Skip to content


The 9mm cartridge was developed in the first decade of the 20th century by Georg Luger for use in his distinctive pistols. The cartridge went on to become much more successful than the gun for which it was designed.

9mm is the current NATO standard caliber for handgun cartridges. The standard U.S. Military sidearm is a Beretta 92SB-F in the 9mm caliber.

9mm is also known as 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, 9mm Para, and 9x19mm. “9x18mm Makarov” is a different cartridge, which traces its origins to Russia. “9mm Kurz” or “9mm short” is yet another incompatible 9mm cartridge, also known as .380.

9mm Ammunition

Due to the enormous popularity of the 9mm cartridge, 9mm ammunition is available in incredible variety.

9mm bullet weights typically vary between 95 and 147 grains. These bullets leave the average pistol barrel from 930 up to 1,450fps.

Domestically, 9mm ammunition is sold by these manufacturers:

  • Black Hills
  • CCI-Speer
  • Cor-Bon
  • Fiocchi
  • Federal
  • Lapua
  • MagTech
  • Norma
  • PMC-Eldorado
  • Remington
  • Sellier & Bellot
  • UltraMax
  • Winchester

These manufacturers sell a wide variety of 9mm bullet types, including:

  • Expanding Full Metal Jacket (EFMJ) (Federal)
  • Frangible Projectile
  • Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)
  • Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP)
  • Jacketed Hollow Point +P (JHP+P)
  • Jacketed Soft Point (JSP)
  • Lead-Free
  • Lead Round Nose
  • Match
  • Metal Case (Remington)
  • Power Ball (Cor-Bon)
  • Safety (Cor-Bon)
  • TC (Norma)

9mm Alternatives

Some shooters consider the 9mm round to be underpowered. For many years, those shooters preferred the larger .45 caliber. It was a simple trade-off between power and magazine capacity.

The introduction of the .40 caliber changed that math. .40 caliber offers the power of a .45 in a size much closer to a 9mm.

The current trade-off is between the low-cost and high-availability of 9mm ammunition and the improved performance of .40 caliber ammunition.