The Tokarev TT-30 was a semi-automatic pistol, essentially a Soviet copy of a Browning-Colt design, intended to replace the Nagant M1895 series of revolvers. The M1895 was developed in the late 1800s and served the Tsarist Russian Empire for decades before a suitable replacement was eventually found. The revolver itself proved quite robust and still served in numbers during World War 2. While the TT-30 only appeared in limited numbers and for a limited time herself, it paved the way for the much improved TT-33 series to replace the Nagant after 1945.
By 1930, the Revolutionary Military Council was on the lookout for a new Red Army sidearm to replace the aged M1895 revolver and other revolver pistol systems like it. Tests were held to find a replacement in early 1931 and a 1930s Fedor V. Tokarev design, known as the TT-30, was favored. The type was ordered in 1,000 examples for further testing by the Soviet Army and was officially marked for service as the standard sidearm of the Soviet Army thereafter. Production was handled by the Tula Arsenal.
The TT-30 owed much of its basic design to John Browning's work (particularly the M1911) with a few Soviet alterations that made for a better weapon in terms of field maintenance and production while retaining the former's stopping power. The hammer and lockwork mechanism were made as a single removable module to help in cleaning and repairs, this removed through the upper rear of the receiver. Magazine feed "lips" were machined directly into the receiver to help combat misfeeds. Generally, the Soviets made a much improved product consistent with the field abuse expected along the East Front and beyond.
However, it would only be three short years before a new and improved version of the TT-30 would appear, this in the form of the TT-33 of 1933. The type was revised with a new trigger and featured locking lugs all around the barrel as opposed to just along the top. The TT-33 would be produced in far greater examples and quickly overtook the TT-30 as the standard sidearm. It would not be until after 1945 that the type would replace the Nagant M1895 revolvers but over 1.7 million would eventually be produced.
The TT-30 received its designation by its production facility (Tula Arsenal) and designer's last initial (Tokarev) and the first year of issue ("30") to complete the full "TT-30" designation.