What am I missing

What am I missing? This is a picture of my current 9x19 para loads. I’m having fun collecting them. However, when I ask others that have cartridges for sale, they invariably ask what am I looking for. I don’t know. I have about 100 loads, and I’m not familiar with what is out there. Help me build a wish list?


Hi John, the question you ask is very difficult, because most of the members of this group are asked: what do you collect? and they answer EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING !!! hahaha

I see you are interested in the 9mm Parabellum.

Once you have chosen a gauge it is a good start.

Each caliber is infinite, and even more so the 9mm parabellum.

Here are many experts who can guide you, but there are several classifications that you can take into account to order your search or collection priority.
-military / commercial
-Headstamp / purposes
-By countries

It seems you are attracted to the LOOKS of ammo. Shotgun shells offer the best looks and the most purpose variety amongst ammunition. Shot shell boxes are out of this world, in terms of visual pleasure. And I am NOT a shot shell collector.

John, welcome here. As was said above it is very hard to run a want list since you will spend your time running this list and not obtaining cartridges. The thing is that noone will read these lists (I made the mistake to run a book wantlist for years - to almost no avail)!

When you are a beginner you simply keep on and try to get all what you do not have or think you will need.
Even in one caliber there is many ways to collect it as some people for example do not collect headstamps at all.
Like most people here you will have to go through the whole process yourself and find your personal way and interest in this.
And the best possible you did already; you became a user on this website. Keep reading here and look up all older threads on 9x19.
Maybe you will also consider to join the IAA and then attend cartridge shows. There you can obtain cartridges and make the contacts you will need to assemble a large collection and knowledge.

EOD, I rejoined the IAA recently. It has been really hard for me to attend cartridge shows. I live in Utah, and there is very little out here. Pat Sheehan has helped me a lot. Thanks for the advice about not passing out want lists!

sksvlad, I do like the looks, but I also am collecting the headstamps, dates, loads, countries, and so on. I’ve read 10K is the number to hit when you have most of them. Thanks for the suggestions!

martin86, the thing is, i really do want everything…eventually. I’m sorting by country, and by loads, and dates. I have chosen several gauges I like, but I’m only passively collecting those. Thanks for your insight!


Most of what? That could be just one or two calibers!

10K of 9x19mm parabellum.

John - 10K would be a very good collection of 9 mm for sure, but in that caliber, if you collect everything including lots and dates, it could likely hit twice that, although that would be a lifetime of serious collection. I have a decent, albeit mediocre 9 mm collection, and have somewhere around 6,000, and I don’t, except in a very few particular instance for reasons of my own, collect dates or lot numbers on headstamps.

If he still publishes it, the first resource you should obtain is the set of works on the 9 mm Para Headstamps, by Lewis Curtis, Gig Publications. While it can never be complete it is certainly the best thing on the subject available.

Happy collecting. Your start contains some really interesting bullet types. You are starting out well!

John Moss


If you haven’t already go to http://gigconceptsinc.com/ Lew Curtis site for 9x19 mm. I agree with John. I have part of Lew’s headstamp guide and intend on getting the rest. I don’t collect 9mm but have found the reference very useful for headstamp identifications. The site also has a lot of information and free downloads.


I assume there must be also headtsmap checklists on German WW2 9x19. I am sure people here can help you finding it.
Also try to find all catalogs, books and manuals on 9x19.

Lew has a very large including War One and Two, hs listing as others note on his site. See Rimfire’s / Paul’s link
free download I believe

A couple of different people have reached out to me and emailed me lists. Special thanks to Willem of Germany for sending several long lists. I’ve also been exploring Lew’s website and munition.org

You guys have been great.

Lew has, perhaps, the best 9 mm Para/Luger collection in the world, and the knowledge of the caliber to match it, and Willem is quite expert on all German small arms ammunition. You couldn’t find two better sources for information on this cartridge. To me, Lew’s books are a “must have” for anyone interested in 9 mm Para, or for that matter, in any auto pistol ammunition. Remember, there is a very big overlap in headstamp identification between different calibers of ammunition. Sometimes the only difference is what the caliber marking says, with the factory identifier being identical.

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Actually, your problem is easy to fix if you go to cartridge or even gun shows. Since your collection appears based on looks (as good an approach as any other), take photos of the ones you have showing the tops in one (as you have already done, above), another of the sides (laying down) IN THE SAME ORDER and then another of the headstamps. Just carry those photos with you to the shows. When someone asks what you’re looking for, just show them the photos and tell them “Anything that’s not in the pictures!” That should help.

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John I have been collecting 9mm since I was 18 (71 now) Although I do not have anywhere near the largest nor most complete collection, Ive got just over 2000 individudal rounds.A start might be pursuing one from every country/manufacturer. There are of course many variations dates etc. every headstamp as noted would be a large collection.

The size of a collection is, in my view, absolutely not important. Some people don’t want huge collections, and others cannot afford them either in monetary considerations or even space considerations. My own collection of 9 mm is fair, but not fantastic.

The only important consideration is “Do you enjoy your collection”? that is what it is all about in my view. No one in the world has a complete collection of any major caliber.

As JohnG said, there are many ways to collect. I for one collect every visual difference in a cartridge. I say visual because I don’t care, for example, about powder types (when it comes to collecting - when I am wearing my “shooter’s hat” of course I do care). With a very few exceptions, usually to illustrate to myself some point or another, I don’t collect lot numbers or dates on cartridges. After awhile, when I collected 7.9 x 57 and DID collect every lot number, I found it quite boring, but each to his own on that account. I do collect even very small differences in headstamp fonts, for example. Some would find that boring as well. It is all what please you - not what pleases someone else looking at your collection.

Have fun. Collect what you want and how you want to collect it.

John Moss

John M is right, it has to be something you enjoy. Personally I enjoy the history associated with the cartridges and I enjoy the research to better understand that history, and writing material to share that history or my ideas on the possible history. For that reason, from the start I collected case lot numbers, and since I also collect boxes, I often collect box lot numbers or even load dates on boxes if they are significant like helping to date when a box design change was introduced.

Having said this, collecting dates and lot numbers in quite a few areas became overwhelming decades ago. Now if I have it in my hand at home, I still check the dates in the collection, but I don’t search for dates unless I spot one that has significance. An example: it seems to me that German WWII 9mm, P08 loads headstamped lot 1 of any year seem to be particularly difficult to find.

A Hint! Give some serious thought on what you want to get out of your collection, and let that guide you.


You guys are great. I’ve had a ton of fun collecting loads. I have about 120 different headstamps. Some are different dates, some are different manufacturers. It’s a lot of fun sorting through them all.

If it’s significantly-differing projectiles you’re wanting…that’s an easy start. Ex: I don’t see any of the 3 variants of the Lapua CEPP (Controlled Effect Police Projectile), or early US police JSPs. Gobs of discontinued stuff out there. Even within the same loading (124gr Speer Gold Dot, for example), you’ll find visible variations in bullet dimensions/characteristics, cases, crimps…and the gents above are especially good guides to sit at the feet of if you step off into headstamps. Lastly, attend one SLICS and you’ll see a boatload of 9mm you don’t have and will likely want/need.

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