Spent 9 mm D.A. cartridge found

Hello all…

Newbie here… Not too familiar w/ the whole cartridge “scene” but I’ve done some homework…

I found the spent catrtridge bellow over the weekend (during the Abbotsford Airshow in BC, on August 10th), on the grass, roughly in the middle of the airfield, where “normally”, I wouldn’t expect anyone to wander (see where I found it in the last illustration bellow – yellow arrow – this area would only be “open to the public” for the Airshow)

The headstamp reads D.A. 67 +, which I understand to be Dominion Arsenal (Montreal), 1967 and made to NATO specs… The cartridge is very worn by the elements so it’s probably been sitting in that same spot since the 60s or 70s.

I just wonder, what would a spent 9 mm NATO cartridge be doing in the middle of an airport? I know sometimes airport maintainance crews must “shot away” wandering wildlife from airports, but it would seem ood to me that a 9mm gun w/ military ammo would be used for such purposes. I like to think this cartridge was involved in some cold-war spying incident, with a James Bond kind of chase in the middle of the night, but I guess that would be just too cool. So, I just wonder, which kind of gun would this cartridge have been fired from? And for what, in an airport…? Any ideas greatly appreciatted!



The cartridge is a blank and would have had a rosete closed mouth. So, you are probabily correct in your first thought that it was used to scare deer or birds away from the runways.

If used by the British military to scare birds away - which I would think was what it was used for just as Ron said - it would probably have been fired from the FN 9mm GP Pistol, what we call in the United States the Browning HP or Browning Hi-Power Model. It is a 13 Shot single-action 9mm auto pistol of conventional Browning design, and is used by a lot of the UK forces. I understand that the British Police that are armed used the Glock pistol, but I have not confirmed that, as it is of little interest to me. What is interesting is that the blank is Canadian. I suppose, thinking about it, that it has been a long time since England made an official blank cartridge in 9mm, although there are firms making movie blanks there. If fired from a glock, the firing pin mark on the primer would have been rectangular, almost like that of .303 fired in Brens, rather than circular. as it appears to be in your pictures. I would guess, therefore, that it was fired in an FN-Browning. I doubt that they would have used Sterling or HK MP5 SMGs for that purpose. I am not sure if the Sterling is still current issue, but I know I saw British Police with MP5s at Heathrow airport once. That is common in Belgium (Uzis) and Germany, but I was rather surprised to see it in England. Naive of me, since the Brits have had as much trouble over the years with IRA terrorists as have any of the continental countries have had with the foes.

That brings up the only other reason I could see for finding a 9mm blank fired case on airport grounds, and that is if the British anti-terrorist people. be they police or military, held a training exercise.

A friend of mines wife works at the Montevideo Airport in Uruguay, and it is my understanding that officials there have to not only go out and scare birds, but actually, on occasion, have to shoot a lot of them. Otherwise, they are a tremendous hazard on a runway, I suppose for a lot of reasons but mainly if they are sucked into the intakes of jet airliners’ engines. An interesting find, considering the location. Thanks for sharing it with us.

It is funny, but the were also found here in Germany. For many years Canadian troops had manoeuvres here and used these blanks.
Remarkable, with the same head stamp.


The USAF has a long history of bird problems at Airfields. Some years back we lost a large 4 engine aircraft then Geese took out 3 engines on takeoff and it crashed off the end of the runway killing the entire crew.

The standard I have seen in the AF is 12 gauge blanks and rounds that fly a few hundred yards and explode with a loud bang and smoke. Other things are also used, but the 12 gauge is the only gun.

Frankly, I think a 9mm blank is far too puny to work effectively in getting rid of birds, and I think the DA blank was unlikely to be used for that purpose, except as an off chance.

Also note that the airfield was in Canada, British Columbia to be specific.

It is not unusual for security forces, or police units to use airfields for special training excercises and leave blanks behind. I suspect this blank was used in some kind of excercise on the airfield. This is also consistant with it the military headstamped blank.

Cheers, Lew

From the firing-pin impression, I’d also say that your case was fired in a C1 (Sterling) submachinegun. It wouldn’t surprise me if the CF had some sort of training exercise at the airport, and this was left behind after they tried to police up all their trash.

Hey guys… Wow, I’m impressed w/ so much expertise… I expected one or two short replies to my post, but I got much more interesting information and ideas! I’m sure among Pros!

Thanks to all who replied (and yeah, Dutch, quite surprising to se the exact same headstamp, year and all!)



I don’t know where I got the impression that this airfield was in England. Rereading the thread, it was clear from the start it was in British Columbia. Of course it would be a Canadian blank! Sorry about that. Most of my other comments still would apply, except to Canadian Military & Police.