Unfamiliar 9mm Headstamps (to me)

I picked up a batch of assorted 9mm cartridges today, the HSs of two of which I don’t know. First is WCC L 88 9MM. These have jacketed HP bullets. What does the “L” mean? The second has a small triangle, 9mm 89. It could possibly be a reload, as it has an unusually-shaped lead bullet, sort of, but not quite, like a truncated cone.

The second is a reload, on a Chinese case.

Thanks. The WCC L rounds do not appear to be reloads, as the primers have sealant in place, and the cases are pristine. I have five of those, all identical in appearance.

The “L” designates the JHP load as Winchester’s Olin Super Match 147JHP subsonic (Type-L) load.

This is the load that the FBI switched to after blaming the 1986 Miami fiasco on the Win 115 Silvertip HP.

Leon - your answer is essentially correct but too exclusive. The “L” does indicate a subsonic load, but was not used exclusively by Winchester to identify the load you indicated. It was also used in Product Number N00164-90-C-0207 by Federal Cartridge Company, on ammunition headstamped “FC 91 9MM L” and produced in various lots in 1991 and 1992, although the only headstamp date known is “91” dated. Both box labels display the same product number, shown above. The book by Lew Curtis shows a box label with a 91 Lot number date, while my box is lot number FC-92A0010018. Curtis indicates that despite the American military-type label, the Federal loads were reportedly made for Saudi Arabia.

I have slight variations of the Winchester load, basic headstamp “9MM L WCC 88” with dates of 87, 88 and 95 in my own collection (I don’t collect dates just for themselves). They may exist in other dates.

I cannot recall off hand if there are other factories in the U.S. that used the “L” on a headstamp for subsonic ammunition. I can’t think of any.

Hope this additional information is of some interest.

I have never seen such a variation, so can some one describe it
so I can picture what it looks like?
Or better yet, can anyone post a picture of the WCC L 9MM headstamp in question?


Here it is, not great quality, but a picture. Note the directions of the stamping vary, WCC and 88 facing outward, the L and 9MM facing inward.

Dennis, The way this headstamp is intended to be read is


WCC 88



Dennis, that round pictured is in fact the 147JHP OSM round I mentioned earlier.

The earliest dated round I have is 87. I got mine from a CA Dept of Justice agent that I was talking with at a gun shop in Sacramento. This is the load that the FBI went to in 1987 after ditching the Silvertip load after their Wound Ballistics symposium held in 1986 after their Miami incident. This same load is still available from Winchester in their USA economy brand line marketed as Personal Protection ammo. It had a very erratic performance in real street shootings including poor expansion and overpenetrations.

Leon - Where did your information come from that the 147 grain bullet in 9 mm had and “erratic” street performance, with over-penetration? I hope not from Marshall, Sanow, and company?

JohnMoss, I collect vintage cartridges. Do you happen to have any 9mm cartridges with a wcc 95 L 9mm headstamp that you are looking to sell?

I have one in my collection with that date, but have no idea if I have any duplicates of it. Usually, with items like that where I don’t have the box in my collection, I don’t. If I get a box, partial or full, I only save two rounds, and in the case of modern, general issue U.S. military, I used to shoot up the rest. Now, at 80 and pretty much retired from shooting, I give them to my son to shoot.

I have several thousand 9 mm duplicates, but they are not in an order where I have the time to go thru them looking for singles. Again, with no box, I would not likely have that anyway. Likely there are folks on this forum that would have some of those that they could easily put their hands on.

John Moss

I don’t have a 95 date, but I do have 87, 88 and 93. The 93 has a red primer seal.


The “95” date also has a red seal. There are also several dates in WCC subsonic that have apparently identical bullets (I did not weigh the cartridges for this answer) that do not have the “L” on the headstamp. I have those with “85” date and “86” date (two primer seal variations of the “86” date). I don’t collect just dates in 9 mm, but every year they seemed to have a slight different bunter or some other minor difference which I do collect.

John Moss

I am in need of a 95 head stamp one with red primer. Does anyone have a single round, multiple or box they would be willing to sell?

Very very long shot, but I dug through some old ammo and found precisely what you’re looking for: a 95 head stamped WCC 9mm hollowpoint, with red primer sealant. Hope you’re still around to read this and get in touch with me.