Book Review: The Complete Book of Tokarev Pistols, by Cameron S. White

New Book Sheds Light on Often Overlooked  Pistol
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Cover of Tokarev Pistols. The book retails for $39.99, available from the publisher and Amazon

Tokarev Pistols retails for $39.99, available from the publisher and Amazon

The Complete Book of Tokarev Pistols, by Cameron S. White (ISBN: 978-1931464871, Andrew Mowbray Publishers, Inc. (gunandswordcollector.com), softcover, 224 pages, 1,550 color photos/illustrations, 2021, $39.99)

The Complete Book of Tokarev Pistols marks the first serious research publication to focus exclusively on the subject since the early 1990s. Author Cameron S. White, PhD's interest in Tokarev pistols was sparked by his late father as they spent years collecting and researching the firearm. It is after a lifetime of collecting that White has produced an excellent book on a subject of growing interest in the collector community. White previously partnered with Henry Brown to publish The Makarov Pistol: Soviet Union and East Germany.

Tokarev Pistols meets the standard of quality that one would expect from a book published by Mowbray Publishing. Photography consists of sharp, clear, color photographs with a smattering of black and white period photographs sprinkled throughout. The overall layout is easy to follow.

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White begins by giving an overview of the history of the Tokarev then dives into a history of the Soviet Union in the interwar period and the country's desire to replace the 1895 Nagant revolver with a semi-automatic handgun as many other world powers had done during the Great War. He then includes a short biography of the firearm's developer, Fedor Vasilveyvich Tokarev, and moves on to the development of the TT30 and then TT33 pistol.

The author divides the development and manufacture of the Tokarev by country (USSR, Poland, Hungary, China, Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia/Serbia, and North Korea), looks at the political landscape of the time, and provides photographic examples of nearly every year of production of the Tokarev for each country. Included as well is a brief history of the factories that produced the handguns. The end of each chapter includes a short review which provides quick tips for collectors to consider when inspecting a pistol. 

When appropriate, he includes information about commercial production. Collectors will find the information provided on the subtle differences between Tokarev holsters invaluable for finding a holster of the appropriate country and era of manufacture. Chapters on ammunition, craft production (think Khyber pass), areas of collecting, and stripping and maintenance are included as well.

White's research into the Tokarev has clearly been hampered by the secretive nature of both Communist and former communist regimes. The relative scarcity of information and reasonable price when compared to other handguns of their era make this a ripe field for collectors on a budget, those who "invest" in surplus firearms, and those looking for a field of research yet to be fully investigated. — Ryan Roth

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