Syrian 9x18 mm? … ey-report/

What are the opinions?

I would like to say it was simply an error. I have two different dates with the headstamp shown, however, and the later date repeats the error of the earlier date. You would have thought it would have been corrected by someone. I actually have never seen a Syrian 9 x 18 mm Makarov cartridge, of any date, that has the CORRECT caliber designation on the headstamp.

That is 9x18 mm cartridge? Really?

Hooke - I would not make an error in the ID of a 9 mm Makarov cartridge. I collect all things “Makarov” and have somewhat over 600 specimens of the cartridge in my own collection. In fact, it is the only auto pistol cartridge where I collect every single date.

The Syrian rounds are with 18 mm case length, not 17 mm as marked, and have the correct bullet shape ala Russian 9 x 18 PM Ball rounds.

One thing I did not mention that is somewhat relevant to my answer is that I also have never seen a Syrian made 9 mm Court (Kurz, Short, Kisa, Scurt, Corto, etc. .380 Auto in America), which for the time being, until I see documentation showing Syria has made that caliber, I must rule out the purposeful use of a 9 x 17 mm headstamp bunter on these 9 x 18 mm cartridges, similar to that on the Italian 9 x 25 mm Mauser and 9 x 19 mm Glisenti cartridges recently discussed on this forum, for short runs of a seldom-used cartridge (seldom used in Syria, if “short runs” were the case). I would rule out the accidental use of such a bunter even if I knew they did make 9 mm Court ammo, because such an accident would not likely occur on rounds made in three different years.

Edited to correct a grammar error only.

Several specialists from the IAA community and elsewhere - John amongst them - agreed this was an unusual Syrian marking anomaly.

Does anyone have a photo of the cartridge and the other headstamps?

Hooke - I will try in the next day or so to photograph my two rounds. I will email them direct to you. If you want to put them on the Forum, it is o.k. with me. The photos will be legible, but not the highest quality, although the resolution will be o.k. My photos stand up to pretty good enlargement, for example.

Thank you! My mail:

Photos of John Moss



John, bullet with steel core?

Hooke - The round with the lighter color primer seal, almost red, and dated “81” has a brass bullet jacket and lead core. It is completely a non-magnetic bullet. The one with darker purple seals has a gilding metal-clad steel jacket and because of that, I cannot verify the core material, as they are too scarce to section a bullet. I have been told that they are also lead core, but that is “anecdotal evidence” only with no real documentation or verification.

To add a bit more confusion, this same headstamp with the 9x17 caliber designation occurs on a 9x19mm case with a typical 9mm Para bullet! It appears that the arsenal had a single headstamp bunter style that they used for a range of 9mm cartridges. I suspect there were also 380 rounds made, but they used the same headstamp bunter for 9x18 and 9x19 cases!

It is interesting that they used this approach for at least three different years. Makes one wonder if they actually changed the date every year.



Lew - what makes you suspect that Syria made .380 auto ammo (9 mm Court) as well? I am not saying they didn’t, but rather simply that I have never seen a cartridge, a cartridge listed, any catalog expressing production of that caliber in Syria, etc.

John, it is a while ago but some years back I had seen one as it was introduced to me as a 9x18 and I found it was not. As this is out of my range I never paid much attention to it and did not dare to document it. Seeing this discussion I do regret this and with the info from Lew on the 9x19 I am even more intrigued by this.


It seems likely to me that the Syrians made a range of 9mm pistol calibers and used the same headstamp bunter for the whole range. The fact that they used the caliber as 9x17mm on the bunter strongly implies to me that they made 9x17mm cases and used the same equipment to make 9x18mm and 9x19mm.

I have a hard time understanding why they would make the headstamp 9x17mm if they only intended to make 9x18 and 9x19!

I don’t think the fact that you and I have only documented 9x18mm and 9x19mm means very much given how few of either have shown up. As far as I know my 9x19mm the only round known in this caliber with this headstamp, but there are probably others. It came from a European military source. As rare as these are, it wouldn’t surprise me that the 9x17mm has not turned up for a photo.

Just an opinion.


o.k. Makes some sense. I admit that as I have gotten older, and found more and more “I think they made this” items proved to have never been made, I have become more and more demanding of documentation beyond the anecdotal. EOD supplied that. And, your arguments do make sense, I was not being sarcastic, despite being the world’s finest living example of the classic pissant.

I will say this - having seen the English language totally butchered in many Middle Eastern translations of their Arabic related languages, things like headstamp errors or box label errors from that part of the world would never surprise me. But even as I said, the chance that the error would not be caught over a period of several years, is pretty slim.

One thing I always look at when trying to determine the likelihood of a certain caliber of ammunition being made in a country, is the weapons known to be used. The weapons are much more visible in media than are the cartridges, so in the past, it has been a useful tool. It likely no longer is in regard to the Middle East, which has become like late-1930s Spain, with so many countries shoveling arms and ammunition into the region, and so much equipment changing hands as captured goods in combat, and then being utilized by the “new owners.” Also, in my own field, it is not so evident because you seldom see a pistol “in hand” in the film coverage of the middle east, as opposed to rifles and machine guns. It is about at the stage, I guess, that one must except anything as possible.

FWIW, the 9mm K (.380) is not very popular in the Mideast, and other than a few scattered Walam and Beretta pistols I have seen very little chambered in it. However, Syria is known to have used both 9x18 Makarovs and 9x19 Hi-Powers. I can’t account for the “17” on the pictured rounds, but I have never seen or heard of anything in 9x17 being captured and finding its way to Israel.

For those with an interest and who don’t already know, the Walam Pistol is a form of Fèg pistol made in Hungary, very similar to the PA-63 9 x 18 mm Pistol used by Hungary, but in .380 caliber. It was supplied specifically to Egypt, although some were never delivered. A 9 mm Para pistol, also made in Hungary and called the Tokagypt (an apt name, since the pistol is basically a Tokarev made especially for Egypt), was also supplied. Some of those actually showed up in Viet Nam. It can be noted here that the Cairo factory 27 in Egypt made .380 auto ammunition. A lot of Beretta pistols ended up in Egypt also, and they made at least two different versions of the Model 951 9 mm Para caliber Beretta there, called the “Helwan” as I recall.

Iran acquired Walther PP .380 Autos before WWII, and ammunition was made, with Farsi headstamp, by DWM (they also made 9 mm Para ammo, probably for the Luger pistols that were supplied about the same time, in the late 1930s, to Iran (Persia). I have not seen an Iranian .380 auto cartridge, although they may have used it. Right before the fall of the Shah’s government, a friend of mine who sold police equipment internationally to police crime labs got me the empty box for the DWM .380 round, and after that I acquired one of the cartridges as well from another source. The pre-war German ammo seemed to still be what was being used with those Walther pistols.

They are the only two Mideastern countries with which I have been able to ascertain some regular use of .380 caliber pistols. Again, though, they could show up anywhere, I suppose. I am not counting Israel, where IMI has made commercial ammunition in that caliber.