9mm Glisenti-1940


I was pleased to recieve the 9mm Glisenti round below.

I have had a similar item for many years, but dated 1941 and without the green cms and primer. I cannot recall seeing this cartridge with a cms and primer color.

I did go back and check John Moss’ excellent article on the 9mm Glisenti article in IAA Journal 454 and noticed that he makes reference to a 1940 load in a GFL 9M38 case and the associated photo has a dark color primer in the B&W photo. I assume this is actually a green primer, but I had not noticed the difference before.

I also have a 1944 GFL Glisenti load, but this one is headstamped 9M38F 1944 and also has no primer nor cms.

Have others seen these Glisenti loads with the Green cms and pa? I assume John has one since he pictured it in his article.




Lew, my example has a FIOCCHI 1917 headstamp. Bill


I forgot to add there is cms of primer color. Bill


That was probably loaded using 9 mm M38 cases, instead of using new brass with correct headstamp.

Samples with 1941 Capua headstamps are also known


Lew I am going to make one more try at making sense. My 9 mm 1917 Glisenti does not have either a cms color nor a primer color. Bill


Ballard, I’m not surprised that the “FIOCCHI 1917” showed up with green cms and primer. I have the WESTERN 1917 Glisenti in the original box and it has no seals, but about 30 years ago I found a full box of them in Europe and was surprised to find that all the rounds were somewhat polished and shiny where they had been cleaned and all have typical Italian WWII green cms and primers. Pretty obvious that they were reconditioned sometime in the runup to WWII or during the early years of the war, and then repacked. I suspect that is what happened to the FIOCCHI 1917. I’m delighted to know that this cartridge exists. If possible, please post a photo/scan. Would love to have it for my records.

Pivi, I did not know that Glisenti loads show up in 1941 Capua cases. Great info. In fact, I have never seen a 9x19mm case from Capua dated before 1943! Would love to have a photo if possible.

Cheers and thanks for all the info.



Lew, I recently found a 1942 manual on Italian infantry weapons which includes an ammunition identification table with the following data:

I not dare to say that your cartridge is a M. 38 round round with a truncated bullet(!!!), but then I can’t explain the identification cited on the manual.


Fede, Am I missing something? The only M38 entry is the normal M38 which is a RN 115gr bullet. If it has a 124gr truncated bullet, it is not an M38 load. We have box labels that indicate some of the FIOCCHI 1918 rounds were loaded as Parabellum loads-probably at the end of the war, and still have truncated bullets. As Pivi explained, a 9M38 load isn’t a Parabellum load and are not usually listed as being the same in the Italian catalogs.

This looks like a British publication to me (cap instead of primer). Can you post the front page. A nice reference that I’d like to add to my files. What caught my eye was the Glisenti load with a “red” cap. If this was truly a red lacquered or painted primer than it was a proof load which I have not documented before. That alone is a very important bit of info.

Many thanks!



Lew, this manual is quite accurate, but the Italian Glisenti/Parabellum/M.38/M.15/M.16 cartridges is a hard subject who can challenge every known publication. According to this manual if you find a 9 mm round with a red painted primer(!) you have a Glisenti and one with a green painted primer is a M38, but what happens if you find a round with a truncated bullet and a green painted primer? Should we expect to find a M38 round with a round nose bullet and a green painted primer?

This is the cover:


Fede, Sorry, now I understand. Basically this book is wrong. A red primer has never identified a Glisenti load. The Glisenti identification is a Truncated bullet and the primer or cms or pa color means nothing. Most Glisenti have no color seals at all. By the same token, a green primer or cms or pa color does not identify an M38 load. In fact, after WWII the Italians used other colors on M38 rounds-or no color at all. I think that Pivi will subatantiate this. The color of the primer doesn’t identify a Glisenti or a M39 or a Parabellum.

The red primer or a red base does identify a proof load on Italian pistol cartridges, regardless of the caliber. Or so I have been told. It does on 9x19mm.

In this book, the Brits were just identifying what they found as best they could, and if they really found a Glisenti load with a red primer, they apparently didn’t know it was a proof load-or maybe it wasn’t but was something else. The guys who put this book together in 1942 had no idea, except what they had picked up on the battlefield. One of many mistakes I have found in military books.

There is a similar guide to Japanese ammunition published in 1944 or 1945 by the US Army. It has about a third of a page on the Japanese 9mm Revolver cartridge, but the large illustration of the cartridge is a rimless case round that scales out perfectly as a 9x19mm cartridge. I have often wondered how that mistake occured and if there really was a Japanese 9x19mm cartridge in WWII (no evidence of one has ever turned up). The headstamp was not illustrated on the drawing so who knows what the artist was looking at when he made the drawing.

Very interesting book. Thanks for posting the front page.



I concur with Lew’s interpretation.

Since these manuals were compiled by Ordnance /Artificer officers and WO/s
from examples picked up or surrendered in the field, sometimes without packets, other times in full crates with all the relevant labels, there is still open for misinterpretaions and down-right mistakes in the final rendition.

One must remember, these guys were not collectors or students of ammunition, with our background knowledge of individual country rules about what was marked and when and how, as to ID of ammo.
And I doubt that they interrogated Enemy Ammo officers either to the extent that Phil Sharpe and his Team did in 1945-46 with the German ammo Makers…remember that PS was already an ammo “expert” before the war, and knew what questions to ask. I doubt ( knowing the British army system) that any of the Ammo Tech Officers had any knowledge outside of their narrow trade training in the Army, about ammo; and unless they had spent years at R^L or with Kynoch or Eley, would they have any clue what they were initially looking at.

But given all those problems, the descrptions in the 1942 Manual were pretty accurate, at least in General Terms. And given the details of both Air and Land use ammo, I would say that the manual was prepared on the basis of North African Capture ammo in total.

Just a misinterpretation of the significance or otherwise of Primer and neck colours as to Cartridge ID. ( a “British disease?”).

Interesting about the manual cover itself, it seems to have been the property of,(or Issued to) an Officer of the Dutch General Staff in Exile.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics


I have seen red, purple and green sealant on post WWII M38 cartridges, and examples with no sealant as well


I did not notice that there was an illustration of the cartridges in another page; the 9 mm M38 cartridge is ilustrated with what it looks like a G.F.L. 9M38 1938 headstamp and is loaded with a pointed RN 115 grs bullet. Certainly, they have no idea what a 9 mm Glisenti round was because it was illustrated with a round nose bullet (headstamp is not illustrated).


Fede, That page/illustration would be interesting also. It also means that what they thought was a Glisenti cartridge was probably a M38 proof, validating DocAVs point.

Thanks for all the info.





Thanks Fede!!!


Green and red (proof) M. 38 cartridges: