Zastava M57 Tt 30Bore Serbian Pistol Front View

Zastava M57 TT 30bore Serbian Pistol Review

The Zastava M57 pistol has an interesting history as the standard sidearm of the Yugoslav People’s Army. Developed in the 1950s, it was based on the Soviet TT-33 Tokarev pistol design and produced at the Zastava Arms factory in Serbia. With its recognizable Tokarev look and hard-hitting 7.62mm ammunition, the M57 TT carved out a reputation for rugged reliability in conflicts across Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Balkans. While surpassed by more modern pistols, the M57 is still prized by military collectors and shooting enthusiasts who appreciate its uncomplicated design and power.

Zastava M57 Tt 30Bore Serbian Pistol

Key Features


Zastava M57 Tt 30Bore Serbian Pistol Side View

In terms of design, the M57 closely followed the TT-33 it was patterned after, with a similar single-action trigger system, short recoil action, and swinging locking block breech mechanism. The pistol features an all-steel construction with either a blued or parkerized finish. It has brown plastic grips with a three-dot sighting system on the 4.5 inch barrel. The M57 has a very utilitarian, no-frills design befitting a martial sidearm, with a grip angle and manual safety that make it point naturally for most shooters.


The M57 fires the 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge that was originally designed for the TT-33. This hot pistol round propels an 85 grain bullet at around 1,300 fps, giving it formidable close-range stopping power. The 7.62mm recoils stoutly in the M57’s all-steel frame. While not as fast as more modern bottleneck pistol rounds, the Tokarev offers better penetration than other straight-walled military cartridges like 9x19mm Parabellum.

Zastava M57 Tt 30Bore Serbian Pistol Side View 1


In action, the M57 operates via a fairly simple straight blowback system. After firing a round, the slide and barrel recoil rearwards together for a short distance before the barrel disengages and the slide continues back, ejecting the spent casing. The slide then returns forward, feeding the next round from the 8-round detachable box magazine. This reliable system allows for effective rapid fire. The single-action trigger offers a lighter, crisper pull for subsequent shots.

Zastava M57 Tt 30Bore Serbian Pistol Front View


Standard safety features on the M57 include a half-cock notch on the hammer and a manual thumb safety that locks the sear. The safety lever is located conveniently above the left grip panel for right handed shooters. There is also a loaded chamber indicator that protrudes from the rear of the slide when a round is in battery. These safeties provide adequate protections against accidental discharge.

See also  Canik SFX RIVAL 9mm Pistol Review

Models and Variants

Standard Model

The original M57 was a close copy of the Soviet TT-33 design but with a redesigned grip frame to fit the thicker 7.62mm round. It features a 4.6 inch barrel and 8+1 round capacity. Bluing over a phosphate finish was standard. Early M57s had slotted grip screws while later production switched to Allen heads. It remained the standard issue sidearm of Yugoslavia well into the 1980s.

Compact Model

Seeking a more concealable pistol, Zastava introduced the more compact M70A model in the 1970s. This variant had a shorter 3.85 inch barrel and concealed hammer. It retained the 7.62mm caliber and most other features of the M57. The M70A was issued to officers, vehicle crews, and special forces who required a more packable sidearm.

Sporting Models

Target shooting and competition versions of the M57 have also been produced, such as the M57A standard target model and M57LU luxury model. These sport longer barrels, adjustable sights, tuned triggers, and other refinements while remaining in 7.62x25mm caliber.

Zastava M57 Tt 30Bore Serbian Pistol Upper View

Production and Users

Production History

The M57 was manufactured from 1957-1990 at the Zastava Arms factory in Kragujevac, Serbia, which was then part of Yugoslavia. Over 1.5 million pistols were produced during this long Cold War era production run. Zastava still produces the pistol on a limited basis, mainly for export customers. Surplus M57s are still commonly found on the American collectors’ market.

Military and Law Enforcement Use

Within Yugoslavia, the M57 pistol armed generations of soldiers and police forces, who appreciated its comfortable grip and reputation for reliability in harsh Balkan conditions. It also saw extensive use in various Cold War-era conflicts in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East as Yugoslavia exported arms to many Non-Aligned nations. More recently, various Zastava pistols have served in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s and with Serbian forces. The M57 continues to see some law enforcement use in the Balkans.

See also  Saiga M3 Review

Accessories and Customization

Though not as accessorized as more modern pistols, the M57 does have various available upgrades. Factory magazines with increased 9 or 10 round capacity provide extended firepower. Custom wood or plastic grips in different shapes can be fitted. Tactical flashlight mounts and reflex optics like red dots can attach to the barrel or slide. Holsters from military surplus or new production are available in various materials and carry styles.

Shooting and Performance


The M57 points very naturally due to its grip angle and smooth Tokarev-style controls. The narrow grip fits most hands well. The long trigger reach may be an issue for some with smaller hands. Reloading is slowed slightly by the European heel-release magazine catch. Overall the M57 is an easy pistol to master.

Accuracy and Recoil

The fixed barrel of the M57 contributes to respectable practical accuracy within normal pistol ranges. The Tokarev cartridge has a trajectory similar to 9mm and produces a sharper recoil impulse due to its light pistol frame. Muzzle rise is noticeable but manageable with practice. This limits rapid fire speed somewhat but allows accurate follow up shots.


The M57’s simple blowback action and loose tolerances are very forgiving and reliable mechanisms. The pistol is built to loose Soviet bloc military specifications and proven to function in dusty, freezing, or muddy conditions that cause more precise pistols to choke. Rounds feed and extract smoothly, and the M57 will fire thousands of rounds without maintenance. This ruggedness inspired confidence in several generations of Yugoslav soldiers.

Pros and Cons


  • Reliable and robust design built for military service
  • Powerful 7.62mm caliber
  • Natural grip angle and handling
  • Collectible Cold War surplus appeal
See also  Beretta 92FS Review


  • Heavy all-steel construction
  • Modest capacity of 8+1 rounds
  • Strong recoil takes practice to control
  • Lacks modern pistol accessories and optics mounting

Legacy and Collectability

The M57 holds an interesting place in firearms history as Yugoslavia’s service pistol through the Cold War. It brings together Serbian small arms manufacturing, Soviet design influence, and Balkan military history. Surplus M57s are still common on the American collectors’ market and at a relatively affordable price. Parts kits to rebuild pistols are also available. For these reasons, the M57 has emerged as a popular historical military pistol for collectors interested in the Cold War era.


After many decades of service, the Zastava M57 TT pistol remains a usable and collectible martial firearm. While its simpler blowback design has been overtaken by more modern service pistols, the M57 still appeals to practical shooters or collectors wanting a durable pistol. With proper care and maintenance, an M57 will serve well at the range or in a collection for many more years to come. Its history and uncomplicated functionality ensure the M57 a lasting place among mid-century military firearms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the effective range of the M57 pistol?

The M57 is most effective at typical pistol engagement distances under 50 yards or so. The 7.62mm round maintains energy better at range than lighter pistol rounds.

How many rounds does the M57 magazine hold?

The standard magazine capacity is 8 rounds. Higher capacity 9 or 10 round magazines are also available.

When was the M57 pistol adopted by Yugoslavia?

It entered service with the Yugoslav military and police in 1957, replacing various German and Italian pistols used previously.

What holsters are available for the M57?

Both military surplus leather flap holsters and modern polymer tactical holsters are commonly available.

Where are original M57 pistols manufactured?

They were manufactured at the Zastava Arms factory in Kragujevac, Serbia which was formerly in Yugoslavia. Limited production continues today.

Similar Posts