The Tokarev was developed in the 30s and was the military auto intended to replace the Nagant revolver as the main issue sidearm of the Soviet army in WWII, it never really did, but many millions were made and issued to Soviet and later Warsaw pact armies, and than later sold to and copied by the Chinese, who still use it to some extent.
It was originally chambered for the 7.62x25 Tokarev round, sort of a 7.63 Mauser bottleneck on steroids, which has been referred to as the first "magnum" high velocity handgun round. A CZ-52 in the same caliber fired at a range today gets a LOT of attention.
In fact, after the noted deficiencies of the 9x18 Makarov with regards to insufficient penetration especially against body armor, which was the round and pistol that replaced the Tokarev (the other one in the pictures getting scrapped) was, the Russians just in the last couple of years SERIOUSLY considered readopting the 7.62x25 Tokarev round as their issue pistol round, about the same time WE were reconsidering the .45ACP to replace the 9mm, which is kind of ironic....
Some, mainly Chinese versions, were converted to 9mm Paarabellum, and I even saw a few available last week at the gun show.
They are collectors items here, especially among crufflers. But one of the main problems is that safety, or lack of! To be imported, since the Clinton anti-gun years, they had to be "retrofitted" with a safety, which many were, quickly and cheaply, which subsequently looks and actually works badly, and scratches the frame badly if used!
They ARE available relatively cheaply in the US, but most are late 50s and 60s production that are NOT C&R eligible, so nobody really wants one as a "shooter," especially when the "better" CZ-52 IS available cheaper. And the few C&R eligible ones available (early 50s and before) are not much cheaper than the occasional "stock" ones floating around for sale that came into the country right after WWII up to the 60s and 70s, from both Russia and China, which are what the collectors REALLY want.
I've even seen some Polish ones advertised by SOG not too long ago, but the few CR ones they had disappeared quickly. I WANT one of those badly, even with the crappy retro safety!
Yes it is a copy of a locked breech pivot link Browning design, SORT of, although one glaring deficiency is no safety...life was cheap in a communist army. ("SAFETY? We don' NEED no stinkin' SAFETY, comrade!
) It probably had something to do with the same guys having endure the crappy Mosin Nagant safety for 40 or 50 years at the time!
Now the Makarovs REALLY bother me. It is a GREAT design, the automatic and round that replaced the Tokarev in the Soviet/Warsaw pact armies, and adopted by most Commie Police. The round and size of the pistol makes a decent carry gun, better than a .380 and just a LITTLE less than a 9mm Para...reliable, cheap, accurate, even the Bulgarians that aren't C&R that these look like are good shooters, and IMPORTABLE. Baikal even makes(made?) a commercial version with adjustible sights (I have one) that is as good as any of the military/police ones. (But I STILL perferred my East German, especially with the chance it was a "Secret Police" issue.If I EVER catch the bum that STOLE it he just MIGHT face it's "replacement!")
THAT really makes me think nobody wants them because it would make the botom fall out of the Makarov market HERE if that many suddenly apperared for sale.
As it is now, it wasn't too long ago when you could buy a QUALITY CR East German or even Russian military/police Mak for less than $100 from SOG or Century. And Bulgarians are still available for $130 wholesale, $150 retail, but are not CR.