'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 round.

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.

The original soviet TT33s are now considered a Curio & Relic item as the last of them have been manufactured more than 50 years ago. If you have one I would suggest you take good care of it and keep it, it will be of very high value one day, if not already.

I personally do not find it ugly, but then again, I do have a gun addiction and aside from the French Chauchat I don't think there's any other gun that I consider ugly, yes including the liberator. In fact, the TT33 externally is very similar to the Colt 1903 if you compare.

Do not confuse the originals for the newer chinese clones though, these chinese ones while extremely economical and functional are not on the BATF C&R list and are therefore not considered crufflewaffen. They can not be legally transferred across state lines by just a C&R license holder, they require FFL transfers.

Aside from the distinctive rollmarks on the newer guns you can also tell them apart from afar by the presence of a very awkward manual safety on the newer Norinco made Tokarevs. This was added to comply with the "points" a gun must rack up to comply with BATF importation laws, this was not part of the original design and should not be relied upon for carry purposes. The Norinco clones are chambered in 9mmx19 Luger, which if you think about it is kind of weird as the gun is of soviet design. The 9mm is a NATO adopted round. This, again, was probably done to comply with BATF rules as the original chambering for the TT33 would produce a firearm that could easily penetrate soft body armor. And besides 9mm is easier to get and is a lot cheaper.

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