I happened upon this pistol one day at a LGS (local gun store) for $99. Yeah, I know - Can you believe that it stayed there for about a week before I came to my senses (and got the wife's thumbs up) and snatched it up. Part of the reason for my delay was because I knew absolutely nothing about it. After a little research I found out this was a Norinco 213 in 9mm which is a chinese made version of the russian Tokarev in a much more common caliber than the original 7.62 x 25. It was in decent condition with just a little freckling of rust and came with 3 mags. One of the first things I noticed after handling it was that in point shooting it would aim way low because of the odd grip angle. It was nice and flat though, flatter in fact than my Sig P239 in 9mm. Here's what it looked like when I first got it.This is just a random picture of a 213 I found, but it's exactly what mine looked like right down to the tacked on safety. Original Tokarev's weren't designed with a safety as they utilized the half-cock notch and were carried either half-cocked with one in the chamber or chamber empty and racked when needed. You'll notice the nice flat rear sight. It's perfect for hooking a belt to chamber a round. My example has the odd issue of not easily being racked with the hammer down. With the hammer thumbed back it racks very easily. It's not much of an issue for me since this is more of a fun range gun than one that I'll carry. For that purpose it works. It's more accurate (for me) than my Sig which I attribute to the nice single action trigger, longer sight radius and fine sights.
One thing that I still had a problem with was that t-square grip angle. While perusing a pawn shop I ran into another Norinco 213 that had what are called Tokagypt grips which wrap-around the back strap and give a fuller more natural grip angle by adding a palm swell. I liked the way they felt so I went on the hunt for similar ones for mine. Unfortunately, China is unable to import their firearms into the US anymore so parts like grips aren't that easy to fine. Fortunately for me they are sold in Canada through www.marstar.ca. The cool thing is that Marstar sells some different versions of the Tokarev so I had a choice of grips. I chose the grips for their M-201C. Here's a picture of how they look on the 213.
The grips are designed for a version of the Tokarev without the laynard loop so I had to utilize my dremel skills and gouge out a notch in the grips for the loop. It worked and they help the grip angle significantly! Now can I be happy...well there's always room for improvement. I fixed the grip angle now the problem I have is hammer bite. The new grips push the web of my hand up high enough now for the hammer to occasionally nip it. Zastava has fixed this issue on the Tokarev versions that they produce by adding a beaver tail.
Now there's no easy way for me to add a beaver tail to my 213 so I had to get creative. I came up with an idea and decided to go for it. Here's the end result.
I'm a big fan of JB Weld and have used it a number of times before to fix things. I thought I could find some similar epoxy-like putty to mold on the back of the grips. After hitting up a number of modeller's forums I decided to order some Kneadatite "green stuff" and "brown stuff".(You'll notice that the safety was removed and is in the container with the "brown stuff")
I decided to just use the "brown stuff" since it's a bit harder than the more flexible "green stuff". It's really neat stuff to work with and adhered tightly to the grips. When I fitted the grips to the gun originally and carved out a notch for the lanyard loop I carved a bit too deep and came through the outside a bit so I decided to cover it up with some of the "brown stuff". Next I sanded it flush.
Originally, I was going to just use some auto paint to blend everything together, but while at Home Depot I saw this stuff. It's worked great and offers a rubbery grip which should allow a solid grip even with sweaty hands. I'd actually gotten this idea from someone who posted in one of the many forums I read who dipped his Barami Hip Grips in the stuff. I think I may even use this stuff on some revolver grips I have.
All in all, I really like how this turned out.