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Snippet from Wikipedia: 9×19mm Parabellum

The 9×19mm Parabellum is a firearms cartridge that was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) (German Weapons and Munitions Factory) for its Luger semi-automatic pistol. For this reason, it is designated as the 9mm Luger by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI), and the 9 mm Luger by the Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (CIP). The name Parabellum is derived from the Latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum ("If you seek peace, prepare for war"), which was the motto of DWM.

Under STANAG 4090, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

According to the 2014 edition of Cartridges of the World, the 9×19mm Parabellum is "the world's most popular and widely used military handgun and submachine gun cartridge." In 2007, Newsweek claimed that "about 60 percent of the firearms in use by police are 9mms" and credited 9×19mm Parabellum pistol sales with making semiautomatic pistols more popular than revolvers. The popularity of this cartridge can be attributed to the widely held conviction that it is effective in police and self-defense use. Its low cost and wide availability contribute to the caliber's continuing popularity.

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The 9×19mm Parabellum (abbreviated 9mm, 9mmP, 9×19mm or 9×19) cartridge was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) for their Luger semi-automatic pistol.<ref>Hogg, Ian V.; Weeks, John S. Military Small Arms of the 20th Century (7th Edition), p.40. Krause Publications, 2000</ref> For this reason, it is designated as the 9mm Luger / 9mm Luger +P by the SAAMI <ref name=“SAAMI-drawing”>SAAMI 9mm Luger / 9mm Luger +P cartridge and chamber drawings</ref> and the 9&nbsp;mm Luger by the C.I.P. (differentiating it from the 9mm Makarov and 9mm Browning cartridges). Under STANAG 4090, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.<ref>NATO Infantry Weapons Standardization, Per G. Arvidsson, ChairmanWeapons & Sensors Working GroupLand Capability Group 1 - Dismounted Soldier NATO Army Armaments Group</ref>

The name Parabellum is derived from the Latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum (“If you seek peace, prepare for war”), which was the motto<!–it was their telegraphic address, too–> of DWM.<ref name=“James2004”>

</ref><ref name=“Sweeney2009”>


According to the 2006 edition of Cartridges of the World, the 9×19mm Parabellum is “the world's most popular and widely used military handgun cartridge.”<ref name=“CotW_2006” /> In addition to being used by over 60% of police in the U.S., Newsweek credits 9×19 pistol sales with making semi-automatic pistols more popular than revolvers.<ref name=“Adler2007”>Adler, Jerry, et al. “Story of a Gun.” Newsweek 149.18 (30 Apr. 2007): 36-39. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX. retrieved 10 June 2009. ''Newsweek'' online edition</ref> The popularity of this cartridge can be attributed to the widely held conviction that it is effective in police and self-defense use.<ref name=“Davis_1986”>Davis, William C. (1986). Handloading, Second Printing: National Rifle Association. ISBN 0-935998-34-9 p242-243</ref> Its low cost and wide availability are self-sustaining contributors to the caliber's continuing popularity.


Georg Luger developed the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge from his earlier 7.65×21mm Parabellum round. Luger had derived the 7.65×21mm Parabellum from the original 7.65×25mm Borchardt cartridge in his efforts to improve upon the Borchardt C-93 pistol. Shortening the length of the cartridge case allowed him to improve the design of the toggle lock and to incorporate a smaller, angled grip. The initial 9mm cartridge was created by removing the bottleneck of the 7.65&nbsp;mm Luger cartridge, resulting in a tapered rimless cartridge.

In 1902, Luger presented the new round to the British Small Arms Committee as well as three prototype versions to the U.S. Army for testing at Springfield Arsenal in mid-1903. The German Navy adopted the cartridge in 1904 and in 1906 the German Army adopted it as well.<ref name=“CotW_2006”>

</ref> The ogive of the bullet was slightly redesigned in the 1910s in order to improve feeding.

To conserve lead during World War II in Germany, the lead core was replaced by an iron core encased with lead. This bullet, identified by a black bullet jacket, was designated as the 08 mE (mit Eisenkern—“with iron core”). By 1944, the black jacket of the 08 mE bullet was dropped and these bullets were produced with normal copper-colored jackets. Another wartime variation was designated the 08 sE bullet and identified by its dark gray jacket, and was created by compressing iron powder at high temperature into a solid material (Sintereisen—“sintered iron”).<ref>



After World War I, acceptance of the 9-millimeter caliber increased, and 9mm pistols and submachine guns were adopted by military and police users in many countries.<ref>

</ref> The 9×19mm Parabellum has become the most popular caliber for U.S. law enforcement agencies, primarily due to the availability of compact pistols with large magazine capacities that use the cartridge.<ref>CCI/Speer Inc. (2007). Reloading Manual #14. ISBN 978-0-9791860-0-4.</ref>

Worldwide, the 9mm is one of the more popular pistol cartridges where it is legal (some countries ban civilian use of weapons that chamber current or former military cartridges), and cartridges in this caliber are generally available anywhere pistol ammunition is sold.

From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, there was a sharp increase in the popularity of semi-automatic pistols in USA, which coincided with the adoption of the Smith & Wesson Model 39 by the Illinois State Police in 1968, and the Beretta M9 (a military version of the Beretta Model 92) by the U.S. Army in 1985. Previously, most American police departments issued .38 Special caliber revolvers with a six-shot capacity. The .38 Special was preferred to other weapons such as variants of the M1911 because it offered low recoil, was small and light enough to accommodate different shooters, and was relatively inexpensive.<ref name=clede/>

The 9mm is ballistically superior to the .38 Special revolver cartridge,<ref>

</ref> is shorter overall, and being an autoloader cartridge, it is stored in flat magazines, as opposed to cylindrical speedloaders. This, coupled with the advent of the so-called "wonder nines" led to many U.S. police departments exchanging their revolvers for some form of 9mm semi-automatic handguns by the 1980s.<ref name=clede>


Cartridge dimensions

The 9×19mm Parabellum has 0.86&nbsp;ml (13.3&nbsp;grains H2O) cartridge case capacity.

File:9x19mm Parabellum.svg

9×19mm Parabellum maximum C.I.P. cartridge dimensions.<ref name=“”>

</ref> All sizes in millimeters (mm).

The cartridge headspaces on the mouth of the case.<ref name=“wilson”>Wilson, R. K. Textbook of Automatic Pistols, p.239. Plantersville, SC: Small Arms Technical Publishing Company, 1943.</ref> The common rifling twist rate for this cartridge is 250&nbsp;mm (1 in 9.84&nbsp;in), 6 grooves, ø lands = 8.82&nbsp;mm, ø grooves = 9.02&nbsp;mm, land width = 2.49&nbsp;mm and the primer type is small pistol.

types: unjacketed (lead), full metal jacket, and hollow point.]] According to the official C.I.P. (Commission Internationale Permanente Pour L'Epreuve Des Armes A Feu Portatives) guidelines the 9×19mm Parabellum case can handle up to

piezo pressure. In C.I.P. regulated countries every pistol cartridge combo has to be proofed at 130% of this maximum C.I.P. pressure to certify for sale to consumers.

The SAAMI pressure limit for the 9×19mm Parabellum is set at

piezo pressure.<ref>

</ref><br> The SAAMI pressure limit for the 9×19 mm Parabellum +P is set at

piezo pressure.

Empty case weighs approximately




The round was originally designed to be lethal to 50 m but the bullet travels and is lethal at longer ranges.

The 9&nbsp;mm cartridge combines a flat trajectory with moderate recoil. According to the 1986 book Handloading: “the modern science of wound ballistics has established beyond reasonable doubt that the 9mm cartridge is highly effective.”<ref name=“Davis_1986”/>

Improvements and variations

In addition to the traditional pressure values for this cartridge, there are two main variants that offer different pressure standards than the SAAMI or C.I.P requirements.

9 mm NATO standard

The 9&nbsp;mm cartridge has been manufactured by, or for, more than 70 different countries and has become a standard pistol caliber for NATO and other military forces around the world. Its official nomenclature among NATO users is “9 mm NATO”. The 9&nbsp;mm NATO can be considered as an overpressure variant of the 9×19mm Parabellum that is defined by NATO standards.<ref>Proof of Ordnance, Munitions, Armour and Explosives, Ministry of Defence Defence Standard 05–101 Part 1</ref> The service pressure Pmax of the 9&nbsp;mm NATO is rated at

where C.I.P. rates the 9&nbsp;mm Luger PTmax somewhat lower at

. The

proofing test pressure used in the 9&nbsp;mm NATO proof test however equals the proofing test pressure used in the 9&nbsp;mm Luger C.I.P. proof test.

While the NATO standards do not specify the type of bullet to be used, Declaration III of the Hague Convention of 1899 prohibits the use of expanding ammunition in warfare by signatories, and therefore official 9&nbsp;mm NATO ammunition is FMJ “ball” bullets.<ref></ref> It should be noted that Declaration III does not apply in conflicts involving non-signatories to the Hague Convention, including paramilitary and other non-governmental fighting forces.<ref></ref>

Swedish m/39

The 9mm Parabellum entered Swedish service as m/39 with the import of the ''Kulsprutepistol m/39 from Austria, with a bullet weight of 7,5&nbsp;gram (115&nbsp;grain).<ref>“Hemvärnet 1940–1990, 1990. Red. Bo Kjellander s. 259–260.</ref> During the Congo Crisis, the Swedish UN-contigent issued complaints about the preformance of the m/39 cartridge (regular 9mm Parabellum) used, which resulted in a commission of the Swedish Army establishing in 1962 that a new round was needed for the Carl Gustav m/45. The resulting m/39B had a tombac-plated steeljacket surrounding the lead core. While the lands of the barrel can cut into the tombac, the steel jacket resists deformation causing the gas pressure to rise higher than the previous soft-jacketed m/39, giving the 6,8&nbsp;gram (106&nbsp;grain) bullet a Vo 420&nbsp;m/s.<ref>Arméstabens taktiska avdelning februari 1962 : “Erfarenheterna från striderna i Kongo under september och december 1961”</ref> It also acts like a penetrator when striking a target, going through up to 50 layers of kevlar, 7 cm bricks or 25 cm of wood, allowing the bullet to defeat body armour up to Type IIIA. The downside is the higher wear on the weapon, ultimately causing the service pistol m/40 to be withdrawn from service in. The m/39 is also available as chamber round — kammarpatron m/39 — black with blue tip, for indoor gallery shooting, and as blank round — 'lös patron m/39 — which has the metal bullet replaced with one in red, hard plastic intended to disintegrate into dust when fired.

9×19mm +P variant

Attempts to improve ballistics of the cartridge came in the early 1990s with the widespread availability of high pressure loadings of the 9&nbsp;mm cartridge. Such overpressure cartridges are labeled ”+P“ or in the case of very high pressure loadings ”+P+“.<ref>What is +P and +P+ ammunition?</ref> Ballistic performance of these rounds was moderately improved over the standard loadings. In addition, improvements in jacketed hollow point bullet technology have produced bullet designs that are more likely to expand and less likely to fragment than earlier iterations, giving a 9&nbsp;mm bullet better terminal effectiveness.<ref name=“Ayoob, Massad 2002”/>


The United States Military uses red and blue marking rounds in the 9mm caliber known as Special Effects Small Arms Marking Systems (SESAMS). Commonly used for training simulations, these rounds are comparable in function to the paintballs used in paintball markers, except they are fired with a powder charge, and can be shot in Beretta M9 service pistols with only a barrel modification (The Glock 19-series 9mm pistol, common among police departments, has a similar available modification). The 9mm SESAMS rounds are fired from specially modified pistols as well as M16 and M4 rifles, which are incapable of chambering standard live ammunition.

pistol]] SESAMS weapons or components are normally painted blue or otherwise clearly marked, in order to denote their inert status and avoid a potentially catastrophic mixup with live-fire weapons.<ref>Bianco, Michael (2009-06-04) ”Marines conduct urban warfare training “,, Retrieved 2009-12-21. (Archived by WebCite at</ref> This allows the armed forces to train with nearly identical equipment as used in real life situations.<ref>Senior Master Sgt. Steven Bliss (2009-08-06) ”Commando Warrior adds realistic combat training with simunitions “ Retrieved 2009-12-21</ref> The brand name for this ammunition, which is sold commercially and to law enforcement, is Simunition.

Russian military overpressure variants

The Russian military has developed specialized 9×19mm cartridges that utilize relatively light bullets at high muzzle velocities for both pistols and submachine guns to defeat body armour.<ref>Russian 9×19mm Pistol Rounds, Land Forces Weapons Export Catalog, page 109</ref>

Besides enhanced penetration capabilities, these overpressure variants offer a flatter trajectory and lessened recoil. The increase in service pressure causes a rise in bolt thrust, so the use of this overpressure ammunition induces more stress on critical weapon parts during firing. After initial research, conducted since the late 1980s under the codename “Grach”, the Russian armed forces adopted two specialized 9×19mm variants.<ref name=“”>

</ref><ref>9x19 Russian pistol cartridges</ref>

Chambering 7Н21 (7N21) 7Н31 (7N31) / PBP
Cartridge weight

Bullet weight

Muzzle velocity

Muzzle energy

Accuracy of fire at<br>


Maximum pressure

  • <small>R50 at

    means the closest 50 percent of the shot group will all be within a circle of

    radius at


The 7N21 (Cyrillic: 7Н21) 9×19 mm overpressure variant features an armour piercing bullet and generates a peak pressure of

.<ref name=“” /> The 7N21 bullet features a hardened (sub-caliber) steel penetrator core, enclosed by a bimetal jacket. The space between the core and jacket is filled with polyethylene, and the tip of the penetrator is exposed at the front of the bullet, to achieve better penetration. The penetration range for body armor is specified at up to 40&nbsp;m. The MP-443 Grach and GSh-18 pistols and PP-19-01, PP-90M1 and PP-2000 submachine guns were designed for usage with this overpressure cartridge. Jane's Infantry Weapons stated in 2003 that the 7N21 cartridge combines the 9×19mm Parabellum dimensions with a 9×21mm Gyurza bullet design and was developed specifically for the penetration of body armor and for the MP-443 Grach pistol, the latest Russian service pistol.<ref name=“Janes_2003”>


The 7N31 (Cyrillic: 7Н31) / PBP 9×19mm overpressure variant uses the same concept with a similar but lighter bullet that achieves higher muzzle velocity. The penetration of an 8&nbsp;mm thick steel plate is specified at up to 10&nbsp;m. The 7N31 cartridge was developed in the late 1990s for the GSh-18 pistol. The 7N31 was adopted for the PP-90M1 and PP-2000 submachine guns. Its maximum service pressure remains unclear.

The method of construction of the two rounds allows them to be effective against both unarmored and armored targets. If the bullet strikes an unarmored target, it holds together to produce a wide wound channel. If the bullet strikes an armored target, the sleeve is stripped away and the core penetrates alone. The disadvantage of the rounds is that high impact velocities are needed for them to work effectively, so the bullets are relatively light to maximize their muzzle velocity. This means they will lose velocity relatively quickly, limiting their effective range.<ref>Where Next For PDWs? by Anthony G Williams</ref>

9mm major

“9mm major” is a term common among handloaders in IPSC and USPSA competitions in the open division. It describes a 9×19mm loaded to reach or surpass the “major” power factor in those competitions, something that very few commercial self-defense loads do. Such loads are only rarely within the limits defined by SAAMI or CIP, exceeding even +P loads. Usually, they are relatively large charges of a relatively slow-burning powder combined with light bullets and a longer than standard OAL. Since they can be used with common 9×19 brass, they are considered a cheaper alternative to .38 Super. This ammunition puts a greater strain on the gun than normal ammunition.

Other variants

VBR-B produces specialized bullets for this cartridge, a 2-part controlled fragmenting projectile and an armor-piercing bullet that features a brass sabot and a hardened steel penetrator. These are designed for increasing the content of the permanent wound cavity and double the chance to hit a vital organ.<ref>


USA data

The energy delivered by most 9&nbsp;mm loads allows for significant expansion and penetration with premium JHP bullets. Illinois State Police, Border Patrol, Federal Air Marshals and United States Secret Service favored and used

+P+ 9&nbsp;mm loads at

for years with excellent results.<ref name=“Ayoob, Massad 2002”/> Massad Ayoob has stated that the “Tried, Tested, and True”

+P or +P+ is the best self-defense load in this caliber.<ref name=“Ayoob, Massad 2002”>

</ref> Proponents of the hydrostatic shock theory contend that the energy of the 9mm cartridge is capable of imparting remote wounding effects known as hydrostatic shock, in human-sized living targets.<ref name=“”>

</ref><ref name=“Sturtevant B 1998”>Sturtevant B, Shock Wave Effects in Biomechanics, Sadhana, 23: 579–596, 1998.</ref><ref>


9×19mm Parabellum pistols with standard (not extended) double-stack magazines can hold up to 19 rounds, such as the Springfield XD<sup>M</sup>-9.

The table below shows common performance parameters for several 9×19mm loads. Bullet weights ranging from

are common. Loads are available with energies from just over

to over

, and penetration depths from

to over

are available for various applications and risk assessments.

Manufacturer Load Mass Velocity Energy Expansion<ref name=“MS1996”>Marshall and Sanow, Street Stoppers, Appendix A, Paladin 2006</ref> Penetration<ref name=“MS1996”/> PC<ref name=“MS1996”/> TSC<ref name=“MS1996”/>
Cor-Bon JHP+P



Speer Gold Dot JHP


Federal HydraShok JHP +P+

Remington Golden Saber JHP

Winchester Silvertip

Winchester WWB JHP

Winchester FMJ

Key: <br>Expansion: expanded bullet diameter (ballistic gelatin). <br>Penetration: penetration depth (ballistic gelatin). <br>PC: permanent cavity volume (ballistic gelatin, FBI method). <br>TSC: temporary stretch cavity volume (ballistic gelatin).


  • 9×19
  • 9&nbsp;mm
  • 9&nbsp;mm Luger
  • 9&nbsp;mm NATO
  • 9×19mm
  • 9×19mm NATO
  • 9&nbsp;mm Parabellum
  • 9&nbsp;mm Para

See also


9_19mm_parabellum.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:31 (external edit)