9mm Para Paint Marking Bullet


The paint marking bullet recently turned up in South Africa. It appears to be a red paintball mounted in a light blue plastic carrier. The tail of the carrier appears solid. Obviously not intended the the Paintball game or training where the shooting is done at live targets, but probably for short range target shooting outside of a range safety environment.

It is quite well made and likely a production item sold for indoor target shooting. You can see a moldline down the side. There is a crack where the tail begins. Apparently this is not something new but was picked up some years ago.

Has anyone seen this or a similar item?

Has anyone seen a patent for something like this?




Hello Lew,

Is this magnetic? I wonder if there is a steel ball inside.


Totally non-magnetic. The bullet only weighs 16gr so is is pretty well just plastic. I suspect there is a patent somewhere for it.




I just heard from the source of the cartridge. When he inerted it for shipment, he was surprised that there was no powder in the case. it is apparently powdered solely by the primer.





Diameter of the ‘paintball’? There are miniscule red marking projos for the Airsoft game; wondering whether that’s what is in the nose of your SA projectile. Most airsoft are 6mm diameter.

If it’s powered by primer only, then it could very likely be used for force on force training. The 9mm ATK FoF cartridge is primer only (telescoping); about 350fps from our G17T pistols…not much faster than a paintball. Painful and capable of slight penetrating/lacerating injury without PPE, but much less so than Sim/FX .223.


Mwinter, This projectile was in a S&B 9x19mm case with an older headstamp and a red pa. The person I got it from picked it up some time ago from an old friend. The headstamp on the case is the S&B 9mmLuger without the little logos. It could date back to the 1980s or earlier. I have been in contact with a number of people in the Czech Republic including at S&B and they indicate that it is nothing S&B made, nor has anyone seen this projectile.

Here is the loaded round.

I agree with you. This looks like someone manufactured the light blue plastic carrier that a small diameter paint ball snapped into the end of (or perhaps was molded in) to get a paint marker that could be fired from a standard 9mm pistol. The part of the paintball I can measure is 5.4mm in diameter but it is probably 6mm at the maximum diameter. I suspect this was done by a small manufacturer in South Africa since that is where it turned up, but this is something that could be sold over the internet from anywhere including the US.




I just picked up a little more information on this. The person I received it from in South Africa had it about 10 years, and the person he got it from had it for 2 or 3 years so that puts it back to a product of the mid-to-late 1990s at the earliest.

Hope that helps someone remember something!




Lew–Just a thought on what your cartridge might be. I have no information so this is just a guess. Could it possibly be for marking trees for cutting in a forest. Here in the U.S. the U.S. Forestry Dept. will go through and mark trees with a splash of paint that they want cut before they put out a bid to have them cut down. Here they use a pressured spray tank mounted as a back pack with a hose and wand with a trigger to “Shoot” the paint as far as 25-30 feet to make a splash 3-4 inches in diameter. My suggestion is just a wild idea, but something to consider.