9mm Explosive Cutter?

Re Lew’s recent posting British 9mmPb photo’s - I have one that is similar & would like more info on its use. After I obtained the cartridge (having been told it was developed as a tyre cutter for operations in Northern Ireland) I then found a drawing which seems to be of this ctg & titled 9mm Explosive Cutter. Can anyone tell me more precisely its intended use. Thanks JohnP-C

John - what is the headstamp on your round?

John Moss


I can’t say what it is, but it LOOKS very much like the PMC “Cookie Cutter” ammunition from the late 20th Century. The PMC round was intended to cut through clothing and even Kevlar vests. The idea was rejected by the Military (as far as we know) due to Geneva Convention concerns and even LEO’s did not take to it with much enthusiasm.

I doubt if anyone would label any ammo as a Kevlar Cutter. Tyre Cutter or Explosive Cutter sounds much more politically correct.

JMHO as I don’t really know what it is.


PMC brass and copper versions of A.F. tubulars were junk IMO. The copper were NOT ap & the early brass were very poor ap rounds.

Now the real deal early A.F. tubulars and the later guilford built steel tube rounds"cyclones" were a excellent AP type round.

Your round looks close to a guilford tubular but then again not…it may be a copy or another design but it is close.It could also be atype of ANSB.

Their are people here that know far beyond what I know about these type rounds.

John, I have this round and a couple of bullets. My cartridge has a normal RG military headstamp dated 1985. I got mine from Herb Woodend in the late 1980s and he told me the same story, that they were produced to cut up tires in Northern Ireland. One of the seperate bullets has a small hole drilled in the flange between the base of the nose cavity and the base cavity. I was told this was an attempt to allow the pressure behind the wad of rubber cut and swallowed into the bullet to bleed down and improve performance! I also have a tubular bullet with a similar ogive in solid GM and a cartridge with similar bullet in brass with a slightly smaller nose cavity. This one has a solid base. I don’t know if either of these were part of the same project or not. Of course neither has a driving band.

These are distinctly different and seperate from the US Tubulars which were developed at about the same time or a little later at Edgewood Arsenal, MD. I visited this office in 1989 or 1990, and they had produced tubular projectiles in lots of calibers. Abe Flatto (wrong spelling) who was the original developer, was gone by then, but the guys there told me they had started with the 45 ACP and then gone to the 9mmP. When I visited, they had dropped both of these in tubular and were doing 20mm, 25mm and 30mm and were conducting vulnerability tests. The advantabe of the larger calibers is that the hole in the bullet allowed the normal shock wave in front of the bullet to be swallowed into the bore of the bullet as oblique shock waves, significantly reducing the drag on the bullet. In fact, they showed me a 105mm tubular round with cavities on the inside that were going to be filled with propellent. The theory was that the oblique shock waves would ignite the propellent converting the projectile into a ramjet for added velocity and range!!! This was my only visit to this office so I have no idea if any of this worked. When I was there, they had dropped work on the small caliber bullets.
At some point, Edgewood decided that the tubular bullet provided no real benefit in 9mm they redesigned it as the ANSB (annular nose solid base) which is now pretty close in apparence to the British bullet you have, but much shorter. This round was testfired at Aberdeen, and I dug out a batch of the early ones from a firing butt there. The test rounds from Edgewood and Aberdeen all were loaded there in small batches and had Winchester commercial headstamps.

During this same time period, the FBI got interested in these rounds and contracted with Guilford Engineering to manufacture them for the FBI SWAT team (both tubular and ANSB). These are distinctive because they have Guilford headstamps and the tubulars have a white plastic plug in the tip to improve feeding in weapons. Reportedly fired examples of both bullets showed up at Waco.

I think these are two seperate and distinct efforts, and intended for different uses. I was told the extremel depth of the cavity in the British load was to swallow the plug of rubber cut out of the tire to ensure rapid deflation. The US effort had totally different objectives.

Some of you have more info on Abe Flatto (including the correct spelling of his name-also somewhere down in my notes in the basement). Sure would like to hear it!

Cheers, Lew

My round also standard RG ball hst - & reputedly came out of Kineton, the principal UK army ammo storage facility.
What I’m curious about is the device the round was fired in…can’t believe it was meant to be fired in a pistol…maybe something you dragged across the road - like the spike devices??