9x18 mak ID help

I’m not up on my 9x18 headstamps and I was wondering what these steel-core variants were (recently dissected):

First one - lacquered steel case:

Second one - copper washed steel case:


  1. East German ball
  2. Soviet ball

Jon is correct. Your East German round was made at K

Why the Mushroom shape on the steel core? I have seen them before but never knew the answer.


Steve - wish I could answer your question. If someone can, I will include it in my book I am writing on Makarovs and their accessories and ammunition. I am almost finished the text, but with all the photo work to be done, I will have several months at least to add to the text if I need to.

I had, frankly, never thought about the shape of the core. It is not an uncommon shape for steel cores in pistols ammunition. I suspect it is simply the best shape to make it to maintain a bullet of the desired weight (approximately 92 to 95 grains, generally speaking) and usable length, when the steel core is used in conjunction with the lead sheath they are in. I am sure an ammunition engineer might have more technical reasons.

If anyone really knows precisely why they are that shape, please chime in. If not already in my credits, you will be if I use the material.

[quote=“JohnMoss”]… Your East German round was made at K

I’m sure the head of the core is “mushroomed” just to help in locating the core properly in the jacket during manufacture; if it wasn’t, they would also need a nose-filler (likely of lead, as in the 7.62 M43 round) to stop the core from shifting around as the base-plug was added, and the heel-crimp was added to the bullet.

SDC, usually the core and the lead sleeve are assembled first and then get pressed into the jacket, so it is likely to have a different reason. In particular since so many steel cored projectiles do well without the mushroom shape.

One of the theories for the mushroom shape might be that the front part of the steel core has the max. diameter to penetrate the target (hard one) so that the rest of the core can follow through without friction and sowith reduce the loss of velocity or increase the “behind armor effect”. Not that a regular 9x18 is worth to be mentioned in relation to AP effect but in general it is a small increase of projectile effect which comes for free when mushroom shaped. Of course there might be a thousand other reasons for this design.
Just my thoughts.

Thanks SDC and EOD. I think I will leave the subject alone in the book. It is getting too long as it is. Most of the gun people won’t care.

Hans - that is startling news! about a DDR lead-core round. Are there other dates? I have pretty well run out of DDR duplicates because I have cut into so many (not sectioned - I am poor at that - just filed away to find the core and then inerted and disposed of). I hope I have a 59 Date duplicate, because I will have it properly sectioned.

I assumed that 59 would be steel, since by that year, the Soviets had gone to the steel-core projectile. It is interesting that despite going to a steel core in 1956, the Russian service manuals for the PM still showed the lead-core bullet as late as the 1962 edition. My next edition I have arfter 1962 is 1967, and that finally showed the steel core, 10 years after it was adopted! Of course, if there were editions of the manual between 1962 and 1967, it could have been in them, but still very late!

Thanks for the information guys.