WWII German 9x19mm AP?


Did Germany make a 9x19mm Armor Piercing cartridge towards the end of WWII?



Not that I know of. I have never even heard a rumor of a 9mm P08 AP load during the war.

They made some solid iron bullets identified Weich Eisen (soft iron) or P08 WE bullets in '44 or '45 as an alternative to the mE and SE bullets. These WE bullets had grooves around them. I did an article on them in the ECRA Cartridge Researcher about a year ago.

I did see some penetration tests at Aberdeen about 20 years ago where German mE and SE loads were fired along with KTW and the steel bullet American ballistics “AP” loads. The test plate was a quarter inch thick sheet of cold rolled steel. The German mE loads did about the same as the “AP” loads and did it at lower chamber pressures. Makes me wonder why the Germans would be in the market for an AP load during the war. If they had, all they would need to do was replace the iron cores in the mE loads with a hard steel core.

In the '50s Geco did produce some AP loads with an exposed steel tip on the bullet.

Cheers, Lew


AKMS, Since answering your post, I realized there were two points I missed.

First, German documents indicate that one million of the P08WE bullets were produced. All that I know of is one loaded cartridge and one or two loose bullets. There is also a truncated bullet load in this style which is clearly a development cartridge for the WE. Amazing that if 1M were made, why only 2 or 3 survived! The article in the ECRA publication was a search for more of these in Europe, but no replies.

Second, once I think about it, I would bet that the Germans tried an mE bullet with a hardened steel core at some point during the war. They may have made a few (or even hundreds of thousands reference the first item in this post) but we have never seen or identified them. They would be very difficult to identify, even if the bullet was sectioned if they retained the mE core design. The majority of German experimentals I have seen are not marked for identification. They usually lack a primer annulus seal but if they look like a standard load, nobody would look at them twice. In this issue of the IAA Journal (#464) I have an article on the German SE core bullet. I found one loaded specimen (the only one I know of) pretty much by accident. It is a sintered iron core with a jacket pulled over it. These predate the P08 SE bullets and had a jacket because the early sintering process used would not yield a bullet that could be used without breaking. The jacket held the SE core together. Later a new sintering process produced SE bullets that worked without a jacket. I’m pretty sure that I have handled other experimental P08 loads and not recognized them.

The short answer to your original question:
Did Germany produce an mE style bullet with a hardened steel core-very likely. Will we identify one----probably never. Is there any German documention on this subject, not that I know of!!!

Cheers, Lew


Come again? What was this one, have any pictures of it? Thanks!


Here is a picture of a WWII German 9x19 AP and a sectioned projectile

Headstamp is oxo


This is a 08mE (= mit Eisenkern) round. The iron core was used for saving lead, which was in shortage.


Ohms, The cartridge you picture is the P08 mE with a soft iron core. It is about as good as the KTW but was not intended as an AP, but only as a bullet which would save lead and use the cheaper and more available iron.

I would not be surprised to learn that this type bullet was also made with a hardened steel core, but I don’t know of one. It would be difficult to determine if the core was iron or hardened steel without cutting the bullet apart.

Lots of people before you have called this an AP bullet and some countries classify it as AP, but it was produced as a ball load.

DK, Thought you may be interested.
Here are some of the rounds. They have various Geco headstamps from 1959 to 1961. The core is from a later Geco AP (from the 70s I believe) which as I recall looks like a ball load from the outside. Someone else got the loaded round and all I got as the core.

Cheers, Lew


Never seen these before, Thanks Lew!


I just run into an article about german WW.1 9mm AP rounds. The report was made about a 08 pistol converted to full auto with stock for aircraft crews. The pistol was test shooted at several targets. A gas tank, an armoured gas tank with 3mm sheet metal plates and an engine. Normal 9mm ammo was used and a special 9mm round with “steel core”. Steel ( Stahl) in german language is normally used for hard meterial. In comparision to iron which is more or less soft.
No closer information about marking of the rounds ect., but the report noted good results in piercing the armoured tank and the engine cylinders and pistons. I think that is an interesting information. Year of the trial must be 1915 or earlier. May be a magnet check of your rounds will be helpful to find out more.


Wow, sounds very experimental on that WWI 9mm AP stuff. Could not have lasted very long since the airmen were only shooting each other with pistols and carbines for less than 1 year before they moved on to mounted machine guns. An original cartridge like that could be a 9mm “white whale” for a collector. I want one…


This could be difficult to determine without cutting the bullet apart.

I just checked 3 early DWM military 9x19 rounds and they all had a steel jacket. The rounds were DWM from 1913, 1915 and 1917.

The 1917 proof rounds from Cassel are also steel jacketed.


So it would be difficult to ID an AP core


The best way to identify an AP round in German WW I is by weight. With the 124gr steel jacket bullet the loaded round will weigh, from my experience, anywhere fro 187-192 gr. A steel core of any significant size will cut about 15 gr off the weight of the round so I’d suspect anything that weighed in the mid 170s to be steel core.