[SHOT 2023] JL Billet’s 5.56 Tommy Gun By: Hrachya H

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Last year, we published an article telling about the prototype guns seen at SHOT Show 2022 one of which was the 5.56 Tommy Gun concept by JL Billet. Well, the company has been working on refining the design of the gun during the year and they brought several pre-production samples to SHOT Show 2023.

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JL Billet @ TFB:

  • JL Billet Kali-Key Bolt Action AR-15 Charging Handle
  • JL Billet/Blitzkrieg Tactical Brass Knuckle Style VFG
  • Review: JL Billet 13″ MLOK Free-Float Handguard
  • Review: JL Billet V.P.R. Muzzle Brake (For 5.56/.223)

[SHOT 2023] JL Billet's 5.56 Tommy Gun (3)

While it looks like a Thompson submachine gun, design-wise this rifle is closer to an AR as it uses a modified AR-15 bolt carrier group, AR-15 trigger mechanism and takes AR-15 magazines. Interestingly, this is a direct impingement gun with an extremely short gas system hidden inside the upper receiver which according to the company reps works reliably, and the gun cycles smoothly thanks to a proprietary recoil-dampening mechanism.

The JL Billet 5.56 Tommy Gun will come with a wooden pistol grip that uses an AR-15 mounting footprint and can be swapped with any AR grip that does not have a rear beavertail extension. The upper and lower receivers are made of 7075 aluminum. The left-side charging handle is nonreciprocating. Initially, the rifle will be available chambered in 5.56×45, however, a .300 Blackout version is planned to be released as well.

[SHOT 2023] JL Billet's 5.56 Tommy Gun (2)

JL Billet teamed up with Savior Equipment and will offer an option to order their 5.56 Tommy Gun with a Savior Equipment Ultimate Guitar Case, a throwback to violin case-stored Thompson submachine guns. The case will have a custom cut foam fitting the upper and lower receiver assemblies of the gun, a couple of box magazines and a Magpul drum mag. It would be even better if they could source Norinco 5.56 120-round metal drum magazines to include with these guns although that would probably significantly increase the price. Speaking of the price, it is estimated to be around $2000.

TFB and TFBTV’s coverage of SHOT Show 2023 is proudly sponsored by 5.11 Tactical. Click here to check out their new products.