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The single-action Zastava M57 semi-automatic pistol is a license-made copy of the mid-1930s Soviet Tokarev TT pistols, themselves near copies of the legendary M1911. However, the Soviet guns were slightly different, optimized for Soviet tooling and tweaked for simplified and faster mass production. The Tokarev guns were also chambered around the fast, powerful, flat-trajectory 7.62×25mm Tokarev cartridge.

As such, the Tokarev TTs served Soviet soldiers and aviators during World War II against Germany and her allies all across the Eastern Front and later fighting Japan. The solid steel structure and robust construction of the TTs permitted them to endure a wide latitude of combat, environmental and weather conditions.

Zastava started as a cannon foundry in 1851 as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, thus it’s been in business roughly 170 years. After World War II, it commenced license-producing arms. In 1957, Zastava undertook making M57s in Yugoslavia before the 1990s’ balkanization of that nation. While production hasn’t moved, its city and nation of origin is now Beograd (formerly Belgrade), Serbia.

Like the Tokarev TTs, the Zastava M57 uses 7.62 x 25 Tokarev ammunition and has two nine round single-stack magazines with witness holes, so it’s easy to see how many rounds are loaded.

Let’s cover some important dimensions, etc. This is not a small gun. The hammer-forged barrel is 4.5” bringing overall length to 7.9” and height to just over 5.0”. The Zastava M57 is made of high quality alloy steel. This contributes to its robustness, but it also brings the weight to 1.9 pounds, meaning the gun is heavier than a corresponding polymer frame semi-automatic of this size.

One change that’s hidden under the slide and carried over into the Zastava pistols is the barrel. It has an ingenious pair of 360 degree lugs that form ribs around it. These external ribs align with corresponding semi-circular grooves in the slide ensuring, simple yet superb fit.

The slide interior is perhaps not as polished as it could be or should be, but it is good enough since few will ever see the inside. The benefit of this more plebian construction is a rugged, solid design that works reliably for very long durations.

The gun has fixed iron sights and walnut or polymer grip pads. The trigger guard is rounded and the trigger itself has a flattened “S” shape. The back of the slide grip has numerous serrations.

American laws do not permit guns to be imported without safeties. So the Zastava M57’s American version is the M57A. It features a safety on the slide. An additional magazine safety means the gun can’t figure without a magazine being loaded. This gun has two key variants: the M70A and the M88A. The M70A uses 9 x 19 mm Parabellum ammo and has an eight round magazine with witness holes instead of a nine round mag. It is otherwise very similar to the M57. The M88A is a shorter version of the M70A.

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