The Tokarev TT-33
 (also known as the "Black Star" or simply as the Tokarev, "Tok", or TT) is a Soviet-Russian pistol and the Zastava M57 (short for Model of 1957) is the Yugoslavian copy of the TT. Both pistols are chambered for the powerful 7.62x25mm round.

They are seen in two of the four Rambo films, usually used by the Soviets and their allies. Rambo: First Blood Part II prominently features much of the Soviets and Vietnamese allies with Yugoslavian Zastava M57s as their sidearms. This is highly unlikely, as not only were Yugoslavian pistols not used by the Russian armed forces, but the TT pistols were taken out of service after World War II and replaced by the lesser-powered Makarov pistols. In the fourth film, a Russian TT-33 Tokarev is posessed by a Burmese river pirate.


The TT-30 (Russian: 7,62-мм самозарядный пистолет Токарева образца 1930 года, 7,62 mm Samozaryadnyj Pistolet Tokareva obraztsa 1930 goda, "7.62x25mm Tokarev self-loading pistol model 1930"; later improved into the TT-33) is a heavy, all-steel Russian semi-automatic magazine-fed pistol with a single-action only trigger system. 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. The TT pistols were chambered for the small yet powerful 7.62 Tokarev pistol cartridge, which was high in velocity and capable of traveling at speeds of 1,500 to 1,800 feet per second, thus making it great for piercing armor such as steel helmets.   


Lieutenant Tay uses an M57 in First Blood Part II.

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 east bloc countries in the Warsaw Pact made a variation of the TT-33 pistol, all of which were under different names. Poland, Romania, Egypt, Hungary, China, Romania, North Korea and even Pakistan have all made their own copies of the TT pistol. As many as 53 different countries used the Tokarev pistol during its long history and dozens of other countries still use the Tokarev today, including Bangladesh and North Korea. Pakistani police also frequently use the TT as their sidearm, although they are being replaced by more sophisticated sidearms. The TT-33 pistol is also occasionally supplied to the People's Armed Police in China under the designation 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 7.62x25 ammunition has become scarce and it has become more expensive to shoot. However, a major complaint is the poor placement of the post-production safeties on the Mil-Surp guns that were hastily and cheaply installed to comply with US import regulations. As a result, they rarely work properly. To fix this problem, many shooters disassemble the pistols, remove them and restore the Tokarevs to the original configuration. Nonetheless, the Tokarev, as well as its variants in 9x19mm, are renowned for its simplicity, light trigger, power, reliability, history and accuracy.


Externally, the TT-33 is very similar to John Browning's blowback operated FN Model 1903 automatic pistol, but internally, it uses Browning's short recoil actuated, locked breech dropping-barrel with a swinging/drop link 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 hammer assembly is removable from the pistol as a unique modular chassis unit and includes cartridge guides that provide reliable functioning. The Soviet engineers also added several other features such as locking lugs all around the stainless steel five-inch 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 depend on the barrel bushing to hold it under tension. Takedown for cleaning is achieved by unloading the pistol completely and removing the magazine. Push in the stud attached to the recoil spring and slide the barrel bushing locking ring completely upside down. On the right-hand side of the frame, use a non-marring tool to push the clip holding the slide stop in place back until it frees the slide stop. Then, remove the slide stop and guide the slide off the frame before removing the barrel bushing and pulling the barrel and the spring out of the front of the slide. Although it is similar to a 1911 in the way its similar disassembly can take a while, it's not necessarily difficult, but it does require patience and care. Be sure to wear safety glasses because the spring is under pressure due to the design and can come flying out if not handled carefully. Remember to hold in the recoil spring during this process.

The trigger is of single action type, but the pistol has no manual safeties except for a half-cock notch on the hammer. M57s that are made in Serbia but imported into the United States have to have a manual thumb safety by law. So, as a result, many surplus guns are machined with cheap, unreliable safeties in various places, but new production M57s that are replicas of the old design have high-quality safeties built into the guns. These Serbian pistols generally are surplus (most of which are still coated in cosmoline) and cost about two hundred dollars each. However, the new production pistols are about the same price. The Zastava M57 is essentially the same basic design as the TT-33, but there is one major difference. On the TT-33, the single-stack magazine capacity is eight rounds, and it has a fairly short grip. On the M57, the single-stack magazine capacity is nine rounds, and the grip is extended slightly to accomodate this extended-capacity magazine. Many shooters with larger hands prefer the M57 not only for its larger capacity, but also for its larger grips, as opposed to the shorter grips on the TT. Another difference between the TT and the M57 is that the newer M57s have a magazine disconnect safety, which means that the gun will not fire without a magazine inserted. The sights on both pistols are fixed. Production went as far to even machine the magazine feed lips into the receiver to prevent damage and misfeeds when a distorted magazine was loaded into the magazine well. This was done because older Russian Tokarevs could cause the magazine to drop out if the magazine was damaged. 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. Most carry the TT pistol in condition three, with the hammer down and no round in the chamber, but a loaded magazine inserted into the magazine well. 

Zastava M57 VariantsEdit

  • M57, basic model
  • M57A is an upgrade of basic model M57. It has an external safety
  • M70A, 9x19mm version
  • M70AA is an upgrade of basic model M70A. It has an external safety.
  • M88 shorter version of M70A
  • M88A features an external safety on the slide, polymer handgrips and the bottom of easily detachable magazine. As of 2011, M88A are imported into the U.S. by K-VAR/FIME Group
  • As of 2012 M57A, M70AA and M88A are imported into the U.S. by Century International Arms. 

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