Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing

Created just in time for issuance in World War II, the 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge is a hard-kicking handgun cartridge and also an excellent SMG cartridge. The original perception of this cartridge in the United States is that it’s a “neat Russian gun” and was “cheap to shoot”. It also turns out that the cartridge has 527 ft-lbf of kinetic energy at the muzzle and an advantage in penetrating soft body armor due to its smaller diameter and higher-than-normal pistol velocity.

The most commonly found guns firing 7.62x25mm are the CZ-52 pistol and PPSh-41 submachingun. Having fired both I can say that the CZ-52 is a good pistol but that it was designed for wartime environments and not practical shooting competitions. It’s a little bit rough .. but the environment its designed for is also rough. The PPSh-41 is my favorite SMG along with the Heckler & Koch MP5. Full-auto controllability of the weapon is absolute despite a rate-of-fire of 1000 rounds per minute. Very few SMGs allow you to ‘walk’ the rounds onto the target but the PPSh-41 is an exception. I dislike the 71-round drum mag because it makes the gun heavy, but it is what you should use if you need to put an almost LMG-esque sustained fire hurting on a target area. The stick magazine is handy but it runs out … in half the time as the drum.

Thanks Gary!

Ballistically, the 7.62x25mm offers aiming advantages at long range (100 yards) versus 9mm Luger and is equal in bullet drop to the 5.7x28mm PDW. A 9mm Luger bullet will drop 8” and the 7.62x25mm will drop 4” at 100 yards. People lose their stereoscopic vision at 18 feet distance. Judging distance accurately is a matter of memorizing the apparent size of objects of known size and associating this with a known distance. This process is made even harder by being under stress. Minimizing bullet drop at distance reduces the need to hold over on a target or to guesstimate distance. You will be more accurate if you must defend yourself at extended distances when using a PPSh or CZ-52 due to the bullets improved trajectory.

Ammunition selection for this caliber depends strongly on your intended target. The FMJ rounds are too stable to tumble soon enough in the target. As a consequence, the majority of the FMJ bullets wounding potential is wasted as the bullet travels out the back of the target. If armor piercing (steel core and oftentimes steel jacket with copper coating) ammunition is legal in your area, I would recommend that you own enough to at least load a few magazines. Did I mention that you MUST have spare magazines and ammunition for every gun that you own? Real life fighting for your life is apparently not as sexy as it is in the movies. You must eliminate your attacker(S) and to do so, you must take every advantage that you can get before the fight happens.

Commercial JHP is available for this cartridge but I must caution the reader to trust but verify—test the ammunition in your gun following the instructions in the video provided.

If the rounds expand consistently then you can feel comfortable using that round for self-defense. The Speer 115gr Gold Dot JHP (pulled from 327 Magnum cartridges) and Hornady 85gr XTP are also fine choices for this caliber if you have the ability to handload.

More Info


10-percent Ballistic Gelatin Shot
See how well this caliber stacks up against the FBI performance requirement of expansion and 12.0” or deeper penetration depth.


20-percent Ballistic Gelatin Shot
See how well this caliber stacks up in military-standard performance evaluations.

03 Heavy Clothing
Heavy Clothing is placed in front of the gelatin block to simulate an attacker wearing winter clothing.

04 Body Armor
So cheap and available, everyone can own it now.

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