After testing three different batches of ammo tonight, I had the unexpected pleasure of having another shooter ask me if I want to give his old Yugoslavian M56 a spin. Never one to turn down a chance to shoot old eastern-European pistols, I graciously took him up on the offer!
This particular model was manufactured in 1953 and was in next-to-new condition. Loosely-based on the 1911, they're wickedly accurate for old post-war surplus guns and shoot a bizarre, fun cartridge - the 7.62x25 Tokarev.
As one might expect from that part of the world, it's a heavy, purposeful, and somewhat foreign-feeling pistol. The grip angle is weird, the sights are tiny, and the trigger appears to have been designed by the same guy who drew up the plans for a tractor transmission. Run a few rounds and it comes together pretty quick, as did the tightly-packed (about 1.5" at 15") cluster of 7.62mm holes would attest.
The cartridge is what one might describe as "sporty" if you lived next door to the 1980 Russian Olympic Hockey Team - incredibly well-managed yet deadly serious. 85 grain bullets don't make it to 1,500 fps without a hell of a push.
The weight of the Yugoslav Tokarev copy soaks it up, but the recoil is substantial and the lack of a "beavertail" at the back of the grip offers little reminder that there is nothing separating a high hold from the hammer. Having been bit by another Tokarev in the past, it's a lesson you usually learn on the first day of class.
Not a bad way to end a Wednesday...
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