German 9 mm dummy cartridges

A 9mm blank from a previous thread without having been drilled later

It is not a blank…it’s a german 9mm Luger Dummy cartridge from 1922, manufactured by Polte Magdeburg.

Actually it is 1921. The shape of the “1” fools people. It is a pretty common Ex round.


Thanks for the reply Do you remember the thread a while back when somebody displayed 6 or seven of those all
drilled through it was a big discussion they all had these stamps or similar the one I have is one not drilled that is
why I put it out.But I found out unless you can reply promtly it is not the effort later

It appears that all the early German plated Ex rounds like yours were made without holes and many later had the holes drilled. About 1937 it appears that the Ex rounds were made with the holes and I know of no Ex rounds from the late 30s which lack holes. There is a possible exception, and that is P 33 Ex* which is only known (to me) with holes so it was made that way. It has been rumored that this round also exists without holes, but I have never documented one. It is also the only Ex round I know of with the “*” on the headstamp. I don’t know the meaning of this, if there is a significant meaning other than that it is made with a plated brass case.

There is an Ex round reportedly headstamped “P Ex 29”, but I have never seen one or seen a photo of one. If anyone has an example of this round or a photo of the headstamp please post it.

I have never documented nickel plated Polte Ex rounds dated 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 31 or 32. If anyone had EX rounds with these dates, please post this information.

There is a nickel plated steel case dummy headstamped “P Va1 Ex 38” which is quite hard to find. In addition, there exist nickel plated steel case dummy Ex rounds with the commonly found “P Ex 38” style headstamp. I have only documented two. I have one dated 39 and another collector who has sold off his collection had one dated 38. These are extremely difficult to identify correctly. The Steel bullet jacked on the brass case Ex rounds extends to the bottom of the case, so all are magnetic when tested on the side of the case. The steel case rounds of this type can only be detected with a very small magnetic that is put directly on the dimple that is used in place of a primer on these cartridges. To be sure this test is being done correctly it is best to have a magnet that is only about 3mm in diameter.

If anyone confirms they have this last type of steel case Ex round please post here. They may be much more common than they appear because they are so hard to detect.

Hope this helps.


Lew et al - I have the P 33 EX* headstamp on the nickeled, dimple-base dummy
both with and without holes. The quality of the drilling of the holes on that one
that has them would indicate they were NOT originally made that way, at least
to me.

John Moss

Thanks John!


Lew - in these standard Polte dummies with dimple base, I do
not document or have any of the dates you Also have not

In P 21 EX, I have three variations with holes, either differing
in the size or the location of the holes. These are the rounds I
got that told me the holes were not original in these early ones.
I do NOT, unfortunately, have a P21 with no holes. My earliest
one there is from 1925, so am also missing a P24 with no holes.
I have the 24-date with holes.

You seem to indicate that the holes began in 1937, but give the
impression that you have not seen a 37-date with no holes. I
have the P 37 Ex with no holes, and in fact, I don’t have the one
with them.

I got a bunch of these dummies, either all or most with holes, I
forget which, so in my typical inconsistency, I decided to break
my normal custom and save dates in the Polte and P28 dummy rounds.
Even now though, I seldom look at these at shows because I don’t have any
catalog current enough to show what I have and what I don’t.

I suspect that these dummies were not necessarily made every single year.

Yes, I am a naughty boy.

John M.

Thank you for the reply the knowledge and expertise on the subject left me in the dust but then I only
collect those things when I get them cheap and without effort and I like the Head stamp no I do not
study them much but after your lecture I will pay more attention.

John, thanks for the info on the P 37 Ex without holes. that confirms that they likely went to the holes in 38 when they changed the order of the year and Ex on the headstamps.

Sherryl, There are some very good rounds out there waiting to be found.


Yes Lew I know if I were younger I get a bathtub and try to fill the sucker but then that green painted stuff
is always a bit of an impediment.


Very possible, although things don’t always happen on the last
day of a year or the first day of the next year, so it is still possible
the change is from 1937 as you originally thought. Can’t say, but the quality of the drilling
of the holes might tell the story on a Ex.patr. dated “37” and WITH
holes. I don’t have one to check.

John M.

John, I agree and I should have said “by 38”. It could have easily been that the change happened in 1937.

Thanks for noting that.


I know this is a long thread jump, but I’ve got these, and was trying figure out what they were. There are no holes in the side.

1 Like

These are probably German 9x19mm training rounds. They are dummies. Will not fire. May we see one from the side? Also the box?
Wow, I did not realize this was a 3 year old topic. Did not see above it.

Yeah, haha. Old post, but I googled and this thread was the ONLY thing that gave me any insight. Only let’s me upload one pic at a time, so here is the side


1 Like

Unfortunately the box is. It in the best shape.

1 Like

Still a nice find, thanks for posting! Lew or John will probably give us more info on it.

Your cartridges are the 9 mm Exerzierpatronen 08, and are dummy cartridges for training purposes. The small concave “hole” in the head of the cartridges is simply a firing pin clearance hole, so the firing pin doesn’t hit the case bottom. They are standard issue, originally without holes, but in the late 1930s they started manufacturing them with 4 holes in the sides, and actually went back to at least some of the existing stores and directed that ones with no holes be drilled to meet the “new” specification. I don’t have any documentation on that entire process.

These dummy rounds are not rare of themselves, although some headstamps and dates are scarcer than others. They were replaced first with cartridges with black plastic cases just above the head up to the tip of the mock projectile, but with the cartridge head made of steel, and then very quickly, the color of the plastic portion of the cartridge was changed to red.

There are also lots of other forms of German drill cartridges that were made, for one reason or another, contemporary to the type you have, which off the cuff, I think were made from 1921 until 1939. The plastic rounds seem to have come in during 1940, as there is a very rare black one headstamped P 40, made at Polte. Most of the black rounds were made with no headstamp, while the red ones generally have a trinomial headstamp of the manufacturers’ code, the letters “Ex” and the two digit date of manufacture.

All of these dummy rounds, rare, scarce or common, are sought after by collectors, and the box, like you have, is seldom found. A shame so much of the label is gone, but it is good to even have one with that much of a label!

John Moss

1 Like

Awesome. Thanks for the info!