9 mm Luger

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Ball and hollowpoint 9mm Luger rounds are popular handgun ammunition.

The 9 mm Luger pistol cartridge (9 x 19 mm Parabellum, 9 x 19 mm NATO) was designed by firearms designer Georg Luger. It has become the most widespread pistol cartridge in the world.



Based upon his earlier 7.65 mm Luger pistol cartridge, Georg Luger designed the 9 mm Luger cartridge at the German company Deutschen Waffen-und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) and presented a 9 mm version of his Pistole Parabellum to the British Small Arms Committee in 1902 via Vickers Limited. Three 9 mm Pistole Parabellum prototype pistols were delivered to the US Army for testing at Springfield Arsenal in mid 1903. The German military showed an interest in a 9 mm version of the Parabellum in March 1904. The cartridge was created simply by removing the bottleneck of the 7.65 mm Luger cartridge resulting in a straight-walled rimless cartridge.

The original design was a full metal jacket (FMJ), truncated cone bullet weighing 8 g (124 gr). In Germany, this load was replaced with 124 grain (8.0 g) FMJ bullets with a round ogive in 1915-1916, but truncated cone bullets continued to be used on commercial loads and in the United States.

Post-World War I (WWI) 9 mm pistols were adopted by a number of countries, and post-WWI acceptance of this caliber spread even more rapidly.

To preserve lead, during World War II (WWII) the lead core is replaced by an iron core encased with lead. A black bullet jacket identified this bullet and it was designated as the 08mE (mit Eisenkern or "with iron core"). Another war-time variation, designated as the 08SE bullet and identified by its dark gray jacket, was created by compressing iron powder at high temperature into a solid material (Sintereisen or "sintered iron").

A special load (identified either by an “X” on the headstamp or by a green lacquered steel case) with a 150 gr (9.7 g) FMJ bullet with a subsonic muzzle velocity for use with silencers was produced by the Germans during WWII. Other countries also developed heavy bullet, subsonic loads for use with silenced guns.

The 9 mm Parabellum cartridge has been manufactured by, or for, more than 70 different countries and, today, has become the world’s standard pistol cartridge, being the standard pistol caliber for NATO and the militaries of most countries of the world.

After WWII, the common weight of the 9 mm was changed to 8.0 g (124 gr) to increase the accuracy of the 9 mm Luger ammunition. Bullet weights up to 9.5 g (147 gr) are available.


- Case material -

Brass: Since 1902, the common construction material of 9 mm cases has been brass. For appearance, durability, or identification cases have been nickel or copper plated or painted.

Aluminium: To preserve brass, aluminum cases have been produced since 1941 (Switzerland) and the development of that material in the use of the 9 mm has continued and is in use today.

Steel: Various countries have experimented with the use of steel for the construction of 9 mm cases since WWI. It has met with very little success but is still being produced and is available today from Russia

Other materials: Plastics have been widely used in the production of 9 mm ammunition by a number of countries.


The 9 mm Luger cartridge combines a flat trajectory with moderate recoil, and fair stopping power. Its main advantages lie in its small size and low use of resources for manufacturing. Its main disadvantages are its tendency to overpenetrate and poor permanent cavitation (hole size), when nonexpanding bullets are used.

It is a good small game cartridge for the handgun hunter.

Because it is inexpensive, easy to manufacture and effective enough for most uses, it has become the most used pistol cartridge in the world.

For police use, it is mainly used with higher speed overpressure (+P) expanding (hollowpoint) bullets to increase both permanent and temporary cavitation, and to reduce overpenetration.

Muzzle velocity:

  • 7.5 g (115 gr) Full Metal Jacket: 390 m/s (1280 ft/s)
  • 8.0 g (124 gr) Full Metal Jacket: 360 m/s (1180 ft/s)


  • 9 mm
  • 9 mm NATO
  • 9 x 19 mm
  • 9 x 19 mm NATO
  • 9 mm Parabellum
  • 9 mm Para

See also

fr:9mm Parabellum no:9 mm Luger


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