Help on 9mm x21 IMI headstamp!


Is there someone who knows the manufacturer of this cartridge?

All the best


I doubt that IMI made this brass, based on letter and number styles, but it is one of the earlier headstamps made by someone for Tanfoglio. If you need more history of the cartridge, let me know. IMI made, it appears, the first factory brass and ammo for this caliber, with “IMI” headstamp, but I personally don’t think it should be called the 9 x 21 IMI as it is an Italian-designed cartridge, not Israeli. They simply made it under contract, although they did do a slight design revision. It was designed in Italy to bypass the law against 9 x 19mm pistols, since any 9 Para (Luger)-caliber pistol may be easily converted to this caliber with nothing other than rechambering or a new barrel. Again, I can give much more of the story if requested, but I think it has been covered in many, many other places.



in Italy when we speak about this cartridge we call it simply 9mm x21 but the correct designation is “9mm x21 IMI”…at the time(mid 80’s…) we had two opportunities…to have pistols chambered for the 9mm x21 Jager(…developed by Mr. Piscetta and Giordano) or 9mm x21 IMI(…developed by Israel Military Industries…)…the Jager and the IMI have different case…the first has simply a cut down 9mm Steyr case, so a cylindrical case…the IMI cartridge is simply a blown out 7,65mm Parabellum case (…you can think at it as a 9mm x19 case only 2mm longer…) and a conical case…our government small arms board at the time rejected the Jager … but allowed the civilian to have semiautomatic pistols chambered for the 9mm x 21IMI(…in Italy the 9mm Parabellum cartridge is forbidden to civilian unless in revolver and with plain lead bullet…)…

All the best


Amico Andrea, con rispetto, non credo che ha ragione in tutti i particolare sopra il disegno del bossolo 9 x 21 IMI. It is true that the first design of the 9 x 21 J



your history is almost correct…my previous history was inaccurate because it’s an old story for me(…at the time I was a teen ager…)…at the time Mr. Erasmo and Mr Piscetta developed a 9mm x 21 cartridge simply by blown out a 7,65mm parabellum(…I remeber some articles by Mr. Giordano and his Browning HP test pistol…) case and this was the cartridge rejected by our small arms commission for the reasons you explained before…after that they developed a second ammunition with the cilindrical case(…a shorter 9mm x23 Steyr…)…the second one was accepted but the ammunition was not manufactured by any major factory so its history finished.
After that the same board accepted the 9mm x21 as presented by IMI…from a technical perspective the same as the first 9mm x21 from the two italian researchers…the history here is not clear…we don’t know exactly who gave to IMI the idea…the same resarchers?..the IMI small arms importer?..who knows?..
The Commission rejected or accepted a cartridge not because it is manufactured by a major factory or a wildcat…but only for reasons due to our firearms law(…and I assure you our laws has nothing against proprietary cartridges…)…so the real reasons why the israeli cartridge was accepted are not clear…but as you know it’s difficult for us to understand the choice of bureaucracy.
As I wrote previously…the 9mm x21 by IMI is a conical one and it “headspaces” on mouth as the 9mm Parabellum cartridge.

maybe the CIP drawing about the cartridge could be interesting for you: … t=c&zoom=1

and, as you can see, there is even the word Jager in one of its definitions…

All the best


Thank you for your additional information, especially regarding the Italian Commission and law. It appears that this part of the story that I got was not true. It also appears that I was wrong about the headspacing of various types of cartridges. Everything I ever learned about firearms dynamics told me that heavily tapered, rimless, cylindrical (no shoulder) cases, such as the 9mm Luger and the .30 Carbine headspace on the case-taper. However, a search of my library found little comprehensive on the subject, and I found a couple of statements in books that the 9mm Luger, like the straight-sided .45 A.C.P. cartridge, headspaces on the case mouth. I will admit that I doubt that, but for now, I will concede the point, as my own technical background is poor. I am not a scientist, to say the least. I hope that someone with a good firearms-engineering background will confirm which is correct on this forum. While of little importance to the cartridge-collector, to the shooter/reloader, information on headpace is critical, and we don’t want to pass incorrect information here. Thank you again for your thoughts on this cartridge. It all helps to fill in the true story.



9mm Luger and 30M1 carabine headspaces on case mouth…just as the 45Auto round.

About the 9mm x21…the history of its genesis seems to be a bit confused even here in Italy…
please, let me explain…
I took a look at the technical books written by one of the top ballistic expert here in my country and…he wrote that the cartridge has born in 1987…this statement is untrue as the first 9mm x21 IMI firearms was approved by our Commission on 10/24/1984…and by 1987 lots of firearms were chambered for the cartridge(…even the Beretta model 98F…the 9mm x21 IMI version of the 92F/M9…)…
I have a guess…after reading all the informations available to me from italian books, my own research on the work of this Commission(…the so called “Catalogo Nazionale delle Armi da Sparo”…you can think about it as a great book, in reality it is not a book, where at every page you can find a rifled bore firearm with its catalog number…plus the rejected firearms…because “war small arms” or “war-like small arms”…) and guns magazine of the time…Mr. Piscetta and Mr. Giordano developed the first 9mm x21 with the 7,65mm Parabellum blown out case(…the same as the later 9mm x21 IMI…)…but someone unofficially suggested them that probably the Commission did not like the cartridge because too similar to 9mm x19 Luger…so that the first cartridge was never rejected because it was never seen by the Commission members(…and I am not able to find any rejected 9mm x 21 firearm in the catalog…)…
After that they developed the second 9mm x21…from the Steyr case 2mm shorter… a Colt Commander so chambered was accepted by the Commission on April 11, 1984…but no ammunition factory manufactured the cilindrical 9mm x21…so end of its history.
On October 24, 1984 the importer of IMI small arms in Italy gave to the Commission a IMI Defender pistol 9mm x21 IMI chambered(…the IMI Defender was more or less a semiautomatic Micro Uzi…)…and the Commission approved the firearm+cartridge…the cartridge now is conical like the 9mm x19 Luger…and an exact copy of the first 9mm x21 “conical case” by our two researchers…

To be more accurate on the next Monday I will send a letter with all my questions about the topic to Mr. Piscetta thanks to a friend who knows him personally…I will send you a more accurate history when(…and if…) I will have his answers.

All the best

P.S.: my compliments for your italian…and sorry for my BAD english.

about italian civilian cartridges I hope you will like the .45 HP…


Thank you again for your information. I have also checked with a friend, a former Engineer at one of the large ammo companies in America (CCI) and he confirmed that I am wrong about the headspacing of the 9mm Luger and .30 Carbine. I don’t know if opinions have changed over the year on this matter, or whether I am just getting too old to remember what I learned 40 years ago. Perhaps the latter.

Your English is outstanding, by the way - much better than my Italian. Non ho avuto l’opportunit


Pindad of Indonesia are now offering a 9x21. Anyone know if it is interchangeable with the IMI round? See: