9mm ABC Black steel coloured bottom

Hi gents,
I have a few 9mm ABC Black steel cartridges in my collection. Different types and headstamps (National, W-W, S&W and ABT)
3 of them has a coloured headstamp, i.g. red and green.
Does anybody know the meaning of that colours. Are they proof rounds? And why some red and other green?
(One is not on the picture, red bottom, hs W-W 9mm Luger)

The middle round in the second photo is “Special Purpose Ammunition”, American Ballistics, Co., Inc. Marietta, Ga. Armour Piercing, circa 1980s’. The picture may not show it, but the colour on the head is red, to differentiate it from standard rounds, (just in case the machined knurling is not enough of a giveaway?).
I have two box of those, but cannot speak for the other two rounds.

Blue is sub-sonic These have a blunt round nose GM bullet jacket.ABI%20sub-sonic%20box %20box%20contentsjpg

I believe the American Ballistics ammo is also sub-sonic, as I remember them being fired through a silenced MP5.

I have all 5 online here, pictures are the same direction from left to right:
Uploading: ABC2.jpg…

American Ballistics made subsonic ammo for sure, but the AP rds were all supersonic. The base coloring was just their confusing way of marking the rds as special purpose, and they also did this on normal JHP rds which were +P - giving them a red base as well. On the monolithic steel rds, the early smooth projectiles all had the red base, while the later style with knurled cannelure all had the green base. Up in the originl photo, the cartridge on the left is from the same era, but is National Cartridge and it had the brass cup.

Little confusing, because as can seen on the last pictures, with the 5 cartridges, the National ones do not have a coloured bottom at all.
And the ABT also not, so not all the later style with knurled cannelure all had the green base.
Did National use other (reload them) cartridges as S&W and W-W too? And give them a colour?

With regards, Jaco

National Cartridge did not use a base color in the way that American Ballistics did. National cartridge had at last 3 variations of their steel penetrator bullet in 9mm with a brass cup version, and at least 2 different weight / length solid steel projectiles without brass cup.

That ABT 85 headstamp from American Ballistics is unknown to me as far as being loaded with the AP bullet. I have seen it, but usually just as a generic hollow point. 1985 would have been near the end of the line for these cartridges since the federal law which further restricted these in the U.S went into effect in 1986, so perhaps the ABT headstamp with penetrator bullet is just a rare one.

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Thank you for explain more!

DK, I have the same ABT 85 penetrator load that Jaco pictures.

I don’t believe American Ballistics reloaded used cases. I believe they used all new cases, but bought from a number of sources over the years.

All the National rounds in my collection are headstamped “NATIONAL”.

Enjoyed seeing you at the ECRA meeting Jaco.


I guess I’m in good company as I also have the ABT 85 penetrater,

another ABT non-magnetic (blackened brass) with a large, deep hollow point I have cataloged as a “Grand Slam”.
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