A Soviet-produced TT-33 pistol made in 1937
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by||See Users|
|Wars||Spanish Civil War, World War II, Katyn Massacre, Korean War, Chinese Civil War, Vietnam War, Laotian Civil War, Cambodian Civil War, Cambodian-Vietnamese War, Sino-Vietnamese War, Soviet war in Afghanistan, Cambodian–Thai border stand-off, Syrian Civil War, and numerous others|
|Manufacturer||Tula Arsenal, Izhevsk Arsenal, Norinco, Femaru, Radom Arsenal, Cugir Arsenal, Zastava Arms, FÉG|
|Number built||1,700,000|
|Variants||TT-30, TT-33, TTC, M48, M48 Tokagypt, M57, M70, M70, R-3, Type 51, Type 54, Type 68|
|Weight||854 g (30.1 oz)|
|Length||194 mm (7.6 in)|
|Barrel length||116 mm (4.6 in)|
|Height||134 mm (5.3 in)|
|Action||Short recoil actuated, locked breech, single action|
|Muzzle velocity||480 m/s (1,575 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||50 m|
|Feed system||8-round detachable box magazine|
|Sights||Front blade, rear notch
156 mm (6.1 in) sight radius
The TT-30 (Russian: 7,62-мм самозарядный пистолет Токарева образца 1930 года, 7,62 mm Samozaryadnyj Pistolet Tokareva obraztsa 1930 goda, "7.62 mm Tokarev self-loading pistol model 1930") is a Russian semi-automatic pistol. It was developed in the early 1930s by Fedor Tokarev as a service pistol for the Soviet military to replace the Nagant M1895 revolver that had been in use since Tsarist times, though it ended up being used in conjunction with rather than replacing the M1895. It served until 1952, when it was replaced by the Makarov pistol.
In 1930, the Revolutionary Military Council approved a resolution to test new small arms to replace its aging Nagant M1895 revolvers. During these tests, on January 7, 1931, the potential of a pistol designed by Fedor Tokarev was noted. A few weeks later, 1,000 TT-30s were ordered for troop trials, and the pistol was adopted for service in the Red Army.
But even as the TT-30 was being put into production, design changes were made to simplify manufacturing. Minor changes to the barrel, disconnector, trigger and frame were implemented, the most notable ones being the omission of the removable backstrap and changes to the full-circumference locking lugs. This redesigned pistol was the TT-33. Most TT-33s were issued to officers. The TT-33 was widely used by Soviet troops during World War II, but did not completely replace the Nagant.
Externally, the TT-33 is very similar to John Browning's blowback operated FN Model 1903 semiautomatic pistol, and internally it uses Browning's short recoil dropping-barrel system from the M1911 pistol. In other areas the TT-33 differs more from Browning's designs — it employs a much simpler hammer/sear assembly than the M1911, with an external hammer. This assembly is removable from the pistol as a modular unit and includes cartridge guides that provide reliable functioning. The Soviet engineers made several alterations to make the mechanism easier to produce and maintain, most notably is that the locking lugs go all around the barrel (not just on top), the side and bottom portions do not perform a locking function, but allow for simpler production. Some models use a captive recoil spring secured to the guide rod which does depend on the barrel bushing to hold it under tension. Production even machined the magazine feed lips into the removable hammer group to prevent damage and misfeeds when a distorted magazine was loaded into the magazine well. The TT-33 is chambered for the 7.62×25mm Tokarev cartridge, which was itself based on the similar 7.63×25mm Mauser cartridge used in the Mauser C96 pistol. The 7.62×25mm cartridge is powerful, has an extremely flat trajectory, and is capable of penetrating thick clothing and soft body armor. Able to withstand tremendous abuse, large numbers of the TT-33 were produced during World War II and well into the 1950s. In modern times the robust TT-33 has been converted to many extremely powerful cartridges including .38 Super and 9×23mm Winchester. The TT-33 omitted a safety catch other than the half cock notch which rendered the slide inoperable until the hammer was pulled back to full cock and then lowered manually to the half cock position. Many newer variants have manual safeties added, these vary greatly in placement and function.
The Wehrmacht captured a fair number of TT-33s and issued them to units under the Pistole 615(r) designation. This was made possible by the fact that Russian 7.62 mm Model 1930 Type P cartridges were nearly identical to the German 7.63×25mm Mauser cartridge. Therefore, German ammunition could be used in captured Russian arms, but not vice versa. Due to much higher pressures, the Russian cartridges should never be used in the German Mauser pistols. Such use could be very dangerous.
The TT-33 was eventually replaced by the 8-round, 9×18mm Makarov PM pistol in 1952. Production of the TT-33 in Russia ended in 1954, but copies (licensed or otherwise) were also made by other countries. At one time or another most communist or Soviet bloc countries made a variation of the TT-33 pistol,
Poland produced their own copies as the PW wz.33, manufactured from 1947 to 1959 and Hungary rebarreled the pistol to fire 9×19mm Parabellum as the M48, as well as an export version for Egypt known as the Tokagypt 58 which was widely used by police forces there.
Romania produced a TT-33 copy as the TTC, or Cugir Tokarov well into the 1950s. These have been made available for commercial sale in great numbers in recent years. However, to be importable into the United States, a trigger blocking safety was added.
Production in Yugoslavia (Serbia)
As of 2012 M57A, M70A and M88A are imported into the U.S. by Century International Arms.
Production in China
Norinco, the People's Liberation Army's state armaments manufacturer in China, manufactured a commercial variant of the Tokarev pistol chambered in the more common 9×19mm Parabellum round, known as the Tokarev Model 213, as well as in the original 7.62×25mm caliber.
The 9mm model features a safety catch, which was absent on Russian-produced TT-33 handguns. Furthermore, the Model 213 features the thin slide grip grooves, as opposed to the original Russian wide-types. The 9mm model is featured with a magazine well block mounted in the rear of the magazine well to accept 9mm type magazines without frame modification.
The Norinco model in current production is not available for sale in the United States due to import prohibitions on Chinese firearms, although older handguns of the Model 213 type imported in the 1980s and 1990s are common.
Interarms marketed World War II-surplus Russian-made Tokarevs in Europe and the United States as the Phoenix. They had new wooden grips with a phoenix design on them and were overstamped INTERARMS on the barrel. Later gun laws banned their sale due to their lack of a safety.
The TT-33 is still in service in the Bangladeshi and North Korean armed forces today while police in Pakistan still commonly use the TT pistol as a sidearm, though unofficially, as it is being replaced by modern 9 mm Beretta and SIG pistols. The TT-33 pistol is also occasionally supplied to the People's Armed Police and People's Liberation Army under the name Type 54.
The Tokarev is popular with pistol collectors and shooters in the West because of its ruggedness and reliability. In the US, the supply of surplus 7.62×25mm ammunition has become scarce and it has become more expensive to shoot.
However, some complaints include poor-quality grips (which are often replaced by the wrap-around Tokagypt 58 grips) and a hand grip which extends at a vertical angle awkward for many Western shooters. Another complaint is the poor placement of the post-production safeties installed to comply with US import regulations; many shooters disassemble the pistols, remove them and restore the Tokarevs to the original configuration.
Nonetheless, the Tokarev, as well as its variants in 9mm, are renowned for its simplicity, power and accuracy.
- Albania: Albanian police and RENEA.
- Bangladesh: Uses Chinese Type 54 copy.
- Burundi: Issued to select officers of the Burundian National Defense Force.
- People's Republic of China: Produced in large numbers as the Type 54.
- Colombia
- East Germany Issued in small numbers to Volks Polizei (Peoples Police) in the early 1950s, replaced by Makarov PM in late 50s.
- Egypt: Produced from the 1950s.
- Equatorial Guinea
- Finland: Captured TT-33 pistols were carried by Finnish soldiers and partisans during the Winter War (1939-1940) and Continuation War (1941-1944) with the USSR. It was nicknamed the "Star Pistol" (tähti-pistooli) due to the large Red Army star embossed on the grip panels. Although large numbers were acquired, the Finnish military never produced ammunition or spares for them because they were in a non-standard caliber.
- Hungary: Produced locally.
- Lithuania: Lithuanian Armed Forces.
- Nazi Germany Used captured pistols
- Nepal: Found to be carried by Armed Police Forces units, presumed to be captured from communist troops during the Nepalese civil war.
- North Korea: Produced locally as the Type 68.
- Pakistan: Used by Pakistan Army, Security Guards and Police. Produced locally. It is being replaced by the more modern 9 mm Beretta and SIG Sauer pistols.
- Poland: Produced locally in the Radom arms factory. Used by military and law enforcement groups; replaced by the P-64 pistol in the 1960s.
- Romania: Produced locally at the Cugir factory under the designation "TTC".
- Russian Federation
- Sierra Leone
- Soviet Union
- Yugoslavia: Produced locally.
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