9mm luger GAS CHECK Fiocchi-Legal calibers-Caliber Interchan


I like to have more info about this cartridge 9 luger GAS CHECK
is there a special use for this cartridge?

thank you


UP to a few years ago, 9mm Parablellum FMJ ammo was a prohibited cartridge In Italy ( “for War” cartridge) and so any Pistol in that calibre was also classed as Prohibited.
Italian ways around this were Guns in 9x23 Steyr or 9x21 IMI; ( ever seen a Colt Commander in 9mm Steyr…small batch specifically made in the 1970s by Colt for Italy)

Fiocchi and other Ammo makers developed a Lead Bullet Load, in 9x19 Para, and this was accepted as a “non-War” cartridge, and so 9x19 cal Pistols became available to the shooting Public.

Fiocchi also is in the forefront of "Training "Ammo for Military and LE; several types of frangible, fully enclosed, leadless primed ammo has been developed for Indoor use, to reduce lead vapour concentrations in these ranges.
The Gaschecked lead bullet is one of these solutions. ( Non-toxic primer, which a shielded (GC)-(But not Jacketed) Lead Bullet, to meet the legal requirements.

There is a standing joke in Italy, applicable to all legal prohibitions (not just guns) " Made a new Law, already found a loophole" ( loosely translated…it sounds better in Italian.).

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


I would have guessed the same thing. There is a theory that lead will vaporize from the bare base of a lead bullet under the heat of the burning propellant while traveling down the barrel, resulting in airborne lead and associated health risks if fired on a range having inadequate ventilation. The combination of a lead-free primer (usually containing DDNP instead of Lead Styphnate as the impact-sensitive component of the primer mixture) and a gas check on the base of the bullet would substantially reduce generation of airborne lead near the firing line. It would not reduce airborne lead resulting from friction of the lead bullet with the pistol barrel interior, but that would probably be minimal.

However, airborne lead can also result from the impact of a lead-containing bullet with a steel bullet trap, and the gas check could not prevent that.

I had not previously considered that unjacketed lead bullets constitute a 'Non-Military" round. Very clever. I wonder if that would work in other parts of the world where “military” calibers are prohibited for civilian use?


Doc Av - a very small point and correction. The Colt Commanders made for Italy were in 7.65 mm Parabellum caliber; the 9 mm Steyr-caliber pistols were full-size, full-weight, Series 70 Government Models. I have never seen the former, but we sold about a half-dozen of the latter in our store. Colt had some left over from what they sent to Italy, and they found their way to U.S. Dealers.

Always a good trivia question - who made pistols in caliber 7.65 Para and 9 mm Steyr. Almost no one will ever include the US (Colt) in the answer.


As the 9mm Steyr can be fired in a .38 Super chamber (I have done that a lot), I imagine that one could fire .38 Super in a Steyr chamber also. Wonder if the Italians ever used .38 Super in those Colts?

A legal point - As both the .30 Luger and the 9mm Steyr were once military rounds, did the Italian authorities not consider them also as being military rounds? Or is their beef only against currently-used military rounds?


Somtimes the use of 9 mm Steyr in a .38 Super is a one-way interchangeability. In the opposite case, having a .38 Super round work in a 9 mm Steyr-chambered pistol would depend on the breech face tolerances, since the .38 Super is a semi-rimmed cartridge with a larger head diameter than the Steyr.


That’s not a problem with a Colt, at least my Colt. I have a M1911 (1918 version) with a Colt 9x19 unmodified slide that works fine with a 9x23 Win barrel (which I use for both .38 Super and 9X23 Win, which is rimless), and also with a 9x19 barrel, using a 9x19 magazine. As I said earlier, the 9x23 barrel also works for 9mm Steyr and 9mm Largo, except the GI Largo round is a slightly longer in OAL and hangs up a bit in the magazine with more than 3 rounds. I don’t shoot the 9mm Largo in it much for that reason. I still have a lot of old 9mm Steyr ammo laying around, but shoot mainly .38 Super reloads.

I also have an EAA Witness with a barrel chambered for .38 Super that works equally well with 9mm Steyr and 9X23 Win.

In the past, I had a Llama (which looked a lot like a M1911) with a barrel marked “9mm/.38” (the meaning of which I never figured out) that worked well with both .38 Super and 9mm Largo/Steyr, and an Astra 400, same story. Those two are no longer in my stable, but I wish I had kept them. The Astra was a gem to behold.



The problem is not with using 9 x 23 mm Steyr ammunition in the .38 Super, but rather using .38 Super ammunition in a gun made specifically for the 9 x 23 mm Rimless cartridges with dimensions that will otherwise fit it (the 9 x 23 mm Bergmann and Bergmann-Bayard cartridges are larger in dimension and NOT interchangeable with the Steyr in all guns nor in the chambers of all models even if some barrels will accept them). I guess I wasn’t clear on that, as you seem to have what I said backwards.

The potential problem is the semi-rim of the .38 Super cartridge. If a breech face is recessed and milled specifically for the Steyr cartridge, and is at minimum specifications, the face must be opened to accept the .38 Super round. If specs are sloppy, sometimes they will fit in some pistols of a specific model and not others, although the interchange is not always a good one due to the higher pressures of the .38 Super. Depends on the strength of the pistol. Colt Government Models are strong.

I had several Astra 400 variants when I collected auto pistols. Two of them would accept the semi-rim of the .38 Super round, but the third one would not, just as an example. jDidn’t matter - I would not shoot .38 Super in a blowback Astra 400 although the older .38 ACP (.38 Auto) cartridge would be o.k.


Dear JM,
Thank-you for the clarification on the Colt Models made for Italy; 7,65mm was a “permitted” calibre in Italy, and thousands of P’08s ( Lugers) were butchered by having replacement barrels fitted from 9mm;
and since it was 1975-76 when I saw those Colts in 9mm Steyr, and I had not accumulated the Knowledge I now have, ( and my degrading memory as well), I think my mistake is understandable.

As to the question of “Military For War Calibres” ( “Arma da Guerra” in Italian) when I arrived in 1974 in Italy, this prohibition covered all the FMJ cartridges in use in WW II, and still current as of the 1970s; so virtually all the Milsurp Rifle calibres, and most of the Pistol Calibres were considered prohibited; but those from during or before WW I were by then considered “Obsolete” and were no longer on the prohibited list
( ie, 7,65s of all descriptions, the 9mm other than Parabellum, and so on.) But, as with all things Italian, cartridges such as the 6,5 Carcano, the German 7,9 and so on, were “strictly Verboten” even in a Sporting Rifle.)

That has now changed; the only effectively prohibited calibres/cartridges are the FMJ versions of the following: 5,56mm, 7,62mmNato, 9x19 Para,
( as these are in Italian Military Service) and all the other calibres are effectively
"Permitted" for Civilian Purchase and Use ( sporting, hunting, etc.).

Of course there are still limits on the “number” of guns one can own, and for what purpose, etc; The Multiplicity of Licences, permits, etc is as usual for Italian Law, mind boggling…But from almost total Prohibition some 20 years ago, they have gone to one of the most flourishing Milsurp markets in Europe. But the prices are Exhorbitant…

Where in the US and Australia, one speaks of “Hundreds of dollars” for an average Milsurp, in Italy the figures run into the Thousands of Euros, and that for rather ordinary ( and sometimes " Reblued/restored" examples ( no collector value anymore…).

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


That clarifies the Italian laws a lot. I have always wondered what the rationale was for prohibitions on military calibers that seem to be common in some parts of the world, as they are neither more nor less deadly than any other equivalent non-military caliber. That restriction has also been attempted (but not, to my knowledge, successfully) in the US and by some US states.

Regarding ownership numerical limits and expense in Europe, I imagine that would make ownership of handguns, and possibly rifles, that could be easily changed to different calibers more popular there than in the US. As I mentioned previously, I have one Colt M1911 frame from which I can fire .45 ACP, .400 Cor-Bon, .38 Super, 9X23 (all varieties), 9X19, and .22 LR by simply swapping slides and/or barrels, plus use of the appropriate magazines. And regarding the (Tanfoglio) EAA Witness, it has an unparalleled ability to be very simply configured to even more calibers on the same frame.



I had several Astra 400 variants when I collected auto pistols. Two of them would accept the semi-rim of the .38 Super round, but the third one would not, just as an example. jDidn’t matter - I would not shoot .38 Super in a blowback Astra 400 although the older .38 ACP (.38 Auto) cartridge would be o.k.[/quote]

Have an Astra 400 (aka: Garbage Eater) and did a chrono test between 125gr +P 38 Super and 130-135gr Spanish Largo (FNP 49 or 52, can’t remember exact) a few years ago. 38 Super, 1250 fps, Largo 1300-25 fps. Cheers, Bruce.


I pulled up some chronographing I did in mid-2007 using my Colt 1911, with 5" barrel. These are all 10-shot averages:

9mm Steyr (hs DWM K 577), 115 grain. 1078 ft/sec
9mm Largo (hs not recorded). 1126 ft/sec (military ammo, probably 125 gr.)
.38 Super, W-W, 130 grain. 1162 ft/sec (older ammo, hs NOT +P)

COTW gives MV of Largo at 1120 ft/sec, so my measurement is spot on with that.
COTW gives MV of Steyr to be 1200 ft/sec, however, this DWM ammo tested is probably pre-WWII, as it is in a 2-piece box, and, oddly, label is in Spanish. So propellant performance may be age-degraded, lowering the MV.

My conclusion based on velocities alone is that if the Astra 400 was built to handle the Largo safely, it should be OK with .38 Super. I remember that the Astra was really challenging to assemble and disassemble, but beautifully made. It was also uncomfortable to shoot, having a blowback action. Mine looked like it had just left the factory.

I have a friend in Georgia who has an Astra 400, and has actually fired factory 9x23 Win in it (MV about 1420 ft/sec) with no unintentional dis-assembly. That’s something I would definitely not use in an Astra 400.


DennisK, I found the trick to disassembling the 400 was to use a fired .50 cal casing to push in the lock nut and the turn the knurled sleeve until it and the nut came into line and could be extracted. The 400 (my all time favorite), even being a blow back, seemed to be comfortable to shoot as compared to a 1911 (my next favorite), but the 600 is a little bit more squirrelly since it has less weight in the slide.

Now, for the obligatory ammo mention to justify the mention of the launchers. Does anyone have any firing data between FNP Largo and FNT Largo? I don’t know if there were any differences in ammo made for the “Destroyer” carbine and service pistol ball, but the FNP mentioned previously seemed to shoot fine from the 400 with a 6" barrel. Yes, I know that this has strayed from the original string of Fiocci 9mm cast, but hey, that’s about normal here. Cheers, Bruce.


I’m not qualified to answer this question, but I’ll throw out an unfounded opinion. I have read several articles about the Destroyer-type Spanish carbines, and don’t remember there being any mention regarding special ammunition loadings for them. Additionally, I’d think that it would be a bad idea to have two significantly different loadings for the same cartridge without having some easily distinguishable point of difference between them, such as a special headstamp marking, plated case or bullet, case cannelure, colored primer, etc. I have seen nothing like this (but I have no special knowledge regarding the Largo). As the Destroyers were intended mainly for Police-type use rather than military, there would be little gained by having a “hotter” carbine load, as the carbine would be useful only at shorter ranges in any event. Commonality of ammunition for an officer’s pistol would also be compromised, to say nothing of increased logistics complication.

The aforementioned articles also said that Destroyers are occasionally found that are chambered, and marked for, 9X19 and .38 Super.

I’d like to have a Destroyer, but just can’t justify spending anything on a rifle that I probably wouldn’t use beyond shooting targets with it for a few times. I already have enough of those. Plus they don’t have (and are not likely to have in the future) much collector value.



9 mm Para cartridges, even if loaded with lead bullets are STILL illegal in Italy if used in auto pistols. They are legal if used in revolvers and single shot carbines only.

This year, in July , EVERY 9 mm para gun will be ILLEGAL ( revolvers too)

FMJ versions of the 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm are perfectly legal here, but they must be of civilian origin ( at least without the NATO symbol, so bearing civilian purposes, even if made with typical milytary components)

Fiocchi produces a 5.56 mm cartridge that is perfectly identical to the military version ( same components and machinery). Only the headstamp is different. This cartridge is perfectly legal here

Several other cartridges are still illegal here for civilian use, because the national gun commission declared them “for strictly military use” , for example the 5.45 x 39 and the 5,7 x 28


(FMJ versions of the 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm are perfectly legal here, but they must be of civilian origin ( at least without the NATO symbol, so bearing civilian purposes, even if made with typical milytary components)

Can you please make a pict of those cartridges and boxes(if you have)??I like to see them…



What happens in July that causes everything in 9X19 to become illegal? A new law? What will happen to all of those guns? I would also assume that all 9x19 ammunition existing is also considered contraband.


Back in the days when we had pistols in Britain there was always a market for lead bulleted ammunition in all pistol calibres because a lot of indoor ranges were licenced for lead bullets only.
The reason lay in the steel plates of the bullet catcher. For lead bullets you could have a 3/8" steel plate at 45 degrees. For all other types of bullet you needed a 1/2" plate. Cost, weight etc meant that many clubs took the cheaper option and a lot of ranges were restricted.

In the British context the gas check was not such a consideration for airborne lead because all indoor ranges had to have forced air push/pull ventilation systems anyway. The gas check would have been more probably useful to reduce barrel leading which will always be a problem with lead 9mm bullets with or without the gas check. Almost an insurmountable problem from my experience. The fast twist and shallow rifling just can’t take lead bullets.

Two clips of that ammo through most 9mm pistols and the bullets will be going sideways. The only lead bullets you could put through a 9mm without running into problems had to be cast from extremely hard alloy, linotype or similar.


Regarding barrel-leading reduction, that is a true use of gas checks, as they allow the lead bullet to be fired at higher (more realistic for some calibers) velocities without serious leading.
With some pistol designs, this can be the difference between proper functioning (without alteration) or short-stroking of the action. In revolvers, especially in calibers that normally have fairly low velocities, this is not important. In some handgun sports that require lead bullets, such as Cowboy Action Shooting, the gas check not only is not needed, but is potentially dangerous since the bulk of CAS targets are steel plates, and back spatter or bounce back of gas checks is a real consideration.


I have fired literally thousands of 9x19 reloads per year using non-gas checked lead bullets with nary a leading or accuracy problem, and probably the same number or more in .38 Super. But my loads are all in the 1000-1100 ft/sec MV range. I don’t know what the lead hardness is, but I don’t think it’s too hard. Just run-of-the-mill 124 grain lead .355" bullets I buy in bulk from several local sources. The only time I have experienced lead bullet accuracy problems was with hot loads (1250 ft/sec) in .38 Super. I don’t do that one any more.