SRC TT-33 GBB Pistol review by Booligan
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Basic Gun Information
Fans of Soviet style airsoft replicas generally have a hard time finding period correct pistols to go with their loadouts. There certainly are replica pistols out there, but they are few and far between and tend to be specialized models with long lists of quirks. SRC has released their replica of the Tokarev TT-33, and it is a beautiful piece of equipment! In some ways, it's actually too pretty, however, I'll go over all of the pros and cons of this pistol in this review, so keep reading for all of the juicy details!
I was sent this pistol for review by Evike, who has it available HERE, priced at only $110.00, which qualifies it for Evike's free shipping deal on orders over $89. The gun was shipped out using UPS Ground, which got it to me in 2 days with no hiccups along the way. There was no shipping damage, and a lot of that has to do with SRC's awesome packaging, which I'll cover a little later on.
Basic Gun Information:
The real TT-33 was designed as a replacement for the Nagant M1895 revolver for use with the Soviet military. Designed in 1930 and introduced for testing and trial use in 1931, the TT33 externally resembles the FN 1903, designed by John Browning, while using Browning's short recoil system which is very similar to the system used in the M1911. The TT-33 was used by the Soviet military and many, many other countries even to this day, and it continues to be made under license by a wide variety of nations.
The SRC TT-33 GBB replica does a good job reproducing the look and feel of the real pistol, however, it has a nicer finish that the real guns that I've shot in the past. They made it too nice in some ways, which I find kind of humorous. It's a full metal replica with plastic grip panels, and the one being reviewed today is listed as being part of a limited edition of a few hundred pistols worldwide, of which mine is number 61.
One of the nice features of this gun is the packaging, which is a satin red colored polymer case with a foam inner liner. The packaging kept the gun safe during shipping, and I'm absolutely going to keep using the case to hold the pistol, as it looks amazing. I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled the pistol out of the case, as it had a great matte black finish, much nicer than the sloppily blued finish on many of the real TT-33 pistols out there.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Along with the pistol and awesome case, SRC included a metal button complete with a hammer and sickle design, and a manual that resembles a Soviet era propaganda pamphlet. It's a small touch, but shows that SRC cared enough about the little details to put out a nice package. They also include a very small hex wrench which is used to adjust the hop-up.
Some of the manual contents
Weight: 19 oz/1.18 lbs/538g
Width: 1.25" (at grips)
Height: 5.25" (sight to magazine lanyard loop)
Sight Radius: 6.1"
As mentioned before, the SRC TT-33 is a full metal replica with plastic grip panels that are easily removed in the same manner as the real ones. When looking at the TT-33, one of the first things you'll notice is the matte black finish. On the real gun, this would most likely be a blued finish that generally would be kind of shiny. Don't get me wrong, SRC did a great job with the finish as it looks amazing, but it actually looks too nice in my opinion. A blued version would be nice, and I think this will take to weathering quite well, but as it sits, the thing looks great, albeit a bit too pretty.
External overview, left side
Overview, right side
The most important part of any pistol is the grip, as it's the part that you'll spend all of your time holding on to. The TT-33 has a very narrow frame with detachable plastic grips which have gorgeous star and CCCP markings. They are removed in the same manner as the real ones, requiring you to look inside the magwell for the little metal lever which you rotate slightly and pop one side of the grip out. You can then access the other inner grip panel and remove it. The plastic is hard and shiny and feels kind of cheap, just like the real gun, but I believe these can be swapped out for real steel grip panels without too much custom work. At the bottom of the grip on the left side you will find a small loop for attaching a pistol lanyard.
Left side grip
Right side grip
In front of the grips, still located on the frame, you will find the extremely rudimentary controls, consisting of a trigger, magazine release button and slide catch lever. There is no mechanical safety on this pistol, however, it is a single action only pistol, so you can carry it loaded and decocked safely. The trigger pull is quite heavy, but has a short pull and clean break. The magazine release doesn't provide a lot of feedback when it's locked in place, but after multiple magazine changes, the mag now drops free when you push the button.
Slide locked back
Slide catch retainer clip
The hammer is located on the rear of the frame and can be used as a form of safety on this single action replica. The hammer is showing some paint wear where it rides along the underside of the slide, however it's not a huge cosmetic issue in my opinion.
Hammer in the firing position
The slide is a long metal unit with the same matte black finish as the frame. When pulled back, it opens the chamber showing the top of the magazine and allowing you to adjust the hop-up using the included tool. The recoil spring isn't terribly strong, so the slide return isn't that forceful.
The outer barrel is made of metal and features a realistic barrel drop recoil locking mechanism. There is no threading on the barrel either inside or out, so don't plan on mounting up a can on this thing. The barrel is pretty stable in the barrel bushing, and the gun does not use an external guide rod.
The iron sights are extremely rudimentary fixed units which are molded onto the slide. They are a simple blade and notch design which is a little bit slow to acquire, but they get the job done for most pistol engagement distances. The rear unit sticks straight up and seems like it'll snag like crazy if you try to get it into a non-TT-33 specific holster.
There are some engraved markings on both sides of the pistol frame, including unique serial numbers on both sides. The markings are both numbers and Cyrillic script, and really add to the realistic look of the pistol.
Left side markings
Right side markings, note the unique serial number
The included magazine is a steel unit which is really quite small, even smaller than a 1911 mag. It holds 11 rounds, and features a small notch where you can lock the BB follower for easy loading. At first, the magazine didn't seem to lock very well, without good feedback through the magazine release button that it was locked or unlocked, but after repeated loadings, it's improved greatly. The magazine now drops freely with you push the release button, and there is a much more audible click when it locks in. One thing to note, I have not found spare magazines available in the US yet. The magazine base plate had some free play, so I placed a small amount of tape inside to fill the gap and eliminate the rattle.
Bottom, showing the lanyard mount and fill hole
BB follower locked down
Chrono results using Matrix .20g BBs and propane, shot through a Madbull V1 chrono, after a 100 round break in period (Note, my testing temps are VERY cold, only around 30*F, so my gas economy and FPS will be low):
High FPS: 285.1 FPS
Low FPS: 279.2 FPS
Average FPS: 283.4 FPS
Gas economy wasn't great for me, as I was barely able to get a single mag load of BBs out of a load of gas, but a lot of that is due to the fact that I'm testing in sub-freezing temperatures. I took a few seconds between shots, but since this gun has a very small gas reservoir, it had issues getting back up to temp. I'm planning on revisiting this test once my test area isn't a frozen hell hole.
I fed it some .23g Matrix BBs and set my torso target out at my normal pistol ranges, and was able to get reliable hits out to 80' without issues. This is perfectly skirmishable as a sidearm, but the iron sights are not great for fast acquisition combat use. The heavy trigger pull also tends to pull your shots up and to the left if you don't compensate for it when you fire, so that's something to keep an eye on as well.
Disassembly is a pretty simple process which does not require the use of any tools. On the right side of the frame, you'll find the slide catch retainer clip which must be pushed back off of the slide catch lever. Once it's pushed off, you can slide the slide catch out of the gun and remove the slide and barrel unit off of the frame by sliding it to the front.
Slide catch locking clip removed
Slide and frame separated
Inside the frame, you'll find the trigger and hammer assembly which can be easily removed for further maintenance, if needed. I generally stick to basic lubrication of trigger and hammer components, and I haven't had any failures at this point.
Hammer and trigger assembly
In the slide, you can remove the inner and outer barrels separately to perform lubrication and maintenance. To remove the inner barrel, simply pull the recoil spring unit out of the gun, pull the outer barrel forward and slide the inner barrel and hop-up unit out of the bottom of the slide. To remove the outer barrel, you must rotate the barrel bushing, remove it, and pull the outer barrel out the front of the slide. You have to remove the inner barrel before doing this. The inner barrel has an O-ring equipped to keep it centered in the outer barrel, and the hop-up is adjustable with the included hex wrench.
Inner barrel and hop-up
View down the inner barrel
At the rear of the slide you'll find the blowback unit which has a polymer inner piston with a metal base for durability. This is one area you'll want to keep well lubricated for smooth firing.
Metal piston base
If you are getting this pistol and expecting to mount a flashlight, laser, or optic, you will be sorely disappointed, and also, you should probably not be allowed around airsoft guns anymore. This is an 80 year old design and isn't set up to fit modern frivolousness like that. The only thing I MIGHT consider changing are the grips which I believe can be swapped out for real steel units with some slight dremel work.
Sturdy full metal construction
Affordable price, $110 for the full set
Includes some awesome accessories
Limited edition with unique serial numbers
Plenty of gorgeous CCCP and Cyrillic markings
Very slim and comfortable design
Decent performance out of the box
The TT33 design works for a wide range of loadouts, from WW2 to current conflicts
Recoil is a bit light for a full metal pistol
Disassembly can cause paint damage on frame
Non-adjustable iron sights
Magazine catch feels a little weak, but does get better with time
Heavy trigger pull
No external safeties, however, it is a single action only replica
Most people know that I'm a huge fan of Soviet era weapon designs, as for the most part, they are all about function over form. I'm all about the beauty that comes from efficiency of design, and this SRC TT-33 is absolutely dripping in mechanical beauty. It's slim and light, but if fits very well even in my large hands and points and shoots extremely well. This is a no frills gun, without even a safety lever or adjustable sights, but it is quite accurate to the real pistol that it is replicating. It does have its flaws, including the damn heavy trigger pull and paint finish which is a little too matte compared to the blued finish of the real gun, but it really is a beautiful piece of equipment that works with a wide range of loadouts. The fact that it's a limited edition collector's item and comes with some really unique accessories are the icing on the cake. The SRC TT-33 will work quite well for collectors and skirmishers alike.
Many thanks again to Evike, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!