French Unheadstamped 9x19mm-Silencer & Forensic Test

In the late 1960s some unheadstamped 9x19mm rounds showed up produced by ATS (Atelier de Construction de Tarbes) a major manufacturer of French 9x19 during this time. The cartridges were reputed to be Subsonic loads for use with silencers.

The box (below) clearly states that the cartridge has no headstamp (“sans marquee”) and that it has a reduced powder charge (0.26g of BBa 0,4 powder). Below this box loaded by ATS in 1959 is a standard ATS box from 1960 for comparison. Note that the powder charg is 0.377g of BBa 0,4 powder.

The subsonic cartridge is illustrated below left. The overall weight (oaw) of the cartridge is 193gr. Note the purple cms and pa. This is the only lot of these subsonic loads documented.

The second cartridge from the left is a forensic test round produced by GAIT (LM) in 1997. The box is illustrated below. This load is intended for firing in weapons to obtain the forensic case markings. The headstamp is eliminated so the bolt face markings can be better captured for comparison. The box for these rounds is illustrated below. The oaw is 188gr.

The other three unheadstamped loads illustrated, beginning with the 3rd from the Left, are:
-Red pa-192gr oaw-identified as a product of SFM by the source who is very credible
-Black pa & cms-194gr oaw-obtained recently
-Black pa-GM bullet-179gr oaw-note ring primer crimp-not typical of French 9x19mm-may not be French

The first two of these are also probably Forensic test loads, though there is no confirmation of this. The last is strange. Modern French government 9x19mm uses brass bullet jackets on almost all ball ammunition. GM color jackets show up primarily on special purpose test bullets and commercial ammunition. The load on the right is probably a commercial load which for some reason used an unheadstamped case. This is not surprising since unheadstamped cases show up regularly on ammunition loaded by Arcane and SIB.

If someone can identify the three loads on the right I would greatly appreciate it. Other information on this subject would also be appreciated.


Lew, I think you posted the cartridge row twice, instead putting the approbriate headstamp-views below the first row of ammo…

All my best

Thanks Peter!!!