9mm Luger ID


Today I’ve obtained this 9x19 cartridge. I’ve once seen somewhere what type of cartridge this is but unfortunately I forgot… Who can tell me some details, especially the name and composition of this particular pojectile and the purpose?


It is hard to tell from your picture if what you have is a 9 mm Para round (19 mm case length) or one one of the series of rounds leading to the 9 mm Police cartridge (nominally an 18 mm case length, but with different lengths in some of the prototype rounds). Measurements would help.

The projectile appears to be of silver color in your photo, which if the cartridge is a 9 x 18 mm Police version, would be correct. It is a normal ball round with CNCS bullet 9cupronickel-clad steel jacket) and lead core. There are a lot of rounds in this series.

The 9mm Police, first known as the 9 mm Ultra and not to be confused with the pre-war 9 mm Ultra, was jointly developed in German, Austria and Switzerland. The Swiss part was mostly with the development of a SIG pistol, which later became their standard .380 auto-caliber P230.

Walther also made a pistol, named the PP-Super, I am not sure exactly when this experimentation began, but when I visited the SIG factory at Neuhausen Rhine Falls in Switzerland in April 1972, they already had some prototypes of the pistol in the testing room, and were handloading primed empty shells from Geco, with the “9mm Ultra” headstamp, on standard RCBS loading equipemtn from the USA - the same tools many of us have on our own loading benches at home. They loaded a round for me as a souvenir, which is still in my collection, although getting an agreement that, for the time being, I would not publish anything about it.

If your round is one of this series, and I believe it is, and has the CNCS Truncated bullet that it appears to have in the picture, the case length should be approximately 17.9 mm (mine measures 17.88 mm).

The round was ballistically based on the 9 x 18 mm Makarov, a cartridge that had peeked the interest of the German police, but it was felt to be polically unsuitable for use as is. this information was given to me at SIG. It is anecdotal by nature, but I am sure it is accurate. Politics plays a major role in the development of adoption of ammunition at gobvernment levels.
The finalized version of the cartridge as produced by Hirtenberg and Geco became the 9x 18 mm Police and was primarily loaded with a truncated GMCS bullet. It was baqsically a failure with the police, coming at a time when perhaps for the first time, they were engaging criminal elements, such as the Bader-Meinhof gang (Terrorists) as well or better armed than they were.
They quickly adopted an entire new line of German-designed and made 9 x 19 mm Parabellum pistols. The SIG P230 went on to some popularity chambered for the .380 (9 mm Browning Short) cartridge, while the PP Super died a natural death very quickly, and most of the police pistols were sold off, many ending up in the United States.

While originally made in Germany, Austria, Swizerland (only a few lots) and Italy, the only manufacturer still making this cartridge, to my knowledge, is G. Fioochi, of Lecco, Italy.

A good collection of these rounds, including the early ones that lead to the finalized version, could be from 40 to 60 specimens, I would think.

John Moss


O.K. I wasted a lot of time on the Forum. If the admin wants to totally remove my answer, its o.k For some reason, the picture is showing better than it did (brighter) the first time I opened it. I did not see the initials on the primer cup which rule it out from being part of the 9mm Police series. I did not pay attention to the “19 mm” in case the length was just “eye-balled.” It is easy to mix all these different 9 mm rounds up. With the “Clean Fire” primer, it is probably a non-toxic frangible bullet weighing 74 grains, according to my notes, but I have no idea what the exact composition of the bullet material is.

Sorry for the last answer. Ron - can you please remove that. It is simply stupid in context.

John Moss


John, thanks very much for your effort and the really good explanation on the 9mm Ultra. It’s an interesting story anyway - please do not remove it! Indeed my cartridge is not a 9mm Ultra, the dimensions are identical to a 9mm Parabellum. However, the bullet feels much lighter than a regular bullet so a 74 gr frangible bullet makes sense. I’m going to section it anyway so I’ll let you know how it looks on the inside :-)


Ron - if our friend Thijs wants my first “non-sequiter” answer left up, leave. I am not fearful of looking stupid - if I was, I probably would be afraid to post anything on this Forum. I just didn’t want to confuse anyone.

John Moss


The profile certainly looks like Hirtenberger’s 100gr. JSP “FL” Police load to me.


[quote=“JohnMoss”]Ron - if our friend Thijs wants my first “non-sequiter” answer left up, leave. I am not fearful of looking stupid - if I was, I probably would be afraid to post anything on this Forum. I just didn’t want to confuse anyone.

John Moss[/quote]

John, I really appreciate your contribution, there’s nothing stupid or confusing about. A 9mm Ultra was also my first guess but appeared to be wrong only after measuring and comparing to a regular 9mm x19. Your misinterpretation could learn others to take a sharp look on these cartridges in the future when they’re searching for info on this forum!

Leon, the bullet is indeed lighter than a regular 115 grains (strange determination but I’m not a 9mm fanatic) but is FMJ. Furthermore it’s non-magnetic and has a Clean Fire primer.

All your help is much appreciated guys!


its is a frangible.



FYI the 100gr JSP ‘FL’ police load (at least all the ones I have, 50rd brown paper boxes w/white label, plastic tray) are marked ‘+p+’ on the case, and the lead point is clear visible in profile.

There was also a standard pressure version imported (50rd boxes, plastic tray, fancier red and white Hirtenberger label),again with the lead point visible in profile.

I’ll post pics if ever get out of the blue monkeysuit and back at home.

Hirtenberger is one of many great European brands that doesn’t get enough use or recognition here stateside…their stuff (along with Lapua) is in my experience much more consistent that many major US-produced brands.

Leon I’ve just remembered that I’ve forgotten (again) to send your cartridges. I’ll try to get them to you someday.


Hirtenberger was a good firm. Of course, for some years now, they have been out of the small arms ammunition business. The HP headstamp still shows up occasionally, on ammo subcontracted out. RUAG in Switzerland has done one, I think, as has Povazske Strojarne (PS) in Slovakia.

John Moss



I have this box of 9mm Police
and I have three different headstamp’s

HP x 9mm Police x

HP 9x18 86
HP 9x18 82


Will, thanks for your answer. Do you also know the bullet weight?

MWinter: indeed the Hirtenberger brand has a very good reputation, also here on the other side of the ocean. The Royal Netherlands Marine Corps always ordered their high match grade cartridges for marksmanship use at Hirtenberger.

Harry, thanks for the pics. But be aware: this is a different cartridge than mine! Nice boxes anyway and it seems like the same bullet is used in your cartridges.

If I’m ready with the sectioning process, I’ll post the result here. It might take some weeks however.


At last, here is a picture of the box.