.40 S&W round head stamp


Found a .40 S&W Federal casing with military head stamp I think. It’s the one on the right. Is this correct?



Good headstamp, most likely a law enforcement contract but there are military contracts with Federal for .40 S&W. See attached procurement sheet, the bottom 3 entries show Federal as the supply contractor for .40 S&W. Do you know what the load was before being fired?



Brian, no I do not I picked up the casing at the gun range.


The .40 S&W has been used by the United States Coast Guard for some
time now. I see that all of the PCO locations are the Crane Naval Weapons
center. I am not sure of the status of the Coast Guard right now. In peace time,
it is a function of the U.S. Treasury Department (reference: smuggling), but in
wartime, which this may still be considered, it comes under the Dept. of the Navy.

The Coast Guard has used both FMJ and HP rounds in this caliber. Of course, it
is also used by some other Federal Agencies, and lots of Police Departments.
My son carried a .40 for years until he retired from the CHP. There ammo was always
just plain commercial, although it varied in make, I suppose due to finding the best
price for the loads they wanted.

John Moss


Well I just realized that the entire Navy procurement sheet I posted above pertains to .40 S&W ammo & Federal as the supplying contractor, including the JHP MK 308 MOD 0. That’s what happens when you get in a hurry.



Just the newer style of Federal headstamp, nothing to do with military or LE contracts. They now include the year the case was made, even on commercial ammo such as this case.

Come to think of it, I’ve only seen it on military calibres (.223, .308, 9mm and now .40)


Guin - from your last sentence, you may have been having second thoughts
on the statement “…nothing to do with military or LE contracts.” That is not
a correct statement. While in all three maker’s dated-headstamp cartridges
have been observed in commercial boxes and on the commercial market, Federal,
Speer/CCI and Winchester (both the old factory and the new Mississippi factories,
WCC and WMA headstamps respectively) have also supplied them to the
military and LE. Perhaps not both in all three maker’s though. I simply am not
sure of that. The Coast Guard, which when under the US Treasury Department
could be considered an LE Agency, and in wartime when under the Dept. of the
Navy, a military service, has used the dated Federal (FC) headstamp on .40 S&W
for some years now. Not all the commercial ammunition from any of those same
three makers are found with the military/LE style dated headstamps, however.

John Moss



Yeah, perhaps they’ve changed the headstamp to that due to high amount of LE contracts they (Federal) get? It’s definitely not the same as their proper military brass though.

My conclusion that they’ve straight up changed their headstamp styles on all their brass is because I’m in Australia and have seen this style of headstamp for years on .223, .308 and 9mm, none of which is surplus ammo of any sort, just off the shelf ammo so I never thought much more of it.

As I said, perhaps they’ve only changed the headstamps on these calibres that they get lots of LE orders for? Perhaps someone can email Federal and see if they can shed some light upon it?


What constitutes “…their proper military brass…”? To my knowledge,
the only US Service Arm that has used, and perhaps is still using, the .40
S&W Cartridge, is the United States Coast Guard. This would likely cause
the caliber to be included on the headstamp, a piece of information usually
omitted from the headstamp of modern US military ammunition.

Further, the “FEDERAL” commercial style headstamp is still made as well,
found often in brand new loadings of variouspistol cartridges.

The box labels for both loadings of the .40 S&W used by the USCG are well
known, as is the headstamps of the ammo in those boxes.

To confuse matters, the “FC” has been used in commercial style (initials and
caliber only on the headstamp), as have many little variations of the "FEDERAL"

There is a possibility that in the future we will see traditional military headstamps
on the .40, omitting the caliber, but to date, I don’t think that has been done.
The Modular Pistol Program of the U.S. Military has ended with the adoption of
a SIG-Sauer Pistol (although currently in dispute by Glock) that can easily be
converted from 9 mm to .40, a requirement of the program and an indication that the
military has some interest in the .40 caliber pistols, if for nothing more than special
ops purposes.

I will say once again, by the way, that these LE/Military Contract rounds with dated,
caliber marked headstamps, are made for one Agency or Another by Speer/CCI and
Winchester as well. They can also be found in commercial boxes, especially the
newer “WMA” headstamp of the Winchester Mississippi plant. Speer has contracts
with several European countries, including Denmark and France, and perhaps others.

I know it is confusing, but we can’t be too dogmatic about for whom and why these
dated headstamps appear on the military, law enforcement and commercial markets.

John Moss


After the events of 9/11 the US Coast Guard became an agency branch of the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Through it still does many of the sane operations as it did under the Treasury Dept. many new areas of focus fall under it’s control.
The Coast Guard can still be transferred to Navy control upon order of the president at any time or by order of congress in time of war.


Frank - thanks for that information, dear friend. I had no idea the
status of the USCG had changed. Doesn’t matter to the question
of the ammo made for them, but it is technically and historically very
important. Circumstances during much of my retirement are turning
me into a hermit, and that, coupled with the loss of many of my contacts,
including a couple with the Coast Guard, thru their retirement or death,
has left me somewhat behind in my general knowledge. My apologies
to all for statements made that while true years ago, no longer are.

John Moss