Military Wiki
TT 1.jpg
The improved TT-33 pistol.
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1930–present
Used by See Users
Wars World War II, 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, and numerous others
Production history
Designer Fedor Tokarev
Designed 1930
Manufacturer Tula 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)

Cartridge 7.62×25mm Tokarev
Action Short recoil actuated, locked breech, single action
Muzzle velocity 480 m/s (1,575 ft/s)
Effective 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 never fully replaced the M1895.


Soviet junior political officer armed with a Tokarev TT-33 Service Pistol urges Russian troops forward against German positions during World War II. The picture is allegedly of political officer Alexey Gordeevich Yeremenko, who is said to have been killed within minutes of this photograph being taken.[1]

In 1930, the Revolutionary Military Council approved a resolution to test new small arms to replace its aging Nagant M1895 revolvers.[2] 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.[3]

But even as the TT-30 was being put into production, design changes were made to simplify manufacturing. Minor changes to the barrel, disconnector,[4] 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.[3] 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.

Design details

Externally, the TT-33 is very similar to John Browning's blowback operated FN Model 1903 automatic pistol, and internally it uses Browning's short recoil dropping-barrel system from the M1911. 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 weapon as a modular unit and includes cartridge guides that provide reliable functioning. The Soviet engineers also added several other features such as locking lugs all around the barrel (not just on top), and made several alterations to make the mechanism easier to produce and maintain, notably a captive recoil spring secured to the guide rod which does not depend on the barrel bushing to hold it under tension. Production even machined the magazine feed lips into the receiver to prevent damage and misfeeds when a distorted magazine was loaded into the magazine well.[5]

The TT-33 is chambered for the 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge, which was itself based on the similar 7.63x25mm Mauser cartridge used in the Mauser C96 pistol. Able to withstand tremendous abuse, large numbers of the TT-33 were produced during World War II and well into the 1950s.

The TT-33 omitted a safety catch other than the half cock notch which rendered the slide inoperable until the hammer was drawn back to full cock or pulled back to full cock and then lowered manually, which made it unsafe to carry when loaded. It also had a tendency for the magazine catch to accidentally release the magazine while drawing or firing the weapon, if the magazine was damaged in any way.


Russian TT-33.

File:Chinese type54 Pistol.jpg

The Chinese Type 54 with holster.

The Yugoslavian M57 variant with loaded 9-round magazine.

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, and vice versa. Due to much higher pressures, the Russian cartridges should not be used in the German Mauser pistols. Such use could be very dangerous.[5]

Licensed production

A crude Pakistani-made knockoff copy of the TT-33 Pistol.

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,

The TT pistol copies made notably in China as the Type 51, Type 54,[6] M20, and TU-90

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.[5]

Yugoslavia produced an improved version of the TT-33 as the M57, M65,[5] M70A and the 9×19mm M88. North Korea manufactured them as the Type 68[7] or M68.[5]

Romania also 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.

Both legal and illegal TT pistols are still manufactured in various Pakistani Khyber Pass factories.

Production in China

The TT pistol was copied in China as the Type 51, Type 54,[6] M20, and TU-90.

Norinco, the People's Liberation Army's state weapons 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.

7.62×25mm ammo is also rather inexpensive and locally produced or imported from China, also made by Norinco.


Type 54 with manual safety

The TT-33 is still in service in the Chinese, 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 Tokarev is gaining in popularity with pistol collectors and shooters in the West because of its ruggedness, reliability and ready availability of cheap ammunition (in the US).

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.[8]


Tokarev Pistol historical usage map

  •  Afghanistan[9]
  •  Albania:[9] Albanian police and RENEA.
  •  Algeria[9]
  •  Angola[9]
  •  Armenia[9]
  •  Azerbaijan[9]
  •  Bangladesh: Uses Chinese Type 54 copy.[10]
  •  Belarus[9]
  •  Benin[9]
  •  Bosnia-Herzegovina[9]
  •  Cambodia[9]
  •  Chad[9]
  •  People's Republic of China: Produced in large numbers as the Type 54.[11]
  •  Congo-Brazzaville[9]
  •  Croatia[9]
  •  Egypt: Produced from the 1950s.[12]
  •  Equatorial Guinea[9]
  •  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)[13] 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.[13]
  •  Georgia[9]
  •  Guinea[9]
  •  Guinea-Bissau[9]
  •  Hungary: Produced locally.[14]
  •  Iraq[9]
  •  Kyrgyzstan[9]
  •  Laos[9]
  •  Libya[9]
  •  Lithuania: Lithuanian Armed Forces.[9][15]
  •  Madagascar[9]
  •  Malta[9]
  •  Mauritania[9]
  •  Moldova[9]
  •  Mongolia[9]
  •  Montenegro[9]
  •  Morocco[16]
  •  Mozambique[9]
  •  North Korea: Produced locally as the Type 68.[14][17]
  •  Pakistan: Used by Pakistan Army,[18] Security Guards and Police. Produced locally.[citation needed] It is being replaced by the more modern 9 mm Beretta and SIG Sauer pistols.
  •  Poland: Produced locally in the Radom arms factory.[14] Used by military and law enforcement groups; replaced by the P-64 pistol in the 1960s.
  •  Romania: Produced locally.[9][14]
  •  Russian Federation[9]
  •  Serbia[9]
  •  Sierra Leone[9]
  •  Somalia[9]
  •  Soviet Union[11]
  •  Syria[9]
  •  Uganda[9]
  •  Vietnam[9]
  •  Yugoslavia: Produced locally.[11][14]
  •  Zambia[9]
  •  Zimbabwe[9]

See also


  1. Article about the picture on Russian language Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2 March 2013.
  2. "Tokarev TT pistol (USSR/Russia)". Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 (March 2001). "Polish M48 (Tokarev TT-33) Pistols". Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  4. Tokarev, Vladimir (2000). "Fedor V. Tokarev". Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Bishop, Chris (2006). The Encyclopedia of Small Arms and Artillery. Grange Books. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1-84013-910-5. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kokalis, Peter. Weapons Tests And Evaluations: The Best Of Soldier Of Fortune. Boulder, Colorado, USA: Paladin Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-58160-122-0. 
  7. Modern Firearms
  8., Information concerning the Norinco Type 213, its disassembly, and handling
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 9.23 9.24 9.25 9.26 9.27 9.28 9.29 9.30 9.31 9.32 9.33 9.34 9.35 9.36 9.37 9.38 Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Marchington, James (2004). The Encyclopedia of Handheld Weapons. Lewis International, Inc. ISBN 1-930983-14-X.
  12. Hogg, Ian (2002). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-00-712760-X.
  13. 13.0 13.1 JAEGER PLATOON: FINNISH ARMY (1918 - 1945) > PISTOLS (Page 2): Mauser M/96, Nagant and TT-33
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4
  16. [1]
  18. "Pakistan Army". 

External links

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).