Any information on this headstamp 9mm S 2000 3-Macedonian!

I’m looking for ANY information on this headstamp.

This headstamp showed up on the AFTE website in March 2004 and is still listed as an unknown.

The style of the date (2000) is distinctive and looks vaguely familar. Has anyone seen something similar on a headstamp?

There is an earlier thread url[/url]on a similar 7.62x39mm headstamp with 7 7 in place of the S 3 and a later date or 66.

The thread indicates these cartridges were found in Iran and Iraq and may have been produced in Iran or perhaps by Syria.

Seperately, the 7.62 rounds was identified by a knowledgable collector as Syrian because of it’s destinctive case mouth crimp.

I am not convinced that the 7.62x39mm rounds are actually related to the 9mm but the headstamps are interestingly similar.

Another 9mm case has shown up and there has been an official request for information. Any help appreciated.



Lew–Here are two more 7.62x39 headstamps. As far as I know they are from Syria. I doubt if they are related to your 9mm. Especially note that the date is curved on the 7.62x39, not straight-line as on your 9mm.

I just received information that this headstamp was produced by the factory in Macedonia. This seems credible since the “3” on the headstamp looks very much like a Cyrillic Z. There is no S in the Russian/Bulgarian character-set as far as I can tell, but the S is used in Macedonian Cyrillic to represent a Dz sound that is apparently almost unique to the Macedonian language.

The Cyrillic 3 (Z) occurs on Bulgarian headstamps where I’m told it represents Zavod which means arms factory or something similar. A Macedonian on-line translator converts Zavod to Institute.

I have found a travel website that says a large ammunition factory is situated in Samakov which supports the information I received. This article indicated that the plant was closing down and appeared to date from about 2008. That and the S 3 being characters in Macedonian Cyrillic pretty well convince me that this headstamp is Macedonian.

Does anyone have information on other ammunition with Macedonian headstamps???



Lew - was the travel website specific about the topic of discussion being Samakov, Macedonia?

I ask this only because there was at one time a munitions factory at Samakov (also spelled “Samokob” and in Cyrillic, “CAMOKOB”), not far from Sofia in Bulgaria. The one in Bulgaria, though, may have closed years and years ago, I simply don’t know, as my reference to it was on a book about war materiel supplied to the Ottoman Empire.

John Moss

Lew–I have the following listed for 7.62 x 39:

“Sovenir” Macedonia-Brod-Serbia

The problem with the “S” standing for “Sovenir” is that if the “S” on the headstamp is the Western Alphabet, than the other figure would be the Numeral “3” and not the Cyrillic Letter representing the sound of “ZE” In Ukrainian, Serbian (and I assume from that Macedonian) and Byelorussian, the letter in the form of “S” represents ths sound “DZE” (and does not exist in the Russian Cyrillic Alphabet). I do not see them making a headstamp half in the Western Alphabvet and half in Cyrillic. If Sovenir were represented on the headstamp, it would be represented in Cyrillic by the Cyrillic letter in the form “C” which is the “ES” sound.

We may have more work to do in indetifying this headstamp by factory name, or what the headstamp actually stands for.

The “SMB” headstamp, to represent Sovenir Macedonia-Bord, has to be in the Western Alphabet or it would be “CMb” (I have used a lower-case “b” to represent the Cyrillic letter representing the sound “BE.” The Cyrillic letter that has the form of our “B” represents the sound “VE.” The real character, which I cannot reproduce here, is simailar but has a bar across the top. Sorry for the expedient - I have not learned how to reproduce the Cyrillic Alphabet on this Forum).

John Moss

ZAVOD…a word common to all the Slavic languages, and is variously interpreted (depending on context) as “Factory, Armoury, Institute,Establishment, Laboratory (a Place of working)” etc.

In the Context of Ordnance, it usually means a (Gov’t) Plant producing ammunition or Firearms etc. The term “Fabriky” is also common to many slavic languages, but has a more general “Factory” ( ie, private as well as Gov’t) connotation. (From the Latin, “Fabrica”, a place of “making”—“Fabrum” a Blacksmith).

The Usual abbreviation in Cyrillic, is of course, “3” (Ze ).

Doc AV
AV Ballistics.

Great help guys!
John, it is specific to Samakov Macedonia (also spelled Samokov). I found the Macedonian announcement that the factory would be auctioned in March 2009, the notice that it was bought by a Czech company in Dec 2009, and a UN document on Macedonian arms and ammunition that identifies the company as the Suvenir Metal Products Equipment Company of Samakov, one of the two arsenals in Macedonia and apparently the only one to produce small arms ammo. The second factory is the 11 Oktomvri / Eurokompozit firm of Prilep. This small factory specializes in the production of defence products such as body armour, police shields, and helmets. The factory also possesses the capacity to produce 64mm ‘Zolja’, 90mm ‘Osa’, and 120mm lightweight
hand-held rocket launchers.

My guess is that the S is for Suvenir which is always written in western script when I find it, just a guess though. The auction announcement describes the plant as “a factory producing the following ammunition: bullets caliber 7.62x39mm (including maneuvering and signaling rounds), bullets caliber 9x19mm and 8x57mm, trotil bullets 200 and 500, hand grenade M-93, flash and shock grenades, other products based on lead (Pb) and tin (Sn) manufacturing.”

I wish I could find a website for the factory and will try the “Way Back Machine” when I have the time.

Cheers and thanks again for the help,


The only thing I was able to find is this:

Macedonian News Agency, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The public tender for the sale of factory for production of ammunition Suvenir from Samokov, Macedonia, has been called. Movables and immovables, machines, tools and buildings are offered for sale.
The initial price amounts to EUR 1 million and the final deadline for bids is June 15, 2009. The public opening of bids is to be held at the Basic Court in Kicevo on June 16.
When considering the bids, the focus would be put on the business plan and additional investments. The potential buyer of the factory will have to commit to keep the same number of workers in the next five years as well as to make additional investments in the planned period. //03.17.09 MiNa

A bit more about “Suvenir Makedonski Brod”, located in Sam[color=#4040FF]o[/color]kov, [color=#4040FF]Macedonia[/color] (time to update some researcher’s notes and files ;-)) was discussed here:

To me it makes no sense to believe the 9Para was made there. In post WWII Yugoslavia the headstamp pattern was composed of the abbreviated company name, followed by location. Like SMB, IK and PPU, and this is also true for the propellant maker MBL and many, if not for all other makers in our field of study.

After the falling apart of the Yugoslav Union it is of course possible that SMB went away from this pattern. SMB could have chosen, even though Macedonians are a Cyrillic writing nation, to keep Latin “S” as their company “logo” in the headstamp, combined with “3”/“Z”? Bringing “zavod” into play is a fantastic thought, anyhow, “3” becomes part of the “logo”. Why combine Latin and Cyrillic in a maker’s mark? Or can we assume it is a number 3? For third month or quarter, lot, …?

In my understanding the use of “zavod” implies there are more than one production facilities under a common roof in a complex company structure, maybe even with the same production portfolio! It all is possible, but is it realistic to assume this in a country of 5 million inhabitants, not really renown for an important defence industry?

As Ron wrote: “note that the date is curved on the 7.62x39, not straight-line as on your 9mm” - and please note the dreadful location on the head. To me the whole thing looks like a much more exotic source than SMB.


Hans, Thanks for pointing out the previous post!

One of the web sites had a great comment:

As pointed out on the archived thread, Papdopulos of Olympic Arms “fame” was involved. I wonder if he had ammo produced there. If so it could have had almost any headstamp and been sold almost anywhere.

Has anyone found any record of when he may have bought the factory?

Hans, The bid announcement specifically says that 9x19mm was produced there. I had heard some years ago from others that Macedonia had produced 9x19mm. Afterall, Albania produced 9x19mm and once had a website showing their production in ball, blank and softpoint.




apparently under Papadopoulos ownership nothing was produced in Samokov at all:


… a 2003 report mentions that SMB supplied small arms ammunition and
explosives to the Macedonian Armed Forces and ministries.


About presence & future: The Free Library > Date > 2009 > December > 22 > Macedonian Press Digest:…-a0215515299


I have been searching for a year on this headstamps maker as well and have hit brick walls along my way. Just an FYI, I also have this headstamp in 38 Spl, so it is not just in 9mm. Appears to be a commercial round. … newest.jpg

Can someone get that .38 headstamp photo integrated into this thread. It is really an important picture in my view and should be integral to this thread. Firstly, the “3” in the “S 3” entry now has a hook at the top, which is a feature of the Cyrillic letter “Ze” as properly and formally printed. Yes, I know that it is also a feature found on older style writing of the number three. Secondly, we now have a picture of this style headstamp that has another “3” on it, the numeral in the caliber designation of “38 Special,” and it is formed nothing at all like the character in question.

This makes me feel almost sure that the large “3” in “S3” is, in truth, a Cyrillic letter and not a number three.

Regarding the headstamps now known, I don’t see the caliber .38 Special being used militarily in Macedonia or any other of the former Yugoslavian countries. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem to fit in at all. That is a good argument for these being commercial. However, I have heard that at least one of the 9mm rounds was found in Spain (perhaps only a fired case). I don’t know if it is true or not, and don’t recall where I heard it. The .38 Special has been used a lot in Spain, and made by Santa Barbara. I don’t know if the Spanish rounds were essentially commercial, military, or both, however. I have never even confirmed that this odd S 3" headstamp has ever appeared in Spain.

Boy, we DO have much farther to go in pinning this one down! I am still inclined to go with Macedonia, but there ARE questions yet to be answered to make that work to perfection.

Thanks, cartridgecorner, for letting us know about this one.

John Moss

Cartridgecorner, is it Boxer or Berdan primed?

Thank you, Hans

No worries. I should have also added that this fired casing also came out of South Africa. Where are these other ones turning up?, maybe that could be of some help?

Everyone, Thanks for the great info, and particularly for the 38 SPL headstamp.

As this thread grows does anyone have examples of the PK1 or the CMb headstamps from SMB, regardless of caliber, that they can post so we have all the headstamp styles illustrated?

The round in the first posting came from South America.



Hans not sure as it is shot out and I can;t tell anymore. I don’;t have the case in hand, I had a friend in South africa who owns it scan it for me.

Lew is this the PKI you are looking for?
[color=#BF0000]Edited for caliber clarity[/color]