9mm drill rounds

Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone knows anything about 9mm drill ammunition? I have a 9mm round with the following headstamp: RG 53 9MM D2. I’ve seen similar on ebay described as drill rounds and assume that’s what the D2 means. The cartridge has three small indents pressed in at 60 degree spacing and it doesn’t appear to have a primer. The whole thing looks like it once had a bright silver plating. Does drill mean inert?


You have a British 9mm Drill D Mark 2 round. These are used for weapon training and are completely inert.

The headstamp indicated the followin:
RG Royal Ordnance Factory, Radway Green, Cheshire, UK
53 Date of manufacture, 1953
D British code for Drill rounds.
2 Mark 2

The Drill Mark 2 was approved for service in March 1949 and had a 115 grn bullet resting on a wood distance piece in a white metal or chromed case with three red painted flutes.

They can be found with or without fireholes and some were made from reject ball Mark 2z cases.

The D Mark I was the wartime equivalent made from Ball Mark iz cases. They were not plated nor did they have the grooves.

These are some British drill rounds.

Hope this helps. Regards

Tony - what a nice picture! Do you do that on a curved piece of coloured paper, like they use (but in huge rolls) in photo studios for many purposes?

The first round on the left looks like it might be copper-washed. Is that the R^L 41 drill round? Just curious.

Yes John, that is the R^L 9mm Copper washed drill. I also have what I presume is an earlier version with just the R^L headstamp, and not copper washed.

The pictures are taken in daylight with a fill-in flash and a curved roll of paper for background. I find it works quite well.


One of the interesting aspects of these ‘RG 53’ Drill ctgs - is that I have never seen or heard of an RG Ball round dated 1953. I suspect that initial production of Ball cases @ Radway Green was utilized up to make Drill ctgs - though some Ball cases were also specially headstamped (see attached photo’s). Earlier R^L Dummy hst included for reference (this one on copper-washed case).

I think you are right John. The Annual Report of the Director General of Ordnance factories for year ended 31 March 1954 simply states (Re RG) “During the year production of 9mm and planning for 7.62mm production was commenced…”

The following year’s annual report does not mention 9mm. The emphasis was very much on getting the 30mm ADEN HV round into production, presumably because of the prevailing international situation.