscar Payne, the US Navy Model of 1928 was designed. To meet the
order for these weapons, Thompson Model of 1921 stock was refitted with
the conversion pieces and over stamped with the Model of 1928 markings.
The US Navy over stamped Model of 1928 quickly became the most popular
Thompson model in the Auto Ordnance catalog. These firearms were ordered
by law enforcement departments throughout the country with either the
traditional pistol style or the horizontal fore stock.
Hardy B. Purvis, 1891 - 1959
Born in Livingston, Texas, in 1891, H. B. Purvis joined the Texas Rangers
in 1927. He worked in the Panhandle town of Borger until 1929 when he
was transferred to the East Texas town of Lufkin. Promoted in 1936,
Purvis transferred to Houston where he served as Captain until his retirement
About L. Hardy Purvis, 1912 - 1993
Son of Ranger Captain Hardy B. Purvis, L. Hardy Purvis promoted to Ranger
and served in Kerrville, Texas. Over the next few years, he served in
Alpine, Sonora, and Del Rio. He retired in 1967 while serving in Rock