9 x 19 mm Steel snapcap

For all, I wish you all a very peacefull, happy and above a very healthy 2021. Let’s forget 2020 as soon as possible.
So, we start 2021 with a new topic, about this 9 x 19mm snapcap

To start “snapcap” can be totally wrong.
There are (as far as I know), 2 different versions.

The first one (C1275) has a nylon dummy primer, this one seems to be bleued.
Very magnetic, totall weight 184 grain
The only information about this one is, it should be in use by the Swiss police. But there is also information it is fur sure not so.

Municion.org says: Cartucho inerte de acero pavonado para pruebas de encasquillamiento. (Google translation: Inert blued steel cartridge for jamming tests)

The other one (C2087) has a nature look steel colour and has no primer at all, only a 20,5 mm deep and 4,8 mm wide hole in the bottom. Very magnetic, totall weight 163 grain
Some information about it, says this one is a snapcap, used bij Ertzaintza , the Basque regional police

Municion.org says: Cartucho inerte de acero pavonado para pruebas de encasquillamiento. Perforación en lugar del pistón para preservar la aguja. (Google translation: Inert blued steel cartridge for jamming tests. Piercing in place of the piston to preserve the needle)

Who know more about these two cartridges?

Grtz Jaco

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There are “Snap Caps” which are used for practice dry-firing drills with the weapon, to train your finger, hand, etc, for the trigger pull, used to help form muscle memory. In shotguns, especially those without external hammers, they are used to “fire” the action to relieve stress on the springs.
These will have rubber, plastic, or a spring-loaded brass plunger, (I have all three types), in the primer pocket for the firing pin to safely strike against without breaking.

Then there are “Action Proving Dummy” cartridges, which are generally the same weight as a loaded round, and are used to test proper feeding from a magazine, and both extraction and ejection from the weapon.
These will generally not have anything in the primer pocket for the firing pin to strike against, (“Inert blued steel cartridge for jamming tests”).

In your photo C1275, the left cartridge would be a “Snap Cap” and the middle cartridge would be an “Action Proving” cartridge.

I hope I wrote this in a way that makes sense…

Hi Jack,
Your discription, and use as a Action Proving Dummy, make (a lot of) sense, when used as discribed, there is no need of firing the firing pin, so there is no need for a ‘buffer’, to prevent damaging/breaking of the pin.

Hello Jaco.

My friend Julian GARCIA has written an answer for you. He is 9x19 collector.

Julián García.-
Hello Jaco Happy New Year to you and to all fellow collectors

I will detail the information of the item referenced as C2087.

This specimen is used in the Academy of Police and Emergencies of the Basque Country, located in Arkaute - Vitoria (Spain) where future agents of the Ertzaintza and of the different local police forces, where I work, are trained.

His story is as follows:

During the training period at the Academy, students are trained in the operation and use of both their short endowment weapon and various types of long weapons. At the beginning, all the small arms were of the STAR or ASTRA brand in caliber 9mm parabullum and in the training classes plastic relief cartridges were used for handling practices. As local police students from different municipalities also attended the different training courses and some did not have ASTRA or STAR pistols, some models of pistols, especially from the Walther brand, began to give problems with the cartridges relieving plastic strikers, especially when ejecting the cartridges. For all these reasons, a “universal” cartridge was sought for all models of small arms, and in 2004 its manufacture was commissioned to the “TORNILLERIA LEMA S.A” workshop. Located in the town of ELGUETA Gipuzkoa (Spain).

It is a steel cartridge turned on a calibrated steel rod and its use within the firing line is for students to learn how to mount, solve power problems, interruptions and any other anomalous circumstance with the ammunition.

I hope that all your doubts regarding the specimen in question are clarified.

Greetings my friend


Thank you Petro for sending the answer from my friend Julian. I am surely very happy to get all this fine information.
It’s amazing how things go all around the world, and back :slight_smile:
Please send Julian my thanks!
With regards, Jaco

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Pedro, very detailed infotmation, thanks.

Un saludo grande para vos y Julián.



Great Topic! I have never heard of these two items!


Pedro - I am sorry to be seemingly the only one who does not completely understand the story of the C2087 dummy cartridge by Est. Sr. Julián Garcia. I do not at all understand the following statements:

“…especially from the Walther brand, began to give problems with the cartridges relieving plastic strikers, especially when ejecting the cartridges.” I simply don’t know what that means.

“…It is a steel cartridge turned on a calibrated steel rod and its use within the firing line is for students to lean how to mount, SOLVE POWER PROBLEMS…WITH THE AMMUNITION.” How does a solid steel dummy round “solve power problems” or any other problem with the ammunition? It might help solve problems with the specific pistol it is being used in at the time, but I don’t understand how it would help solve problems with “the ammunition.”

I have a all-steel dummy round from Argentina that looks identical to the one in the middle of the three cartridges pictured, as to cartridge profile. Mine has very well done (probably with an electric pencil or engraving tool) markings on the bullet:




I assumed that the “IA” stands for “Industria Argentina,” although I am not sure of that.

However, the hole in the bottom is larger at the opening than the cartridge shown, and tapers down in a reversed-cone shape to a smaller hole, with the total depth from the head of the cartridge to the bottom of the hole being about 1/2 the depth of that shown for the one in Jaco’s picture.

Again, though, the profile of the cartridge itself is so nearly identical to the one in Jaco’s picture that I wonder if they are related to those apparently Spanish cartridges?

John Moss

Hello John
Here i put Julian’s answer.

Hi John

Maybe the translator did not change the words correctly

Formerly here a cartridge relieved plastic strikers was used, which with the pistols of the WHALTHER brand in some of its models, they gave problems with the extractor claw when ejecting the cartridges from the chamber when handling the slide, For this reason, a practical solution of a cartridge was sought that would serve for all models of pistols

Note that here the philosophy and culture of guns are completely different and more restrictive than the United States

I explain the use that is given to these cartridges in teaching practices to students.

As most of the students have never had contact with a handgun if they start their training with cartridges handling never live ammunition

1- Learning of the assembly of the weapon with sliding movement to insert the cartridge into the chamber from the magazine

2- Extraction of cartridge from chamber to present in weapon in magazine

2- At the end of the training course and when they are already practicing with real fire cartridges, one or more of these handling cartridges are inserted into the magazines to check how they solve the problem of interruption of firing.

This cartridge has nothing to do with the one you indicate of Argentine production. I have total certainty about the reason for their manufacture and where they were made since I received them myself at the Basque Academy of Police and Emergencies.

I hope the information clarifies your doubts.

A greeting



Yes, that explanation was helpful for the most part. I still don’t understand the part about “relieved plastic strikers.” I admit I am not at all familiar with all these new plastic guns, since I have been out of the gun business (retired) since the year 2000, and the newer designs are so physically ugly that they are of little or no interest to me. However, to me, the “striker” can only mean the firing pin, and I have never seen or heard of a plastic firing pin. I also can’t see why the “striker” if it IS the firing pin, would have anything to do with the extractor or ejector function of a pistol. I readily admit that I am one of those fellows who believes there has been no significant improvement in self-loading pistol design since 1911. (Please don’t jump on me fellow members - you will not change my mind and I will not change your mind).

I agree with your numbered functions of the use of dummy cartridges (often referred to as “functional dummies”), but of course other than in its bullet shape, there is nothing in this all-steel dummy to make it perform any different for those purposes than dozens of other forms of the functional-dummy cartridges made with normal cartridge cases, or made out of plastic.

All-steel dummy rounds are usually either a form of headspace gauge or an Inspector’s dummy, since for economy, since inspectors will use functional dummies hundreds of times compare to the use in training persons in the safe and efficient manipulation of the weapon, the all steel ones will outlast the other types considerably.

I am only trying to point out the norm here; I do not question that these were made as functional dummies. You would have more knowledge of that than I would.

I wish I could make a good picture of the Argentine dummy I have. You would be surprised at how close it is in profile to the Spanish ones shown here. In cartridge profile, as much as one can tell without being able to compare all the normal cartridge measurement, the appear almost identical. Only the hole in the base is different from the Spanish cartridges shown here.

At any rate, thank you, my friend, for your explanation. It did tell me, for the most part, that the function of this cartridge is quite normal if made as a function-testing dummy.

John Moss

John, the Dutch Police has used plastic snapcaps for training with the Walther P-5 pistols. The snapcaps often went broken because the force of the breech block and/or the extractor. Sometimes they cut off at the connection plastic with te brass bottom. Seems to be more then with other pistols such as Glock.
They will often get destroyed when on the ground and you stand on it too. Now we use aluminium snapcaps.
Grtz, Jaco

O.K. So, you were referring to some previous dummy rounds being made of plastic, not to a plastic “striker,” (firing pin). Thanks for that clarification. All now understood.

John Moss