Bright Spot Marker Loads


What do I have here? Are they used in LEO training and used to “mark” target persons like a paintball gun . . . or are they for indoor target use?

Any help or insight would be appreciated,



Here is the only mention on the internet about these, it is also a box of .22’s but is a white box:

It’s not a very enlightening discussion, but at least you know there’s more than one box type.


I think these pre-date the use of any “marking” cartridges fired at personnel in LE training. Not a postal Zone code and not a zip code.

Were it not for the caution about safe use of them in a firearm, I would think they were for a brake reflex testing device of some sort, or some use similar. Seems not from that Caution however.

John Moss


They fired chalk on to the pavement of a vehicle having its brakes tested (assumed for auto manufacturers…and the like… with a specially attached and rigged device)


Thank you both for your responses. Combining your application with where I acquired them, I conclude they may have been used by the state commercial motor vehicle inspectors . . . perhaps back in the 50s.

Thanks again, Russ


I think this would make an interesting article for the Journal if someone could figure out what gizmo used these cartridges, who used them and for what exact purpose.


There are also brake reflex test cartridges in .45 Auto caliber. They look like the early shot cartridges by Remington and Peters that had red paper sabots. You can instantly identify them when you pick them up as they are very light. I have a couple of variations of them in my own collection. The red sabot was filled with yellow chalk. There may have been other calibers too. I just don’t know. There was, on the old Forum, a discussion of these I think. I never have any luck searching that, unfortunately. I never caught the knack for picking the right words, so it wouldn’t just kick up every thread on the Forum.

John Moss


Pepper–You said “They fired chalk on to the pavement of a vehicle having its brakes tested (assumed for auto manufacturers…and the like… with a specially attached and rigged device)”

They may have been used by manufactures, but I doubt it. All the boxes I have seen were like the red one but instead of D.W. Pontious they said "distributed by A.A.A. " the American Automobile Association. I have used these loads myself back in 1963 when I took driver training in high school. They were used for two purposes. The first was to demonstrate how far a car traveled at 30MPH, 40MPH up to 70 MPH after you applied the brake, The device was a pendulum firing outfit. We would go out to a large parking lot. There was a marker stick. As you passed this marker the driver training instructor would holler “Brake” and you would slam on the brakes. At that moment the device fired and left a yellow marker about 1 inch in diameter on the pavement. After you stopped , we measured the distance from that spot to the front bumper of the car.

The second use for Brake Reaction time. As you passed the stick and hit the brakes and left your spot on the pavement, it was simple physics to measure the distance from the stick to the mark, and knowing your speed (we usually did this test at 60MPH), you could figure out how long it took you in seconds to apply the brakes in an emergency. The purpose was to demonstrate why you should not tailgate another vehicle. If you were too close when the other vehicle’s tail lights came on, due to the brake reaction time, you would hit the other vehicle before you could even put the brakes on.


I forgot to describe the cartridge in those A.A.A. marked boxes in 1963. They were nickel-plated with a yellow wad and a diamond headstamp (Western Cartridge Co.).


Ron’s description squares with what I know about these things. That is why they were often referred to as “Brake Reflex” loads, the term I used. In the Army Reserve, in the early 1960s, I seem to recall the machine used did not use these marker cartridges, and was more like an arcade game, mechanical, not electronic (too early for video games), with the test being administered right in the building where you took the written test. That’s a long time ago, for my memory, so I could be wrong.

John Moss


Ron, your description works for me.
I too have a .45 chalk round as John describes.

I agree with Leon as there are dozens of “special purpose” rounds with many many interesting stories behind their use and application. Any one of them would provide enough fodder for a couple of paragraph article… the “special purpose cartridge of the month”.

I have the cartridges, but not the time to research the applications (and “gizmos”) in detail enough to write such an article(s)…and that is the beauty of the Forum…as one of us throws out a question or hypothesis and the thread seeks its own direction and expertise (a tad like Wikipedia ?)

Interestingly, a long discussion could ensue about how much micro data you can assign to a special purpose round?

Some would be satisfied to call a round a “tool blank”… Lord knows there are 100’s of tool applications that could be detailed to the nth degree. I love the cable cutters cable cutting blanks, rail punch, the military nail stud rounds…

How about incendiary 12’s used by the Forest Rangers for setting back fires, or used to burn destructive and pesky parrot nests in South America?..and someone might just call it an “incendiary round”.

We can go all day with military “CADS” (cartridge activated devices)…or blanks that set off industrial fire extinguishers…or a blank to heat a military soldering iron in the field…EOD destruction rounds…or a zillion less lethal variants…or…or…or !!!

(but then too, A/P, tracer, incendiary, flechette, all snuggle in to my “special purpose’ drawers)

I love special purpose rounds

(some of which were the basis of my 2005 SLICS display “Special Purpose Cartridges”