380 ACP / 9 mm Browning short box ID

Just received this empty box along with its plastic tray… the only writings on the box are those you see in the box label.

Any idea about the maker?


Here is a picture of a scan of a 9x19mm box I posted previously on the Forum, the cartridges attributed to the box had a Geco headstamp:

Pivi - a very interesting box label. Thanks for posting it. It is certainly German, and in that caliber, almost has to be from Geco or some other RUAG-owned company. These boxes are usually for the military or police, not for commercial sale. But, I don’t know of any German military use of 9 mm Kurz-caliber pistols in Germany. Not sure about Police.

Was this found on a public range in Italy? Is this caliber allowed civilians in Italy. I suspect it is still a “police” caliber, is it not?

Thanks BDgreen and John,

A friend of mine sent me a large package containing empty boxes, and this box was inside.
I don’t know where he found it.

Italian laws had changed over the past years. There are no more illegal cartridge calibers for civilian use but the ones considered “too powerful for a civilian use” like the 50 BMG. Even the 9 mm Para cartridge is now perfectly legal for civilians, but only rifles in this chambering are allowed.
The 9 mm short is legal and rather common in Italy among shooters.

“military only” ammunition are cartridges loaded with AP, tracer, explosive bullets (and the loose bullets too) and cartridges that bear headstamps actually used by modern armies.
SP and HP bullets are restricted to sporting and hunting use

An example: a 9 mm Para cartridge with civilian headstamps and loaded with any type of bullets legal for civilians is considered a “civilian cartridge”. The same cartridge with the NATO symbol is considered warfare material. Really stupid

Note the unusually heavy bullet weight of 8.0 g instead of 6 g, and the bullet type being lead (Bleigeschoss); no hint of a jacket (…mantel).
In my view definitely not a military or police round but ammunition for some sort of experiment.

Peelen - thanks for pointing that out. Important facts I completely overlooked.
I didn’t notice the bullet weight because conversion to grams from grains doesn’t happen for me at a glance. The “Bleigeschoss” got past me too, I guess because I was thinking in terms of the core, and lead is the common core material in this caliber throughout the world.

Really good information. Thanks again.

Next question - anyone seen any of this ammunition?

OK guys, mystery solved. The friend who sent me the box wrote me their story

You were right saying this was experimental ammo.
Several years ago, a big italian gun importer, Bignami, ordered Geco a special 9 mm Short load, with low muzzle velocity ( & energy) and a lead bullet, since in several italian shooting ranges the use of jacketed bullets is prohibited.

Geco made a small pre-production lot of such cartridges (about 2000 cartridges) that were sent to Bignami for evaluation. Some boxes were sent to that friend of mine, who is a great handloading expert and contributor of several italian gun magazines, asking him to write a short article about them that has never been published

Those cartridges developed only 202,5 Joules of muzzle energy

Anyway these cartridges never gone beyond the pre-production stage and never went into production

Mmmmhh, a rather rare item :)

Pivi, very interesting box, thanks for posting. Dynamit Nobel used to offer a 6 g (94 gr) lead bullet loading in this caliber under the Geco brand (listed until at least 1991). A 8 g (123 gr) lead bullet loading was made in 9 mm Parabellum, but I wasn’t aware of this bullet weight in .380 Auto, either commercial or experimental. Regards, Fede.