The Tokarev is a pistol that does not have much written about it in the world of firearms reference literature – largely because it was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact that many of the. variations. became accessible to Western collectors and researchers. What we have seen, though, is a veritable flood of Tokarev from many different nations come onto the collector market in the past few decades. They are an area of collecting that is interesting and has a quite low bar of entry – all the has been missing is a good reference work describing them.
Thanks to Dr. Cameron White, we now have that reference work. His new “Complete Book of Tokarev Pistols” covers all the nations that produced variations of the Tokarev. Arranged in chapters by nationality, each discusses the factory(s) that produced the different guns, the circumstances of their production, and the unique features of each model. Each nation has a serial number and production date table identifying when the guns were made (to the best of the available records), and plenty of high quality color photographs – usually examples of each individual year of production. This includes the very scarce patterns, like North Korean, Pakistani craft-made copies, and the explanation of the mythical Bulgarian Tokarev.
If there is an area where White comes up short, it is in describing the development programs and experimental models, but that is understandable given the paucity of information available about the early production of most patterns. I would also have. like to see a bit more clarification of which grips and safeties in the photographs were added as part of US importation requirements, but this is a minor quibble. For anyone interested in collecting these pistols or in simply gaining a better understanding of their distribution and use worldwide, this book is an excellent resource. It sets out the baseline understanding anyone needs to identify the significance of any particular Tokarev pistol they may come across, and will undoubtedly become the. standard reference work for Tokarev collectors as a community.
“The Complete Book of Tokarev Pistols” is available as of this writing for $39.99 directly from its publisher, Mowbray, or via Amazon: