WWII Spanish 9mm Luger

As many of you will know, during WWII Astra and Star developed 9mm Luger variants of standard Spanish service pistols for export to Axis Powers, including Germany. I’m working with a research associate in an effort to unravel some of the history related to these contracts and I’m hoping some of you folks may be able to help us out a bit. Some of the questions we have are:

Did Spain produce 9mm Luger prior to WWII?

Where did the 9mm Luger used in Spanish arms development during WWII come from?

Did Spain export 9mm Luger ammunition during WWII, or was their export in this regard restricted to the pistols themselves?

Did Star and Astra share a common source for 9mm Luger ammunition, or were their sources different?

What were Nazi Germany’s official technical standards for 9mm Luger ammunition? Did they have parameters? one rigid standard? Any officially accepted substitute standards?

Does anyone on this board know of a collector who has WWII vintage Spanish - produced 9mm Luger and might assist us further in gathering technical data?

I know this is a lot to ask all at once and appreciate any information you may have, regardless of how trivial it may seem. We are particularly interested in collecting data from actual vintage cartridges. Spent casings would also be of some interest.

I will also post a brief similar note on the buy/sell/trade board here.

Thanks for your help,

Anselmo “i Cia”

I had some WWII-era 9X19 from Toledo many years ago. Lew Curtis is the resident expert in all things 9mm, and he will probably provide an answer to your questions.

Spain did produce 9mm Luger ammunition prior to WWII. It was produced by Pirotecnia Militar de Sevilla in 1939. As far as I know from specimens I have documented the next production was in 1945. The ammunition appears to be Spanish military. The headstamp is “PS 39”

I am traveling but will post a picture of both the cartridge and the box sometime next week.

Please send me an email through the link below.



Dennis, The only other early Spanish 9x19mm production I know is Palencia in 1953 (hst F N P 53) and Toledo who produced ammunition in 1951 and 1952 (hst FNT 1951). They also produced a ball load with no date headstamped F N T in a three position headstamp with letters at 120 degrees. This could have been pre-WWII or even from during WWII but I have always suspected it was post-WWII.

Perhaps some of our well informed Spanish friends like Schneider can identify the date of the FNT headstamp round. They likely also know of more dates from the 1950s or earlier.



As I said, I’m speaking from memories of long ago (over 50 years), so things may be a bit muddled. What I remember is that the rounds were in 25 round (5X5) paper boxes which were marked Fabrica de Toledo (or something to that effect), and I’m reasonably sure they had a WWII headstamp date. I had 8 or 10 boxes of them. These rounds and their boxes are long gone (I shot them up in a Luger I had at the time), so we’ll never know.

That was my first “Real” pistol, and I think I bought the ammo at the OGCA Gun Show back when it was held in Columbus where I bought the Luger. That’s why I remember the ammo.

Would a FNT headstamp you mentioned mean Fabrica Nacional de Toledo? If this HS was produced only in the early 1950s, it is probably what I had, and I am just imagining the WWII date.

There was a lot of the FNT 1951 and FNT 1952 ammo around 40 or so years ago packed in 25 round boxes marked as you indicate. I suspect that is what it was. On the other hand, It is well possible that there was FNT 194? ammunition around also and I just never saw or heard of any of it. Stranger things have happened. I learned a long time ago to NEVER say something doesn’t exist. Multiple times every year I find/learn of things that I never even suspected existed. I recently told a friend that I suspect the collector community knows about less than 25% of the 9x19mm headstamps that have been produced. Not too long ago I saw a typical German WWI style cartridge with a truncated bulled. The headstamp was “S 18” with the “S” at the top and the “18” at the bottom of the headstamp, both read from the bottom. Maybe made by Spandau in 1918, but for who and why???



Could be either way. My experience with the Toledo 9mm ammo dates from no later than 1958, so if it was made at FN-Toledo in the early 1950s, it would seem to be a bit young to release onto the open market in 1958. But who knows?-I don’t. Hope there’s a Spaniard out there that knows the answer.

Just checking back in on the thread. Thanks for all the thoughtful replies.

If you think of anything else, please post it or PM me. I will be checking back from time to time.

That 1945 production run – was that post-war? By 1945 Spain should have lost trade with much, if not all, Axis powers. I can see that I need to get my head into Spanish history a bit better.

Just some random comments on Spanish 9 mm Para ammunition.

The 1939 production by Pirotecnia Militar de Sevilla (Headstamp: PS 39) was boxed in a 50 round box with the label saying that the cartridges were for the Schmeisser submachine gun.
I would doubt that any MP38s or MP40s went to Spain with the Germans. The Spanish CW ended pretty early for the MP38 to have been allowed out of Germany, and the MP40 didn’t exist yet. It probably refers to the MP28II. Just a guess. According to the book referenced below, the MV was 355 m/s and the ME 52 kgm.

The 1939 production was certainly not completely in German Specification. The bullet ogive is blunter than German rounds. I don’t know about velocity. Case drawings are with each cartridge in the book Cartucheria Española, by Angel Molina Lopez and Alfonso Orea Maestro, both officers of the Spanish Ordnance Corps. They show two cartridges earlier than the PS 39 round. One is headstamped “S 5 17” attributed to Sevilla. I am sure this is an error, and this cartridge is from Spandau. They may have turned up in the Spanish CW and been assumed to be of Spanish origin. The other is “P 22” which my gut instinct tells me should not be Spanish, unless made from a Palencia-made Largo case. However, since I have no round like it, I can’t judge its characteristics. It is likely NOT of Polte, Germany, manufacture since in that era, Polte was using a trinomial headstamp.

The next date shown, also from Sevilla, is for 1945, as mentioned earlier on this thread. Ballistics shown are the same as for the 1939 cartridge. In the book, they show a dummy round with the headstamp “P 48.” They also show a ball round with headstamp “PS 1954” but this time with unknown ballistics.

They refer in various places in the 9 x 19 mm chapter to cartridge Models of 1904, 1918 and 1942, but a very, very cursory examination of the text, all I have time for at the moment, does not explain the origin or significance of these model numbers.

Following is the box for the PS 39 cartridge along with it’s headstamp. Found it in my computer last evening along with the headstamp.



Some very interesting new posts here today.

John Moss mentioned the possibility that a “P 22” head stamped 9X19 referenced in a Spanish source may have been made from cut-down Palencia 1922 Largo brass. Does anyone know of a credible claim or documented instance of the Spanish cutting down Largo brass to load 9X19?

The 1939 cartridge box marked as for the “Schmeisser” were most likely actually for the genuine Schmeisser, not the MP-38, which was only nicknamed “Schmeisser” in a manner similar to US journalist’s tendency to call all submachine guns or pistols that looked like submachine guns “Uzis” here during much of the 1980s and 1990s. The Schmeisser was very heavy for a submachine gun, but by all accounts an exquisitely well-crafted weapon, by the way. I could see someone selling them off as part of an effort to standardize on a more modern design.

If I had to take a guess – and it’s a guess, to be sure – the Spanish probably lucked into a large number of actual Schmeisser submachine guns but found that in 1939 nobody was selling 9X19 because production couldn’t keep up with the various nations’ internal demands.

Okay. Very interesting stuff. And again – I’d be very interested in any evidence the Spanish ever made 9X19 brass out of Largo brass.


The only Spanish 9x19mm that I have made from 9mm Largo cases are blanks which make use of the longer case to form the blank.



Lew - What about your “F N T” (no other entry) headstamp? Somewhat common in 9 mm Largo - almost unheard of in 9 mm Para. Just wondered, as you commented, I believe, in your book that it might be made from a Largo case.

John, It could have been made from a Largo case. Mine is a dummy I got from Fred Datig who had it in his collection. I have seen another ball load in Germany with the full headstamp. I think it likely it was made as a 9x19mm case, but mine has a very slight ridge near the base of the bullet which could be an artifact of use as a dummy, or from the use of a Largo case. I don’t believe the loaded round had any mark there at all and looked like a normal 9x19mm cartridge.

No good answer here.



Lew - I don’t understand what you mean when you talk about a ball round with the “full” headstamp? Do mean F N T with a date also? I see in your book that your round has equi-distant entries (3 x 120 degree headstamp) so your dummy has a “full” heastamp, if I am reading your book right.

No reason it can’t be an original 9 x 19 case. I had just wondered from (a) the comment in your book and (b) the fact that it is well known in Largo but not in Luger. I don’t recall seeing the headstamp for Luger even in the Spanish “Cartucheria Española.” I could have missed it there - while overall a good book, it isn’t the easiest work to research a headstamp in.

John, The F on the heatstamp of my dummy is very, very faint. In fact, I originally cataloged the headstamp as just “N T” and only later realized it must be FNT. When I scan it at the very highest resolution, I can only see bits of the “F”. I used these bits and a lot of work to outline a very thin “F” in the image I used in my book. Later I saw one in Germany that had a nice firm strike of the “F”.

I didn’t mention it in this thread since I frankly do not know if this was a cutdown 9x23, or a 9x19 made on a 9x23mm line with the case trimmer set to 19mm or a completed 9x23mm case that was subsequently trimmed after manufacturer. I think it was likely originally made as a 19mm case, but that is only an opinion. It looks like a factory round and I do not think it is a post factory product, and the source make me believe it is legit, but who knows for sure.


According to “Tratado de Cartuchería” by Lanza there was some 9 mm Parabellum production even before the 1920’s. Two different models are described:

  • 9 mm Parabellum, ordinario, mod. 1904: This one is said to be produced by Pirotecnia Militar de Sevilla starting in 1904 until 1910-20. A picture of this cartridge is shown with an ojival profile bullet.

  • 9 mm Parabellum, ordinario, mod. 18: Produced by Pirotecnia Militar de Sevilla in 1918. Also by Fábrica Naciona de Toledo. Ojival bullet.

In my opinion and after dealing with this book hundreds of times I will not trust at all this information. There are too many mistakes in this book to make it a credible source. For 9 mm Parabellum collectors sake I hope Lanza is right!

Hi Anselmo, the Fabrica Nacional de Palencia starts his production in 1937, first, i the trains station workshop, and if I remember it properly, was i 1939 when the production was trasladded to his actual location, said it, in 1922 was impossible that anything will be producted in Palencia because the factory didn´t exist. Please, if I´m wrong about something, please, correct me.

Best regards.


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In recent correspondence with an advanced Spanish collector, he confirmed that, as far as he knows, the PS 1939 are the earliest 9x19mm production documented in Spain. If Palencia actually produced 9x19mm in 1937 or 1938, I suspect they were unheadstamped and not identifiable

I agree with you that a Spanish P 22 headstamp is not likely. There were P 24 headstamped ammunition floating around Europe in the 1920 and later, and it was documented as being in Portugal at the end of WWII, so some may have also found it’s way into Spain and the year was recorded incorrectly.

Thanks for the information.


A little more information about the origins of the Fabrica Nacional de Palencia:

In 1926, the Miravalles workshops company (dedicated to the construction and repair of railway equipment) was installed in Palencia. The company of Basque origin, private capital, settled in the vicinity of the train station. Things were not as they thought and at the beginning of the Civil War accumulated large debts, so it was the State who had to intervene. On the other hand, the war effort forced to double the manufacture of ammunition, and the Consortium of Military Industries, chose Palencia as the headquarters of a munition factory. The factory was created as a branch of the Fabrica Nacional de Toledo in May of 1937, it was temporarily installed in the old Miravalles workshops and its first technical and labor personnel came from Toledo. Until 1940 (in which the General Directorate of Military Industries reorganized the Military Industry) the establishment Fábrica Nacional de Toledo and Palencia was unique, under the direction of Toledo. In 1940 both establishments were definitively separated and it was decided to build a new Factory in the facilities of the former Alfonso VI Barracks, on the Carretera de Madrid, facilities that opened in 1942 and continue to this day.

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