Unknown 9x19mm #1


This headstamp is known from a small number of examples, some of which have turned up mixed with FN ammunition. My round was one of these and is loaded with a German style black mE bullet like other cases captured in Belgium and loaded for the Germans, probably at FN. I suspect that this headstamp was produced by FN for an unknown foreign contract some time before WW II. The residual cases from the contract were subsequently loaded for use by the Germans.

I have looked at the symbol off and on for years. It looks like it could be a set of letters overlayed, but I can’t figure out what they might be.

Does this headstamp make any sense to anyone?

Has anyone seen a similar symbol?

Any help appreciated.




Stylized “ETB”?


Does anyone know the time period, of Steubing & Co., K-G, Metallwarenfabrik, Graslitz, Germany?



There are very similar letters in the amharic alphabet (national language of Ethiopia; also spoken in Eritrea, Egypt and a few others).

However, headstamp can be very tricky…


Fede, As I turn this and view the symbol in each of the four orientations, I can squint my eyes and see make out two Amharic characters, but not the third, unless the far right hand symbol and the far left symbol have one orientation and the middle symbol has a different orientation. I guess it is possible it could be an Amharic headstamp, but it isn’t very clear. If I rotate the orientation of the letters as I read them it could also be Greek (psi, tau, omega) perhaps. Unless one of those languages has a system for rotating letters then I think both are a stretch.

Dan, What is the possible connection with Steubing & Co., K-G, Metallwarenfabrik, Graslitz, Germany??? They were a company that made K98 rifles weren’t they?

Perhaps it is a symbol, not letters???

Someone may have seen it.

Thanks for the thoughts,



IF, If it is a stylized etb, Ian Hogg lists Steubing & Co., the maker of that headstamp. No mention of stylized or otherwise, and He has it listed as a four place headstamp.



Pete deCoux pointed out that we don’t know whether I showed the symbol correctly and was kind enough to rotate it. Here are the four possible symbols on this headstamp. Maybe this will help someone recognize it.

I also passed this symbol by someone who fluent in Chinese, even old Chinese and he could not recognize it as a Chinese character.




It might be squished together Arabic characters (in an Arabic block-letter style) as well. In the chart below you can see that in the original orientation of the characters in the first post - they might be the letters “Ghayn” or “Ayn” for the “E” then “Haa” or “Jiim” or “kh” for the “t” and then “daal” for the last little curve. The letters don’t look exactly right, but when Europeans try to do character letters with unfamiliar capitalization rules, they tend to mess them up.

I tried using an online Arabic character map and then translating them in Google translate, but there were many more letters shown on the Arabic character map here: atm.ox.ac.uk/user/iwi/charmap.html and I lost track of which ones I had tried. I got translations of everything from “Raha”, “dhg”, “dha” and “extent 4”. A problem that I ran into is that depending on which letters are adjacent to each other, it changes their shape (upper-case / lower-case?). Somebody who knows all the Arabic letters might know.


The FN connection mentioned would want to make me explore various forms of Turkish. I would also look at Thai and perhaps even Burmese alphabets. The first picture I ever saw of this headstamp was not as good as this one even though I am sure it was the same cartridge, and it was reminiscent of the intertwined Turkish “TC” for Turkish Republic" (In the Turkish language - Türkiye Cumhuriyeti). I admit it doesn’t look at all like that in these excellent pictures.

Well, just other avenues to explore. I am not suggesting any are valid. I simply have not idea what this headstamp could be, although I believe the most logical orientation of the symbol is at the 12 o’clock position on the headstamp, as Lew’s initial posting shows it.


Thanks for the suggestions. I have tried running down leads. I checked Burmese-all the script is rounded-nothing similar. I checked for versions of Arabic and found nothing that looked like it may apply. Turkic speaking countries (Turkey and the ex-Soviet republics) have used other scripts (like Arabic, Latin (ie western), Cyrillic, etc.) since long before there was a 9mm P cartridge. Turkey changed from Arabic to a version of western script in 1928. The Soviet republics all standardized on a western script for Turkic in 1926 (interesting they didn’t select Cyrillic). I checked Thai and all the other Indic languages I could find on the internet, and the only thing I could find that was close to the general shape of the character on this cartridge was Tamil. Below is an example of Tamil and the first word is apparently “Tamil”. The first letter in this word sure is similar to the character on this headstamp-but with obvious differences. I couldn’t find anything else in the Tamil alphabet that was any closer.

Can’t rule out an obscure Chinese script, of which there are plenty, but I have a hard time understanding why FN would be making cases in the mid 1920s until the end of the 1930s with either an obscure Chinese script or in Tamil!

The Tamil speaking regions of India can Ceylon (as it was called then) was part of the British Empire and the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek had completed their Northern Expedition in 1928 and two of the last three significant independent warloards (Yen hst shan and Feng Yu-hsiang in 1930 or so. In any case, I can’t find any evidence of the 9x19mm cartridge being used in China in this time-frame. Records show manufacture of quite a few pistol calibers but no 9x19mm. I’m sure some pistols found their way into China but there is no evidence of Chinese made pistols in 9x19mm.

As of now I’m out of ideas. I hope someone has a blazing new insight into the symbol on this headstamp.