Iraqi 9mm Tracer

Very interesting thread on a possible Iraqi 9mm tracer round. … 9&#1320321

Thanks for sharing.

This is an Iraqi tracer from “Factory 53.” The two figures at the top of the headstamp are “53” partially obscured because the stamping is poor, and runs into the primer pocket. Plant 53 is part of Al Yarmukh Defense Industries, of Iraq. The single digit standing alone is “9” for the caliber. The other two characters are the date, but I cannot read it because on the screen and print out, at least, it is illegible.

The date, by the way, is likely expressed by the Western Calender.

I have not seen this headstamp before. Wish a real cartridge collector had found it.

This information comes off of a 7.62 x 39 round with the same headstamp, and the box label that it came out of. My Thanks to Geroge Kass for help in identifying it.

I said that I had not seen this headstamp before. Actually, I find that I have it in my collection, loaded with a French-type THV bullet. Whether the French supplied the bullets to Iraq for loading, or they copied it under license, or simply ripped-off the design, I don’t know. I hadn’t cataloged this round yet, and forgot that I had it.

Some time ago I was asked to identify the same headstamp, but did not have the information at that time. That round was ordinary ball, so we now know of at least three loadings, Ball, THV and tracer in cases of this headstamp style.

Hi John! (and others!)

THV bullets did figure as a 9 mm Para loading in a catalogue I saw from Al Yarmukh, and were offered for sale at a time when the SFM had to cease its manufacture for legal and political reasons (including US ban to import this kind of load, also ARCANE and SIB projectiles) in the late 80ies.

It is presently not possible to say if the Iraqi did buy the rights, or if they just flatly copied the design. The loading did also exist in .38" S&W SPL.
Anyway, the Arabian text did not actually speak of THV projectiles but only “special A/P bullets for Police use”.

A somewhat similar story did happen with the SIB projectiles, which were made of conical lathe-turned solid copper alloy, in pistol and revolvers calibres. This bullets had been patented by a Serbian imigrant, arrived in France in the early 50ies, a former Shooting matcher fromm the Yugoslavian official Shooting Team, who fled his country and was granted asylum in France.

I knew him well, his name was Stefan Bulkovcic, and he created his small artisanal company, SIB, in his backyard(!), where he loaded fromcommercial brass and bullets of his own designs, that he proposed to Police Services and Shooters associations.

I must say that he also copied flatly several other drawings and ideas, but , as far as I know, happily managed to go thru…

So he was extremely infuriated the day I brought him an advertising leaflet from the Yugoslavian Arms Procurement Directory, Beograd, where he found HIS OWN SIB BULLETS EXACTLY COPIED by PPU and offered for sale!!!(he never cared to patent its creations, as international patents are extremely expensive here)

The story ended around 1995 when he retired in a farm, south western France, to go back to his second hobby, trees growing!

I hope that you did appreciate this small humoristic note!

(by the way, for the people interested, SIB meant [b]Soci

Philippe, mon ami - Great information!!! Thanks for posting it! John M.

I’d like to suggest that this factory code is “03” and not “53”. I have many variations of this headstamp layout in 7.62x39mm and they all are definately “03” as evidenced by the “dot” or “diamond” of a zero and not the egg shaped “0” of the Arabic “5”. Although the “0” in this headstmap is somewhat egg shaped, I still think it is a “0” and not a “5” due to it’s smaller size compared to the “3” next to it. The date looks like “91” to me, but what are the Iraqis using in 1991 in this caliber that would need tracer ammuntion? I saw High-Powers over there in 1991 and know they have other 9x19mm pistols around. What about Sterlings or some other SMG?
I’m surprised they were making ammunition in 1991 after the Gulf War was over. Maybe the year is later than this? Hard to tell because of the worn bunter.


The date on my round is very clear, and is “86”. The date is oriented so that the top of the numbers are at the edge of the rim, not at the primer.

You could be right about that “diamond” figure being a zero. It is not so clearly a diamond on my headstamp, but clearly not the normal numerical digit “5” either in the Arab or Persian style. I think the confusion might come from the fact we are not used to seeing the digt “0” in the same size, or as on mine, almost the same size as the other numbers. The diamond mark for zero is very small and often appears on metal stamps or bad hand-writing as just a round dot. Correctly written, it is smaller than the other numerical digits.

On my headstamp, the way the “03” is stamped in such a way that it actually looks like “02”. If we didn’t know it was a “3” even a fluent Arabic speaker would read it as “02”. these headstamps could even drive an Arab ammunition specialist crazy as many of the Arabic characters don’t seem to translate well to metal stamping tooling.

John and Philippe both mentioned the Iraqi THV load. There appear to be two slightly different bullets. Both have the same headstamp.

Philippe, are either of these loads like the one illustrated in the catalog???

[quote=“philippe regenstreif”]
So he was extremely infuriated the day I brought him an advertising leaflet from the Yugoslavian Arms Procurement Directory, Beograd, where he found HIS OWN SIB BULLETS EXACTLY COPIED by PPU and offered for sale!!!(he never cared to patent its creations, as international patents are extremely expensive here)[/quote]

I would be very interested in a scan of the PPU catalogue if you still have it. I have their newer catalgues but have never seen one with this ammo.

AKMS - I have not looked at this posting in awhile, and had forgotten a question you asked. The Iraqis had a lot of MP5 variants. Saddam had at least one gold-plated. I once saw a photo of a Republican Guard guy with an Uzi, or at least that’s how he was identified. No question it was an Uzi. Impossible to tell if it was Israeli, Belgian or German made, of course. I know FN made them at one time; am assuming since they were a Budeswehr Standard at one time that Germany made them as well - perhaps they purchased them from IMI or FN, though - I really don’t know for sure. SMGs by and large do not interest me much.