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.