Monday, October 21, 2013

Yes America, There IS a 9MM Tok!

Yes, there is, and it's inexpensive to boot!  Here are a couple of pics:

This is the European variant--to conform to US importation laws, there is a thumb safety installed by the factory--not a chintzy afterthought, BTW on the left hand side of the slide in American versions, that rotates up like a Beretta style safety--it works well and is easily accessible.

This gun is available in 9MM Parabellam as well as the classic 7.62 x 25 Tokarev.  Since the 7.62 Tok is getting hard to find, I went for the 9mm. 

Just looking at it, well, it's Browning heritage is obvious--Mr.Tokarev had no problems ripping of Capitalist Intellectual property in the form of the 1903 Browning Pocket.  He's in good company, for a great many designers borrowed heavily from Mr.Browning, but it's quite possible he's the only one to improve on the Prophet of Gun Designs work!  Look at the next picture, of my own example:

Above the frame you can see the trigger/hammer group.  It's modular.  Although the advantage to this is going to be lost on the majority of civilian users, remember that this was designed in the 20s as a military side arm.  The most frequent area for failures according to Soviet experience was the trigger or hammer area--an a field armorer could simply pull the modular assembly out and drop in a new one--a one minute repair to restore a side arm to service.  Look also to the guide rod--this is the Yugoslavian governments improvement  of Mr. Tokarev's work--a full length articulated guide rod that improves dependability.  Other designers and engineers have opined that John Browning's two most famous pistols, the Hi-Power and the 1911 both could profit from this modification.

Here's the thing I like about it--it eats everything.  The first time I took mine to the range it was straight out of the box, and unlubricated (on purpose)  I wanted to see if it would fail.  Semi-auto Pistols have a reputation of being finicky, and touchy when new.  So I fired 100 rounds through it, with the following failures by type and number:  Failure to feed=0, failure to extract=0, failure to eject=0, failure to fire =0, other malfunctions = 0.

In another range trip--Saturday Last--I put 300 rounds down range through her, without a hiccup.  Let's just say at that point my beloved Maggie Z  (I named her after Maggie on "The Walking Dead") was a very dirty girl.  Then I loaded a magazine with mixed ammo--steel, brass and aluminum casing, hollow points, soft points and FMJ. Then I I fired them as fast as i could bring her back down in the general direction of a target  and squeeze the trigger again.  She ate it all--no problem.

Accuracy?  Perhaps I'm not the guy to ask--I'm not exactly Mr. Miraculous Pistol shot.  But at 7 yards,I could keep all 9 shots in a mag in a 6 inch circle, and at 10 yards an 8 inch circle, and at twenty yards I could hit the 8 inch 50%--that's about as good as it gets for me.

I said these pistols were inexpensive--and they are.  For $279.95 + sales tax I walked out the door with  an all steel gun with two magazines and a bore brush.  Not bad price wise, it's proven dependable, and it's lighter and slimmer--much better for everyday or concealed carry--than a High Point 9MM  This is a working class gun, for working class shooters, from the former "workers paradise" or Yugoslavia--now Serbian, where the Zastava Arsenal resides. Inexpensive, but not cheap.

A word of warning--if you are only familiar with western machining, these guns will feel rough to you at first.  You'll get used to it, and with the "east block loose tolerance" machining, comes an unusual reliability.  I tried to gum her up and get her to jam, and it  didn't work.  I also have tried to get the safety to fail, and that didn't work either.  I did not "drop test" the gun, or slam it it around--I don't like uncontrolled courting of mayhem, but I would carry it, chambered safety on for concealed carry.

Can you buy a better gun?  Sure.  Can you buy a better, New In Box gun for the same money?  No.

So, if you are looking for a Nine, and see one of these give it some consideration.

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