9 mm para Identification, please


Hello everybody I saw a 9 mm round whose headstamp is the folowing; at 12: IMP AT 6: 88


I also have this cartridge with the IMP 88 headstamp. It was found at an Argentian lab with a large lot of mixed ammunition which they received. I believe it was made for Paraguay but I do not know who made it.

The most distinctive thing about the load is the primer crimp (see the photos below). If you look close you can also see a faint pink primer seal. The bullet photo also shows a pink case mouth seal. The diamond shaped primer crimps are very distinctive. This type of crimp is common on Canadian WW II production by DI but seldom encountered since.

I have two other rounds with this type of primer crimp. One the F D headstamp illlustrated below, and it showed up in Chile in a box marked “FAMAE & DIMABLE”. Of course FAMAE is the Arsenal in Chile, but the cartridges are Berdan primed, not Boxer primed like FAMAE 9mmP from the '95 time frame, and there are other differences. As it turns out, “DIMABEL” is the Ministry of Defence


cleared because of original post fixed


Ado - so you know, it was Lew that I contacted to try to solve this for you. I can add nothing to his comprehensive look at the “IMP” headstamp. However, I don’t agree with the theory that the triangular primer crimps found on the “9 IM 9 66” headstamp are any point of identification at all for those particular rounds having been for Paraguay. I have the same cartridge with a different date (9 IM 9 68). Firstly, from the color of the seal, and the headstamp layout, it is definitely made by FN. Also, the “68” stamping is identical to that on a 68-dated, FN-headstamped 9mm. The layout is the same as their layout for NATO-marked ammunition made in 1968 (F + N 68) except for the actual entries themselves. The purple primer seal is also the same. More importantly, the primer crimps are basically the same as the ammo made for Belgian use, showing that their presences on the “9 IM 9 68” headstamp is a result of Fabrique Nationale Herstal’s normal manufacturing process for 9mm ammunition, not anything special for a specific country. The “IM” designator (Industria Militar) with no national identity designator, such as the “P” on the “IMP” headstamp (if that, indeed, is what it is, and I believe it as just like Lew does), is typical for the nation of Colombia, and I believe that is who the rounds were made for.


Off topic but just as a FYI, the [/img] goes at the end, the [img] goes at the beginning. Typing the codes can be a little frustrating until your used to the format.
As your using photobucket, you can simply “left click, right click, and copy” the 3rd line of code Img code they provide, and than “right click and paste” to insert it into your post (that line includes the IMG code tags)


I got called out when I was doing this and got the [img] backwards-just noticed.

John, You are of course correct that the IM 9 66 (or 68) 9 is a Belgian somebody for somebody and that the Diamond crimps are Belgian from that period.

I disagree that the IM indicates Columbia. The IM clearly stands for Industria Militar which could be almost any Spanish speaking country, and does not mean it was for Columbia! Perhaps your’s come from Columbia, or have a Columbian connection, but mine do not (I also have the 68 date). If you look closely the IM on the 66 & 68 cases is very like the IM on the 88 case and my guess is that the IMP 88 is most likely also a Belgian case.

There is a Columbian (reportedly) contract case from DAG dated 85 with the IM hst, and we also know that INDUMIL was producing 9mmP from the early to mid 80s, it is possible the IMP headstamped case could be Columbian, but the headstamp styles look very different to me.

I rushed to finish my original posting and didn’t complete my random thoughts. My speculation is that Paraguay began contracting with Belgium for 9mmP in 1966 or earlier and decided to continue with the diamond primer crimps. The 1988 IMP may have been a an attempt to distingiush their IM headstamp from that of Columbia. Subsequently Paraguay went to Chile for cartridges, but retained the Belgian design rather than switching to the normal FAMAE design. Another datapoint is that the latest FN use of the diamond crimps in 9mmP I can find in my data and collection is 1971, so whoever made the IMP 88 probably had the diamond crimps specified to them in the contract.



Well, pure conjecture on both our parts. I will stand by the PROBABILITY that the “IM” FN rounds were made for Colombia. Nothing in your argument precludes that. It will have to wait for a box label or other real documentation before the argument is settled in either direction. It is true that “IM” stands for either “Industria Militar” or the plural “Industrias Militares,” the same as does INDUMIL, and that many countries include that term in their ammunition factory names. However, the only rounds using “IM” standing alone whose nationality we can cofirm, to my knowledge, are from Colombia. For example, Guatamala uses “IMG” on their headstamps. I in no way intended to intimate that the “IMP” headstamp is for Colombia. It would be extraordinary if it was, considering the presence of the letter “P.” But then, on that headstamp, the “IM” does not stand alone.


I always tell collectors that when researching one caliber of ammunition, do not limit yourself to literature on just that caliber, especially concerning headstamps. There is a huge amount of carry over information from caliber to caliber. Once again, I find myself embarrassed for not following my own advice. The following information should have been in my above posting.

The fabulous book by Chris Punnett, “.30-06”, devotes a full page to Colombian .30-06 cartridges. The headstamps shown are two slight variations of “30 IM 30 66,” basically the same headstamp as one of the cartridges in dispute as to whether it was for Colombia, which I now say it certainly was, or Paraguay. He also mentions that “there is evidence that the rounds with brass Berdan primers were made by FN of Belgium.”

Further, Punnett shows a copy of the box label, which shows the responsible agency as, first and formost, simply “Industria Militar.” I had thought that in the case of Colombia, the use was singular and that was my first choice of interpretation in this thread, alluding only to the possiblity that it was plural - Industrias Militares. There is a factory name as well, below the IM marking on the box, of Fabrica Gral. Jose Maria Cordoba. “Gral.” is the Spanish abbreviation for the military rank of General. It is possible that, at least in the case of the .30-06, that they loaded components from other countries, such as Belgium.

Philippe Regenstreif, in his French language headstamp guide often mentioned by me on this forum, also credits this headstamp of “IM” to Colombia, and mentions it is found on 7.62 x 51 NATO, .30-06, and 9mm.

Please remember we are not talking about the headstamp IMP 88 that was originally offered for identification on this thread, but rather the “IM” headstamp that came up in the discussion of whether that was actually for Colombia, or for Paraguay. I am now confident, as I mentioned, that my instincts were correct and that the 9mm cartridges mentioned were made by Fabrique Nationale Herstal, Belgium, for Industria Militar in Colombia.


John makes a good point. The box shown on page 52 of Chris’ book on 30-06 clearly associates this ammo with Gen Jose Maria Cordoba who was involved with the liberation of northern South America from Spain and who was apparently killed in a battle in what is now Columbia in 1829. As I read the material, I don’t see that the box is associated with the IM headstamp, but it is of course possible.

The IM 9 66 9 cartridge is probably/likely for Columbia (would love to find a box label) but leaves unresolved why the letters on the IMP 88 headstamp are clearly related to the IM 9 66 9 headstamp, and begs the question of the linage of the diamond crimps on both the IMP 88 and the F D headstamped rounds, long after (17 years) diamond crimps were dropped from other 9x19mm manufacture. It seems likely that they came from a Belgian contract for Paraguay from the 1960s—but which cartridge. If it isn’t the IM 9 66 9 than we have to keep looking.


Hello guys.
I just wrote to thank all of you, your info and help are very valuable in this matter.