9mm Parra or Glisenti


Top = 9mm MH 43 Australian S,A.A.F No 3 Hendon, first Australian 9mm Parra that I have seen with this headstamp! Is it a common headstamp?

Center = Fiocchi 9mm Parra, has a truncated projectile, any idea of circa?

Bottom is the odd one, I already have this headstamp, but with a round nose projectile and was happy to get this one among the rounds as it has a truncated projectile, [not pulling this one apart as I did the other]
Is it a Parra or a Glisenti.


The bottom one is a 9mm Glisenti round.


The bottom one may NOT be a Glisenti round. It is the version with large letters. There is a 9mm Glisenti with the same headstamp with smaller letters (same year - 1918 as well). This version with large letters has been found in boxes marked “9mm Parabellum.” Peter Petrusic had such a box. They seem to have a heavier powder charge than the 9mm Glisenti.

My article on this cartridge in IAA Journal Number 454, March/April 2007 covers this on page 16 and shows pictures of both 1918 headstamps on Page 17. It is a fifteen page article on just the 9mm Glisenti question.

One of the points in the article is that not every Italian 9mm with a truncated bullet is “Glisenti,” and that like a lot of instances with ammunition, it is hard to make positive statements without the presence of box labels or other confirming documentation. This is true throughout the whole field of ammunition, of course. Some of the things in my article are “educated guesses,” but are so identified there.

Your center round is quite current - last fifteen or so right to today, and is a 9mm Parabellum despite the truncated bullet. It is Fiocchi Factory code 9APC and the bullet is 123 grains in weight.

The Australian round is, of course, 9mm Parabellum.


I forgot one point. The “MH” headstamp from hendon is not nearly so common as the “MF” Footscray headstamps, but it is not rare. “MH” is found with both “43” and “44” dates. My specimen with “44” date has slightly smaller headstamp letters than that of “43” but I don’t think that is of any particular significance.


I have been away for a couple of days and was looking forward to learning more on my return, Thank you John. and JonC


The 9mm MH (Hendon) machinery is still in partial existence, as Bullet jacket trimming machinery…at Taipan projectiles(Gympie, Qld. Aust.)
Several of the “9mm No2 Line” Waterbury-Farrel case trimmers have been converted to correct trim-to-lenght Bullet jackets priro to filling and swaging various diameter Projectiles.
After WW II, a lot of machinery from Hendon was scrapped, but some was acquired by “Riverbrand Ammunition” which made both cases and projectiles, as well as Loading fresh ammo, and reloading Aussie Military once fired brass (.303 and 7,62mm). When the Company finally closed, the machinery was purchssed by a Queenslander, who continued making Hunting and target Bullets…“Taipan” brand.

As to age of machinery, when I was at S&B (Czech rep) in 1993, they were still using machinery from the Austro-Hungarian empire days…somewhat refurbished, but original frames.

As to the 1918 “Glisenti or Para” round, the Ammo supplied for the M1915 Villar Perosa SMG was of a stiffer loading than the Pistol 9mm Glisenti round, and may have aproximated the Para round in ballistics…in anycase, there was NO requirement for the 9mm Para round from GFL or anyone else in WW I Italy, as the Parabellum Cartridge ( and the guns to go with it) were not in Italian service, nor captured in any quantity at all by Italian Troops in WW I. The italians used either 9mm Glisento or 9mm Corto, and the Austrians used 9mm Steyr. german troops (vis a young Lt. Erwin Rommel) only came into the Italian front in late 1917, and the German troops would have been armed with Austrian Equipment, being a Minority force amongst all the Mannlicher carrying AH troops.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Doc Av - I don’t want to rewrite my article from IAA Journal 454 here, but I have to say that the evidence is that Italy did have captured 9mm Parabellum-caliber weapons, including sufficient Mauser Model 1916 9mm Para “Broomhandle” pistols to have an ammunition requirement for them. Alessio Grimaldi was one of the major Italian cartridge collectors before his death, and perhaps the most avid researcher. In his notes he alludes to the large-headstamped Fiocchi 1918-dated rounds as having been made for these pistols. Further, there is strong evidence that this ammunition was sold commercially after WWI (perhaps the manufacture of them was not completed until after the war, and there was no more need for them, so they were disposed of in that fashion - we don’t know that for sure, but it is an educated guess). A German dealer, about a year ago, had a full box of this ammunition, labeled in French (as you know, not unknown for Italian commercial ammunition) “25 Cartouches pour Pistolet Automatique Parabellum 9m/m.” The box was full of the large-print, FIOCCHI 1918-headstamped rounds, in two forms - with Maillechort bullet jackts and with brass bullet jackets. We actually feel that Grimaldi’s notes are only partial - that these rounds probably satisfied two needs - for the captured weapons and for the Model 1918 Carbine as well. At any rate, between the increased powder charge, and the known box label, we do not feel that identifying these rounds as being of 9mm Parabellum-caliber, rather than true 9mm Glisenti, is in error.

Further, the round for the “Pistola Mitragliatrice Mod. 1915” was not with extra powder. It used a fiber over-powder wad to increase the overall weight of what left the barrel, and to reduce the powder capacity of the cartridge, to raise pressures somewhat, for better function in the VP Mod. 15. We feel that this round was also safe in the Glisenti Model 1910 Pistol, despite being somewhat higher pressure than the normal Glisenti cartridge. This opinion is shared in the book “Armi Portatile e Munizioni Militari Italiane 1870-1998,” by Ruggero Filippo Pettinelli. The wads, by the way, seem to have formed some sort of myth that all Glisenti cartridges have them. They do not. An original Italian manual shows cutaways of the two forms of the Glisenti cartridge - one without the wad captioned “a pallottola per pistola automatica mod. 910” and the other captioned “a pallottola per pistol mitragliatrice mod. 15,” showing the wad. Further text indicates the wad as being part of the identification of the load for the Model 15. A poor identification since the wad cannot be seen. We feel that Leon Beaux & Co, Milano came up with a better solution to identification of the increased pressure rounds with wads. There are L.B.C. headstamps that just show those initials along with a “M” standing for “Milano,” and a date (ie: “M.16”), and pulled apart sepcimens of these rounds revealed no wad present. There are other rounds with the same basic headstamp style, but with added dahses at approximately the 9 O’Clock and 3 O’Clock positions on the headstamps. All of these examined internally had the wads. We feel, albeit with no documentation, that the dashes indicated the higher-pressure load. Regarding the belief that the wads were there because of the reduced powder charge, to improve ignition, we can state that no cartridge we disassembled, dated before 1916, had the wads, while most, but not all, of those dated after did have wads. We exclude here the American-produced rounds from Western dated 1917 and 1918, and the Maxim-headstamped rounds dated 1917-1918. We do not know what the contracts for those rounds specified, but whatever they did, neither company provided rounds utilizing an over-powder wad. While not really to the point, it might be interesting to note that in print, wads have been described as being of cardboard, felt or fiber, while regardless of the make of cartridge, or the date, all we found were fiber wads.

Further, I think real documentation would be needed to show that German troops fighting on the Austro-Italian front were armed with Austrian weapons. Regardless of logistics, that sounds decidedly “un-German” to me. Even in WWII, when they desparately needed small arms, the German Army took as few foreign weapons as possible, relegating most of the captured arms (sometimes better weapons than the German ones, such as the Browning HP - a far better pistol than either the P-08 or the P-38 IMHO), to para-military organizations and to the various branches of the SS.

The information on Hendon was fascinating, by the way. Regarding the use of old equipment, when Jim Bell first started the BELL Co., he purchased and used equipment dating as early as WWI. He had an engineer who not only figured out the size, shape and form of missing parts and duplicated them, but in some cases improved the machinery for its originally-intended function, and in other cases, redesigned the machine to do some function other than its original one, and better at the new function than it ever was with the job it was originally intended to do. Good machinery is good machinery, I would guess, regardless of its age.


Please note that I have edited my previous posting, not only to correct some minor grammatical errors, but also because in the original posting, I accidentally reversed my description of the cutaway drawings of cartridges with and without over-powder wads. As it reads now is correct. My apologies for any confusion caused.


Dear JM, thankyou for your clarification on the 9mm Glisenti M910 and the VP M915 cartriodge construction…I may have made a confusing statement, but the presence of the “Wad” does lead to a higher pressure (or better combustion of the Powder, thus leading to a “stiffer” load ( without any increase in Powder charge, althouigh the Powder characteristics may have been different, also giving a higher pressure for the same volume/mass of powder.)
Further to your mention of the US supplies of cartridges in 9mm Glisenti design, these factories also supplied components (primed cases and projectiles) to be loaded in Italy…this is noted in some documentation regarding US Aid to Allies in 1916-1918…They also supplied empty 10,4x47R Vetterli cases as well, for filling in Italy.

And for the Germans in the italian Theatre, I recall some photos in an italian History magazine, ID ing “German” troops with Austrian weaponry…
Now this may have been a mistake, as both German and Austrian troops by 1917 had the M16 Stahlhelm, with charactertistic air-holes at the sides, but I suppose the regimental numbers and collar tabs would positively ID the unit as german or Austrian… and the article was referring to the German forces at Caporetto, as well ( hence my ref. to Rommel, who commanded a unit at the Caporetto Attack.)
And just to note the opposite, an A-H Ambulance unit in Palestine was armed with Kar98a short rifles…in common with the military aid supplied to the Turks in 7,9mm during 1916-1917, by Germany.

But I take your point…the AH army used so many calibres and models of rifles, that the addition of the German 7,9mm cartridge into its already overloaded supply line, would not make any great difference ( AH used 8x50R, 6,5x54MS,6,5 Japanese, 7,62x54R, 11mm (several) and 7x57.
They also used for a time 6,5 Carcano, but converted the M91 rifles to “It u Gr” (both Italian and Greek cartridges, to extend their usage. They also converted captured Type 38 rifles(from the Russians) for 6,5 Greek.

I was also unaware that “large Quantities” of 9mm Broomhandles were captured/used by the Italians in WW I…The Marina Militare had an Issue C1896 (M99) in 7,63 Mauser, and the Austrians also had an issue Broomhandle in 7,63mm, so the “large quantites” somehow does not figure (for me, anyway)…maybe they were acquired after the Armistice, and the “1918” date is for production November-December etc, 1918 ( AH ceased fire in November 4, 1918). In any case, the 9mm Parabellum cartridge does not figure “Officially” as an issue Sidearm or ammunition in the Italian Army and Navy organisation. Some Independant units (Arditi, Airforce) may have acquired, by various means, captured or surrendered 9mm Para weapons, during and after the War… Italian Forces, in 1919-1920, were still engaged in operations in the Adriatic coastal areas of the Former AH Empire ( the newly created kingdom of the Serbs and Croats, and also in the occupation of Turkey (where there were quantities of 9mm Broomhandles, courtesy German Military aid.)

More research needs to be done into this mysterious “Fiocchi 1918 story.”

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


It is always best to continue research into any ammunition question. However, I researched the 9mm Glisenti caliber for over a year before expanding the article I wrote for the ACCA some years ago. On the original article, I researched it a shorter time, and did not have access to the notes of Allesio Grimaldi, as I did for the rewrite.

Grimaldi’s notes date from the mid-1970s, something to keep in mind for a moment. One note, in answer to a series of questions asked by Lew Curtis, Grimaldi writes: “Mauser M.1916 ctg. The FIOCCHI 1918 (large hst.) ctgs. have truncated bullets, no felt wad and powder charge heavier than Glisenti. Ctgs. were in a sealed 25rd box with a dark reddish brown label.” In another set of notes, tabulating data on Italian 9mm cartridges one by one, he writes: Ball, Automatic Pistol Mauser Mod. 1916. Native des.: Cartuccia a pallottola per pistola automatica Mauser cal. 9mm modello 1916. Produced/adopted: 1918/?. Using countries: Italy. Current Status: Obsolete. Case: Brass; Bullet: 15mm, 8.05g, jacket: Maillechort, Slug: lead; Primer: Brass, Berdan; Propellant: 0.360 g; Ballistics, Velocity: 305 m/sec at 10 meters; Remarks: First manufactured in 1918 for use in captured German Mauser semiautomatic pistols."

On another sheet, for the 9mm M910 Glisenti cartridge, he shows a powder weight of 0.30 grams, which pretty much squares with specimens examined during my research.

Now, were we to take all of this as conjecture, we would have to rethink that when approximately 30 years later, a German cartridge dealer, Peter Petrusic, acquired a full box of these 9mm “FIOCCHI 1918” with the large print headstamp - a 25-round box, caliber-marked “Parabellum 9 m/m.”

All precisely how Grimaldi had described these rounds in the 1970s.

Agreed, it would be nice to find even more documentation - official Italian documents, etc. Unfortunately, they are hard to come by. However, between Grimaldi’s detailed notes covering far more than just this cartridge, and the discovery of a box of ammo precisely as described by Grimaldi, I would accept this as more than just a “story.”

all that said, you will note that in my original reply in this thread, I said that the caqrtridge in question “MAY NOT” be a glisenti round.

Admittedly, in an attempt to not rewrite a very long article here, I did not mention that we felt there was a strong possibility that another use for these 1918 rounds was in the Model 1918 carbine, and that the cartridges were 9mm Glisenti with an increased powder charge for the stronger action of the carbine, and that they were sold off as surplus, in 9m/m Parabellum boxes, after the war. If sold that way, we would assume that the seller had insured that these rounds would operate at least most 9mm Para caliber pistols. If they did, and were boxed as 9m/m Parabellum, then it is up to each individual collector to decide for themselves how to classify them, unless some official documentation is found. Because of the box label, I choose to classify mine as 9m/m Parabellum since the entire idea that they might have been surplused off as I discribed is a theory on my part, without corroboration, and so noted in my article. Actually, there is some corroboration for the surplus theory, although weak, in that Fiocchi boxed and sold, for many years, .455 Webley Auto ammunition made in England, primarily by Eley (but not exclusively). This cartridge was carried in their catalogs for many years, and were probably left over from experiments with a Villar Perosa experimental SMG in that caliber.


Thankyou JM for the detailed explanation. I suppose my next avenue of research is to speak to my contacts at Fiocchi Lecco, the next time I am in Italy, to be able to access their WW I Archives.Certain old Italian (Ammo and Gun) Companies have always kept meticulous Book entries (“Copia-lettere”) of all correspondance—a practice dating from the Middle Ages–to preserve documentation regarding orders, contracts, invoices, and payments.

Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics.


Doc Av - that would be great! If they have any information on it and could send you scans of the documents, unless in bad handwriting I have no trouble reading them. I would love to get copies of anything they can send. I could do an addenda on my article if anything definitive, or any other new information on the Glisenti cartridge, comes of this.

Soon, Joe will post a picture of the box and cartridge headstamp on this thread. My friend in Germany, Peter Petrusic, sent them to me a few minutes ago. Thank goodness for friends - the picture from Germany and a good friend in New York who will post if for me, since I am too computer-stupid to do it myself!


This is a picture of the box and the cartridge headstamp for the Fiocchi 9mm with large headstamp letters, "FIOCCHI 1918."
The box picture is courtesy of Peter Petrusic, of Germany.

John Moss


John, who made the box, or who is the manufacturer listed on the box.
Label is in French, could be packed as the Carcano were! for disposal by a wholesaler or clearance house ? and the parra might be a bit suspect, although if they are Glisenti the would be safe in a parra pistol.

My round has the same coloured primer, but the projectile is a brass colour, rather than the nickel, although the profile of the truncated projectile is identical. Checked it against other truncated rounds Kynoch [higher and sharper shoulders] US Cartridge Co., not exact but similar profile with a colour difference and marginally smaller flat tip, just want to be sure it is Italian as had one with a round brass coloured FMJ.


Terry - I mentioned in my first entry that the FIOCCHI 1918 rounds with large letters are found with both Maillechort (CN) or Brass truncated bullets. The Italian truncated bullet has a slightly different form than German or American commercial 9mm Para truncated bullets, and you often need to compare them next to each other to see it. It is not an important difference, except when using the bullet shape for identification.

I cannot say with certainly who manufactured all of the ammo found in the style of French-language box shown for the FIOCCHI 1918 cartridges and labeled as Parabellum 9m/m. I have always thought it to be either Leon Beaux & Co., of Milano, italy, or G. Fiocchi, of Lecco, Italy. The fact that the 9mm box has Fiocchi headstamps is a hint that it may be the latter, but I don’t consider it conclusive for a few reasons. Firstly, the boxes have no factory name on them. They are anonimous. I have three in my own collection - one for 7.65mm Browning, one of the same boxes but with a “Frommer” overlabel, the contents of which were the 7.65m/m Frommer Short cartridge (7.65 x 13mm Frommer Model 1901), and one for the 7.65m/m Parabellum which is, interestingly, labeled as “Parabellum 7 m/m” even though the contents are the standard 7.65m/m Para (.30 Luger). The cartridges in this box have all the characteristics of early Fiocchi rounds of this caliber, including a copper primer and a CN truncated bullet. All three of mine are French language. The box for the “7m/m Parabellum” (again, actually 7.65m/m Para ammo), is labeled “MADE IN ITALY.” Secondly, none of the ammunition from any of my three different boxes has a headstamp although again, the .30 Luger has Fiocchi Characteristics. The others are a bit more generic, but typically Italian. Third, if the FIOCCHI 1918 9mm rounds are surplus repacked, they could have been repacked even by another Italian commercial company that purchased them from the Italian Government. There probably was no requirement that the ammunition be returned to Fiocchi.

If anyone cares, I can have my friend Joe post a scan of these boxes on this thread later on in the week. They are, however, identical in design and format to the 9m/m box, so I am not sure what would be gained.

Finally, your statement that if they are 9mm Glisenti, they would be safe in a 9mm Parabellum pistol, is true, but in the case of many 9mm Para pistols, they would probably not reliably operate the gun. Also, remember, these FIOCCHI 1918 rounds with the large headstamp letters have a somewhat heavier powder charge than a normal Fiocchi (same date, medium letters, or earlier dates) Glisenti round. I have no way to know, of course, if this heavier charge takes them into the operating pressures of a true 9mm Para round, or whether they are midway between a Glisenti and a Parabellum cartridge.


Thanks John, For now I will class it as [might be] Glisenti but definatly Italian.


[color=blue]Hi I excuse for my bad English (I use a PC translator)
Officially having her same dimensions the Italin 9 mm Glisenti and the 9 Para they are two completely different cartridges for the powder so much that is dangerous to shoot of the 9 Para on guns created for the Glisenti, by to make another distinction between the 9 M38 and the 9 Para Italian
The first one (9 M38) in reality introduces a powder “increased” (what in practiceher correspond to one Germany 9 Para Beschuss of the WWII, this consideration for she wants to mean that the 9 M38 has goes been considered as a different caliber since 9 Para)
The 9 Para Post-WWIIs are a copy of 9 Para NATO, In fact it doesn’t introduce the writing anymore 9 M38 on the headstamp.
hi Giovanni[/color]


Thanks Giovanni.


The translation was a bit difficult to read for the posting from the gentleman from Italy. I am not sure what point he is making, but regarding the 9mm Glisenti using the GFL.9 M38 headstamp, the headstamp in this case has no meaning for the loading of the cartridge, I am sure the use of this bunter was a wartime expedient on a small production run of ammunition, used only for identifcation of the maker and the year produced. The same headstamp was also used on some 9mm Mauser cartridges (9 x 25mm - sometimes called the 9mm Mauser Export cartridge) made for Hungary. Again, the designation M38 on those rounds carries no siginficance for the 9 x 25mm cartridge. So, in these two instances, that designation has nothing to do with the powder charge, velocity, etc. of the rounds on which it was used.