.380 ACP headstamps

While sorting range pick-up brass, I ran across these two .380 ACP cases. I know who made them, but there are elements to the headstamps that are curious to me.

  1. “S&B (circular symbol @ 2 o’clock) 9mmBr.C.” I assume that “Br.C.” refers to “Browning Corto”, but what I would like to know is if this is the common European designation for this caliber, or does it indicate manufacture for a certain market?

  2. “9 C DAG AB” I assume that the “9 C” again refers to “9mm Corto” and I know who “DAG” is, but what does the “AB” refer to?

Both brass cases have solid red primer seals.


The “C” on the Czech headstamp definitely stands for the French version of “short” which is “court.” The top of the current boxes for Sellier & Bellot .380 ammunition say “9mm Browning Court/.380 Auto.” The headstamps have used the French form for some time now. Previously, the caliber was shown as “9mm K” (“Kurz”, the German word for “short”). I don’t know the reason for switching languages.

Your DAG round was a contract for the Spanish Police, much of which has since been sold off as surplus, including in the United States. The “AB” is a
date code, evidently random in the letter-use, for the year 1982. there also exists the code “AC” for 1983. This same style of headstamp also appears on 9mm Parabellum, with the same date codes. In this case, the “C” after the caliber definitely stands for “Corto,” the Spanish word for “Short.” The headstamps for the 9mm Para rounds are the same, except substitute a “P” for the “C” that is found on the .380s. I suppose there could be others in a continuation of these date codes, but I have only seen “AB” and “AC.”

John Moss

Many thanks for the interesting information. It’s fascinating what one can find in range-pickup brass!


  • @ AKMS: I have an empty box of Czech manufacture made by “Sellier & Bellot” which is marked “380 AUTO”, “9mm Browning Court”. As John Moss mentioned above, “court” means “short” in French. I assume each country used the word “short” in connection with the .380 cartridge: “Kurz”, “corto”, “court” and “scurt” [the last one means “short” in Romanian]. Liviu 12/30/07