A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Ugly Gun Sunday

Click to enlarge
"This was my very first Tok. I managed to break the slide stop by using it as a prying tool. It still keeps everything together but of course the slide does not hold open on the last shot.
The polish (N.Y.C.) will come off in a little while. I suppose boredom and artistic endeavor collided."
Why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh Click to enlargewhy oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why

The Tokarev TT33 may be a commie gun of the first order, but it doesn't deserve to be made into a hippie gun like this. It is not a VW bus chasing the Grateful Dead! At least give it a fitting death.

The Tokarev TT33 is an extremely interesting single action pistol used by Mother Russia and her troops prior to the adoption of the Makarov. The pistol was developed as a result of continuous trials, held by the Red Army in the late 1920s. The Soviet Army was looking for a new, modern semiautomatic pistol to replace the obsolete Nagant M1895 revolvers and a variety of foreign semi-automatic pistols. Like the M1911, it can be completely field stripped using no tools other than components of the pistol itself.

Russia supplied some countries within the Warsaw Pact with licenses to manufacture the Tokarev TT33. It was produced in China, Hungary, North Korea, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia, in more or less original forms. Most military TT pistols of non-Soviet manufacture were also in 7.62mm, with some commercial export versions available in 9x19mm Luger. A couple of years ago, Polish Tokarevs were imported to the U.S. in pristine condition and marketed at very attractive prices.

Here is an article that I wrote on the Tokarev TT33 back in 2006:
"Ever have a pistol catch your eye just because it was so damned ugly? That is what the Tokarev TT33 did to me. The Tok has to be one of the homeliest pistols ever made. The Tula Tokarev is a short recoil operated, locked breech pistol. It uses the Browning swinging link system, borrowed from the Colt 1911 pistol, modified with barrel lugs cut on a lathe to simplify production. The single action trigger has no safeties, other than disconnector to prevent out-of-battery fire, and a half-cock notch on the hammer. Recently US imported Toks have a retrofitted manual safety either in front of, or behind the left grip. These safeties are third world Bubba stuff. Don't trust them. The only safe way to carry a TT is with an empty chamber. The hammer/sear assembly was cleverly made as a single unit, easily detachable for cleaning and maintenance. The magazine holds 8 cartridges. Click to enlargeInterestingly, the feed lips are on the detachable hammer/sear assembly, making even banged up magazines serviceable. Fixed sights were factory zeroed for 25 meters. The pistol uses a bottlenecked 7.62X25 cartridge. This is a very hot round, reported to fall somewhere between the .357 and .44 magnum in power. It was designed to penetrate thick coats in Siberia.

I got my chance at a Tokarev TT33 when SOG advertised Polish models for $129. These were listed as good to very good condition. They came with one magazine. I placed my order late, when SOG only had three left in stock. I did not pay for handpicking.

My pistol arrived two days later wrapped in newspaper in a cardboard box. It had the retrofitted safety in front of the left grip, and soft plastic grips with a thumbrest to ease importation restrictions. It had a minuscule IAI import mark on the left of the dustcover. The condition was apparently unissued. There was no bluing wear, although it did have a small amount of freckling. It still had cosmoline all through it. It had the Circle 11 Radom factory proof, along with a 1952 date on the top of the slide. All numbers matched. Fit and finish was similar to a Makarov. For $129 it was a very pretty ugly gun. Click to enlargeI took the gun home, detailed it and lubed it up.

Later at the range I bought 100 rounds of Winchester 7.62X25 ammo and 50 rounds of Sellier & Bellot. Ammo was $11 and $9 per box respectively. Both had 85 grain bullets. Surplus stuff may be cheaper at a gun show, but some extremely hot 7.62X25 surplus ammo is out there that a Tokarev shooter must be aware of. Nine millimeter Parabellum barrels and magazines are available for the TT33. Fitting these would allow the use of less expensive ammunition.

The Tokarev pistol shot well, but required a firm grip to prevent stovepipes initially. This cleared up after the first 50 rounds. I had one failure to extract in which the primer was blown off the cartridge. I had to rod that shell casing out of the chamber. It was intact. I cleaned the chamber and continued shooting. I was surprised at the Tokarev's accuracy. The hot cartridge, long sight radius and tall sights combined to make an accurate pistol. It shot easy two inch groups at 25 feet. The trigger was crisp with about 6 pounds of pull. It had no creep. If I concentrated on my trigger work, I could bring the groups down to an inch and a half. The rear of the magazine did chew my hand a bit on recoil. Recoil was straight back, or so it seemed. The muzzle flash was an attention getter.

I did not like the cheap plastic import grips, so I ordered some proper commie grips from Numrich. Click to enlargeThose grips arrived without the pivoting metal clips that hold them on. I spent an evening making new metal clips out of a putty knife blade and riveting them to the grips. After a bit of fitting, I had commie grips.

While cleaning the pistol, I lost the detent ball for the safety. The pistol was designed without a safety, and relying on the make shift safety it possessed was a bad idea in my opinion. I pinned it in place. Removal of the safety would have resulted in a hole in the frame.

The Tokarev TT33 is not really useful as a modern weapon. It's only redeeming value is that of a curiosity. As the sidearm of our enemies during the Cold War it has some historical interest. It is an unusual interpretation of Browning's design. For the person who enjoys collecting as well as shooting handguns, these are reasons enough to own the Tokarev. If you are wanting an inexpensive and reliable shooter, the Makarov may serve you better."
Tokarevs are interesting pistols that shoot a hot cartridge. Importation has ceased, and they seem to be selling for between $250 and $300 in the U.S. now. 7.62X25 ammunition has become more common in the United States. If you like interesting mil-surp handguns, and you see a Tok at a decent price, buy it.

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Blogger MauserMedic said...

Seriously, that's some of the dumbest ornamentation I've seen slapped on a pistol yet. All it's missing is some gold-painted macaroni glued to it.

12:16 PM  
Blogger BobG said...

The best thing it could be used for is as a suppository for the person who did that to it.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Wolfwood said...

"Tok" seem to be an especially appropriate slang name for that gun.

12:59 PM  
Blogger lee n. field said...

Regularly on the gunboards someone posts a link to an auction where someone's selling a S&W .38 revolver, painted the brightest possible fire engine red. And I think: "I'd buy that abomination for $50, and ship it off to a real refinisher."

Same with this.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Rush baby said...

Dr. X, you're wrong.

It's rather fitting considering the "Green" hippie movement...

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is the stupidest thing ever.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a good gun

-wearing a shitforbrains finish

8:53 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

The Tokarev TT33 may be a commie gun of the first order, but it doesn't deserve to be made into a hippie gun like this.

Awww, even hippies need guns, too. Though the lefties I know who do shoot would never do THAT to their guns.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

I found a candidate for next week:


4:11 PM  
Anonymous Captain Harley said...

I owned a "TOK" once an original WWII one (as in no safety) at that.
The damned thing tried to shoot me. I had placed it on a chair on top of a towel, loaded with one in the chamber, of course. Well, it slid off the towel hit the concrete floor and went BOOM!! I felt the round zing by my head headed for the garage ceiling. After that I got rid of the darn thing. I don't like keeping guns that try to shoot me......

4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My opinion on most of these "ugly guns" is that as long as the gun still works like it's supposed to I don't care how ugly it is.

On the other hand... If this Tokarev no longer functions safely (or at all) after your "imaginitive modification" then you should have just bought an toy gun and use that for painting.

"I managed to break the slide stop by using it as a prying tool."
Seriously stay away from real weapons if you can't treat them with proper care and respect.

7:05 AM  

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