Browning’s ComBloc Connection

Behind the Scenes with Payton Miller

Unless you’re hopelessly enamored of Germany’s P38...

…any list of WW2 service pistols would have Browning’s 1911A1 and Hi-Power as top contenders for “The Best.”

But two lesser lights were heavily influenced by the great John M. And both saw service during the war and after, although behind the Iron Curtain. These were the 9mm Polish 35 Vis (better known as the Radom) and the ubiquitous 7.62×25 Soviet TT-33.

Lest you get the wrong idea, working for GUNS isn’t all staring into a computer screen. We do get out once in awhile. During a recent range visit I had the opportunity to shoot both the Radom and the TT-33 — thanks to a collector buddy of mine — and was thoroughly impressed. Both had single-stack mags and knurled, Commander-style hammers.

The 9mm Polish Radom was heavily influenced by Browning’s Hi-Power.

The Radom was a bit more accurate on a paper target at 20 yards (a better trigger may have had something to do with it). But I gotta admit that piping hot “Tokarev” .30-caliber load was flat-shooting enough to be awesomely effective on clay birds on a 100-yard berm.

I stuck pretty much with 85-grain ball for the “Toke” and 124-grain ball for the Radom and experienced nothing even close to a malfunction. It was a hoot!

This TT33 is of late Romanian manufacture and sports the obligatory aftermarket safety required for import.

The TT-33 was eventually replaced by the Makarov in the mid-1950s, and you can find one today at a reasonable price. Although the wonderful Radom has enjoyed some limited production runs since its discontinuance in 1945, a nice original commands “tall dollars.” Now, if I could just find a shootable Nambu Type 14. And some 8mm ammo for it …