Courtesy of Tactical Life

Service handguns were among the first indigenous small-arms developments in the Soviet Union. In the mid-1920s, the Red Army was armed with a mix of obsolete Nagant M1895 revolvers and some Mauser C96 pistols purchased from Germany. Thus, the military needed a new service pistol, and the late 1920s saw a number of experimental developments in this field.

Among others, for a brief period the Red Army pursued the “large pistol” concept, unquestionably inspired by the iconic Mauser C96. As a result, Fedor Tokarev designed a rather huge pistol with a 22-round magazine in the grip, a detachable shoulder stock/holster and a select-fire capability. Without the shoulder stock, it weighted 3.7 pounds with an empty magazine, and was 12 inches long. It fired 7.63x25mm Mauser ammunition. Not surprisingly, this monster never went past the prototype stage, as the Red Army selected much more compact Tokarev TT pistol as its new standard sidearm in 1931.

However, by the late 1930s, the TT was found lacking in some respects. For one, it was not suited for use by tank crews because the firing ports in turrets were originally designed for pencil-thin Nagant revolver barrels. By 1939, the Red Army was already testing several semi-automatic 7.62x25mm pistols with thin, exposed barrels, but World War II broke out before the trials were completed, and the TT remained in production throughout the war.

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