Monday, November 14, 2011

The Yugoslavian M-57

One of the more interesting places in Europe was the former Yugoslavia. A communist led multi ethnic state, Yugoslavia was neutral in the Cold War. It has no real allies and many ethnic tensions. Yugoslavia sensibly armed itself with a mix of Western and Communist Bloc weapons. Yugoslavia manufactured many of its own small arms. One of the best weapons was the Yugoslavian M-57 Pistol. The pistol is an outstanding example adopting and slightly modifying a proven design for domestic uses. The M-57 is a refinement of the Soviet T-33 Tokarev design.

On the M-57, the grip was lengthened and a very nice frame mounted thumb safety was added. Both of these changes make the pistol more comfortable and safer to use than the Soviet T-33. The excellent reliability of the T-33 design is not compromised by these changes. The M-57 has served Yugoslavia, and after the 1992 dissolution, the former Yugoslav republics well. Rugged as a Gorki truck, accurate and reliable the M-57 was the best Tokarev type pistol ever made.

Its only weakness is the rather strange 7.62x25 cartridge. Basically this is a hot loaded 7.63 Mauser pistol cartridge (do not fire this ammo in Mauser C-96 pistols). This cartridge has been obsolete since World War II. In a modern context its major problem is over penetration. There are some new technology rounds available that may mitigate this problem.
I first saw them in Bosnia; it was the weapon the local police and militia carried. I didn’t get a good look at most of them as the Bosnian Serbs wisely kept them holstered in our presence.

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