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9x19mm Parabellum Cartridge

Common Names

  • 9x19mm Parabellum
  • 9mm
  • 9mm Luger

A little about the 9mm Round

The 9mm round is probably one of the most popular or at least one the most well known rounds that is available on the market today. From the use by law enforcement agencies and the military, in shooting competitions, by the average target shooter, to home defense purposes, the 9mm round is one cartridge that just about every person has at least heard about or is somewhat familiar with.

The 9mm 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.

The name Parabellum is derived from the Latin: Si vis pacem, para bellum "If you seek peace, prepare for war"

Ammunition Diagram

Diagram featuring common terms for parts of a bullet

Diagram featuring common terms for parts of a bullet

Ammunition Terminology

Cartridge = also known as a round or shell that is the entire piece of ammunition (bullet, case, jacket, primer, and propellent)

Bullet = the projectile that is the projectile that comes out of the end of the gun through the barrel when the gun is fired.

Case = the largest part of the round that holds the bullet, contains the propellant, and houses the primer.

Primer = the part of the cartridge that when struck by the firing pin reacts chemically generating heat that will ignite the powder inside the case.

Propellant = is the chemical (smokeless or black powder) inside the case that when ignited creates pressure that propels the projectile down through the barrel and out the muzzle end..


*Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute


Bullet diameter: 9.01 mm (0.355 in)

Common twist: 250 mm (1 in 9.84 in)

Maximum pressure: 235.00 MPa (34,084 psi)

primer - small pistol

Case length: 19.15 mm (0.754 in)

Grooves: 6 = grooves = 9.02 mm

The SAAMI* pressure limit for the 9×19mm Parabellum is set at 241.32 MPa (35,001 psi) piezo pressure.


Overall length: 29.69 mm (1.169 in)

lands = 8.82 mm land width = 2.49 mm

The SAAMI* pressure limit for the 9×19 mm Parabellum +P is set at 265.45 MPa (38,500 psi) piezo pressure.



**Test barrel length: Tests 1,2&3: 150mm(5.91in) / Tests 4&5: 118mm(4.65in)
Source(s): Sellier & Bellot, Buffalo Bore, C.I.P., Cor-Bon


115 gr


390 m/s (1,300 ft/s)

570 J (420 ft·lb)

124 gr


360 m/s (1,200 ft/s)

518 J (382 ft·lb)

116 gr


377 m/s (1,240 ft/s)

533 J (393 ft·lb)

115 gr


411 m/s (1,350 ft/s)

632 J (466 ft·lb)

9mm Variants

9mm +P or +P+ Cartridge

9mm +P or +P+ cartridges are overpressure variants of the standard 9x19mm cartridge. The purpose of these overpressure rounds are to obtain higher muzzle velocities and greater stopping power, making these types of ammunition popular rounds for personal or home defense. The standard pressure for +P rounds are approximately 10% higher than the standard round 35,000 psi (standard pressure) vs 38,500 psi (+p pressure).

9mm NATO cartridge

9mm NATO is a cartridge used by over 70 countries and many millitaries. Also an overpressure round compared to standard cartridge,


9mm SESAMS (Special Effects Small Arms Marking System).is a simunition round developed by the United States Military for training exercises and function similar to a paintball round. Comes in two colors, red and blue. Picture of a SESAMS round a little further down in the hub.

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Types of centerfire casings

There a three main types of centerfire cartridges available on the market today:


And there are probably more theories on which type of case is the best to use in your firearm than there are types of casings available.

The main differences between the three casings are:

Metal Composition
Reloading capabilities

Steel and aluminum casings are going to be cheaper than brass casings.

There are many out there that will attempt to discourage people from purchasing or using aluminum cased ammunition because they claim that cartridges with aluminium casing is dangerous to shoot through firearms due to its soft nature. However there are just as many that have put thousands of rounds through their firearms using aluminium cases that have not experienced any major problems.

As far as reloading goes, it is generally accepted that aluminium cases are not the best option for those that do or decide to reload their own ammunition.

Common handguns in 9mm

Beretta M9

Beretta PX4 Storm

Glock 17, 19, 26

Smith and Wesson M&P, Sigma

Taurus 92, Millennium,, 24/7, 709

Ruger LC9

Sig Sauer P226, P250

Springfield XD


Use in Law Enforcement and Military

Beretta PX4 Storm

  • Used by the Ohio County, WV Sheriff's Department,
  • Maryland State Police,
  • Sparta, New Jersey Police Department,
  • Providence, Rhode IslandPolice Department,
  • Fresno Police Department
  • Rochester, NY police department

Glock 17, 19, 26

  • FBI 17, 19, 26
  • U.S. Marshall Service
  • DEA 19
  • Department of Homeland Security 19
  • Miami Police Dept
  • Virginia Beach Police Dept

Sig Sauer P226, P228, P229

  • United States Army P228 (designated M11)
  • United States Army Criminal Investigation Command[52] P229
  • U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (U.S. Department of State)[53] P226R, P228, P229, P229R (9×19mm)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation[51] P226, P228R, & P229
  • United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations[53] P228 (9×19mm)
  • United States Navy SEALs[56] P226, P228 (9x19mm)
  • United States Navy[57] P226R (9x19mm)& P228 (designated M11) (9×19mm)
  • NYPD P226 DAK (9×19mm)
  • New Jersey State Police[67] P228R (9×19mm)
  • Tampa Police Department Tactical Response Team (TRT/SWAT) P226R (9×19mm)

9mm Parabellum

Why 9mm is a great round?

One of the great thing about the 9mm round is that most weapons that are chambered in 9mm have higher capacity magazines due to smaller cartridge size.

The 9 mm cartridge combines a flat trajectory with moderate recoil, and according to the 1986 book Handloading: "the modern science of wound ballistics has established beyond reasonable doubt that the 9mm cartridge is highly effective."*

Another reason that 9mm is a great round is that it is cost effective while practicing shooting and to stock up on rounds. It is also regularly available wherever ammunition is sold.

*Davis, William C. (1986). Handloading. Second Printing: National Rifle Association. p242-243.

Ammo Reloading

9mm Vs .38 Vs .40

9mm.38 special.40 S&W

Bullet diameter: 9.01 mm (0.355 in)

Bullet diameter: (9.1 mm) .357 in

Bullet diameter: .4 in (10 mm)

Case length: 19.15 mm (0.754 in)

Case length: (29.3 mm) 1.155 in

Case length: .850 in (21.6 mm)

Overall length: 29.69 mm (1.169 in)

Overall length: (39 mm) 1.55 in

Overall length: 1.135 in (28.8 mm)

Primer type: Small pistol

Primer type: Small pistol

Primer type: Small Pistol


LJ Bonham on September 04, 2016:

Nice hub. Hard to go wrong with the "Nine." Cheap, available, accurate, and effective - what's not to like? Today's improved bullets make it an even easier choice. Most defensive handgun cartridges perform about the same in tissue - bullet placement is the more important factor - and in today's high threat environment, high magazine capacity is very important.

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