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Tula Arms Plant (TOZ)

Founded in 1712 by Tsar Peter I of Russia, Tula Arms Plant (Tulsky Oruzheiny Zavod) is a Russian weapons manufacturer that served whoever ruled Russia. Before the company went into the production of arms and sports weapons mainly for the Russian army, its main objective was to manufacture weapons of the locals of Tula to defend themselves from invasions.  In 1720, the plant began supplying weapons such as light infantry, pistols flintlock and dragoon files for the Russian army. In 1749, the plant went into the mass production of sabers, knives, swords and broadswords.

In the 1750s Tula Arms went into the production of artistically decorated firearms.  Metal and wood decorating on guns began in this era. Known Russian gunsmiths such as Ivan Pushkin (multiple-charged weapons) and Ivan Lialin (double-barreled breech-loading flintlock) flourished at this time.

In the 19th century, the reorganized Tula Arms Factory was one of the best firearms manufacturers in Europe. The plant went into the production of the Berdan rifle. There was an increase in the production of single and double-barreled muzzle-loading rifles, shotguns and breech-loading centerfire rifles.  In 1891, Sergei Ivanovich Mosin and Belgian Alexander Nagant designed the three-line-rifle of 1891 which was used by the Russian army.

In 1902, the plant went into mechanized mass production of hunting rifles. In 1910, came about the Maxim machine gun. In the next 20 years came about the production of model P hunting rifle, NK-8.2 rifled carbine, TOZ-1 and TOZ2 small caliber rifles, TOZ-7 and TOZ-8 rifle sights, and TOZ-10 sports rifle. The plant also manufactured the first spinning and milling machines.

In WW II, the Nazis’ advancement into Tula forced the evacuation of the plant which resulted into minute production of weapons at this time. Between 1941-1945 Tula produced the Tokarev pisytol, the Nagant revolver and the SVT-38/40 self-loading rifles for the Allied forces. After WWII, there was concentration on the production of hunting and sporting weapons such as the TO3-25, TOZ-8M, TOZ-12, TOZ-16 and TOZ-18, and the 7.62mm carbine Simonov SKS.  In 1965, the  TOZ-34, a double-barreled shotgun with vertical shaft was offered.  From 1961-1980, the plant was commissioned to manufactured the Kalashnikov assault rifle, Bonfire competition grenade, anti-tank guided missiles (Baby, Viola) and the TOZ-35 competition free pistol.

Tula Arms Plant manufactured various military rifles from the early to mid-Soviet era. Some of these rifles are the SVT-40, Mosin-Nagant, AK-47, SKS and the Nagant M1895 revolver.  From 1980 onward, the plant continued to produce the AK-47, AK-75. TOZ rifle. OTs-14 Groza, AS Val and VSS Vintorez including small arms ammunition for the public and military use.

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