British 9x19mm 170grain bullet (and case) drawings


Showing the parallel sided British 170 grain bullet as well as the modified case necessary for the heavier bullet.



Again thanks!
I assume the 170grian is a subsonic load?


These drawings go hand in hand with 9x19mm Heavy Ball, Tony Edwards’: … heavy-ball.

Note the second drawing is of a 150 grain bullet.


Does anyone know what the intended application was? As a close range anti personnel calibre the heavier bullet, or rather the lower velocity that would result, works against most perceptions of what is needed from the calibre.

We soon found the heavier (147gr) bullets gave better accuracy but we were unusual in that we were using them for shooting groups on targets.


The earliest of the heavy bullet loads from the UK that I know of in 9mmP are loaded in B^E 1945 cases with a CN primer. These use a 170gr bullet so the cases have probably been modified. There are no markings so are only identified by the weight. I was told by Herb Woodend that these were loaded post WWII for use with silenced weapons.

The other British heavy bullet subsonic loads I have are in RG cases dated 1960 and 1961 with various color dots on the case head. the bullet weights vary. I have specimens with 150gr, 160gr, 165gr and 170gr bullets. Again, Herb said these were for subsonic weapons, primarily machine pistols. These were intended for use in weapons that did not have the holes in the barrel like the silenced Sterling weapons. These guns used normal 115gr cartridges and reduced the muzzle velocity by allowing the gases to escape from the holes before the bullet left the barrel.

Peter, thanks for the great images.



The head shape (ogive radius .815 and nose radius .125) of the bullet shown is the same as on Mk IZ drawing O.D. 5581 from 1941. The IZ is simply shorter: .59 in (weight 115 +/- 2 gr).

The 150 gr version as of drawing 20659/G/409 from 1961 also has the same head shape and is .703 to .728 long.

I have seen no hint regarding the intended purpose of the heavy bullets, but subsonic seems rather obvious.


The silenced 9 mm weapons that simply reduce the velocity of the 9 mm 115 and 124 grains bullets to subsonic levels offer only the worst of two worlds for any anti-personnel action in war or peace. A small caliber bullet moving at low velocity. The heavier bullets used in other silencer designs would penetrate deeper into a target and therefore be more effective. The 147 grain bullets used in standard 9 mm defense loads, for example, have in the main, performed well for a 9 mm weapon, despite the early mutterings of the popular gun press that had little understanding of wound ballistics. Some of the lighter bullets, at full velocity capability, depending on projectile design, are fairly good self-defense rounds as well, but I, for one, will go with the heavier bullets every time. It is why in my gun-carrying days, my favorite piece authorized for me to carry was my Colt Commander .45!

The British series are really interesting for collectors. They are now very hard to find.

Regarding the question about the intended use of the British loadings tried throughout the years is basically the subject of Tony Edward’s piece of them for which a direct link was furnished on this thread. It was for silenced weapons. That would, of course, mean for use against enemy personnel under conditions that demanded stealth. See Lew’s comments on these Loads as well, which refers to information from Herb Wodend. Can’t think of two better sources for information on 9 mm, and many other ammunition subjects, than Lew and, while we had the dear man, Herb.