9mm flare round?


I acquired the 9x19 round shown below a short while ago. I was told that it was a signal flare, used by the Canadian coastguard. The headstamp is WIN 9mm LUGER.

I would be most grateful if anyone could confirm this, and provide any relevant information (e.g. maker, technical data, how it functions, current source).


Tony, It could have well been used by the Canadian Coast Guard but I have never heard that before. The round is called a “Bird Bomb”. The description of the round from an auction about 8 years ago is as follows. Take this for what it is worth.

They were made by Eric Dennis who runs:

2811 N MESA DR #35

I spoke with him about a year ago and he quite making the Bird Bomb rounds about 4 or 5 years ago. He had a few left which I bought. They are not cheap. These are a slightly different bullet shape and a much darker purple tip from the original rounds I bought in 2003 ago. He said the later rounds were made in about 2006. Both have the normal WIN hst, but the early ones have a purple painted primer (and much of the base).

Your’s looks more like the early style but it is difficult to tell from the photo.

Mr Dennis told me some of his rounds went to the US Coast Guard so the description from the auction may be correct I have no idea who Defense Technologies is-perhaps another name Dennis used or some intermediate company. He also mentioned that he sold them to a number of agencies so it could have gotten to the Canadian Coast Guard, but I have never heard that, and it could be confusion with the US Coast Guard. I have passed on these rounds to a number of collectors and others so this could have been one of the 2003 rounds I had or it could be different from either of my specimens (in which case I’d be interested in the details).

When I spoke with Mr Dennis he said he only makes speciality shotshells since he quit making the Bird Bomb.

Hope this helps.




A term that is often used for these is “Skyburst tracers”. I think the Coast Guard example was the only real instance of anybody taking a commercial interest (for use as warning shots at night), and those were in 12ga and .40S&W (or .45acp?), but they never did a big contract for them. ELD then continued to load this type in a variety of typical calibers like 9mm, .40S&W, .45acp, 12ga, 7.62x39 and .308 for commercial sales at guns shows and online. They are scarce now.

Here is a video showing a few .45acp skyburst tracers being shot at night:
(I don’t know why the title says “Armor piercing incendiary tracers” - these are just tracing fused exploders)


Thank you both, gentlemen, most interesting.