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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for info and other examples of a Finnish capture TT-33. I picked-up a 1939 recently. It has had the grips defaced where the CCCP between the star points have been removed. I have collected some Finnish Mosins and other Finnish capture firearms, and the defaced grips were particularly interesting to me. The fact that I didn't have a TT-33 in my collection made this addition more desirable. The barrel, and mag don't match, but the mag came from a (likely 1939?) XM prefix pistol. I feel an alteration to the grips like this, was not done to cover the identity of the pistol, but more as an insult to Russia. It seems like I've seen grips defaced before like this that were thought to be Finnish Capture. There is no import mark, or SA stamp. I don't know if the Finns used the stamp on the TT-33 or not. I also thought that Finland probably surplused these early being they made no ammo for them, hence no import mark. I suppose it could be a Vietnam, or Korean bring back, but why deface the grips? You can't hide the fact it is a Russian TT-33 by doing so. A Russian soldier couldn't do this without a trip to the Gulag. I will post some pictures soon, but I wanted to get the thoughts from experienced collectors and experts on this.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The pictures didn't turn out like I had hoped. It looks like something hot was used to melt over the CCCP, and also the blank space, so there are only small circles left. There are no holes, which it may look like.
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I have heard many reasons for the CCCP being removed on Tokarev grips. Some GIs said they did it fearing any communist markings would prevent them from taking it home, or they just did not want those because they did not like communism. I heard the germans did it when they captured any in WW II and many germans liked these guns.
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I have heard many other explanations, and they may all be true, but I have not heard that the finns took them off on guns they captured from the russians.
Quite the contrary. Here are pictures of a 1939 Tokarev TT- 33 with SA capture stamp. The grips are unmolested. It was brought back from Vietnam by a GI who took it off the body of a NVA officer. It is the only TT 33 I have seen with finnish proof SA, but I assume there are others as the russians lost a lot of guns in that war with Finland.
Sorry but there is nothing off hand, about your gun having the CCCP removed that means it is a finnish capture gun.
Appreciate it for what it is as Tokarev collectors like any and all of them.
 

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It could be that a U.S. soldier removed the markings because he didn't want to be accused of robbing the dead. It would have been easy for a U.S.soldier to have picked it up from a Russian soldier and quickly put it inside his uniform on the run up to taking Berlin.
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That TT-33 with the SA stamp is really nice proof. If the Finns stamped one, I would figure they stamped most, like they did with their Mosin's.
What would you figure the path would be for a Finnish capture to end up on a NVA officer in Vietnam?
It's hard to figure how a GI would worry about having the CCCP on the grips, or that removing the CCCP would make the pistol not be Russian, or even thinking that would be a problem. But there is a Luger, (it was a very nice one) at the bottom of the Atlantic because it was announced on the ship only one gun could be brought home from WWII. My father kept the PPK he took from a German officer, and dropped the Luger overboard. He regretted doing it too, because he said he was never checked stateside.
If this pistol is not a bring back, it would be interesting to know when and where they were imported from in the years before the import marks were required, and the safety's added, as this one is without either.
My back up scenario is it was a German capture, I have a few German firearms it can go with.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It could be that a U.S. soldier removed the markings because he didn't want to be accused of robbing the dead. It would have been easy for a U.S.soldier to have picked it up from a Russian soldier and quickly put it inside his uniform on the run up to taking Berlin.
Dan
I don't know that the Americans and Russians were on the same battlefield. Also during the occupation period after the war you could buy anything as souvenirs. My dad sent all kinds of German stuff home, but little actually made it.
Dad told me he could hear the Russians torturing people across the river from where he was on guard duty, he figured they were Germans being tortured, but he never had any contact, or saw any Russians. He said the torture went on day and night.
 

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Working from the end taking it from an NVA we know the Russians were supplying guns, etc to the North Vietnamese. We have seen Russian capture 98k brought back from Vietnam. So how did it get from the Finn’s back to the Russians and when?
First we know the Finn’s didn’t provide it to the north. So it had to come from the Russians or their satellites like east Germany.
Did the Russians recapture it a year after they lost it to the Finn’s?
Or did the Finn’s sell it or otherwise provide it to the Russians after the war.?
Whatever the route is unknown. But considering all the options makes for interesting history of this tokarev
 

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I don't know that the Americans and Russians were on the same battlefield. Also during the occupation period after the war you could buy anything as souvenirs. My dad sent all kinds of German stuff home, but little actually made it.
Dad told me he could hear the Russians torturing people across the river from where he was on guard duty, he figured they were Germans being tortured, but he never had any contact, or saw any Russians. He said the torture went on day and night.
Whether from trades with the Russians after the war or whatever Tokarev collectors have obtained most of their collections from American GIS who brought them
Home from WW II.yes I am old enough to have bought some from the vets themselves
No market to import otherwise as there was no ammo available here until the 80s
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I had read recently that there were about 700 Finnish TT-33's imported to the US, but I don't remember if it was known when that was. The SA stamp wasn't used until 1942, and most of the firearms with that mark were stamped in the 50's when everything in inventory got marked SA. Finland never made any ammo for the TT-33, so Finland never had any intention of keeping it in inventory, and they got rid of them early.
You don't see many Nagant revolvers with the SA stamp because it is thought once captured by the Finn soldier, he held onto it, then took it home. Same thought goes with the TT-33.
The TT-33 I have doesn't have any refurb stamps on it, but the barrel doesn't match. It seems unlikely the Finns or Germans would have extra TT-33 barrels. Although the importer could have matched nice guns with good barrels. Matching #'s would not have been important or even thought of back in the 50's.
Upon looking for other TT-33 pistols there are pictures of other grips with the CCCP marked out the same way they are on mine. Some have only the CCCP marked out where mine has the circle on the blank space too, giving the star a uniform look. This is leading me to believe this might have been part of a rebuild program somewhere, like say North Korea where they received donated arms, and parts from Russia, but marked out the CCCP to show the pistol didn't belong to Russia, I don't believe it would be done for covert aid purposes to mask the country of origin, as the Russian's were supplying tanks and planes in many instances. It could of then been captured in the Korean War by a US soldier. This may sound like a reach, but it seems more likely than a bunch of GI's doing this mod independently themselves. All of this is just thinking out loud. Until some research is done (maybe there is some already) it's all a guess.
sksguide, Did you say your captured SA TT-33 has papers?
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Upon re-reading my last post, I don't want anything to imply, that I think this pistol came from North Korea. I do think it is possible that if other owners of TT-33 pistols that have grips defaced like this, come forward with what they know, or even if they know nothing(like me), it could show a concerted effort by some entity if a good number of them show up. You could say I'm pushing back that individuals/soldiers did this after acquiring their pistols. If it is true these grips were done at a certain place, and time, that would be very interesting. What I'm hoping doesn't happen, is these grips are changed out, and this information, if it did exist, becomes lost.
 
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