9mm Makarov Dummy


Does anyone know in which other years this dummy was made? It appears to have a metal pellet inside.


1974 by Mechanische Werkst


Mine is date “72” as well. My understanding is that these are NOT official or factory-made dummy rounds, but rather ball rounds that have been disassembled, the powder dumped out, and small steel balls put in instead of the powder. I was told they were done by a German dealer so that he could sell them and transport them as inert cartridges. I don’t know if this is true or not. If I had more than one of them, I woulp pull the bullet and fire the primer in one of my Makarov pistols to see if it is live or not.

The only reason I could think of for such a dumy being factory made would be for displays at various trade shows, such as SHOT, USATORY, IWA, etc. (I know that USATORY isn’t exactly a trade show, but more a military show). However, it is my believe that dummy rounds so display have to have holes in the cases - I know that a dummy such as the Makarov in question would not pass muster at the SHOT Show.

The early official DDR 9 x 18mm Makarov dummy was an aluminum case and “bullet” with a steel base, replaced by black plastic case and bullet with a steel base. Of the latter, there are lots of minor variations - I think I have 16 different in my own collection, and have really stopped looking at any more. There are different overall lengths, different shaped extractor grooves and extractor-groove bevels, different “bullet” shapes, different overall cartridge lengths, etc. Also, there are two major types in the plastic dummies - earlier ones have a indentation that looks like a deep firing pin strike rather than a normal primer pocket. The indentation is a firing pin-clearance hole, so the pin won’t hit the solid steel base if the gun is dry-snapped. Tghe later type has a hole drilled clear thru and the plastic that forms the bullet and case goes thru this hole and forms a plastic “snap-cap” surface, looking like a black-plastic primer. There are various sizes of hole in these dummies.


In my opinion, this is not a factory made “dummy” cartridge. The presence of a primer and case mouth seal are highly unusual for dummy cartridges. Most likely, this was a live cartridge at one time and has been rendered inert by pulling the projectile, removing the powder and replacing the projectile. This can be done easily enough and the pellet inside is to identify it as an inert cartridge because visually, it looks like a live round. I have encountered several variations on this theme in the past with various cartridges that came from Europe.



I agree with AKMS as my own entry shows, but with one minor point of departure.

There are at least two Makarov dummies that do not look like dummies, but are factory made. The first is a Bulgarian round. When John Munnery was firmly entrenched in Bulgaria, he arranged for Arsenal, the Bulgarian factory using denominator “10” on their headstamps, to make a small quantity of most of their loadings, but totally inert. Included were Makarov rounds headstamp “10 93.” These dummies look just like ball rounds, but are without the customary red primer seal found on Bulgarian rounds. There are no visible seals. THESE WERE NOT MADE TO DECEIVE! John was quite open about them and as I recall, solicited interested collectors even before committing to their manufacture. He did a great boon for us in giving us a chance at specimens that might not have shown up again later as live rounds.

Recently, I asked my friend Frank N. to section some Makarov rounds I had in dupe, as I wanted to see cores, case construction, etc., as well as have them to photograph if I ever get around to a long article on this caliber, or a book that I had hoped someday to write about Makarov pistol, ammunition and accessories. I got a big surprise when he phoned me that had finished. A CWS-case round headstamped “21 91” from Poland, with unsnapped brass primer cup and red primer seal, had no powder in it. O.k., I thought - someone dumped the powder for mailing the round. Surprise number two - the primer it self was totally inert and one can see with a magnifying glass that it never had any compound in it. Upon learning this, I weighed the specimen I still had in my collection and found it weighed 3-1/2 grains less than a simialr, contemporary Polish round. Not definitive, but regardless, about the amount of a powder charge! These are obviously factory dummies, but without the usual required hole (holes) in the case for trade show use. Why were they made? As they say in Spanish, Quien Sabe?

By the way, in passing, I just recalled that I have one of the ball-looking, steel-ball inerted rounds in my collection in 7.62 x 39mm, “04 65.”


John & AKMS,

I had two of these dummies, so I pulled the bullet of one.

  • Two flash hole berdan
  • No Powder
  • 3.1mm lead pellet inside, presumably from shotshell
  • LIVE primer

The 04 65 7,62x39…I happen to have the same one!
Also a 5,45x39 Tracer, 3 76 --with same lead pellet
5,45x39 White plastic bullet blank, 270 85 – with same lead pellet


Fernando - great information. Looks like I heard correctly when told about these rounds. Thanks. I always hate to full with my only specimen of almost anything, as I have ruined two good cartridges in 45 years of collecting taking them apart (well, actually, it was duirng the process of putting them back together). So, I don’t disassemble single specimens anymore.


Here in Germany it is a common procedure to put lead balls into cartridges which were deactivated (to indicate that the propellant is absent). Primers stay life because they are free to posess.


I suppose this is a grey area when one is talking about “dummy” cartridges.
I think that too often the terms “dummy”, “drill” and “inert” are used interchangeably and leads to confusion. In the case of the Bulgarian cartridges that were special made for Mr. Munnery, I call them “Factory Inert” cartridges. I have had the 7.62x39, 5.45x39 and 7.62x54r versions of these and interestingly enough, the tracer projectiles are actually live tracers, not empty jackets or ball projectiles with a green tip. My personal definition is that a dummy or drill cartridge must have been purpose-built for use in weapon functioning to be called that. Otherwise, they are “inert” cartridges to me. I too have been surprised when sectioning dummy/drill and inert cartridges. I have a Chinese 7.62x39mm cartridge with the typical green case lacquer and pink case mouth seal, but a blind primer pocket. It appears to be a live round aside from the blind primer pocket. Upon disassembly, there is a full charge of white sand in the case! I can only assume that this is some sort of machine test cartridge, made to look like a live round, but weighted to be rejected or something? I also ran across a Finnish 7.62x39mm cartridge that was odd. The headstamp was “K-P 7.62x39” and by all appearances it was a live round. I had an extra that ended up in my box of cartridges to shoot at the range. When I fired the cartridge, nothing happened. Being the curious type, I pulled the projectile. Again, I found a case full of white sand. The best part though was that the primer was (had been) live! When I sectioned my remaining specimen, I found the same exact thing. Live primer, case full of sand. Explain that one!



For me, any cartridge made by the factory for a specific purpose such as military drill rounds, trade show displays, public relations giveaways, or even made for the purpose of giving or selling to collectors, is a factory dummy. Secondary, a true drill round must be for purposes of teaching weapon manipulation or otherwise used in conjunction with a weapon for me to refer to it as that, but I still consider it a “factory dummy” as well. I use the term “inert Ball” (or whatever the loading represents - inert tracer, etc.) for something like these German rounds with lead balls inside to show the powder has been removed. They are not done by the factory, and therefore, to me, are not dummy rounds, but rather inerted rounds of whatever loading they originally were. I include in the term “factory” any dummy made by an official entity, such as if a military makes up some drill rounds at unit levels from components. They would usually be classified by me as drill rounds, though.

I think everyone treats these in their own way - whatever way makes them easier to keep track of. It isn’t always easy to tell if a round is a factory dummy or not. It is hard to reach consensus on what to call them because there are so many types and so many purposes. We have not even touched on cartridge-like gauges, specially marked “souvenir” dummies, production line dummies made with overweight or underweight “charges” to test safety sensors, box-makers dummies, etc.

Within any caliber in my collection, I keep all factory or officially inerted rounds in one place, within each caliber. If it is inerted by an indivudual because of laws, mailing internationally, etc., I keep it within the group of whatever load it originally was, ball, blank, etc., just as I do fired cases or new primed or unprimed empty cases (which I only collect until I get a loaded round, except for blanks, where I save new, unloaded cases for the purpose of showing their various, pre-crimped case lengths). It is a system that works for me, and I think that’s what it all boils down to, whatever classification works for each individual collector. Once I get a loaded round, I no longer keep unofficially inerted rounds, except I have kept on Makarov dummy with the lead balls in it as an example, because cartridges so inerted are showing up more and more.

I do agree, though, that it would be nice to have total “fraternity” consensus on how to name the various types of inert ammunition. It would take a group to do it, and smarter and more experienced people than I am to sort 'em all out and name them properly.


One of my concerns for the identification of dummy rounds with holes in the case being the identifiation method is how are we in the future going to sort out the “Official Factory” dummies from all the collecter inerted rounds in Europe.