9x19 alpha

I bought a 9x19 alpha round at the last ECRA show. The seller told me it is an original because there’s no headstamp, the primer is nickeled and the pa is red.
Can anyone tell me the story behind this round (as who made it when and what for), or give a direction to literature?
Thanks in advance

I can only tell you that your round is original - not a fake. This is one of several variations.


early 1980s

Was a big flop…lots of problems.

Most wonder bullets are a big flop.

Oh so true !

Charles - to add to this I have this label photo:

The only published image I have ever found for this cartridge is a bizarre entry in a book titled “Wound ballistics and the scientific background” by Karl Sellier. On page 80 it has an entry showing an Alpha bullet and a THV bullet, and their condition after having fired into “soap”, which seems pointless because obviously these bullets will have no change after being fired into anything as soft as soap. Oh well, here is the pic from that book:

This book mentions in the caption, and on the previous page, about a British connection to this cartridge, anybody know about that?

Thanks for posting that picture of the Alpha label. I have never seen any picture of any packaging for these rounds.

Regarding the book you mentioned, while I don’t know that particular one, much of what is printed in the popular press and some books, such as "Stopping Power,’ (both volumes) is, to use your own excellent description, “bizarre” and BS. In the latter case, Statistics Departments of two countries, the United States and Holland, have found the statistics in the books wanting.

Hi DK,

thanks for showing this info! All this time I found nothing, thanks again

The box it’s self is interesting in that it is of Styrofoam. 2-piece (apparently 2 box inserts turned with the holes facing the inside) with the same label attached on the top and bottom pieces, then sealed/held together with clear packing tape by wrapping it once around the middle.
Quick & dirty to say the least.

Here is a pic of a 9mm ALPHA with multiple stab crimps in the case neck. I assume this is to hold the sabot in place, but I have never seen this version before with these crimps in an ALPHA. Is this a rare variation, has anyone seen this one much before? The reported headstamp on this cartridge (as listed on the sammlermunition.de website) was “FC 9mm Luger”, so would this be a reload since the originals didn’t usually have any headstamp at all?

Be careful of the word “reload.” I have made the same mistake years ago. A reload is a cartridge loaded into a case that has been used before. If I sit at my loading bench and load a brand new factory case for my own use, it is NOT a reload by definition. It is a “handload,” but then so are many experimental factory loads, meaning it is loaded on the same type of tools that the home reloaded uses by individual technicians in the experimental facility, not on mass-production, high-speed and highly automated equipment associated with a production line.

The FC-headstamped round with stab crimps is just one of the many variations of the Alpha rounds. I had six variations in my collection - someone like Lew probably has twice that or more. Three of the four American loads were loaded in “FC 9MM LUGER” cases, none of which that I have seen were reloads, and two of which have the stab crimps. The fourth has no headstamp and a red primer seal which could be Federal or Winchester. The other two rounds were French, one with the headstamp + SF 81 and the other with the headstamp + SF 91, that one also having a primer marked LF. It was loaded in France but using a US lead-free primer. Among my six rounds were three different bullet types but all with pretty much the identical sabot, including the two French ones. All of the cartridges pictured on this thread have the most common of the bullet types - four of mine had that same bullet, including the “91” dated French load.

The " + " mark I used in my rendition of the French headstamps is actually a NATO mark, and of course, doesn’t relate to the load. I am not sure the dates on the French cases have any relation to when they were loaded either. Probably just a use of available cases in the SFM lab.

I meant “handload” I guess. But I assume the no-headstamp version with the red primer seal is the most commonly encountered collector specimen anyway? I can see I’ll need to make a few changes to the ALPHA entry in my book.

I don’t have access to my collection right now, but my memory (always a risky venture) is that I had the FC headstamped round for some time before I got the unheadstamped load which appears to have been their final production round. There are also some variations on sabot material I think and some were loaded with a sabot holding a blunt lead bullet!!!

John, I have never seen one of these loaded in a French case, but it doesn’t surprise me at all. I have samples from both the French and the Israeli labs where they get their hands on new bullets and load them in their labs in whatever cases are available for testing. I suspect most labs do this and I have only been lucky enough to get items from these two.

A very interesting round, too bad it wasn’t effective cause it sure is cute. Probably killed off by the same legislation that killed KTW.

I could be wrong, but I think Lew is intimating, and I would agree, that the “FC” headstamped rounds are the most common. I have seen more of those than the unheadstamped version. I wish I had an old scan of the rounds I had, but I do not. I know, by the way, that I had at least a couple of my FC rounds before the unheadstamped one. I think they predate it, with unheadstamped round being the serial production version, if you can call any of them “serial production.” I find i have notes about a fourth bullet type, with a very plain, round pointed projectile, grey in color, but unfortunately, I did not note the material (steel, probably, but not sure). The case was the unheadstamped case, but with a brass primer cup and no primer seal. I think I may have seen this at St. Louis in the last few years. I know that i had it in my hand, or I would not have any notes on it.

The following are the Alpha loads and bullets I have.

The first loads I laid hands on were the two FC hsts, one the typical black steel and the other with a HP lead bullet which was billed as a High velocity anti-personnel load. I received both of these at the same time in 1989 and I think they were the initial offering by Lightfield.

The unheadstamped load on the far right was obtained in late '89 or early '90

The unheadstamped load second from the right was obtained in 2000 along with the seperate bullet next to it were obtained around 2000 and have a somewhat different bullet channel from the other unheadstamped load. This load came out of a collection so it probably dated from around 1990 also. The bullet weighs 65gr.

Note that both unheadstamped loads have a long straight crimp to hold the sabot.

There is a seperate bullet that I obtained in '89 with a blunt bullet ogive which I have never noticed in a loaded round. The sabot is interesting with the hole in the base. This was actually the first Alpha item I got before I got the FC headstamped loads so it may be an ealry bullet style. I think I actually got it from Lightfield when I wrote them a letter on first hearing about them. The bullet is interesting with a very conical rear on he bullet which gives it the greater overall lenght. The hole apparently accomidates the pointed base and you can see the tip of that point in the hold in the base of the sabot. It looks like later bullets had a flat base. This bullet weighs 69grs.

Finally, I have a load with the WIN headstamp and a very blunt gray steel bullet. I obtained this in 2001 but it was probably made much earlier.

I don’t have any idea which of these is the most common. I wish I had bought a full 50 round box instead of just getting a box top with the label. I recently needed one for a trade and wound up paying $50 for it.

Anyway-there it is. I’m sure John has some variations hidden away that I have missed (besides the French loads).

If anyone has any variations to the ones shown here please post pics.

Here is a link to the patent. Looks like it was filed in 1984 and issued in 1987 which is about right for the first production rounds to show up in '88 and '89.

google.com/patents?id=p9wyAA … ew_r&cad=0

I noticed that most of the patent was related to shotshell slugs. I checked on the Lightfield Ammuniiton Company and they are still in business in Adelphia NJ selling saboted shotshell slugs. Guess Jim Sullivan’s invention did well for them!

The first rounds that I ever saw were loaded on Canadian cases - and had always assumed that there was some Canadian connection. This particular round is (+) 87 IVI. I know of a loaded .50 BMG round - on a IVI headstamped case, but I only have this projectile.

Paul - that is the first time I have ever seen this load in an IVI case! Thanks for posting. Have never seen the .50 either, although that is out of my field, so not surprising I didn’t know about that one. I wonder if there were any other calibers?

I once had the .50 as an inert loaded dummy, the hs was dutch if I remember right.

The base of the sabot on that 50BMG ALPHA projectile has the same style molding fill-mark (and in the same position) that the 9mm sabots have on their base from the previous photos. A good bit of provenance proof to have photos together as documentation.