The terms Legit and Fake are thrown around frequently among cartridge collectors and occasionally on this Forum. They are used as if they are two seperate and binary states, which makes me uncomfortable at times.
The issue is often, perhaps always, one of intent. The intent of the original maker of the item and the intent of those who resell or pass on an item.
I recently received an email from a friend asking if a pictured item was Legit or Fake, and my answer is that it depends. The item is the one on the right in the image below.
I first encountered this item and the one on the left in the photo above when I visited the FN Laboratory many years ago, and on a table was a container with what appeared to be more than 100, perhaps a number of hundreds of these two items, mixed together. They were being passed out as “gifts” to visitors. The guy I was visiting told me that they had been testing two different small caliber bullets for a proposed assault weapon. They were testing the bullet’s mid-range ballistics by loading them in a 9mm case with a nylon (?) spacer to center them and a steel washer to hold them. The test barrel was in the caliber of the bullet but the chamber was cut to accept a 9x19mm case with the spacer and washer installed. Below are examples of the two test rounds!
I was told that, at the end of this testing, the lab had lots of these bullets left over. They were always asked for souvenirs by visitors so they made up a bunch of souvenirs. Four of the smaller caliber bullets fit nicely in a 9mm case. Three of the larger caliber bullets also fit, but wouldn’t stay in so they crimped them in place. The most interesting thing about the triplex round is that the crimping distorts the case mouth so it will not fit in a 9x19mm chamber. The distortion is obvious. It is difficult to call something with so obvious a defect a serious “fake”.
The idea of putting multiple bullets into a single 9x19mm case could have come from the testing of the seven barrel pistol and ammunition developed by Hans-Ludwig Schirneker who in the late 1960s was developing multi-projectile cartridges (http://www.freepatentsonline.com/3412681.pdf ). His pistol and cartridges (image below) were tested by both Colt and DAG (and perhaps FN).
A thread on these cartridges is at:
This is a long way of explaining that the two FN articles in the top image are not Fakes. They are legit souvenir cartridges made by the FN Lab as gifts to visitors. I keep them in my collection.
They only become fraudulent when they are represented as experimental rounds from FN. I have seen them offered on both GunAuction and GunBroker as experimental rounds which is a fraudulent description.
It is the individual who passes on things-usually selling them for a high price- who is committing fraud. The cartridges are what they are. Some are created with the intent to commit fraud, and some were created (or reloaded) for perfectly legit reasons, and are subsequently used by someone to commit fraud by identifying them as something they are not.
Sellers, tell what you know and what you don’t know about an item. Do not pass on your guess, speculation or daydreams as fact. You can pass speculations on with an item, but only if they are clearly identified as speculation.