I noticed this online report dated 7-20-08 about the very cool looking Libra snail AP cartridges from the Czech republic: http://www.policista.cz/clanky/reportaz/kousajici-snek-libra-snail-286/ They came in 9x19mm and 7.65, and hit the scene in 2002. If I am translating this Czech article correctly (use google translator), it seems to say that the company had some social and political backlash which was spurred on by over-zealous or bogus media reports (sounds KTW-ish) and that they collapsed as a company and ceased production of the Snail AP cartridges this past year. The snails sort of looked like a mesh of newer pistol AP technologies as far as high-velocity lightweight bronze projectiles, dual-effect steel core and HP type effects similar to the exposed-tip steel core Russian bullets, and post-impact weight retention potential of the collapsing bullets. Lew’s site has the best write-up on the internet about them here: http://www.gigconceptsinc.com/Libra-Snail.html Have these cartridges ever come into the U.S. at all into any of the shows?
As an employee of that company told the Director got arrested for trying to sell these cartridges to Iraq and therefore the project went down.
There was also a 9x18 Mak. tested and developed. The different colors are for marking prurposes of the different lots and customers. Within Czechia these cartridges were highly restricted. The projectile bodies are known to be of aluminum (the majority) and also of brass.
If the company director got in trouble for marketing to Iraq then it must have been in their first year of operation since by early 2003 Saddam was out of action. Interesting that this fact only came to light this past year (assuming this past year since the article implies a recent cease of operations by Libra)? I wonder if media reporting, and social scrutiny by anti pistol-AP types plus the Iraq link allegations lead to Libra’s downfall. It doesn’t get much worse than being labeled a “cop-killer” distributor, and a business partner to Saddam in this day and age.
According to company employees the production of SNAILs stopped already three years ago at least. Unfortunately I have no further details.
To answer someone’s question, the Snail rounds never showed up in this country, and few collectors have one. I have the mepty boxes for both bullet weights, but have never been able to get so much as one sample of either bullet weight, much less an array of colors in both. It is unlikely that more will ever show up, as the Czech Government put a heavy restriction on their sale, with strict record-keeping, even before the company shut down business in them, or had their business shut down by the Government.
As far as I am concerned, it was much ado about nothing. Whoever mentioned KTW was right on, in my opinion. Collectors, for the most part, had no opportunity to get them, but for practical purposes, in my estimation it is just another “wonder bullet.” Notice how many of these things are ever really successful, after the first flurry of hype and the few people convinced purchase them. One in twenty designs, maybe? Maybe less than that. If there had been anything to these rounds, the Czech military and Police would be a customer, and while perhaps reprimanded and controlled even more closely, the maker would not have been shut down.
No, I have never had one so obviously I have never tested them. Doesn’t alter my opinion a bit. Again, had they been anything to write home about, they would still be made even if heavily restricted to LE and military in the Czech Republic. Just my arrogant opinion. A shame that as collectors, we couldn’t get them. These failures are perhaps even more interesting than those that succeed, just to show that ammunition factories have no limits to their fantasies.
So it sounds like the company only really produced for 2 or 3 years then. I agree about it probably being much ado about nothing, in that if it were actually so great, then there would be a viable market. I think the governments and militaries are ignoring these typical pistol calibers (in AP) in favor of multi-role PDW type calibers, and the police don’t feel a need for them enough to justify commercial level production. Neat bullet anyway.
John, there were some 9x19 factory dummies around about three years ago sold by company employee on the German ECRA meeting. He had the different colors available. One round costed 50 Euro and I fear that all are gone since long ago.