Based on the design specifications, the pistol is an improved version on the previous Tokarev-based M57 and M70A pistols, with the main difference being that it is chambered in 9×19mm Parabellum for export purposes.
A variant of the pistol called the M88A features an external safety on the slide, and an internal firing pin block safety.
The M88 saw limited use as a service pistol with the Yugoslav police and military forces, but was replaced by the higher capacity CZ 99 series, while sometimes used as a training pistol in some military training camps in Serbia. Since then it has been widely available for civilian purchase. The M88 and M88A are also imported into the United States by the K-VAR/FIME Group.