The Russian Tokarev was a military service pistol produced in Russia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland, North Korea, Egypt and China. The Tokarev typically chambers the powerful 7.62x25mm bottleneck cartridge. The Chinese made a unique variant chambered in 9mm—the Norinco 213— for the civilian market. The State Factory 66-manufactured all-steel 213 is nearly identical to the Russian TT-33 Tokarev with one key difference: an additional frame mounted safety. (Given the similarities. some gun guys speculate that the Hungarian Tokagypt 9mm pistol inspired the 213.) The 213 is pleasant to shoot, remarkably accurate and reliable. They are no longer imported into the U.S.; you can find one on the used market for $200-$250. [Click here to read TTAG’s review of the Yugo Tokarev M57 Semi Auto (7.62×25)]

Text and photo courtesy

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77 Responses to Say Hello to the Norinco 213 (9mm)

  1. I’ve got one as well and it is an incredible deal considering it was NIB for $99 back when sportarms was importing them.

    • i also have a 213 and it is deadly at 50 yds can take your eyeballs out with no problem she is a shooter , read the barrel has a 1000 rnd life too it but i am way past that . she hangs proudly (lol) next to my xdm 5.25 45 ching chou

    • Let’s see, the frame and slide are forgings. The barrel is hammer forged and chrome lined. The import mandated safety sucks, but otherwise the 213 shoots decent groups and eats anything from LRN reloads to +P+ Ranger SXT.

      • Safety sucks!!! That is an understatement. I bought mine in 1994 and sold it months later. After I found out a friend of mine lost his life to that “safety” system.

        • A safety is a mechanical device that can fail, proper handling and the four firearms safety rules would prevent all “accidental” shootings

  2. I’ve got one…given to me by a buddy long ago. It’s a POC IMO. 😉 I was lucky to find a couple spare mags for it and now I don’t know why I bought them. I never shoot it! Cetainly never would have spent money on one.

      • Ha ha – a standard complaint from a person who either doesn’t know what he’s doing or just wants to complain. Let’s see him sell that 213 for the $100 or less that he paid for it (or got it for free)! (hint – don’t hold your breath). The Tokarev/213/213A is one of the most reliable and accurate pistols of its time. Like anything else, it has drawbacks, but so does a Ferrari.

  3. I agree about the prices. I could kick myself for passing up surplus firearms back in the 1990’s. I assumed that many of them would be available and cheap forever, and of course I was wrong. I have fun finding the occasional gem for a good price while surfing the used gun section of my local gun shop, that’s how I came across the Norinco 213 featured in this article.

  4. A couple years ago I could get one of those shipped for $100. They’re a little more these days, not sure if anyone is still importing them in Canada.

  5. Bought one of those (Norinco 213 9mm) for my dad back in the mid-nineties, when we were browsing the tables at a gun show. Think I paid around $100 for it. It’s been utterly reliable. Ate anything Dad and I fed it. Really likes the inexpensive Sellier and Bellot ball ammo. Not a bad investment for the money, even if it is a piece of Chinese crap.

    Might have to find one of the 7.62X25 versions, or a CZ-52, to go along with it…

    • If you get a 7.62 version, get the Yugo. It’s the only one with an import safety that works (ala 1911) and has design improvements such as a captive recoil spring assembly. The only downside is that they use a longer than normal magazine.

    • Any particular reason for calling it “a piece of Chinese crap”? It functions flawlessly, very accurate, is not picky as to the type of ammo, comfortable to hold, quick on target with very controlled recoil and very quick follow up shots. Did I miss anything? It is large, but it was never designed for CC. So, I ask again, any reason for calling it “crap”?

      • Usually people that dont know a lot about firearms say some pretty lame stuff …You know armchair quarterback stuff…. The tokarev design has its origins with the red army with the tt-33 in 7.62×25 it filtered into most all the communist nations military’s armories it had a reputation of dependability like our 1911……
        it only made since to make a 9 mm version… Oh their version never had a safety !!! training in leaving the chamber empty until needed and keeping your finger off the trigger… people rely too much on a mechanical safety … keep your digits out of the trigger guard until your ready to shoot … don’t chamber a round until your going to use it.of course the imported guns have an add on safety … but they are good values chinese ,russian or whoever the maker…. they were all made in government arsenals

  6. Gabba, I enjoy the 213 because it uses a commonly available cartridge that I already keep on hand. I don’t have to purchase 7.62×25 on the net when I get the urge to shoot a Tokarev. Not many dealers around here stock 7.62×25 ammo.

    • It has a locking breach ala Browning tilt. It takes the Browning design and simplifies the manufacturing process.

  7. I sometimes kick myself for not grabbing one of these for $150 back in 1995. Even if it is extremely aesthetically challenged. My Norinco 1911 is monotonously reliable, even though the trigger sucks.

    • One step further would be the Norinco and Polytech M14s. I had a friend in college with one and that thing shot every bit as well as the Springfield except it used to cost right under $300. The only difference was that the Norinco used a forging instead of a casting for its receiver. I still kick myself for not buying it off of him for $450.

  8. If I want an awesome dinosaur like the TT-33, then I want it in its original configuration. That means no safety and in 7.62×25 (a.ka. able to penetrate soft body armor). They can be had at J&G sales for under $200, but they come with an after market safety >frown.

    I heard Norinco makes a TT-33 in 7.62. I would like to get my hands on one of those. However, if I am going into 9mm land I can think of man many other guns I would go w/ instead of this hybrid, dino clone.

    This guy probably has the best TT-33 going:

  9. J&G sales has them in 7.62×25. They under $200 before shipping. If I were to get a Tok, I would want one in 7.62 and no safety. If it came w/ an after market pc-safety I would seriously look at getting it removed.

  10. Bought one about 20 years ago when Sportsman Arms were importing them… It’s been in the closet ever since. Pulled it out a couple of weeks ago when I took my CWP Class. Worked like a champ. 50/50 on my shooting and it was smooth. Looking forward to shooting it more often. Great gun for the money.

    • Don, I have an original operation manual in English. It has no Chinese text, however. The manual is very rudimentary and poorly written and printed. The Woods Semiautomatic book is far superior when it comes to pulling the gun apart. Although the pistol actually is rather simple to tear down, there are a couple of tricky moves needed, especially when reassembling it. One thing to know is the the main pins are split pins and they require a special tool to remove them without damage. Each pin of a different diameter requires its own tool of the same diameter. You can make the tools by V-notching the end of the correct diameter pin punch. All the V does is fit over the head of the split pin and compresses it as the punch pushes against the pin. I believe this can be found on the internet, and the Woods book (at least my older one) shows a picture of such a tool being used.

    • I have 1 of these guns in the Box still what do manual if you want I can make a copy of it and send it to you it’s only 4 pages long and yes it is a very cheap copy

  11. Have a collection of several variations of Tokarev TT33 pistols & clones. Most are well made and quite depndable. except for some early Chinese and Pakistani pistols. Carried a Russian TT33 in VN for an extended time early in the conflict – fired captured AP & Incendiary AP ammo through a barrel with a hard chrome insert liner. Seeing the devastating wounds sustained by enemy combatants shot with this ammo made a believer out of me. Maybe that’s why TT33 Pistols abound in the Middle East, including Pakistan, Afghanistan & Iraq.

  12. I found a guy who has a bag full of original 213a mags I just got a few and they are the real mags. I bought them so I could save my matching serial number mag for the collectability of a matching numbers gun. 3 digit serial number gun.

    • A 213 mag might interchange if you have one of the toks that had the 9 mm conversion. But a 213a mbps mag Wil not. The 213a is the high capacity version in 9 mm. 14+1 capacity double stack mags.

  13. Just got L213 for a trade got to 2 magazines, all I need is owners manual anyone have a copy of original they could send me on email. Thank you

    • I have the big brother of your 213. Its a 213a, high capacity version. 15+1. They are honestly very nice pistols. Mine is the softest shooting 9 I have shot. And very accurate to boot.

  14. I have an M57, an M88a and the 213…all are a pleasure to shoot. Could care less what they look like…all I know is that when I squeeze the trigger it goes bang…every time. And the 9’s will eat anything.

  15. I have a 213 in 9mm Parabellum, And I have several hundred 9 mm Makarov.
    Can they be shot safely ?

    • If you look at the specifications for the two cartridges, you’ll see that they are significantly different. Although a Tokarev is a very forgiving gun, is it worth the test?

    • The 213 was designed as a 9mm. Unlike its twin the tokarev which requires a spacer and other parts to fire 9 and 7.62.

      • I am using “Tokarev” generically, as the 213 is a based on the Tokarev (which is based on the Browning). Regarding the question specifically, not only is the Makarov casing shorter, which can lead to blow by and the cartridge itself being much shorter (about 15%), which can lead to FTF, the Makarov bullet is actually of a larger diameter. Given a smaller powder charge, possible blow by and the wider bullet, it can get stuck in the barrel with the gases blowing into the face of the shooter through the gap. Maybe an interesting pyrotechnic display to watch from a distance, but I wouldn’t do it!

  16. The 213 is unique in that it was a 9mm from the get go. I have a 213a which is even rarer in that not only is it a 9mm it is also a hi cap double stack pistol. A lot of tokarev pistols actually were sold in the states with the capability, and needed parts to fire both. They weren’t the most reliable but would do it. They had 2 barrels in the kit, and either a spacer in the mag or magwell depending on who did the conversion kits.

  17. Rear sight adjustable? I have a Norinco 213, bought it for about $150 in the mid-nineties, never put a round through it – until I took it to the range last year. I love the way it felt in my hand and it was fun to shoot, IF you disregard a couple of early FTFs… and, that after two boxes of FMJ 9mm, I was unable make a single hole in the 2’x2′ paper at ten yards, never saw where the rounds went. I can’t be that bad, I was hitting regularly with my wife’s little Rossi .38… So I bought one of those laser-in-a-shell-case deals, to find that it indicated my site picture was about a foot and a half high and that much wide left at about that distance. Sheesh. IF that’s an accurate indicator (opinions, please) I THINK I can file the notch in the rear site to match the elevation (lots of meat there), but does anyone know if I will be able to “drift” the rear sight right to fix this? I don’t want to just beat on the pistol if that sight won’t go anywhere. Thanks so much for any and all input.

    • the rear sight is adjustable for windage. put locktite or something similar if it becomes too loose after adjustment.

  18. I have a 213..9×19 easy to handle .best target gun I ever shot.all my friends love this ugly wife calls it a girl gun.she carry’s it her out of a few jams.

  19. Has anyone had jamming problems? I’ve used 3 different clips and occasionally it’ll jam. I think the springs in all my clips are “compressed. Anyone know where I can buy the springs?

    • You can stretch the spring and often that’s good enough. The Browning Hi-Power uses an almost the same magazine, and they are inexpensive. Use those springs.

        • I have a 213A, which uses a double stack magazine, almost identical to the Hi Power (different cutout). Those springs I think are the same. I don’t know if the single stack 213 uses the same spring.

    • Neil, 213 or 213a? There is a gunshow locally this weekend. There is a guy that is usually at them that has odd magazines. I have bought 213a, double stack 9mm mags from him in the past.

  20. I’m far from a firearm expert. But, I’ve always gone by the philosophy of “buy what you like, and enjoy what you buy”. Are there better pistols out there? “Better” is a broad term. But no doubt, there are better, much more expensive pieces. Me? I’ve always loved the look of a 1903 Colt or 1903 FN. Could I justify paying big bucks for a Colt or FN just to shoot for the fun of it? Not me. I’m a cheap SOB. But, a Tokarev style pistol fits the bill for me, and looks amazingly similar to a 1903 Colt or FN. Well, to me anyway. I have Norinco 9MM, two Zastava 9MM and a 1953 Romanian 7.62 x 25. I’ve heard the Yugo models are best. But, I do enjoy what I have just the same. So, in the end, to each their own….love ’em or hate em’.

  21. If you have the funds and you are willing to spend it on a gun with a better reputation, good for you. For those of us that want to be able to protect their family but cannot afford to spend $500 or more on a pistol, spare us the insult of how ugly or cheap the guns we buy are. I have a Lorcin .380. Cheap, very! Crappy…not in the slightest, accurate, reliable, and like some else said…I pull the trigger and it goes bang. Why belittle me because while paying my bills, supporting my family so that my wife is able to stay at home and raise our children the way WE want them raised, I am only able to afford a cheap gun. When did it become “you gun was cheaper than my gun so its a less of a gun”.

  22. I know this is an old thread but I can’t allow rude and dumb comments to go by without a comment of my own! I have a Norinco 213. It works flawlessly. It shoots anything I feed it. It is easy to clean, especially with the trigger assembly lifting out so easily. It is accurate, heavy enough not to kick really hard and it points naturally. All of the negative comments I have read are most likely from someone who has never owned or shot one! It has never failed to go bang when I have pulled the trigger! It looks a whole lot like a Colt 1905. I think it looks good. It is certainly a lot better looking than all of the plastic Glocks and Glock look a likes currently being offered! It is true that the safety is suspect. However you should never carry a pistol cocked and chambered as far as I am concerned. Maybe a few of the new pistols around today would be OK to do that with but I will never carry a pistol like that regardless of who made it and what features it has! Common sense will tell anyone that! To end this comment I would like to ask all of you who made negative comments about this old firearm to consider making comments that are constructive criticism about anything without the juvenile language and attitude!

  23. I have a Norinco 213 can’t say anything bad about it. Would like to know what the safety is that everybody talks about

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