9mmk headstamps

Any help on these 3 9mmk headstamps?


L: Rheinmetall Sömmderda (Germany)
C: DWM (Germany)
R: Hirtenberger (Austria) for South Africa under embargo

Thank you,that was quick!
Can I also ask what headstamp that would have been in these boxes?
Could it have been SBP?
Regards Finn

I have an idea about these but that I better leave that to the true experts like John Moss and others.

The right one should not contain SBP I think.

The middle cartridge (assuming I’m reading the headstamp correctly as DWA) is by Deutsche Werke, and is immediate post WW.I. Jack

Yes, DWA ia a short term name of DWM.

EOD - Are you sure of your identification of DWA (Deutsche
Werke Actiengesellschaft as being “a short-term name of DWM?”

I have never heard that. DWA was the maker of Ortgies Pistols
at their factory in Erfurt. They also were ship builders, and
built some fairly well-known German war ships.

Do you have documentation for the name being simply one used
for a short time by DWM?

John Moss

I thought that DWA was acquired by Genschow (Geco) in 1924 see

As far as I know DWA was never part of or a name for DWM.

I will admit this is confusing because there was a lot of turmoil after WWI and my own confusion is the reason for the thread I reference above.


Could the DWA be a 9mm Nickl?


The D.W.A. round most likely IS a 9 mm Nickl cartridge. I have collected the 9 mm Short (.380 Auto) in a serious way for all my collecting years, and have not seen an actual 9 mm Kurz round with the D.W.A. headstamp, but it is one of the more common ones in 9 mm Nickl. Regarding the one shown, only a correct measurement of the rim diameter will tell us for sure, as I have learned not to say that a 9 mm K with that headstamp absolutely does not exist!

Lew, What was your documentation for the acquisition of DWA by the Genschow company in 1924? It is not included in any timeline for the Geco that I have seen, although there was a working agreement between RWS and the I.G. Farbenindustrie A.-G. of Frankfurt, the infamous company responsible for much of the work on the KZ Gas Chambers and the chemicals used in them. I.G. Farben was dissolved in 1945, whether by command of the Allied Armies of Occupation, or prior to the surrender of German, I am not sure.

The Wikipedia site (not always accurate, of course) does not mention any agreement or acquisition of the company by Genschow at all. It does cover their production of the Ortgies Pistols, as well as their ship-making activities.

Once again, I don’t know if their was such an acquisition or not. I am simply interested in the source of the information stating there was such an acquisition of DWA by Genschow.

John Moss

After WW1 the state rifle and ammunition factories had to be closed down. Deutsche Werke AG was founded in 1919 to become owner of the infrastructure in an attempt to provide jobs at least for some of the former employees, mostly by dismantling the factories and trying to find civilian products.
The Walther semi-automatic shotgun and the Ortgies pistols represented early civilian small arms manufacture in former state rifle factories. This was soon forbidden by the Inter-Allied Control Commission.
I cannot quite see what interest Geco should have had in acquiring Deutsche Werke AG.

Deutsche Werke shares were owned by the government; no connetion to DWM.



Box on a LS - HS ak = S&B Vlasim, under German supervision
Box on a RS - HS Z = Zbrojovka Brno, Povazska Bystrica plant



On the referenced Forum thread I include the Reference. This was the discussion of why dnh Durlach was listed as an RWS facility in WWII.

> 1924:
> Achistion of “Deutsche Werke AG”. From that time on manufacturing of outstanding small caliber rifles. International sales boomed among other places in South America. Genschow pistol cartridges were used by the police in almost all South American countries. (https://geco-munition.de/en/geco-world/brand.html )

I found it on Google but it appears to be down now. I just found it on the wayback machine at https://web.archive.org/web/20170808091726/http://geco-munition.de:80/en/geco-world/brand.html

Edit: When I search for this page on Google it lists it, but when I select it, I get a screen that it is not available and may be removed. But, when I select translate, I get the site so it is still up.

This sure appears to be an official Ruag/Geco website, and I took it as an authoritative source. Perhaps someone has a reason why it isn’t?

JPeelen, I thought I read somewhere that quite a few of these old government facilities were turned over to private companies to operate, initially as plants that did not produce military related equipment.

In any case, it seems strange that between 1919 and 1924 when the DWA headstamp was apparently being used, that they would be producing a 9mm Nickl cartridge. My feeling is that this variation of the 9mmK has been misidentified for decades. I know the history of the Nickl weapon and its relationship to the subsequent Czech pistol. Still a mystery to me.If someone had a credible story, it would make a great Forum post!


They included the history as follows:

_> _
_> 25th August 1887: Formation of the company Gustav Genschow & Co as a weapons and ammunition wholesaler by the founder of the same name Mr. Gustav Genschow from Stralsund _
_> _
_> 1899: acquirement of the “Badische Schrot- und Gewehrpropfenfabrik Durlach” _
_> _
_> and 1903: of the “Durlacher Zundhütchen- und Patronenfabrik”. _
_> _
_> 1906: Formation of the first branch office in Cologne on the Rhine _
_> _
_> 1912: Formation of a special subsidiary company in Vienna for the export business dealings to Austria-Hungary and the Balkan states _
_> _
_> 1921: Formation of the branch office Königsberg in Preußen and reconstruction of the sales department in Frankfurt am Main and Nuremberg _
_> _
> 1924: Achistion of “Deutsche Werke AG”. From that time on manufacturing of outstanding small caliber rifles. International sales boomed among other places in South America. Genschow pistol cartridges were used by the police in almost all South American countries.
> 1924-1929: Acquired DWA Spandau facilities which became "Geco Arms Factory at Spandau manufacturing gun parts, machines and tools.
_> 1927/28: Conclusion of a community of interest contract with the RWS or rather the Dynamit Aktiengesellschaft (Dynamit Limited Company) of Alfred Nobel & Co., the biggest ammunition factory in Nuremburg. Manufacture of pistols and small-shot cartridges for both companies in the Durlach factory, Manufacture of rimfire and Flobert cartridges, revolver cartridges, metal sleeves, percussion caps and air gun pellets in the factories in Stadeln and Nuremburg. _
_> _
_> 1940: Death of the compay founder Gustav Genschow _
_> _
_> 1952: Resumption of manufacturing of hunting and sport ammunition (air gun pellets, shot shells, 1957 pistol/revolver) _
_> _
_> 1963: Passing over of all the factory buildings of Genschow & Co. Aktiengesellschaft (Limited Company) to the possession of the explosive and ammunition factory of Dynamit Nobel Aktiengesellschaft _
_> _
_> 1966/67: Consolidation of the brands GECO, Rottweil and RWS under the umbrella of Dynamit Nobel _
_> _
_> 1972: Relocation of Durlach to Stadeln _
_> _
> 2002: Acquisition of the Dynamit Nobel AG by the Swiss tech company RUAG At Present: GECO incoporates a wide range of products which includes pistol/revolver ammunition, air gun pellets, small caliber ammunition, shotshells, rifle cartridges and has recently introduced explosive cartridges and blank cartridges.

John, reading the details posted above not anymore. This was the usual “distant memory” comment of me without reading it all up before and putting down proven info. My bad!

This is an article on the DWA pistols that may shed some light on the history and confusion:
Heinrich Ortgies organized his firm under the name Ortgies & Company probably in 1919. Production is variously reported in English-language sources to have begun sometime between 1919 and 1921, but a German author (Gerhard Bock in Moderne Faustfeuerwaffen), writing in the period shortly after World War I states that the Ortgies pistol appeared “shortly after the end of the war.” The war ended in November 1918, so it is unlikely that production began before 1919. The earliest advertisement we have found for the Ortgies pistol appear in the 25 February 1920 edition of the German gun industry trade journal Der Waffenschmied, so the gun was clearly in production by this date. Several sources report incorrectly that Heinrich Ortgies died in 1919 and his business was sold after his death, however Der Waffenschmied for 14 April 1937 reported his death as taking place in March of 1937 at the age of 67.

Ortgies .380 - Ed Buffaloe
Ortgies 1st Variant

According to W. Darrin Weaver in his book An Encyclopedia of German Tradenames and Trademarks: 1900-1945, Deutsche Werke was a ‘state-sponsored consortium created largely from the Imperial Amberg, Erfurt and Spandau arsenals. Deutsche-Werke fell under a larger government-sponsored consortium, the “Vereinigte Industrie-Unternehmungen Aktiengesellschaft” or VIAG. Under pressure from the Inter-Allied Military Control Commission, unhappy at the pace of de- militarization within Deutsche-Werke, the consortium was ordered closed and privatized.’ Weaver further writes: ‘Sales [by Ortgies & Co.] were brisk despite the poor state of the post-WWI economy. This drew the attention of larger companies such as the Deutsche-Werke AG, Berlin. Sometime around 1921, the Deutsche-Werke made Ortgies a very attractive offer to buy all of his company’s tradenames, inventory, components and tooling. Heinrich Ortgies accepted the proposal and apparently retired from the small arms business.’ Der Waffenschmied for 25 June 1921 reports on a theft of Ortgies pistols from the Deutsche-Werke factory in Erfurt, so we know the purchase took place prior to this time.
Ortgies & Company made only pistols chambered for 7.65mm Browning (.32 ACP), though it is clear that Heinrich Ortgies, from the beginning, also intended to produce pistols in 9mm Browning Short (.380 ACP) and 6.35mm (.25 ACP). The Tillig article displays the cover of the Ortgies manual showing a first-variant pistol, which says: “Die Ortgies- Selbstladepistole Kal. 9, 7,65 und 6,35 mm Patentiert in allen Kulturstaaten” (Patented in all civilized countries). In addition, Tillig also mentions an article by Gerhard Bock in the Waffenschmied for 25 March 1920. Bock reports that (at the time) the pistol is only produced in 7.65mm but will also be produced in 9mm and 6.35mm.

One possible reason Ortgies & Co. did not produce pistols in 9mm is that it was considered a military caliber and was banned from sale in Germany by the Inter-Allied Military Control Commission, so it could only be manufactured for export. 6 .35mm production was probably delayed because it required different tooling and Ortgies’ small factory had neither room, time, nor personnel for a second production line. When Deutsche Werke assumed production, the company must have claimed it was making pistols in 9mm only for export, but the Inter- Allied Military Control Commission soon ordered them closed.

Ortgies .380 - Ed Buffaloe
Ortgies 6th Variant in 9mm Short (.380)

The allied powers were determined to end production in Germany’s military arsenals, while the Germans were equally determined to maintain their industrial capability and also to keep as many people as possible employed in order to reduce social unrest. The protocols of a Reichstag (German Parliament) conference from 10 November 1921 help us understand the situation. A member of parliament, Mr. Mueller, petitioned the Reichstag to know why Deutsche Werke were ordered to cease production. The response was that they were not allowed to produce guns in military calibers, nor were they allowed to produce more guns than were necessary for normal use and trade. It is reported that General Nollet, a British member of the Control Commission, claimed that the quantity of guns being manufactured far exceeded those necessary for normal use and trade purposes. Interestingly, the Hanover Courier newspaper reported that Deutsche Werke eventually dumped thousands of guns on the market below manufacturing cost: 48,000 guns were sold to an unnamed American company in 1922 for $0.66 each, and another 43,000 at a later date for $0.75 each. These sales may have been forced.

The war reparations forced on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles were rapidly destroying the German economy. Deutsche Werke clearly wished to manufacture as many guns as possible before halting production. The Inter-Allied Military Control Commission ordered Deutsche Werke to cease production of all arms and ammunition no later than 1 April 1922. However Tillig, in his February 1985 Deutsches Waffenjournal article, states that Deutsche Werke did not actually cease production until 30 September 1923, coinciding with the peak of the hyperinflation experienced by the Weimar Republic in the period between 1921 and 1924.
Ortgies & Co. manufactured approximately 16,000 pistols in 7.65mm before production was assumed by Deutsche Werke. Matthews, in his book Firearms Identification, Volume I, states that he believes Deutsche Werke restarted the serial number sequence, claiming to have examined a gun with Deutsche Werke markings having serial number 5834. However, Koelliker collected these guns for years and he believed the serial numbers were contiguous, as do most other sources. Don Maus pointed out to us a list of Ortgies pistols in his book History Writ in Steel, which, judging by their markings, were likely owned by

Ortgies .25 - Stefan Klein
Ortgies 6th Variant in 6.35mm (.25 caliber)

the Hamburg Ordnungspolizei. Serial number 15665 is marked Ortgies & Co., whereas serial number 16110 is marked Deutsche Werke. After publication Maus was also made aware of serial number 15921 with Hamburg Ordnungspolizei markings and an Ortgies & Co. slide inscription. Since these guns were probably purchased in a batch, this is reliable evidence that Deutsche Werke simply continued the serial number sequence begun by Ortgies & Co. The authors would welcome any evidence to the contrary-- please write to us if you have a Deutsche Werke gun with a serial number earlier than 15921.

The 7.65mm and 9mm pistols were all serialled in the same sequence, whereas the 6.35mm pistols were numbered separately. The total combined production of 7.65mm and 9mm pistols was approximately a quarter-million, and total production of 6.35mm pistols was approximately 183000. It may seem hard to believe that Ortgies & Co. produced only 16000 pistols in less than two years, whereas Deutsche Werke produced over 400000 in approximately three years. However, Deutsche Werke was a much larger company with correspondingly greater resources, and was trying to keep as many people gainfully employed as possible in the difficult post- war years

full article from above: https://unblinkingeye.com/Guns/Ortgies/ortgies.html

The cartridge known as “9 mm Nickl” has confounded
a lot of us interested in these small pistol cartridges. The
quantity of ammunition, and makers, of the rebated rim
9 x 17 mm cartridge does not seem to match up with the
scarcity of the Mauser Nickl Patent 9 x 17 mm Pistol, which
basically became the Czech CZ 22 and CZ 24 pistol. It was
originally thought that the CZ 22 pistols were initially made
with a breech face of the correct diameter for the rebated rim
cartridge, but this has been debunked by Czech sources, as
well as by examination of several CZ vz. 22 pistols, all of which
had a breech face compatible with the larger diameter rim of the
9 mm Kurz (.380 Auto) cartridge. Further, the earliest known
Czech 9 x 17 mm cartridge, with headstamp including the cartridge
designation of vz. 1922, is a standard 9 mm Kurz round.

However, the rebated rim cartridges certainly were made that way
purposefully, in my opinion, whether they be related to the Nickl
patents or not. They were made by four companies:

Gustav Geschow, Durlach, using the manufacturer’s identification
mark of “D” on the headstamps. These exist in not only the rebated-rim
version, but also as standard 9 x 17 mm Kurz rounds with a normal rim
diameter for that case type.

Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Düsseldorf-
Derendorf, using the headstamp manufacturer’s identification
of “H” on the headstamp. I, personally, have never observed
a standard 9 x 17 mm Kurz rim diameter on one of these cartridges,
which were made for several months in 1918. Early months of
production, at least March of 1918, have a bullet crimp consisting
of three lines, horizontal to the case mouth , impressed into the

Rheinische Metallwaaren- und Maschinenfabrik Sömmerda, using
manufacturer’s headstamp designation R. M. S.These exist both
with the rebated rim and with the normal rim for a 9 mm Kurz cartridge.

Deutsche Werk Actiengesellschaft, using D.W.A. manufacturer’s
identification marking. I have three variations of this round with
rebated rim, all of which have the horizontal-line mouth crimps retaining
the bullet. The possible importance of this feature will be discussed
below. As with the “H” headstamp from Düsseldorf, we have not seen
any true 9 mm Kurz (.380 Auto) round with normal rim and the “D.W.A.”

Now, to the three horizontal-line neck crimps found on early “H” rounds and
seemingly, on all D.W.A. rounds, this is an interesting feature when looking
at cartridges that possibly have a connection to Mauser Werke, Oberndorf, and
the Nickl Patent Pistols. It is a special feature that also appears on a version of
the 9 x 19 mm Parabellum cartridge, with headstamp of “K DWM K 487C”
made specifically for the Mauser 1912/14 pistol which never reached serial
production (I used to own one - serial number 39 -specially interesting since
the word “Oberndorf” was misspelled to “Obendorf” on the slide markings).
Granted, a tenuous association at best, but a possible one none-the-less.

None of this is solid proof of a connection to the Nickl patents for these rebated-rim
9 x 17 mm cartridges. However, the fact that there were four makers, adding up to
a number of cartridge variants (I have seven, and I do not collect the dates), two of
whom did not make the same 9 x 17 round with normal 9 mm Kurz rim diameter, and
the other two making both forms with the same headstamp, and the presence of the
special bullet crimps on some of them, takes this cartridge out of the “sloppy specs,
factory error” category into that of a different case type, in my opinion.

The trick now is to discover that if not 9 mm “Nickl,” than what is it? I hope if anyone
has an Ortgies box (so described because many of the D.W.A. boxes picture the
Ortgies Pistol on the top label) for caliber 9 x 17, they will measure the rims of the cartridges
in that box and report it here. However, while a connection to the Ortgies Pistol would be
possible with the D.W.A.-produced cartridges, it is not likely it would have much to do with
the other rounds, unless all of those headstamps were produced during WWI, when I believe
the Ortgies was already being made in several calibers (I could be totally wrong - don’t care
to take the time to look it up now, and I am no expert on the pocket self-loading pistol types).
That would not explain, fully, the commercial-style headstamps on all of the rebated-rim versions
of the 9 x 17 mm if they were all made specifically for the military for use in the D.W.A.-made
Ortgies pistols of that caliber, which I believe are scarcer of themselves than are the same pistols
in calibers 6.35 mm and 7.65 Browning.

I will continue to classify my rounds as 9 mm Nickl until a better answer is documented.

Edited to correct several typos and an unexplained movement of one paragraph to
below my signature line.

John Moss

they write “Achistion” which I presume should be aquisition.
In 1922, by the way a year of hyper-inflation in Germany, the former Erfurt gun factory alone still had 3878 employees (I have no figures for the Spandau factories, Amberg, Danzig etc.) while the Geco ammunition factory had around 200 (top figure had been 700 in WW1). This makes acquisition of DW by Geco not very probable in my view. There is no trace of any connection between Deutsche Werke and Geco in the sources I have seen.
What could have happened was, Geco buying some machinery from DW and use them for setting up the manufacture of smallbore rifles (Berlin, Bouchéstrasse). Post WW1 was the period when smallbore became extremely popular in Germany.
Some other items in the history on the geco-munition.de website are at least misleading in my view. I do not consider it useful.

Hi all!
A lot of information,and I had never even heard of 9mm Nickl…!
Anyway,it seems to be one of those,the rim is measuring 9 mm quite accurate,while the others is 9,4 mm.

DWA on the left,SBP on the right:

About the 2 boxes Rufus…they contain cartridges like this,but that may not be the right type?
Regards Finn

I agree with you that the word probably should have been acquisition, but I copied it exactly the way it appears on the English language version. Perhaps it is an artifact of the computer translation of the webpage. I agree it may be misleading but I can’t believe that it would have been included at all unless there was solid fact of some kind behind it. With only 14 dated entries to describe the entire history of Geco, why would this one be singled out for inclusion if there was not any particularly significance. The entry specifically mentions the “manufacturing of outstanding small caliber rifles.” Perhaps this is the key to the inclusion of the DWA acquisition. It is very hard for me to believe that there was not something associated with DWA that happened in 1924! It may not be the ammunition portion of DWA that Geco acquired, but something was acquired I suspect.