First introduced in the 1930’s and utilizing the self-cocking design from Colt, the Tokarev TT33 was used extensively by Soviet forces in WWII and was produced in nearly all Warsaw Pact countries and the PRC.
The Chinese Type-54 could be distinguished from the Soviet TT33 by the serrations on the slide and by the Chinese ideograms on the pistol grip (the Soviet weapon had a star in the center of the pistol grip). The Soviet TT33 had alternate narrow and wide vertical cuts, whereas the Type-51 and Type-54 had uniform narrow markings, to aid gripping the slide when manually cocking the weapon.
There was no safety mechanism but the hammer could be locked at half-cock and the weapon was normally carried around with a round in the chamber.
Production of the weapon in the USSR stopped in 1954, but continued in other Communist countries, notably the PRC. The pistol was widely used by VC and NVA officers.
The Tokarev TT33 fired the Soviet 7.62-mm x 25 Type-P pistol cartridge. It operated on a recoil single action and was semi-automatic, feeding ammunition from an 8-round box magazine. Maximum ROF was 32-rpm and with a maximum effective range out to about 50-meters.
The pistol was quite heavy, weighing about 1-kg (2.2-lbs) when loaded and was 196-mm (7.72-inches) in length.