9 mm Parabellum


This 9 mm Parabellum has a brass case, a copper primer and a cupronickel-jacketed bullet. The head stamp is K 39 4

Who made it ?


Your cartridge was made by Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken A.-G. in Germany. With the “K” headstamp, I suspect it was made at the Karlsruhe factory rather than at Berlin-Borsigwalde. There is a “35” date as well with the same headstamp format but a different size lettering. It was definitely not made by Kynoch. The tuncated bullets usually have the “DM” raised letters on the exposed lead base.

Lew Curtis in his fine work on 9mm Parabellum reckons they may have been either made by DWM, made from DWM-provided components, or made on DWM-supplied machinery. I personally suspect the first possibility. The style of the headstamp leads him to believe that these may have been made for/by Lithuania (depending on which of the manufacturing scenarios is correct), based on the headstamp layout. There is a similar, but not identical, “K” headstamp layout that was definitely made for lithuania in caliber 7.92 x 57mm. That is some evidence these might be for that country.

I have felt that the truncated bullet might be evidence of a Dutch contract for the Luger pistols used primaril by the Dutch Colonial Troops in the Dutch East Indies. R.W.S. was making ammunition for the Dutch as early as 1937 and as late as 1939 (I have original tins dated with these dates), so by early 1939, Germany had not yet ceased selling the Dutch ammunition.

Some have said that they were made for the Spanish Civil War, but I think this may be the least likely scenario, based on the “35” date on some of these rounds.

I still consider it a German-made cartridge for unknown purposes, with either the Lithuanian or the Dutch connection to be the most likely. They are interesting rounds and not so often encountered anymore.

John Moss

Thank you very much