Question about Russian 9mm Ammo


I recently purchased a Glock 9mm pistol. Although Glock states that lead bullets should not be used (due to unintended pressure build up), they do state that any NATO/SAMI 9mm round should function quite nicely, including steel case 9mm.

My question is this: there are a number of bullets currently produced mostly in Russia, from companies like Wolf, Silver/Gold/Brown Bear, Golden Tiger and the like.

Do you know whether these steel cased Russian rounds meet the NATO/SAMI standards? If not, how could I find out?

Thanks again for your work,


What Glock number is it? I am interested because I am not aware of lead problem.


Because of the polygonal rifling, the Glock manual says that lead bullets should not be used in them (as the lead tends to build up in the bore, sometimes drastically raising pressures), but Glocks aren’t alone in this; H&K has also warned against using lead bullets in its polygonally-rifled pistols. You shouldn’t have any trouble with the Russian ammo in a Glock, as it is still made to meet CIP standards, the European equivalent of SAAMI, but if it’s lacquer-coated, I would pay close attention to make sure you don’t get any build-up in the chamber or leade.


Socrates - I have fired several Hundred Russian 9mm with three different case finishes in my Browning HP and they all worked flawlessly, including the old Wolf lacquered-case. I think the current Polymer case finish used by Wolf brand, at whatever factory any given lot is made at, is better, but I have had no problem with the lacquer finish.

More importantly, I have fired well over a thousand rounds of Russian 9x18m/m Makarov thru my four “shooter” Makarovs, one from each country (Russian, DDR, Bulgaria and China) with zero malfunctions and no exceptional amount of cleaning required for the lacquered-case rounds. I am not saying the problem with the case lacquer on Wolf-brand expecially is a myth, but my personal experience tells me it is way over-blown.

While safe in most 9mm pistols (polygon rifling is a solution to a non-existing problem - mostly hype in my estimation - and brings its own problems with it), some guns don’t shoot them well due to bore diameter and rate of twist. The Swiss recognized this with a special lead-bullet barrel for the fabulous P210 pistol. I had one of those barrels with a SIG P210-2 I had at one time, and it was far and away the best shooting lead-bullet 9mm Pistol I ever fired. With the normal barrel, accuracy was not as good with lead bullets as with the worst jacketed ones (I hate to use the word worst, because that P210 shot all jacketed ammo I tried through it very well, but of coursse, some better than others). I never tried shooting jacketed rounds through the barrel intended for lead, because a Swiss friend advised against it, and I never pursued it before selling the pistol.


As noted, Glock advises against using all-lead bullets as they can lead to catistrophic malfunctions (often referred to as “kB!” or “kaboom”).

Glock pistols in 9x19mm can safey shoot any factory loaded ammo including +P+ and NATO pressured loads (and of course SAAMI/C.I.P. spec loads too). Reloads and/or remanufactured ammo voids the Glock warranty, so shoot it at your own risk.

I have shot several thousand rounds of mixed steel cased Russian/Czech ammo (WOLF black box/Military Classic, LVE, Barnaul and S&B Range Safe) out of my Glocks with very little problems (a few bad primers from the case of WOLF black box stuff).

Suffice to say I think that your Glock will have no probems with any Russian made steel cased ammo.


Thanks to all who took the time to post, much appreciated especially as I value the knowledge of those who post here. Many websites, including some of the Glock sites, post very mixed opinions.

One common viewpoint is that Russian ammo is cheap, dirty and damaging. Much of this seems to be hearsay. There is another group who has shot a lot of this ammo (thousands of rounds) and except for being “dirty”, love both its price and performance that is fine for plinking and practice. Those who use a lot of it seem to think its just fine.

One person asked which Glock I have - it’s the Model 34 (Practical/Tactical), quite new. Again, thanks…


The only way to use lead bullets in a glock pistol without problems is handloading with very hard lead alloy bullets
( a lot of italian shooters use these bullets for their glock 9 x 21 pistols)


You are saying that polygonal rifling is a solution to a non-existing problem, what kind of problem is it supposed to cure?


The reason that Glock gives for using polygonal rifling is that it deforms the bullets less as they travel through the bore, but I think a bigger benefit from a manufacturing standpoint is that it’s faster and easier to produce polygonally-rifled barrels through the hammer-rifling process than to do the same for conventional rifling.


If the Glock barrels are cold-hammer forged, why is it easier and quicker to do polygon rifling than conventional lands and grooves. I watched a cold-hammer process at SIG, Neuhausen Rhine Falls, knocking out sturmgewehr 57 barrels (quite interesting as I could not understand how the 12" or so round billet with a hole down the middle would become a 24" or so rifle barrel with grenade launching bumps and the start of an integral flash-hider on it, ignorant me) and the machine does all the work, and it seemed pretty fast to me.

Just curious. I am not an engineer, and know little about these things. However, I can’t see why one would be any harder for a big machine to do than the other.

Vlad - that’s the whole point. There is no problem to cure. Hence, “an interesting solution to a non-existing problem.” I have fired Glocks and they are decent pistols I suppose (I dislike them intensely, but objectively, concede they are a good handgun), but they are not one bit more accurate than many fine pistols with conventional rifling, that do not have a problem with bullet material, and not as accurate as some. My Colts work flawlessly and are accurate, as is my 1935-designed Browning. Perfect functioning and accuracy - hmmm, what else do we need? While this is not the place to argue merits of handguns, I do not see where any particularly great advancements have been made in self-loading pistols in about 100 years.
We have advanced greatly in the shapes of levers, the size and shape of sights, and notions about correct trigger pulls, but in basic design, I don’t see any startling achievements in any of the so-called modern pistols, and many are, in my opinion, regressive in one way or another, although not the better ones.


The reason I believe this is because polygonal rifling has no sharp edges that have to be filled in internally, allowing the mandrel to be made stronger, less likely to chip, and able to be re-used more times before replacement. Agreed, there’s no practical reason in terms of accuracy for polygonal rifling to be used, so they must see a benefit in terms of ease of manufacture, and this is likely to be it.



while the manufacturer of the pistol warned against the use of lead bullets in Glock pistols I need to tell you that I fired about 50K rounds reloaded by me with cast bullets in such pistol without any problem…the spent cases were OK and used up to twenty times each…they never failed or bulged…there wasn’t any KBoom…the pistol worked OK…the accuracy was very good and the barrel was only slightly “leaded” at the end of the firing sessions…very fast firing sessions…when the firing sessions were over I put only some drops of CRC in the bore and I used a bronze brush to clean it in seconds…

…about the bore profile…I wrote an article on a italian magazine some time ago with the photos I took from the board of a profilometer about the profile of the Glock’s barrel bore and its lead slug…as you can see the bore is a series of arcs(…the “grooves”…) and flats(…the “lands”…)…the flats are segments of the sides of a regular hexagon…unless in .45’s Glocks where the flats are segments of the sides of a regular octagon…

…from a G17 barrel…

…sometimes I have seen Kboomed pistols, pistols built by various manufacturers…mostly revolvers, but everytime the problem was the reloader and not the pistol…

…this is what happened to a friend who never reloaded a round before that bought a progressive press but didn’t understand how reloading works…in the first accident he fired a 9mm x21 round reloaded with a double charge of quick burning shotgun propellant inside…the case failed…but there wasn’t any damage to his G17…

…after the first accident I told him that he needs to fully understand the reloading steps and to pay attention to every step…unfortunately one month later he forgot to put the right propellant charge in one round…he fired the next round with a bullet stuck in the bore…and the barrel bulged…

All the best


Andrea, I think your friend should take up a different hobby :)