Gun Review: Yugo Tokarev M57 Semi Auto (7.62×25)

The rabbi taught me to insert a magazine into a pistol in no uncertain terms. This “take no prisoners” approach to loading/reloading is not without its consequences. For one thing, I can’t carry a compact semi. You have no idea how many nerve endings are in the palm of your hand until you pinch the palm of your hand inside a mag-well at full throttle. Unless, of course, you’ve already done it; in which case I’m willing to bet you don’t carry a compact gun either. For another, on older pistols like my Colt Hammerless or this Yugo Tokarev M57, a forceful mag injection will release the slide. In extreme cases, the M57 will discharge. What’s Yugoslavian for oops?

At least you won’t miss your target, once you get the Tokarev pointed in the right direction. As you’d expect from a pistol based on John Moses Browning’s 1911, the Tokarev’s an amazingly accurate gun. It aims, points and shoots well—more than adequately for someone who may have to forgo the aiming part of the program. The Tokarev is a heavy old thing (31.7 ounces) and nearasdammit eight inches from stem to stern. So, just like a well-sorted (i.e. full-sized) 1911, recoil isn’t an issue.

Of course, JMB’s masterpiece fired .45s all day long. Its Russian/Czech/Yugoslavian clones are chambered in 7.62X25. As Tokarev owner Matthew Perry demonstrated at the American Firearms School, the semi’s ammunition arrives lovingly hand-packed by Russian peasants using paper and twine. Or, in the case below, entombed in a carcinogenic container whose destruction inspired a 7:00 video.

As far as the 7.62X25 bullet’s effectiveness at stopping people from doing things you don’t want them to do (a list of activities that once included trying to join an American ballet troop), I defer to YouTuber ChromeGhost0219:

I have a good amount of experience with this round. It is a light round, about 85gr to 90gr, but it is a very fast round. Original loadings reach a good 1200fps and more. It normaly delivers about 480J (360ft-lb) of energy. The CZ-52 had a special load that was 1640fps and delivered about 688J (512ft-lb), but only approved for the CZ-52 pistol. This round is level 2 armor pericing, but can over-penetrate in higher loads. Overall a powerful round, but hard to compare to others.

Unless you’re an ignoramus. So I’ll say that the Yugo Tokarev has about as much kick as a 9mm polymer pistol. And lightweight though though the bullet may be, I’d still bet dollars to dinars that the Tokarev’s fully capable of creating an FBI-compliant hole in any capitalist pig stupid enough to stand in front of a Tokarev used in anger.

If the 7.62X25 bullet doesn’t get ‘em at least your enemy will emerge from the conflict without eyebrows. As you can see in the video, the Tokarev does the flame-thrower thing with as much panache as the dragon’s breath FN Five-seveN—and makes bigger holes besides. Well, entry wounds anyway (cue: Boy George’s I’ll Tumble For Ya).

The holes will be pretty much right where you want them to be, too. Like JMB’s combat pistol, the Yugo Tokarev groups better than a bunch of Quakers at a diversity seminar. This was an early take; Matthew’s nutritional supplements hadn’t kicked-in . . .

The Tokarev’s 7.62X25 round is still in production; a box (they also come in boxes) of 50 Russian-made cartridges runs $25. Given that the Communist block produced more Tokarevs than Ford built exploding Pintos, a brand new gun (making the scene in Cosmoline) can be had for the thin end of $200. Note: Russian and Yugo (a.k.a., Zavasta) Tokarevs are not mag compatible. The Yugoslavian version bested the Russian quasi-original by adding an additional bullet, holding nine rounds in total. [Word to the wise: do NOT carry one in the chamber.]

The Tokarev’s sights are rudimentary, in keeping with the weapon’s here’s-your-pistol-comrade-you-can’t-break-it-but-if-you-do-I-hear-it’s-cold-in-Siberia-this-time-of-year chic. The Tokarev’s rear sight belongs on a rifle. A very basic rifle. An accuracy-obsessed American owner could swap out the pistol’s sights for something more useful (i.e. anything), but that would look stupid and invite accusations of cultural insensitivity. As is, the Tokarev is combat effective at combat distances.

Reliability? What’s to break—other than everything? More to the point, why would anyone want a common-as-muck cheap-as-chips Russian 1911-clone firing funky ammo? Oh hang on; one of our Armed Intelligentsia has an answer. It’s comrade action shooting time!

Lesson learned: if you opt for a Yugo Tokarev M57, spend the extra 75 cents and get a new old one. Unlike Foghorn here, you’ll have a fully-functional fire-spitting range toy that connects you with the joys of Socialism. And, let’s face it, what better way is there to gloat about who won the Cold War than firing your enemy’s gun, just because you can? Never forgetting who won World War II, and how. Or what they were wearing at the time.


About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

51 Responses to Gun Review: Yugo Tokarev M57 Semi Auto (7.62×25)

  1. avatarFoghorn says:

    These are great pistols, but they seem to be a bit finicky in my experience. Safeties randomly applying themselves from the recoil or just rotating uselessly in the body because they weren’t well manufactured, magazines refusing to fall or dropping unexpectedly depending on how the gun feels, and retention loops on the magazine floorplates that hurt like a bitch when loading. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic farting around pistol and great for some cheap happy times at the range, but definitely not something I’d carry.

    Here’s a video of what I mean. Finicky. Admittedly, it was my first time ever firing a pistol. And yes, that actually is me in the WWII Soviet private’s uniform.

    • avatarFlyapchig says:

      My experience was different. It was my first time shooting from pistols, and Tokarev was one of them. Honestly i really enjoyed it. It was one of the most precise ones. And it felt like one simple solid piece, didn’t seem finicky at all.

  2. avatarRobert Farago says:

    Foghorn, hit refresh.

  3. avatarTTACer says:

    LOL. A friend of mine inherited one of these. It sat in a basement for 30+ years without cosmo and it still looks brand-new. I don’t know which country made it, though the scales are marked CCCP, but it looks like a really well-made example. No safety to speak of, for better or worse.

    • avatarGunlover329 says:

      This is probably a Russian Tokarev TT-33 that was brought into the US before the safeties had to be installed on the imports (The Russian TT-33 was not built with a safety and law now requires all imports to have safeties) Also, CCCP was put on the Russian TT-33s because that is the Russian acronym for the USSR

  4. avatarTyler D. says:

    Mine was in great shape when I got it. The safety on it was a HUGE improvement over the regular TT-33.

  5. avatarRichard Linares says:

    Fun cheap gun go rang shoot. Neat shoot some thing from world war 2 that does cost arm and leg owen shoot. Ammo real hoot shoot through gun very cheap buy.

  6. avatarNeonCat says:

    When I was a juror on an armed robbery case the hold-up gun was a Tokarev which someone (presumably the miscreants) had spray-painted with silver paint. Our guess was that it had been very rusty so they wanted to make it look dangerous/flashy with the least effort possible. It still looked terrible.

    Unfortunately, that’s the limit of my experience with Tokarevs. You may now return to your regularly scheduled existence.

  7. avatarChris Dumm says:

    7.62 Tokarev ammo is mind-bogglingly cheap. At $110 for 1260 rounds, it’s cheaper than .22 Magnum or .17 HMR, and only about 3 or 4 times the price of bulk .22. It’s so cheap, in fact, that you can buy a dedicated 7.62 Tokarev upper for your AR-15. The upper is $500, but if you shoot a lot it might pay for itself in a year of hard use.

    It’s too bad there aren’t many (any?) civilian-legal PPSh carbines around for super-cheap plinking fun, but there are plenty of Sterling-based pistols for $550. (

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      How do I put this gently? That Sterling is some fucked-up shit. Chris, call them for a T&E model. Mention my name.

  8. Oddly enough, the new issue of Gun Tests reviews a Yugo M57 and a Romanian TT-33.

    Many Tokarev-design pistols (like the Norincos) lacked a safety. To import them, a crude safety had to be added. The M57, however, differed from the basic TT-33 design in having a factory safety and a higher capacity.

  9. avatarChris Dumm says:


    I’m on it 1st thing tomorrow. The price seems a little high for something you might find on the set of Return Of The Jedi, but that Sterling action looks like a tin can’s worst nightmare.

  10. avatarTexas Deputy says:

    I have had a Chicom Tokarev which was a VietNam take home relic. It is in VG+ condition, and looks like it is dated 1966 with a very long serial number. It has been in my gun safe for years, and I have never fired it. Since it is not a commercial import, it does not have the extra safety that the Yugo’s have.

    Recently, one of the big-name online sports sellers had 70 round packs of 7.62×25 ammo for about $7.50 (about 10.5cents/round). I bought several packs and will try it out on my next trip to the gun club. I could not justify the sealed tin of ammo at 9.5cents/round 9shown in video above) because I do not foresee shooting it that much (and I do not have a PPSh).

  11. avatartom swift says:

    Terrific cartridge. Dig out your dogeared copy of Fairbairn & Sykes’s “Shooting to Live” and see what they had to say about it in Chapter VII, “Stopping Power.” (They were writing about 7.63mm Mauser, but 7.62x25mm Tokarev is the same thing, just with the spec sheets in Russian rather than German.)

  12. avatarM J says:×25-m-57-pistol-very-good-condition-/cPath/16_235/products_id/4432

    JG Sales has Yugo Tokarevs for 200. They’re a GREAT bargain! Oh- Why would the gentleman earlier in this article NOT carry one in the chamber? It has an external safety and if you carry it half-cocked. Try to fire it with a dummy round in it… drop it on the floor do whatever you want to try to make it accidentally discharge (again- with a dummy round in it)… With the gun half-cocked you can neither pull the trigger nor can the hammer touch the firing pin… At least on mine. If you can’t pull it out and quickly make it go boom when you need to… why are you carrying a gun?

    Just don’t keep if fully cocked, and keep your finger off the trigger at all times anyway…(until you’re going to send a round down range) :-) So far I’ve fired about 500 rounds through mine. Never had a hang-up. Never had the safety do anything by itself. Mechanically sound through and through.

    • avatarEd OHalloran says:

      M J says:
      March 20, 2011

      I could not agree with MJ more. This is a great gun; the only thing that could have made it better would be a double stack mag. I have fired this Weapon many times and have never experienced any problems with a “funky Safety” or Mags Dropping out. With a Round chambered and the Hammer Half Cocked you could not make this Weapon discharge if you beat it with a hammer.
      Unfortunately for anyone who hesitated because of “User Ability Lacking Posters” it seems all of the Excellent and Very Good Condition Weapons have all but dried up with the Major Dealers. If you can find an Excellent M-57 for $200 or under grab it and run because you just stole it. Check Gunbroker and if you can find one, (and they are few and far between), it will be in the $300 Range. That’s $189 to $300 in less than six Months. Magazines?, well they are almost impossible to find, and if you do find a good one, prepare too dig deep in your pocket, an option is too convert a CZ-52 Mag. If you paid any attention to the Author or most Novice Posters you missed out on one of the best C&R deals in years. Several dealers are advertizing new stocks of M-57′s, but you will find most of these Pistols worn and missing most of the finish.
      By the way contrary to most Post, although the size of the 7.62X25 in on par with the 9mm in size, it’s power is actually on par with a .357 Magnum. Buy a box of Hollow Points and you have and Accurate, Powerful carry Weapon.


  13. avatarDAVID DAY says:

    just purchased a yugo m57 from j&g sales. great shooting gun and guy’s at the range
    liked it but i have only one complaint i took the mag apart ant the little base plate
    went flying to who knows were. does anyone know were i can get another plate to
    put on the bottom to keep the mag end on? THANK’S DAVID

  14. avatarGerry says:

    I just got one from Classic Arms , numbers matching , 2 mags , holster and cleaning rod……..200 bucks. It looks like it’s almost never been shot , the cosmoline was like wax , but it cleaned up nice. can’t wait to shoot it

  15. avatarPaul says:

    I got my M-57 a couple of weeks ago and I love it it looked like crap with the cosmoline on it and I could not even move the slide but after a good cleaning it turned out to be a brand new gun for $199
    it is very accurate ,belches fire like a dragon and is just plain fun to shoot

  16. avatarRose says:

    Just bought a yugo m-57 for $224 , ammo is a little hard to find but the gun shoots great and no problems with it. half cocked or mag out it will not fire and has a safety that works well . My son is looking at getting one .

  17. avatarGreg DiSabatino says:

    I purchased an M57 from AIM, thoroughly cleaned the storage grease, lubed it and the trigger would not move let alone drop the hammer !!! I noticed a bind in the trigger group disconnect an the left side grip…I shaved and filed all the vertical molding lines about 1/2″ down to the main horizontal molding line, remounted the grip and the gun operated flawlessly……hope this helps !!!

  18. avatarEd O'Halloran says:

    By now I hope everyone has taken the advice of the Knowledgable Collectors and purchased one of the Tokarev Pistols.
    Like the Surplus 7.62X25 Ammo that is all but gone from the market the Excellent Condition Tokerav’s will soon become impossible to find in that $200 range.
    Hope everyone took my advice and grabbed a Spam can or twp of the Toke Ammo a few Months back at $90. Check Gunbroker those Spam cans are pushing $300 a can.
    My advive don’t buy it at that price. It now time to pick up a set of the Lee Reloading Dies and appropriatr 85 or 90 Grain Bullet Caster. The Tokes have Rifled Barells and will fire Hard Lead all Day without fouling.
    I say this because I already Checked with Century, who imported most of the Toke Ammo into the Country. They are trying but not sure if or when they may have another Import. Even if they do it wont be at the old price.
    All you have on Gunbroker and other Sites are the Gougers trying to triple their money. They call it good Business I have another word for it. These are the same people that dried up the Ammo Market a year or so back and damm near shut down the Shooting Hobby, yes I have another word for them,
    This is when I set up my Reloading Table, let the Wife buy it for my Christmas Gifts.
    I’m now spending less than $5 a box for my 9X19, 9X18, .38 Spcl, .32 ACP not to mention my Rifle Reloads and the soon to be 7.62X25. I keep my Powder and Primers well stocked while most are on sale.
    This way I shoot what I want, when I want, don’t need to deal with the Gougers or any shortage they may cause. I don’t worry the Government shutting down the Shooting Sport as much as I worry about the Gougers.
    By the way It’s not a Toke but if you want a excellent C&R Carry Gun check out Century Arms for a CZ “Vzor” 50 in .32 ACP, they also have some excellent .32 reloadable Ammo at around $10 a Box. This is one of the Best C&R deals I’ve seen in a long time and I don’t think they will last long.

  19. avatarNick says:

    Where are these cz 50′s? I haven’t been able to find them on Centuries site.



  20. avatarJim says:

    Classic Arms has 7.62×25 Ammo just ordered a case

    • avatarArt C. says:

      Thank You! Thank you…. a thousand times, Thank You! I’m been having a heck of a time finding 7.62X25 that isn’t $30 a box. I just stumbled on your posting and just bought a bunch. Again… Thank you!

  21. avatarSkip says:

    M57 is a Great pistol. Bought hand-picked from J&G, broke it down, blew it off with carb cleaner, boiled it out, realized it was brand new, just 50 some years old, ordered 3 more before the first one was finished soaking in oil, and several spam cans for 8 cents/round. 1 for me, 1 for my wife as she loves hers (we’re both over 60 yoa)…says it rocks and rolls, 1 for a nephew and one for parts. Any problem I experienced had to do with goo in the hammer group, or was re-assembled slightly off. No safety problems. I’ve found that some ranges don’t want them as too much damage to back-drops…hell’s bells, the Vietcong used to shoot down Slicks with them.
    M70 Yugo Zastavas can be had from Robertson Trading Post for cheap…baby Toks! Not to be confused with the CZ 70, both shoot .32. PaPaSha 43 now available at Classic Arms and J&G…dum vivimus vivamus!!

  22. avatarMr. Dusty says:

    One of the things I find odd is just how many people still consider the CZ-52 to be the stronger gun simply because the Czech ammunition was hotter on average. Various people have done tests which show the TT-33 is actually the sturdier of the two guns. Oddly enough there never was much, if any studies done by the US to actually confirm that the CZ-52 was any stronger in comparison…it was merely assumed. Though this isn’t an entirely bone-headed assumption, there are other reasons for making ammunition fire softer ranging from cost to simply being easier on the ears/hands.

    I’d like to see this site do it’s own tests and post them…the very title “The Truth About Guns” would beseech such a thing in my opinion.

  23. avatarJesse James says:

    Very nice review. Very insightful and must say i love 7.62s in general and to find a 7.62 pistol i had to have one. Got the real yugo m57 wish i could find exact age its an older military style.

  24. avatarRuben Ramirez says:

    I recently purchased one for $ 199. Love the pistol; yet not the site.
    I want to upgrade pistol and install glowing dots type sites.

    Can anyone recommend any pistol sites that can be modified for the M57?



  25. avatardelano10 says:

    I have several sovet block firearms…I own several tekerov’s and mosin nagants.
    I have great foundness for them…but what was not addressed here is that if use surplus ammo then be advised that they all have corresive primers. You must clean, I will say again you must clean your gun right away after any use. You must remove the corresive primer residue after each and every shooting of ur gun if u do not then ur going to have a worthless gun.

  26. avatarMatt says:

    I have the Romanian equivalent, the TTC. It too shares the fire breathing, eyebrow searing traits of the TT-33/M57. It is a sweet little gun. Surplus ammo is fairly easy to come by but you must, repeat must, clean immediately after firing. One thing: Magazines for the Tokarev type pistols are not easy to come by. I tracked a few down at a gun show and only one was decent enough to bother buying, the rest were rusted out or bent up too badly to bother dealing with.

  27. avatarChris says:

    The Soviet’s didn’t lose the ‘Cold War’. Nor did America win it. The Cold War was a military build up. A big game of nuclear chicken. Nobody won. The Soviet economy stagnated internally, and reforms came too late. Hey, pro tip: Turn on the news, and look what’s happening to the great USA. lol

    Your review is decent. Your comments at the end are a fail. Good day, sir.

  28. avatarkarabo says:

    i love the power, when i live the house hammer up always the grips sucks 9 rounds not enough for me and what i need now is the muzzle brake
    i call it flame thrower

  29. In Russia it is quite the sport to use the M57 to hunt Bear with, they will reach out like the 5.7 X 28 FN pistol, from what I understand FN studied these weapons when they built the PS90 and the 5.7 x 28 pistol. Nice fun affordable gun.

  30. avatardon libby says:

    Does Anybody Know Were I Can Buy A Slide Stop Retainer Clip For My M57,Can’t Seem To Fine Any In Stock.

  31. avatarRyan Kolbe says:

    I am currently working in Korea and do not have access to real guns. I have been having some fun with airsoft replicas. I am scoping out a nice looking Tokarev replica, but I have an issue with the grip. It seems really short and I don’t know if that’s just how Tokarevs are or if the replica is not made correctly. Now I am a big guy, 6’6″ and my hands are correspondingly monstrous. Should my pinky be hanging off the end of a Tokarev’s grip? Thanks from Korea.

  32. avatarMike Bruce says:

    I have two M57′s and had trouble with the safety on one.I finally removed them both.Now they fire great except hollow points jam by hitting the rear of the barrel.They both came with two magazines but two of the four hold eight rounds and the other two hold nine.I have had them apart and cannot see any difference.Any input?

  33. avatarRobert says:

    Thank you so much for your very informative videos. I love shooting this round! My family also enjoy shooting the Makarov.


  35. avatarborn in the yu says:

    What’s Yugoslavian for “OOPS”? Well, it’s exactly the same as the American one: “ups”. But if you were to accidentally fire your gun, you’d be yelling “jebi ga” which stands for “frak it” ;)

  36. avatargavrilo the principle says:

    Just so you know guys, i have shot this gun a lot and since im from serbia, well its natural since the prices of handguns that are considered “high quality” are sky high. this pistol in particular costs next to nothing even here, ammo price is near chewing gum prices and all in all you cant go wrong with this one.
    im shooting this since my army days (not to get confused until 2005 every male had to go for 12 months of service) so lets say good 11years i have been having fun with this one. 100 yards? not a problem.
    whats even more fun is that after you master this, you take any 9mm and you shoot like a bob lee swagger. (ok he was a sniper but you get the idea.)
    my father shot a shqiptar terrorist somewhere in the early 90`s with a headshot. he doesnt recollect what was the distance exactly and it doesnt matter cause the bullet went on for next 100 meters or so and stopped in the schoolyard wall. THIS is why everyone chooses to abandon this caliber. and for good reasons. if we were talking about full on war , it would be ok but at civilian usage you are in the world of problems if you hit someone innocent.

    back to the subject. m57 is awesome. eastern block was never picky about looks, customization and whatnot. guns are like alcohol. they are either good or bad. work or do not. this one is good.

    check zastavas ez9 that one is phenomenal at its price range. also i would sell my left nut if someone made new smgs in this caliber. 7,62×25 kicks ass. thats all. Gavrilo out.

  37. avatarJim says:

    The NEWLY manufactured Zastava M57 ( with 2 new mags ) can be bought from 230-300 dollars NEW. What is special about the 7.62X25 is that it will penetrate body armor that will eat a 45 ACP. The Privi Partizan and Winchester ammo have advertised velocities of over 1600 fps MV and over 500 FT LBS ME. It is at 357 mag energy level with superior penetration.For those who like to insult or belittle Russian weapon designs say the following TT33,T34-85, JS3,AK47,RPK,SVD,RPG,Mig 3,LA7,T90,MIG 29,SU37.If Russia did not absorb Hitler’s war machine WW2 could have ended differently.I read somewhere that the 45ACP did not reliably penetrate Russian WW2 winter clothing,the 7.62X25 zipped right through.I had a Springfield Armory Ultra Compact 45ACP,i got rid of it.I carry a Zastava M57 with Privi ammo.I carry it more than my Glock 31 357 sig or my Glock20C 10mm. Jim

  38. avatarCory says:

    I bought the m57, I believe it’s military issue, has the crest and all the numbers are matching, and the only thing is for me. It shoots high haha the rear sights should be replaced, but when I just Kentucky wind it it’s dead on lol I love the pistol any advice to make it a tac pistol? Or a way to smooth it?

  39. avatarBruceB says:

    Corey, I have 2 of the M57′s, best thing to do is not attempt to make the Yugo into some “Tactical -add everything you can onto” pistols, buy a more modern pistol if that is your intent.

    My reason for saying that is because the M57 is a slim , easy to carry automatic, one of the most beneficial changes you can do is buy some Marschal wrap around wood grips for the Yugo, I have them on both of my M57′s, not cheap, but high quality, and enhanced handling. Just my opinion.

  40. avatarTCarpenter says:

    Classic Arms is selling new manufactured Zastava M57. Fit and finish are better than the originals plus they have a safety that actually works for cocked and locked carry. I plan on getting a pair later this month. For 239.99 whats not to like.

  41. avatarkeith landry says:

    I purchased a Zastava M57 Tokarev and really liked it, that is until the captive recoil spring/guide rod broke. Customer service is abysmal, I have been trying to get a replacement part from the importer since mid October 2013 – and after looking everywhere to get this piece I have still not found one. While I like the gun it has turned out to be an expensive paperweight – because of the lack of replacement parts and bad customer service I would not purchase another product from this company, It is very bad to say that if you decide to buy this gun purchase 2 so you have spare parts for when it breaks.

  42. avatarChris Bogev says:

    Buy the newest M-57 and buy 2 of them , one fore using , the other fore spareparts , beware of recoil and overpenetration is fore sure , Reliability is as good as the ammo you are using , Clean every time after you fire it ,
    7,62*25 is a very potent cartridge , beware of flash/dragon att nightshooting it will blind you and reveal your position ,
    Train by shooting a woodloog dim 3inches wide and 2feet tall from 3yard and hit it every time , when you hit it with 7of 8 round the take Woodlogg to 10 yard line and do the same ,
    Fore me the Woodlogg is a Terrorist / Burglar spine , take care of your M57 its a good gun proven by time ,

  43. Pingback: Anyone own a Zastava M-57 7.62x25?

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