Sunday, January 3, 2010

Norinco 213: TT-33 Clone Modified Grips

I've written about my Norinco 213 before when I first modified some grips to include a beavertail and when I used kydex to make ulta-thin grips and a holster for concealed carry. I've finally come to what I think is my final set of grips for this gun.

The Tokarev TT-33 design does not lend itself to use as a concealed carry gun. The primary reason is simply safety. The only real safety on the gun is a half-cock notch which requires manually cocking the trigger before firing. Yes, I know that these Norinco & all the other later imports came with added "safeties", but they are more like afterthoughts than being truly usable & reliable. The 213 came with a thumb safety, but requires you to move it in the opposite direction from what's intuitive (back for fire & forward for safe). The Yugo's and Romanian's have a safety switch located behind the trigger, but these often required a modification of the flat spring that holds the slide stop pin in place which weakens the flat spring and in many cases causes it to break. The location of these safeties still (for me) is far from ideal and they don't inspire confidence to carry the gun cocked & locked like a standard 1911. For these reasons I have regulated my Tok to range duty with it in the far backseat for defensive use if pressed.

So for this role I want the most comfortable grips that allow me to get the most pleasure when shooting. I turned to my original modified grips which added the beavertail. They provide the best grip angle for natural point shooting (the originals caused me to aim very low) and they protect my hand from hammer bite. The original modified grips were coated in a rubbery Plasti-Dip spray which felt nice, but were not very durable. Since I've had such good luck using the textured spray paint on a couple of other projects I decided to use it here. The final product gives a solid no slip grip that seems to wear well. Because it's just normal paint I would be careful with using solvents around it. I'll just remove the grips if I need to do any heavy cleaning on the frame.

The front and rear sights have been dotted with white paint to help with acquiring them against a dark background. I've found that the standard sights although not quick to see are very fine and enable precision.
The trigger face has been sanded smooth and slightly rounded to remove the terrible sharp vertical grooves that were standard on this model. Their removal was totally necessary as they've drawn blood in the past.
I don't foresee doing much more to this gun, though I do have a bushing compensator that I might fit to it. Better sights would be nice, but would likely require cutting a front dovetail or drilling into the slide to stake a new sight. I'm not sure how Novak style sights would look on a Tok. It might be like putting HID headlights on a Model T.

I love the simplicity & ruggedness of the Tokarev TT-33 design and didn't want to disturb any of that with any of the modifications I've done to it.


gabe said...

Hi. I enjoy reading your blog, especially about the Tokarev. I would like to re-create the grips you made from Kydex. The link to the pdf file that contains the template does not exist. Could you supply them to me? Thanks in advance.

sSnquest said...

I have a Norinco model 213 in 9mm. In spite of what sometimes is said about the quality of this piece, I've found it to actually be well made with decent quality steel. The fit and finish was however, wanting.

I am still working on the cosmetics, but have completed many other mods, first was to convert the piece to 7.62x25. This is not just a barrel swap as the ejector notch on the hammer spring assembly must be moved to accomodate the longer case and the extractor replaced for reliable function. I also replaced the stock recoil and striker springs with Wolfe springs. I also have made fiber optic sights and new grips with a beaver tail and a magazine well. The grips were accomplished by modifying the stock grips with epoxy putty and from them creating silicone molds and casting the new grips with a very strong resin from Alumilite Corporation. All moving parts have been polished for smooth operation/feeding and the trigger drilled for cosmetic reasons mainly, but theoretically this can decrease lock time though I doubt there is a true measurable difference. I would add too, that the trigger pull has been reduced to a consistent 3.8 lbs by nothing other than careful polishing of the hammer and sear and other associated parts.

The only other changes planned are for a compensator and to build the mag release lever out just a little to make it a little easier to operate in a hurry.

Overall I've found this pistol with the mods made to it to be reliable, accurate, and with the addition of the mag well, much faster to reload.

Let me know what you think, especially if you have any ideas on the mag release lever...

See photos at

Jeff said...

How did you attache the new grips to the frame of the firearm> I have the Model 213 with the safety removed alos. I hate the facrory grips adn would love to have some slim grips. BTW nice job on the write up.

Unknown said...

Would you consider making a set of these grips for other people> I love my norinco, I have removed the safety, But cant find decent grips with a beavertail.

Unknown said...

Would you consider making a set of these grips for other people> I love my norinco, I have removed the safety, But cant find decent grips with a beavertail.