The 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge was developed in the 1930’s and produced in the Soviet Union to be used in pistols and submachine guns. The Tokarev TT-33 pistol was a very popular pistol chambered for this cartridge. The Soviet military used this firearm from its development until the mid-1960's. The PPSh-41 submachine gun is possibly the best known firearm chambered for the 7.62x25 Tokarev cartridge. The cartridge drew the world's attention, including several national militaries and several countries of the Warsaw Pact. For example, France and North Vietnam chambered submachine guns in 7.62x25 Tokarev.
The 7.62 Tokarev, over its many years, has been manufactured in many varieties from lead ball to armor piercing and incendiary. This cartridge has seen action on many different missions that needed a small cartridge with excellent penetration. In the United States today, the 7.62x25mm Tokarev is usuallly found with Hollow Point or Full Metal Jacket bullets weighing 85 or 90 grains. Muzzle velocity can range between 1200 feet per second to slightly more than 1700 feet per second. The 7.62x25 cartridge has a reputation for excellent penetration - some tests have shown FMJ bullets penetrating as much as seventeen inches of ballistic gel. Other test results indicate that a 7.62 Tokarev round will penetrate class II ballistic vests as well as the U.S. PASGT helmet. Some shooters believe the performance of the 7.62x25mm is superior to modern 9mm cartridges.
In the United States, collectors are the biggest consumers of the 7.62x25mm, buying the cartridge to feed their Tokarev TT-33 and Czech CZ vz 52 pistols. The high velocity of the round and muzzle energy between 400 and 570 foot pounds makes the cartridge a valid option for personal protection.