GECO and RWS 9x18


Recently RUAG began sending GECO 9x18 to the U.S. and it’s everywhere now (the Makarov round, not 9x18 Ultra which GECO also produces).

Previously RUAG had sent us RWS-labeled 9x18.

The GECO boxes are labeled “made in the EU”. Can anyone really identify the factories making these rounds? I had assumed its made at the old MFS plant in Sirok, Hungary, but rumors of Swedish/Swiss/German orgins seem to be out there.

While I own a box of the Geco 9 x 18 mm Makarov, I have not seen it yet. The RWS-headstamped Makarov ammunition that was sold in the RUAG orange-color boxes was made in Hungary, by MFS. I would think that would be the logical place for the Geco to be made.

To my knowledge, the Makarov round has never been made in Sweden.

Thun, in Switzerland, made a short run of 9 x 18 mm Makarov with no headstamp, for unknown reasons. It took awhile to find someone there who even knew, or perhaps was simply willing to acknowledge, that they ever made it. Inquiries for a long time were met with “you’re confusing it with our 9 x 18 mm Police (Ultra) production” So, it is not out of the realm of possibility that it was made there.

I guess the question would be, is Hungary part of the EU? If not, is Switzerland?

I am really anxious to get mine. I have not seen it here in North Central California at all, but then, we have so few gun shops now in the San Francisco Bay Area that its hard to tell. When I get mine, I will tear a round down and compare it with the Hungarian ammo.


Hungary is part of the EU, while Switzerland is surrounded by the EU ;-)


The Swiss are just smart enough not to be part of the EU!

John, This thread triggered a memory in my feeble gray matter.

Back in the late 1970 I was given a Swiss made 9mm M that had been produced in Thun. The source was totally credible. He had picked up a few from a small lot that had just been made at Thun. I traded it to Webb from Ohio (long gone) at a Chicago Show for the early Burmese 9mm I have. The round was unheadstamped but typically Swiss, down to the green pa as I remember it.

You may have this and I strongly suspect that the Woodin Lab had one. Still, I thought I ought to mention it.



Yes, I have one. Mine does not have any visible primer seal. This is the first I have heard of one that does. I am surprised it is not black, but then if made for some other country, the color could have been specificied. I say “black” becuase the 1975 and 1977 runs of the Thun 9 x 18 mm Police loads normally have a black PA, although I have one 1975 round that does not have any visible seal.

The time-frame interests me as I did not have that information. That fits in with the production of the 9 x 18 mm Police, not that it needed to, necessarily.
Is that a good, firm memory on when you acquired it?

When I made all my inquiries to various Swiss sources concerning the Makarov rounds, most were met with denials that Switzerland ever made that caliber for any reason, and fell back on the idea that I was confusing it with the 9 mm Police. That proved, of course, to be completely false. I don’t know if that was subterfuge, or just ignorance. Similar inquiries about the Thun-made 9 x 23 mm Winchester cases made for Swiss IPSC shooters was met with total ignorance, even by some employees involved in ammunition production. Finally, thanks to advice from Frank N. (local .223 collector), I found a lady RUAG who knew everything there was to know about the 9 x 23 production, and gladly shared the information with me. There was nothing secret about it, so in that case, the lack of knowledge about it was simply that, ignorance.

I will check with the Lab and see if their specimen has a green primer seal or not.

By the way, there is no question that my round IS the Swiss one.

I can only share my observations how the Geco 9 mm Luger from Sirok are marked:

Stadeln and Thun have the “traditional” lot number pressed into the flap, for example: 61 MF

Sirok Geco production (Made in EU; Hugarian CIP symbol “shield with M” on the box) has a lot nuber like: “65 K G080” pressed into the flap. So it seems to me that the traditional lot format (65 KG) is rearranged to “65 K Gnnn” with nnn being digits like 080 or 108.

If the 9x18 boxes have a similar lot number format, Sirok could be the plant.


That’s interesting - the “shield with M” is on the Geco 9x18 box. Also a symbol next to it (circle with a curved arrow inside) - does anyone know what it means? Does the “shield with M” mean it was made in Sirok?

I don’t see any lot numbers on the end flaps. It is printed with “Made in EU 231 85 55” beneath the bar code.

Here is a poor photograph comparing the cartridges, bullets and powder from the 9x18 Geco, RWS and MFS “+P”. The cases and bullets appear the same except for headstamp; the powders are each different.

The M is the mark of Hungarian proof house which CIP-certified these cartridges.
The 2 circling arrows are the European symbol for material that can be recycled - I thought this would be common in the US too.

EOD - in the U.S. we see this symbol for recyclable material:

Not to over-labor the topic, but can you assume that since a Hungarian Proof House tested the ammunition it was built in Hungary?

The 3-arrow triangle we see here too.

As for Hungary:
I have no definitive proof but all looks much like these cartridges are made in Hungary.

[quote=“EOD”]The M is the mark of Hungarian proof house which CIP-certified these cartridges.
The 2 circling arrows are the European symbol for material that can be recycled - I thought this would be common in the US too.[/quote]

are you sure about this ?
Because the sign is the same as MFS used in their early headstamps (at least on 30-06)


I am very sure as other manufacturers (Nike-Fiocchi) featured this logo as well and they are not connected to MFS.

Maybe one of our Hungarian members can chime in here.

Current designation of the company that is producing these Geco 9x18 cartridges is RUAG Ammotec Magyarországi Zrt. (RUAG Hungarian Ammotec Inc.). The Geco brand is owned by RUAG Ammotec GmbH of Fürth, Germany.

The first symbol present in this 9x18 box is known as “Der Grüne Punkt” (The Green Dot) and doesn’t indicates that this product can be recycled but that the manufacturer of the product contributes to the cost of recovery and recycling (the Mobius loop posted below is the one that indicates that an object is capable of being recycled).

As indicated above by EOD, the symbol with the M letter is an Hungarian proof mark for civilian ammunition. It is used by the Polgári Kézilőfegyver és Lőszervizsgáló Kft. (Civil Small Arms and Ammunition Proofing Ltd.) in Budapest, Hungary.

The “231 85 85” figure is the item number for this specific product (9 mm Makarov, Full Metal Jacket, 95 gr).


I can confirm Fede’s answer.


Thanks to Fede’s proper ID here their site:

Thank you fede. I assume RWS 9x18 was also made by RUAG Ammotec Magyarországi Zrt.?

Lew - I found a brief discussion by Bill W. of the Swiss Makarov round, in my files. It is the same as mine. It has no PA. GM bullet of roughly Russian profile, brass case, flat brass primer, no PA or CMS visible, no headstamp.

I see that I acquired my round later than I thought, in April of 1995. I thought I had a box label copy for this round in my file, but it is not there, nor in the manuscript photos in my binders. I am probably hullucinating; wishful thinking, I suppose.

A 1992 letter from a well-known Swiss gunshop in Zurich indicates at that time the factory was denying that they had ever made the Makarov cartridge. The fact that I inquired to them in 1992 would lead me to believe that I knew about it at least that early. One interesting note in the letter was that there were no factory drawings of the 9 x 18 mm Makarov Cartridge at Thun (well, none that were in normal file locations or admitted to!).

The 1000 rd carton I have seen for the RWS brand cartridges is of earlier manufacture (pre-December 2008) and is marked MFS 2000 Inc.