These rounds are not 9mm Para in any form of that caliber, nor were they ever. They are reported to be rounds converted from 9mm PA (9mmPak) for use in blan- firing pistols of the that caliber that have been illegally converted to fire a solid projectile - ie: converted to a “real” gun.
I have the exact round shown with “ESCORT” headstamp, plus another with a slightly sharper point to the lead bullet, but other than that, essentially identical, with the headstamp " - PLATIN - 9mm" which was originally a blank made in 2005 in Italy, judging from the Italian language label. The Escort box appears to be labeled in English, although the only picture I have of the box is poor, and it is hard to read the small print. It may be multilingual, but the contents are described as “50 Blank Cartridges Cal. 9mm P.A.K. “P.A.K.” Stands for Pistole Automatische Knall” or “Blank (firing) Automatic Pistol.” They also generally fire gas cartridges of the CN and CS
variety, also caliber 9mmPA (Although general headstamp for CN or CS irritant. Since the plastic caps normally found on these 9mmPA rounds are color coded for the type of round they are, I suppose it is not necessary that they be headstamped for the spedific loading, and some are not.
Once converted, the cartridges were evidently put back into their original boxes.
I have read of many different sources for these converted rounds - England, Germany and a “Scandanavian” country unnamed other than that. They evidently were not done for one person’s use, as they have showed up in crimes in Europe.
I assume “SWA” in Lew’s question refers to “South West Africa.” this is the first I have heard of any African connection for these. Frankly, it makes more sense to me that use in Europe.
The extractor grooves seem to have been “remodeled” from the original form of the 9mmPA cartridge, and on both my rounds, it is well done. On my “ESCORT” round the case has been shortened well, while on the “PLATIN” cartridge the cut-off is somewhat crude and irregular.
With what we currently know, these converted rounds seem to have been solely a criminal endeavor. They were covered, I believe, in an ECRA Bulletin, but for some reason, I don’t have a copy of that article in my 9mmPA file, and cannot find it in my ECRA Bulletins due to a lack of index for them. All of my correspondence, and awareness, of these rounds began in May 2007, by the way. Between the “2005” box label for their original case form, as least for the “PLATIN” headstamped rounds, and that, I think we can conclude they were don between those years.
I wish I knew more about these rounds, and like Lew, welcome any other documented information on them from any source. They have nothing to do, by the way, with STI or any other American firm, and that is almost a 100% certainty based on what information I have received on them. The headstamps are definitely from blank cartridges and not of any “American” caliber. The 9mm PA in blank and gas form has found its way to America, but only in very, very limited use - the 8mm Gas and Blank cartridges are more popular here, although even those are not as widely encountered in the USA as they are in Europe, and I know of no US Firm that makes them, although they are market, in their Italian form, by G.F.L. America, I believe.