Why did Makarov supercede Tokarev?


September 28, 2006, 09:51 PM
I always had this question... I have a Makarov right now, and the gun was great and all but the round is far under-powered than the Tokarev round, and so why was Tokarev obsolete? and what was the Russians' rationale to replace a powerful pistol with a compact/underpowered one? As a fan of 1911, I am also drawn to the 1911-like shape of the Tokarev pistol, and I am thinking about getting one. Any advice against this? Is this pistol reliable in general? I am referring to the Chinese-made "Saturday night special". It's so hard to find one nowadays...

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September 28, 2006, 11:11 PM
Contrary to popular belief,sidearms aren't used very frequently in combat and for the most part are issued to officers who need a weapon but very rarely have occasion to use them.The Makarov is powerful enough to fit the bill of what is needed,small enough to be unobtrusive to carry.The main reasons for replacing the TT seem to be that the Soviets wanted an easier to use,more user friendly pistol and to that end,the Mak has it in spades over the single action,safety-less TT,not to mention far better ergonomics.

September 28, 2006, 11:41 PM
Ax, kakoi durak...

Because, of course, tavarish Makarov was found to be an enemy of the people...

September 28, 2006, 11:46 PM
:o Uh, I meant comrade Tokarev. Late at night, trying to be funny. :o

September 29, 2006, 12:17 AM
why was Tokarev obsolete?
what was the Russians' rationale to replace a powerful pistol with a compact/underpowered one?

I would guess that the Makarov is less expensive to manufacture than the original Tokarev. It's just as reliable if not more so than the Tokarev. The round choice probably had to do with the fact that blowback designs were simpler and less expensive to produce, and 9x18 is at the top of the list of blowback cartridges.

All speculation on my part. Maybe Max P. will come along and shed some light.


September 29, 2006, 01:05 AM
of the 7.62x21mm tokarev round.

If you want to make a pencil sized whole through a stack of people at 75 yards hiding behind a wooden fence... it is the perfect round.

September 29, 2006, 01:13 AM
what was the Russians' rationale to replace a powerful pistol with a compact/underpowered one?

Why did the US military almost do the same thing :confused:

September 29, 2006, 01:15 AM
quote;"don't forget the severe overpenetration" Judging from the way they did most things, I don't think the Soviets would have worried too much about a little something like that.:eek:

max popenker
September 29, 2006, 03:55 AM
here's the excerpt from the book "Modern combat pistols" that will be published by the end of this year.
The Red Army fought the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 with both the semi-automatic Tokarev TT pistols and the obsolete Nagant M1895 revolvers. Despite the fact that more potent pistols were designed just before and during the war, the TT remained the mainstream weapon. Wartime experience, which included a close (and sometimes very personal) familiarity with German pistols, resulted in a major change of thinking about the role and necessary features of a military pistol for the Soviet army. Another factor that played a major role in the development of new requirements for the next military pistol, was the realistic prospect of a Third World War, with massive nuclear bombing and other such large-scale actions; as a result, pistols played a very minor role in both strategic and tactical doctrines of the Soviet Army. Furthermore, Tokarev pistols, despite being relatively simple and powerful, showed significant deficiencies, some of them quite serious, such as the lack of positive safety, so almost immediately after the war the GAU (Glavnoye Artillerijskoe Upravlenie – General Artillery Department of General Staff) issued a new set of requirements for a military and police pistol.
These requirements asked for a compact, double action pistol of the “Walther PP type”. New pistols were to be submitted in three calibres – 7.65x17SR Browning (proposed police round), 9x17 Browning, and a new 9x18. The last of these had been initially developed just prior to the war and refined after the war by the designer Syomin. Apparently, this round was inspired by the German 9x18 Ultra, which was designed in the mid-1930s to provide “acceptable maximum power” in simple, pocket-sized blowback pistols. The key reason for the increase in calibre when compared with the West 9mm rounds is unknown (the 9x18 Soviet has bullet diameter of 9.2mm, while most Western 9mm rounds have a bullet diameter of 9.02mm). However, with the benefit of hindsight, we can assume that the reasons for a calibre increase were probably the same as for the calibre of Soviet 82mm mortars, which were able to load and fire the slightly smaller German 8.1cm mortar bombs, but not vice versa. Also, while the Soviet Army was ahead of many others in the request for a double action pistol, it regressed somewhat in adopting an only marginally powerful round in a weapon that in essence was a pocket-type pistol. At the same period of time, many other armies, looking for an increase in power, starting to change their “weak” 7.65x17 Browning, 9x17 Browning or 7.65x20 Longue pistols to the more potent 9x19 Luger/Parabellum/NATO weapons. The explanation for this fact, however, is rather simple – while most Western countries relied on full-power rifles (bolt action or semi-automatic) and a sub-machine guns as a primary individual armament for the infantry, the new Soviet concept had no place for sub-machine guns, as the only primary arm of the infantry was the newly developed assault rifle. Most Western pistols were required to fire 9mm NATO ammunition just to have commonality in ammunition with the standard issue sub-machine guns; Soviet designers had no such requirements, and by the late forties 9x18 looked as if it was good enough for a military pistol.
Trials for a new pistol started in 1947. Many designs were submitted and tested, such as pistols by Baryshev, Rakov, Voevodin, Simonov, and Makarov. Some designs were submitted in only one of the desired calibres, some, such as the Makarov design, in two, and a few in all three. At the same time, the Army also tested few larger machine pistols in 9x18, which were intended as personal defence weapons for certain officers and NCOs. In 1948, the first trials resulted in a selection of the Makarov pistol in 9x18 as a next military sidearm for Soviet armed forces. However, it took three more years to refine its design, before it was officially adopted in 1951 as the “9mm Pistolet Makarova” or PM in short. In the same year Soviet Army also adopted the 20-shot, selective-fire Stechkin APS pistol in the same calibre. It was chosen over two similar machine pistols, designed by the then-unknown Kalashnikov (the designer of famous AK assault rifle) and Voevodin (who designed several pistols just before the war).
It must be noted that while TT was declared obsolete in 1951, it remained in service with the Soviet Army until the early seventies; in some rural departments of Soviet Militia (police) TT pistols served well into the eighties.

September 29, 2006, 05:04 AM
Thanks Max!!
As usual, you give great insight into these matters!!

September 29, 2006, 09:45 AM
I ad the opportunity to fire a Stechkin during a Com-Bloc weapons familiarization training cycle while I was in the Army.
This was in 1982 and God only knows where they got it from but I thought it was a pretty decent select fire handgun.
With a stock in place I would probably consider it a better option than a Model 712 Mauser Broomhandle but I have yet to have the opportunity to fire one of these.
Even though the Makarov is a double action handgun it is less complex to manufacture than the Tokarev.
The magazines require less raw material to manufacture and anybody who has been in the military knows how long magazines last in hard use.
The ammunition is easier to produce and uses less powder and cartridge brass and a heavier bullet but so what, lead is abundant in Russia, cartridge grade brass is not and now you know why the majority of Russian ammunition, even today, is made with steel cartridge cases.
Less leather is required to produce a Makarov holster.
I could go on but I think you see the economic reasons alone are enough to justify the switch.
From what I understand Tokarev pistols are still extremely popular with criminal elements in Russia because even today the round will penetrate most lightweight ballistic armor.
The only vests that reliably stop the steel core bullets utilize ceramic inserts.

September 29, 2006, 01:32 PM
Hey Maxim,
Spasibo for the great (as always) info.
Keep up your website

September 29, 2006, 09:00 PM
I was able to fire a stetchkin w/ shoulder stock with John Ross over the summer. It was the only time I've fired a 9X18 and the experience was probably not representative of a Makarov, but it sure was fun. It has a much slower cyclic rate compared to the others but remained quite controllable.

It was also one of the only guns to go the entire day without a failure of any kind.

September 30, 2006, 03:14 AM
A lot of good points above. I'd add that the soviets did not have a "police" weapon but used the military pistol for the purpose. So, ideally it has to be small, light, easy to carry, conceilable while remaining effective against unarmored targets. PM is far better in terms of these criteria than TT. Ergo, the switch.

September 30, 2006, 10:13 PM
Owning both types I can tell you the Makarov is alot friendlier and safer to carry than the Tokarev especially as a summer CCW weapon . Also there is a good selection of good self defense ammo in 9X18 , I've found none readily available in 7.62X25 .

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