9×19 Luger / Parabellum

This cartridge, generally known as “THE 9mm”, is usually also referred to as “9mm Luger” (after the name of the Georg Luger, who designed the pistol originally associated with this round) or “9mm Parabellum” (after the trade mark of the German DWM company that originally made this round). It was developed at the request of the German Navy in 1902, which liked the 7.65mm “Parabellum” pistol developed by Luger and made by DWM, but wanted more stopping power. Following this requirement, DWM shortened the case of the original 7.65×21 Luger/Parabellum round to 19mm and loaded it with 9mm jacketed bullet of truncated cone shape. The “Parabellum” pistol chambered for this cartridge, was adopted by the German Navy in 1904 and (with a modified pistol) by the German Army in 1908. This round saw extensive use by German armed forces during World War One, in various pistols and in the first sub-machine guns. In around 1917 the original flat point bullet was replaced by ogive shaped jacketed bullet that has remained standard for military loadings until now. Between the wars, this cartridge continued its service with the German armed forces in a variety of pistols and sub-machine guns; it was also accepted as a military load by several other countries, starting with Belgium, which brought out one of the most successful and historically important 9mm pistols of all time, the FN Browning High Power. After the World War Two the 9mm Parabellum was quickly adopted as a standard pistol and sub-machine gun chambering throughout NATO, with the notable exception of the USA, which stuck to its .45 ACP cartridge for some forty more years. It was adopted as a military load by many other countries worldwide, and since the seventies it also found its way into the police weapons of many nations. A hundred years old, today this cartridge remains the most popular and long-lasting chambering for pistols and sub-machine guns in the world. It combines adequate combat effectiveness with relatively compact size that allows for a large magazine capacity. All in all, this is probably the best and most popular compromise combat pistol cartridge in the world.

The 9×19 cartridge uses a straight rimless case with slight taper. The cases usually made of brass, but aluminum and lacquered steel cases may also be encountered. The standard military loading is an ogive-shaped jacketed bullet with a lead core, while police and commercial loadings may exhibit a wide variety of bullet types – expanding, frangible etc. In recent years, several types of military armor-piercing loadings were manufactured in countries like Austria, China and Russia.

One warning note must be made about military ammunition in this calibre. In many countries the 9×19 cartridge was considered primary as a sub-machine gun loading, and thus was loaded to higher velocities and pressure levels to provide the necessary effective range for infantry and other military personnel armed with SMGs. In many cases, the same ammunition was also issued to troops with pistols, which often resulted in degraded lifespan or even damage to the guns and injuries to the shooters. Therefore, great care must be taken when shooting military issue or surplus ammunition in commercial or older military pistols, which may not stand up to the stronger recoil and higher barrel pressures of certain military “sub-machine gun” loadings.

Designation

Manufacturer

Bullet weight, g

Muzzle velocity, m/s

Muzzle energy, J

Comments

7N31

Russia

4,2

600

756

AP load with hardened steel core exposed at the tip of the bullet

EMB Police

Hirtenberger, Austria

5,0

500

625

Special police load with low-ricochet bullet

7N21

Russia

5,3

460

560

AP load with hardened steel core exposed at the tip of the bullet

M882

USA

7,26

385

538

Military-issue ammunition loaded to NATO standards

JHP

Remington, USA

7,45

352

461

Commercial round

SilverTip

Winchester, USA

7,45

374

521

Commercial round

JHP +P

Remington, USA

7,45

381

540

Commercial round

JHP +P+

Remington, USA

7,45

400

596

Commercial / police round

2Z ball

Radway Green, UK

7,45

427*

679

Military issue ammunition for British Sterling sub-machine guns

JHP

Remington, USA

8,04

341

467

Commercial round

Balle ‘O’

France

8,00

385**

593

Military issue ammunition for French MAT-49 sub-machine guns

L7A1 ball

Hirtenberger, Austria

8,04

393*

620

Military issue ammunition for British Sterling sub-machine guns

JHP Subsonic

Remington, USA

9,53

302

435

Subsonic round

Comment: for sub-machine gun loadings muzzle velocities are given as fired from FN Browning High Power (*) or Mle.1950 (**) pistols