Early Fiocchi 9 x 21 box

This box is pretty rare today, since it is early 9 x 21 production by Fiocchi. An identical box was used for the 45 HP and other calibers. Note the logo of the first italian practical shooting association: " Associazione italiana tiro pratico sportivo", now “federazione italiana tiro dinamico sportivo”

Wikipedia says that 9x21mm was specifically designed for countries (like Italy) where 9x19mm is prohibited. This box appears to be made for export (from Italy). How popular is this calibre, let’s say, in US? My question is generated by the lack of knowledge about 9x21mm.

Sksvlad - The 9 x 21 mm cartridge was designed in Italy as a tapered-case ctg. The case taper, pretty much duplicating the 9 x 19 mm, poised problems in getting it approved from the Italian Government. So, it was changed in design to straight case, and IMI of Israel was the first to received a major contract for the round. They looked at the cartridge and figured if it had a taper, it would be easier for them to make it, as lots of 9 x 19 machinery could be used, which of course, was already at hand. So, it ended up being basically the original design again. The Italian Govt. approved it because it was now a factory cartridge from Israel, or something like that.

It enjoyed a brief popularity with IPSC shooters. When IPSC, dur to shooters “red-lining” small caliber cartridges to attempt to make Major category with them, and subsequent accidents because of this, decided that no cartridge used in IPSC could exceed SAAMI specs, the 9 x 21 was seized upon by some shooters because there was no SAAMI spec (at that time) for it, so they could simply seat the bullet out farther to about the Ctg OAL of .38 Super and load it to max. Basically, the original cartridge is simply a 9 mm Parabellum (Luger) cartridge with the case extended 2 mm to make it a non-military cartridge and the bullet seated 2 mm deeper, giving the same powder chamber as 9 x 19, and the same ctg OAL.

Rules changed again, and now, I don’t think the 9 x 21 mm gets much attention in the U.S. anymore. Some of the 9 x 23 mm case types took over from it.

The above is all pretty much a simplification. I am sure the full story could be the subject of a lengthy article in a Journal.

There are countries other than Italy that don’t allow the 9 mm Parabellum round for civilian use. I think France is one of them - it certainly used to be, which is why the other cartridges like .30 Court (a short-case .30 Carbine round) and .45 HP, (a shortened .45 ACP round), came to pass. Winchester made some 9 x 21 ammo, but I don’t know if they still catalog it or not - I have not checked - and I don’t think they sold much in the US. I got both my box and one round from Europe, as I could never find it here.

Regarding the box shown being for export, I suspect it was for both domestic use and export. It is not at all unusual to see European cartridge boxes printed in the language of the country of origin, along with a lot of English on the label, or even completely in English, and still sold domestically. Pivi perhaps could answer that better than I.

I think that these boxes were sold for a short period ( 3-4 years) and then survived only the “silver” boxes. Every Fiocchi box sold in Italy has english writings. Warning notes on the box are written in english too.

winchester 9 x 21 mm ammo has became scarce in Italy, so they could had well ceased production of this caliber. I found two box styles, both white with balck writings

The question about 9x21 is now “Moot” in Italy, as 9x19 with LEAD bullets is considered “Non-Military”. Only 9mmFMJ is “Cartuccia da Guerra”…which give the proof to the old Italian Saying…"Fatta la Legge, Gia’ trovato l’Inganno!’ ( “The Law Being Made, there is already a Loophole”).

WRT to the "Non Military " Law, Colt did make a batch of 1911s in 9x23 Steyr calibre ( 9x23 Steyr was no Longer considered “Da Guerra” even back in the 70s) for the Italian Market…same production as the .38Super ACP guns. These are now a highly desirable Colt Pistol Variation ( Like the Colt 9,65 Romanian)…

Doc AV


We had two of the Colt Govt Mk IV series in 9 x 23 at our store, one of which we kept in the store collection. Don’t know what happened to all of that. Some of the collection is at the Cody Museum, in Wyoming.

We also had a Colt Commander in .30 Luger Caliber, but as I recall, we sold that one.

I knew that some years ago the prohibited list of calibers was shortened down pretty much to modern, official Italian military calibers, but I did not know about the relaxation of the law on 9 x 19 mm, although thinking about it now, perhaps Pivi did tell me about that a long time ago.

We had a similar phrase in the Army, to that Italian phrase: “Ignore the order and wait for the change.” How true it was.


quite difficult to explain this in english, but I’ll give a try.

The italian 1975 law considers as “war ammunition” every cartridge that is used ( or can be used) by modern armies during a war and chambered in war guns. For example cartridges ( and even empty cases) with the NATO symbol. Revolvers had never been considered “war guns” so the few chambered in 9 mm Para could had been bought and used by civilians, but with lead bullets only.

A 2013 law, that changed a little the 1975 one, says that import and sale of 9 mm pistols and revolvers are prohibited in Italy for civilians ( who had them at home can still use them). 9 mm Para Rifles and carbines are now legal in Italy, as every kind of civilian ammunition for them. So 9 mm FMJ civilian ammo is now legal in Italy. Military 9 mm ammo with NATO symbols is still considered “war ammunition”