Norma "Black Diamond" .45acp & 9mm


I recently picked up a box of Norma “Black Diamond” .45acp ammo, after looking for both the 9mm and .45 variants for some time. I thought the box and related info were interesting:

On the box end-label, this one was originally a .308 Winchester-Match box, and it has a .45acp overlabel from either Norma or Black Hills where it was loaded. I think the Black Diamond line was originally all rifle calibers, and the pistol calibers were an afterthought for the self-defense market?

The patent number listed on the back of the box is circa 1984 from a California applicant, and it just covers the method for applying a molybdenum-disuplhide coating to bullets:

As far as I can tell these are just typical +P jacketed hollow-point bullets with small perforations near the point, and which are coated in moly. The “matchgrade” attributes are apparently just the moly coating and maybe powder or primer selection, but there’s no info on those specifics on the box.


As far as the pistol cartridge versions go, the Black Diamond Match rounds, which were all loaded by Black Hills
Ammunition Company (Again, I am talking only about pistol rounds - I have not studied the rifle Black Diamond Match rounds). were a short-lived affair. They were made in 9 mm Parabellum, .40 Smith and Wesson and .45 Auto. These rounds, especially the second two calibers, were very scarce among collectors until I acquired a full box of 9 mm and a very small quantity of each of the .40 S&W and .45, only about eight rounds each. They were only in the Black Hills Catalogs for 1998 and 1999.

The 9 mm is the only Norma “+P” headstamp in that caliber that I am aware of.

Interestingly, when I wrote to a friend in Scandinavia about these rounds, he knew nothing about them. His first phone calls to Norma netted no information about them - in fact, initially, a denial that they existed. He was told specifically that Norma had never made or marketed these, and had never made any 9 mm designated +P on the headstamp. This was, of course, only half true. They were made in America only, but marketed under a licensing agreement with Norma. My friend finally found someone at Norma that knew about them. I do not know off hand if Norma made the cases for these, which in all three calibers bear their headstamp, or whether they were made here.

The rounds were basically unknown among European collectors until my inquiry, which surprised me.

You made a very good find, DK. This ammunition seemed to be made only in a small quantity while it was offered at all, and slipped by collectors like many of the short-lived production runs of ammunition do. I would suggest not shooting anymore of the .45 rounds you got than are necessary to your studies, keeping the rest for future trades.
The only box I knew of was the 9 mm Box in my collection. While I had xerox copies of the .40 and .45 labels I got from a Federal Agency, I had never seen either of the actual boxes.

John Moss


DK, Great box. I have the 9mm cartridge (probably from John M) but would love to have the box to go with it. Nice item.





You are correct. You and everyone I know who has the 9mm and/or .40 got it from me. I don’t know why, but this just slipped by everyone in the collecting group. By the time I got around to inquiring about it with Black Hills Ammunition Co., they had one case of .40 left, which they would not break, and one box of 50 only of 9 mm left which they sent to me. I obtained the few rounds each of the other two calibers thru an ad in the IAA Journal, and a police agency responded and assisted me, because I assist Crime Labs, including providing specimens, at no charge ever to any of them. Probably some collectors somewhere had them already, but everyone I offered it to in my own circle of collector friends needed them.

John Moss


Dang! I knew this stuff was not often seen, but I had no idea it was so scarce. I had seen a listing for 4 boxes of the 9mm Black Diamond just 2 weeks ago, but for whatever reason I missed the end of the auction, and it ended up going for only $53.00: The seller did a pretty lousy job of making the listing, but I found it since one of my many Gunbroker saved-search terms is Norma Diamond, and this is written in the very brief description. Sorry I didn’t grab those… I do have a box of the .45 to trade right now anyway since I bought 2 from the same seller last week.


John, What is the approximate date of production of this ammunition???


Lew - in my original posting on this thread: “They were only in the catalogs for 1998 and 1999.” I have the perfect Christmas present to give you - a new pair of glasses. Tell Kathleen that you need a new personal secretary, and that I will take the job for a small annual renumeration, say 25% of your 9 mm collection (my pick, of course). Oh Lord, how I love being your favorite “Gran Pissant.”

John Moss : )


If somebody can post pics of a fired sample, that would be nice. What is the expansion pattern?


To the best of my knowledge, the projectiles in the Black Diamond line are standard Hornady XTP bullets (aside from the MS coating).

The XTPs typically function well within their intended velocity window; FYI Hornady has not produced any +p .45acp or 9mmP loads.

I have a water tank and will glady fire/test any factory round you guys can provide at no charge (I ask only that you pay for shipping, and possibly consider certain collector cartridges and/or sections in trade). I can also do chronographing, pulling, etc…just keep in mind that I am both busy and lazy (I still have quite a few things I need to UPS to DK!).

The only place I’ve seen this product is at gunshows or auction sites.

Gotta run; I have to prep for a 40mm demo tomorrow (viva los granados!).


FYI, in the 1999 Gun Digest (copyright 1998) it states “Norma has contracted with Black Hills Ammunition to produce a line of moly-coated ammunition for them in the U.S. Initial Norma loadings offered will include the 223, 22-250, 308 as well as 9mm, 40- and 45caliber pistol rounds.”