The TT pistol, also known as the Tokarev, was a widely recognized service pistol used in the Eastern bloc and other countries. However, over time, it has mainly been replaced by the Makarov pistol in Russia’s Ministry of Defense and law enforcement agencies. Despite this, some individuals believe the TT pistol to be among the best-designed service pistols and suggest that it had the potential for modernization to meet the needs of modern law enforcement, similar to how the Browning and Colt pistols have been modernized over the years.
The Tokarev TT pistol, designed in the 1930s, was a contemporary of other semi-automatic handguns. It was intended to be used with one hand and had limited safety mechanisms; however, it also featured innovative design elements that have not been replicated until today.
The basic design of the TT pistol was relatively narrow and “slab-sided,” similar to the Colt 1911, but it was thinner due to its design around a smaller diameter cartridge. It utilized a simple spring retaining clip to secure the slide stop, allowing for easy disassembly and maintenance, similar to 1911. The TT also featured the same half-lugs around the barrel and toggle link as the 1911 and the same type of under-barrel recoil spring, but with the added benefit of being entirely captive like the modern Glock. Additionally, the entire fire control group could be removed from the grip frame, making it easy to clean and service, with no need for end-users to understand the pistol’s inner workings deeply.
While the TT pistol has several advantages, such as low cost, simple design, ease of maintenance, and powerful, high penetration cartridge, it also has several limitations that have led to its replacement in modern law enforcement. Its safety features and ergonomics did not meet the standards of modern handguns.
While known for its powerful cartridge, the TT pistol has several drawbacks that have led to its replacement by modern handguns. One of the main issues is its high speed, small diameter bullet, which can punch through an unprotected enemy, leaving only a small hole and allowing the wounded person to continue fighting.
In contrast, a weaker bullet like the Makarov’s would result in heavier wounds. Furthermore, when firing this powerful bullet indoors, it is important to consider the risk of ricochet and the high inertia of the ammunition in urban environments. Using more expensive, specialized ammunition could alleviate these concerns, but such ammunition is often prohibited.
Another significant drawback of the TT pistol is the lack of reliable safety mechanisms, which can result in spontaneous discharge if the gun is dropped or impacted. This is caused by poor magazine fixation, which can be dangerous in combat and even lead to disarming the shooter.
Additionally, the weapon’s weight is considered heavy, and the angle of inclination of the handle is uncomfortable for the user. It is also important to note that the TT pistol might be useful for certain situations, like being on a battlefield. However, in other situations like peacetime, the lack of safety can be a dangerous feature.
The TT pistol is considered too heavy, rugged, and powerful, with various significant design flaws. Despite this, it was never modernized or improved, which would have come at a high cost. The Makarov pistol, already deemed satisfactory by the police and the army, rendered any additional modernization effort of the TT redundant. This, coupled with other factors, ultimately led to the discontinuation of the once-legendary Soviet weapon. It is also worth noting that a more modern model, PL-14, is also phasing out Makarov.