'Tokarev' is a generic name for a variety of firearms devised by Soviet engineer Fedor Tokarev
, his most famous products being the SVT-38
semi-automatic rifle and, even more so, the TT pistol. The TT33, chambered for the powerful 7.62x25mm
round, was introduced in 1933
- 'TT' standing for 'Tokarev, Tula
', Tula being the location of the factory, south-west of Moscow. The large, brutally ugly pistol - closely resembling Colt's pre-1911 automatics - was standard Russian Army issue throughout World War Two
and has a similar hold on the Russian psyche as the Colt 1911
in America. It was also used by the armies of China and Hungary, and in modified form, Egypt (as the 'Tokagypt
'!). After WW2
the pistol was replaced by the Makarov
, which was smaller, less powerful, and easier to shoot. The TT remained and remains in production in China, most commonly chambered for the extremely popular 9x19mm
The Tokarev is nowadays quite common amongst terrorist organisations throughout Afria, Asia, and the subcontinent, as it's extremely cheap, decently powerful and, in some cases, was supplied en masse by the former Soviet Union and China. It is in some respects the pistol equivalent of the AK-47, its notoriety and dark glamour fed by appearances in the news. Its most recently media appearance has been in a set of disturbing photographs of the journalist Daniel Pearl held captive - the menacing black pistol held to his head was a Tokarev.
In America the pistol is commonly available at arms fairs and the like for less than $150, as an army surplus item; buyers should beware that, as standard, original Russian Tokarevs did not have a safety catch, only a mechanism for holding the hammer at the half-cocked position.