I always prefer rifle/handgun combinations, and the obvious choice for the Vepr is the Tokarev or Makarov. The funny thing is, the more I thought about the T-33, the more it—or at least the cartridge—began to make sense. The 7.62x25mm is a heckuva flat-shooting round. The little 86-grain bullet travels at some 1,450 fps, and I find it most fun to shoot at long range. It is no problem to hit (or at least frighten terribly) clay pigeons at 50 yards and more. I was reminded of the time I was quail hunting with a shotgun and was dogged by a wily coyote just out of shotgun reach. Since then, I’ve always taken along a 40-ounce 1911 in either 10mm or .38 Super.
The all-steel Tokarev weighs only 30 ounces and comes with a fairly good set of fixed Patridge-style sights. For small game, pests, and critters up to coyotes, I wouldn’t feel undergunned with the Tok, and it will easily take small game like bunnies for camp meat without tearing them up. It also works just fine as a dispatching pistol.
My Romanian version has been modified for the USA with the inclusion of a thumb safety, but lacks an inertial firing pin. Originally, the Tokarev had no safety except for a half-cock notch, and was dangerous to carry unless the chamber was unloaded. There are several different ways exporting companies modified these pistol for importation. As a result, wiser folks carry them with the chamber unloaded.
While I’d eschew going afield rigged up in a Soviet Sam Brown rig, I found the full-flap holster quite useful. When shooting in the desert for these tests, I often sling the rifle when setting up targets. It gives a feel for how the rifle will behave afield. I added the reproduction right-side holster and discovered it keeps the rifle from clacking against the butt. It isn’t a quick draw, but if I needed to shoot something fast, I’d use the rifle first.
I believe the 7.62×25 is an underrated hunting round and worth exploring further. Both Hornady and Sierra offer suitable expanding bullets, and Starline offers brass. Outside of expensive war trophy Tokarevs, the imported ones are still reasonably priced and fit right in with a Vepr.
What do you think of the Tokarev? Do you have a favorite handgun/pistol or caliber combination? Share your top choices in the comment section.
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