By Lars Dalseide | May 10 2013 09:04

Century Arms International brings an affordable TT-30 clone to the States

American Rifleman reviews the Zastava M70A 9 mm Pistol B. Gil Horman takes the Serbian version of Russia's Zastava M70A 9 mm Pistol out for an American Rifleman spin

Zastava M70A 9 mm Pistol
The M70A is an affordable TT-30 clone with improved safety features and increased ammo capacity that works for self-defense.

In 1930, the Soviet military began investigating potential replacements for the aging Nagant M1895 revolver in use as its army's sidearm. By January of 1931, the Revolutionary Military Council sanctioned the testing of the new TT-30 semi-automatic pistol, designed by Fedor Tokarev. Chambered to fire the 7.62x25 Tokarev cartridge, based on the 7.63x25 mm Mauser round, the pistol passed inspection and was adopted for service.

Renowned for its simplicity and rugged reliability, the TT-30, and its variants, saw extensive service during World War II, and can still be found in service today. Vintage versions of this pistol have become popular collectors’ items. With the growing interest in this historical handgun, as well as the continued demand for affordable pistols, Zastava Arms of Serbia has launched two new versions of the TT-30 pistol, distributed by Century Arms International. Updated for sale on the U.S. market, the M57 is configured to fire the original 7.62x25 Tokarev cartridge, while the M70A is chambered for the popular 9 mm Luger round.

Founded in 1853, Zastava Arms of Serbia was one of the original factories contracted to build the TT-30 for the Soviet forces more than 80 years ago. Having produced thousands of these guns, this is well-traveled territory for the company. Most of the internal and external features of the M70A are identical to the TT-30, with just a few changes.

Like the original, the M70A is a blow-back operated, single-action semi-automatic pistol. The slide, frame, magazines and external components are constructed from blued steel. The only polymer used in this gun is found in the two removable black grip panels. The external shape of the M70A closely resembles John Browning’s FN Model 1903 semi-auto. Internally, Fedor Tokarev chose to employ the barrel dropping short-recoil system Browning used in the now iconic 1911 pistol.

The 1-inch wide slide houses a 4.5-inch barrel with traditional land-and-groove rifling. The recoil assembly consists of a single, round-wire spring captured on a steel guide rod. The historically accurate sight system includes a small drift-adjustable dovetailed front blade sight and a tall rear sight cut with a small u-notch, also drift adjustable. The steel trigger rests in a rounded trigger guard, with a good size magazine release button behind it on the frame. The slim grip frame is nearly vertical with a smooth-faced front strap and backstrap. The top of the grip is rounded to protect the hand from the external hammer, but there is no beavertail or grip safety.

Read the rest of Horman's review of the Zastava M70A 9 mm Pistol.


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