If you have hung around firearm-related weblogs or communities very long, you have probably heard of the CZ-52 (more properly known as the Vz.52) and the TT-33 (or just TT, for Tula, Tokarev); both pistols are typically amongst the first firearms purchased by people who get their Curio and Relic license from the BATFE, which is hardly surprising, given their still-inexpensive-but-slowly-rising prices. Both pistols are functionally interchangeable, at least superficially – they carry the same number of the same cartridge, are both short-recoil operated, have locked breeches, are single-action only, and are arguably dangerous to carry with a round in the chamber – but they differ considerably on the specific details: the former is Czechoslovakian, the latter purely Soviet; the former employs a crazy roller-and-cam locking system borrowed from the German MG-42, the latter borrowed the swinging-link system from the venerable 1911; the former wraps its recoil spring around the barrel (which, unfortunately, is no help at all for its bore axis height), the latter employs the more-standard recoil spring guide rod system.
I had the opportunity to shoot both side-by-side this weekend (the CZ was mine, and unfired until I shot it; the TT was a friend’s), and I have to admit, while they are both markedly different, I would not go so far as to say one was better than the other. In fact, if the CZ-52 had a normal, functional magazine release and a decocking lever that was not prone to setting off chambered rounds, it would not be a bad little firearm at all… And if the TT had a safety that could be operated by, well, anyone (yes, I know the safety has to be added for importation purposes, but that does not make it any easier to use), it would be a decent, classic firearm as well.
In fact, now that I just discovered the M57 variant of the TT-33 (one more round in the magazine and a 1911-style manual safety, without a huge increase in price), I may have just found my next C&R purchase… The only hitch on those is that the specific magazines are hard to come by / expensive. In any case, I had harbored masochistic dreams of running IDPA/IPSC with a CZ-52, but after trying to change out magazines in anything approximating a reasonable amount of time, I dare say the TT family would be a better choice…
For what it can do, it is a bit unfortunate the 7.62×25 round has been left by the wayside.