Viet Nam post-VN War ammunition manufacture

Recently, at a military trade show, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam had a display of various small arms made in Viet Nam under the activities of the Vietnam Defence Industries (VDI). In the material I saw on this, there was no mention of ammunition. Does anyone know - documented information please - if they also produce ammunition now. Most of the weapons on which the serial numbers could be seen apparently from their numbering system were made in 2017 or 2018, and many had a serial number of 00001. They all appeared to be of high quality, and there was some speculation in the article that some components for these arms may have been made outside of Viet Nam.

While it would seem if they are making their own weapons now, that they would also have set up a real factory (not talking about Viet Nam War jungle workshops) for the manufacture of ammunition, but I have found no evidence of that as of yet.

John Moss

John, Vietnam is producing several small arms calibers in at least 2 different factories.

There are:
Factory #13
7.62x25 dated 2009, 7.62x51, 7.62x39 dated 2017, 7.62x54R dated 2005, 14.5x114 (suspected)

Factory #14
7.62x39 dated 2001-2004

EOD - these would likely be factories controlled by the Vietnam Defense Industries. Interesting to hear. One of the guns shown at the trade show was a Vietnamese made Makarov, a near exact copy of a Russian one, serial number 1700001. I suspect the 17 is the year it was made - 2017 - as the show was in 2018. I know there Russian, Chinese and DDR Makarovs encountered with the NVA and the Khmer Rouge. I had a Chinese one that came from Cambodian, captured from the KR and then gifted to a US Air Force Colonel who later, in the US, sold it to me. Wish I still have it, although I have the same variation in better shape now, and it was reported to have been found in VN. I also know of a DDR Mak from VN in the hands of a collector who is a member of the Auto Pistol Collectors Association here in the US. With all that, and now making them, you would think that 9 x 18 mm would be among the calibers made. Of course, they had more Chicom Type 54 (Tokarev) in service in the NVA and with the VC, so it is obvious why they would make the 7.62 x 25.

Thanks for the information.

John Moss

Now if only some of that Factory 13 Tokarev ammo would find its way into some US collections…

Hello John,

The Vietnam Defence Industry, as the name implies, is the name of a conglomerate grouping all Vietnamese defense indutries, but each factory receives its own name. For example, ammunition marked “13” is made by Factory Z113, ammunition marked “14” is made by Factory Z114, and so on. At the moment, I have information about factories dealing with ammunition whose designation ends with numbers 13, 14, 15, 21, and 29. I have observed more numbers, but they are gun related.

Factory Z113 is also making 9x18, 9x19, 5.56x45, 12.7x108, 14.5x114, 23x152B, 25x218, 30x165, and 57x348SR. They are also making dozens of different heavy artillery cases, including US calibers, Russian calibers up to 152 mm, recoiless shells, etc.

I can post more information about specific calibers if needed, but I don’t have pictures of the headstamp of most of them. Also, some are made in very interesting variations, like blanks or AP with blue tip.

And here is a nice logo of Factory Z113 for Alex!


I will post more information later.



Fede - thank you. I await any further information, including any history of Vietnam Defense Industry, such as when it was founded, where in Viet Nam its offices are, etc. I could find nothing specific about it on the net, as when I enter the name, as a name with cap letters, all I get is general topics about generic “defense industries” in VN and other countries. I was hoping to find the company’s own website, if they have one.

  Is the 9 x 18 mm one of the few rounds you have a headstamp for, or other information about their loading(s)?

John Moss

Fede, thanks a lot! The Z113 I have.

But as you been asking for it: I am still after the Z114 logo! :)

And as we are on it, do you happen to have the #95 logo and company name + details?

Fede, as for ammo also add #17 and #31.

John, the original decree to organize the military industries of Vietnam was signed by Ho Chi Minh on September 15, 1945 -13 days after he declared independence from France-, but the current VDI conglomerate under the Ministry of Defense was established in July 2000. Adress is 28A, Điện Biên Phủ, Ba Đình, Hà Nội.

Factory Z113 was established in 1957 and is located in Tân Bình, Yên Sơn, Tuyên Quang. Factory Z114 was established in 1994 and is located in Long Bình, Biên Hòa, Đồng Nai.

Regarding the 9 x 18 cartridges, I’m afraid all I have is a picture of a display:


Alex, I don’t have a good picture of the Z114 logo but at least you can see how it looks:


And below is the one used by Z195. This is a chemical factory dealing with explosives, ammonium nitrate, nitrocellulose, etc.


You are right about #17 and #31, I also have them in my list. There are more factories involved in ammunition production, but some of them are manufacturing unfinished products and/or metal parts. An example is #27.



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Fede, thanks!

I had found 2 logos for 95 by now, the one you are showing and the cap logo they are using (star with a 95 over it).
The 95 logo above as on their website I am seeking in better condition but was not able to locate. So that will be a bit of work to restore it to high res.

The Z114 is a mystery as I was not even able to find any propper web entry on them and let alone their website or a government video featuring them.

BTW, we also should add 26.5mm flare gun cartridges (factory #21) as for Vietnamese made ammo.

Alex, I think the cap logo is generic for most factories, as I have seen the star with other numbers as well.

Factory Z114 was absorbed by GAET ( in 2000, which may explain the lack of information about them. They also made 7.62x39 cartridges before this, also headstamped “14”.

Factory Z121 also makes “Phong Châu” brand .22 Long Rifle cartridges. Headstamp is unknown to me.



Fede, I saw the other cap patches/logos and they were quite different to me. The one of #95 was very uniuque in this respect.

I was not aware of the .22 they make at #21! Nice!

The #14 7.62x39 were observed before.
Will look into the GAET issue and hope to find more on them.

Alex, new caps are different, but the old style seems to have the star and number. Below you can see #13:


Regarding #14, I mean 7.62x39 cartridges made before the dates you mentioned above (before GAET).

Ah, I did not locate recent footage of them. Will look out for what they are using now.

GAET I understand is a trade umbrella for several companies. Here I wonder if in a centralized and communist country there should not be one such umbrella representing all companies like Norinco in China.

EOD - I know that we don’t know the specific headstamp on the Viet Nam Arsenal 13-made 9 x 18 mm Makarov cartridges, but do you have any idea of a typical VN format for small arms ammo headstamps? Perhaps like a 7.62 x 39 one, or any other rifle or pistol caliber. Main interest is whether they just use “13” rather than the whole number “Z113” and if they put anything else on the headstamp, like a date, caliber, etc.

Any help appreciated.

John Moss

John, on headstamps they are not using the “full” numbering like “Z113”.
On ammo they are just using “13” and on artillery ammo when painted “13SC” (and I have no clue as for the meaning of the SC).

A typical hs format for a headstamp made by factory #13 would be (here from a 7.62x25 TT):
12h: 13
6h: 2009
So due to the 4 digit year it is not to be confused with Cuban production.

EOD - as always, excellent information, and very important for me considering the depth I have gone into the “Makarov Question” and the length of time I have been at it - since the War in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos.

Thank you, my friend!

John M.

Hello Fellow Members,

  I was drafted in 68 and spent a year in the Central High Lands with the 4 th Inf Division.  I was fortunate enough to bring back a type 54 Chi Com bolt action carbine.  Will try posting a picture if any one is interested?  i also brought home a 7.63X54 round.  The head stamp of which is 31 at 12 o'clock and 56 at 6 o'clock.  I was there all of 1969.  I bet the 56 is the year of Mfg.  Any info any one may have about the 31?  The rifle is in rough shape.  It was hit with artillery fire in a cache.  I picked up two rifles in order to make one.  Glad that i still have the Orders that allowed me to bring it home.  That was a challenge.  Weapons were not allowed aboard commercial aircraft.  The Pilot was nice enough to keep it the cabin with him.  Thanks In Advance!

joeinco1, your 7.62x54R cartridge was made in China in 1956.