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European American Armory 8 + 1 Round 9MM w/Blue Finish 
by Randall F
Date Added: Monday 26 May, 2008
EAA has begun importing pistols from Zastava firearms in Serbia; I’m sure you have seen their ads in the gun magazines more notable for “Heather” the leggy blonde model than for the firearms. In the ads the Model 88 appears to be nothing more than a copy of the Russian Tokarev T-33, nothing to get excited about and I always spent more time gazing at Heather without giving the pistol any further thought. According to the 4th Edition of “Pistols of the World” Zastava was founded in 1900 with help from Fabrique Nationale of Belgium. In their 108 years of existence they have manufactured one revolver and six semi-automatic pistols. Three of the pistols were direct copies of the Tokarev and only two of the six pistols are still being manufactured the Model 88 which I’ll call the “Baby Tokarev” and a cut-rate copy of the classic SIG design.
When I stumbled upon the M88 I was immediately struck by two things: the quality of the finish and how small the pistol was. To give you some idea of size, it is about as big and the Colt Pocket Hammerless model 1903 and 1908 models. Interestingly enough the Browning-Colt designs were what the Russians were copying when they produced the Tokarev. It has the same barrel link as the Colt 1911 and the same barrel bushing as the first Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless pistols.
I had to stand on my tippy toes to see the price tag and was shocked to see that it was less than two and a half. I became recklessly curious to see if it actually worked. The model 88 holds 8 + 1 rounds of 9mm, weighs 28 ounces, is 7 inches long with a three inch barrel, stands 6 inches tall and at the widest point, which is the grips, is 1.25 inches wide. The slide and grip frame width is .8 inches wide.
In handling the pistol a lot of what I saw and felt caused me to remind myself that it was an inexpensive pistol, you can’t expect much. Two things that didn’t fit that expectation were the blacked finish and the accuracy at 21 feet which, due to running out of ammo, was all I could shoot yesterday. The handling qualities of the pistol were rather rough; but for this money you don’t expect a silky-smooth fit in terms of slide to frame and magazine extraction. This is a single action pistol that would be carried cocked and locked, however, the trigger pull is nothing like you are going to find on most other Single Actions. It is stiff; I don’t have a trigger pull gauge (yet) but I would guess that the pull is over 10 pounds. There is a slight amount of take up before you engage the stiff pull. Actually I am not totally unhappy with this since I intend to carry this as soon as I am comfortable with its performance and all too often a light trigger pull becomes a nightmare in criminal or civil court; no one is going to accuse you of having a hair trigger on this pistol.
The sights have three dots on the barely utilitarian Tokarev type front blade and rear “u” notch. The three dots seem to be almost an afterthought; the dot is so small I could not see it in indoor range lighting. I have since built up the front sight with some orange sight paint.
The rear notch is shallow which is not all that bad since the pistol, at 21 feet, seemed to be fairly well regulated. The notch needs to be wider and I will take a file to it as soon as I remember who I lent my metal files to.
I only had time and ammo enough to put 81 rounds through it and at least one round failed to properly feed in each magazine for the first several magazines. That began to clear up toward the end and I have to take into consideration that one, I was shooting the pistol dry right out of the box and two, even thousand dollar Kimber and Springfields require a lengthy shoot-in period. I anxiously await next weekend to see if the FTFs work themselves out of the pistol.
As I mentioned earlier the finish was better than expected and so was the short range accuracy:
These two targets were fired at from 21 feet with Remington 115 grain FMJ ammo. The target on the right was the first target shot out of the box and the one on the left was the second target.
The target on the left was shot with Remington 115 grain JHP ammo and the target of the right was a mixed magazine with 3 Speer Gold Dot 115 grain hollow points and 3 Corbon 114 grain +P hollowpoints. The Corbons hit at 2, 6, and 11 O’clock. None of these rounds failed to feed.
This pistol certainly is not going to win raves at the next BBQ but for someone on a limited budget this could provide them with basic protection. Another plus, God forbid, would be that if you were faced with having to shoot someone, you would not fret much about having to turn it over to the police like you would if it were your thousand dollar Kimber or Springfield status pistol.