This is a website dedicated to helping you find 9mm ammo for sale and all the best 9mm deals on the Web. 9mm ammunition, also known as 9×19, 9×19 mm, 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum (Parabellum is a Latin word that means “Prepare for war if you seek peace”) and 9mm NATO is one of the most popular and most used types of ammo in United States and in many other parts of our world. The fact that over 60% of police in United States use 9mm ammo is evidence that most law enforcing agencies depend more on 9mm ammo than any other type of ammo.
According to Newsweek, the 9mm Parabellum is the reason why semi-automatic pistols are more popular than revolvers in United States. There are multiple reasons for the popularity of 9mm ammunition that includes low price, availability, and effectiveness for police use and for self-defense. 9mm Parabellum is also described as the world’s number one and widely used handgun cartridge in the 2006 edition of “Cartridges of the World”.
Initially, German navy started to use 9mm Lugar in 1904 that was later adopted by German army followed by all major armies in Europe and North America. Navy, at that time, was the most high tech part of the armed forces and most of the high tech and new weapons were initially used by Navies. The 9mm ammo was designed to add more penetrating power in a bullet that can penetrate through the field gear of the soldier very easily. The purpose of 9mm was to make an enemy soldier incapable of taking part in the battle by wounding or killing the soldier. Today, there are different types of loadings available for the standard 9mm Parabellum cartridge that varies in type of bullets, weights of bullets and loading pressure.
History and Origins of 9mm Ammo
The 9mm Parabellum was designed by a German weapon manufacturer, George Luger in 1902. He presented the new 9mm version of his pistol in 1902 to the British Small Arms Committee through the Vickers Limited that was immediately approved. American Army received three prototype Luger 9mm pistols in 1903 that were tested at Springfield Arsenal. The 9mm caliber was initially used in pistols but was soon adopted to use in machine pistols. German army widely used 9mm Caliber in their submachine guns in First World War. 9mm cartridge that was designed by George was first commercially launched by DWM (Deutsche Waffen – und Munitionsfabriken), a German company that first used the cartridge in their Luger semi-automatic pistol.
It is widely believed that George Luger initially designed the ammo to wound enemies, not to kill them but later, the 9mm Parabellum proved to become one of the most lethal ammos used in wars at that time. Soon after it was launched and used in battlefield, it was accepted as one the most powerful bullet that guns at that time could accommodate.
George Luger, who was employed by a German weapon manufacturer Loewe & Co., first designed a 7.65 mm Parabellum. As complaints started to rise against the reduced stopping power of 7.65 Parabellum, George Luger then designed 9mm Parabellum that soon becomes success and was widely accepted. As the 9mm Parabellum was used in Luger pistols, it was soon become popular as 9mm Luger and 9x19mm.
The 9mm Parabellum design was relatively different from other cartridges at that time that also used the term 9mm in their names. These cartridges include 9mm largo, 9mm Makarov and 9mm short. As the initial design of 9mm cartridge was derived from the 7.65×23 Parabellum cartridge, there was resemblance in the cartridge design but the 9mm cartridge was just 19mm long, a much shorter version of the earlier 7.65 Parabellum Cartridge. The shorter length allows George Luger to include an angled and smaller grip. In coming years, there were several more changes in the design of the luger that includes the removal of grip safety and replacement of leaf mainspring with an alternate like coil spring.
1900 to 1910
At the same time, in 1903, Belgium also produced a 9mm cartridge known as 9×20 mm browning long that was widely accepted initially in Belgium, France, Ottoman Empire, Sweden and Netherlands. The 9×20 mm browning was soon replaced by more effective 9mm Parabellum in coming years and now becomes completely obsolete.
In 1910, an Italian Company introduced another version of 9mm cartridge with reduced power. The cartridge was designed to use in the 9mm Glisenti pistol and machine pistols. After the acceptance of 9mm cartridge by German Army in 1904, Bulgaria and Holland were the two other countries that were using 9mm cartridge before the First World War.
First World War
In First World War, German army used bulk 9mm ammunition as their standard ammo. Many other countries at that time stated to experiment with different types of 9mm bullet designs and soon after First World War, countries started to adopt the use of 9mm.
Second World War
In Second World War, when Germany wanted to conserve its lead resources, the lead core of the bullet was replaced by iron core. The bullet was known as the black bullet jacket because of its iron core with enclosed lead. The core was soon replaced by the copper after 1944 and Black Bullet Jacket soon becomes obsolete. Iron was also used as the core in another variation when it was compressed as an iron powder into a solid material under very high temperature.
Acceptance of 9mm Ammunition
After the First World War, the use of 9mm cartridge become widespread in Europe and North America with the rapid production of machine pistols, most of which were designed to use 9mm cartridge. Today, more than 70 countries around the world are manufacturing 9mm cartridge. 9mm Parabellum is now considered as standard pistol cartridge by NATO and armies of many other countries.
As 9mm submachine guns and pistols become standard weapon for police and other law enforcing agencies in many countries of the world, the best 9mm ammo becomes more popular and demand started to rise immediately after First World War. Similarly, in United States, 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge is most popular among law enforcement agencies and common people as it is known for its effectiveness in self defense.
Even though, few countries have banned the use of weapons for common people that use military cartridges, but it is still one of the most popular cartridges used in countries where it is legal. The reason why 9mm cartridges become popular among police and other law enforcement agencies was their superiority over formerly used .38 Special revolver cartridge. The revolver used cylindrical speedloaders while 9mm is stored into flat magazines. That brings much more effectiveness for policemen who need to respond quickly with their firearms in different situations. As most of the police switched their revolvers with semi automatic handguns, 9mm cartridge was the only natural and effective choice.
Effectiveness of 9x19mm Parabellum
Initially, the capacity of the bullet was to travel till 50 meters but with the advent of technology and time, the traveling capacity increased. 9mm round is considered as very effective and lethal bullet that can create damage at longer ranges. The combination of moderate coil and flat trajectory in 9mm cartridge is highly effective allowing the bullet to travel to longer distance.
Different loads are used in the 9mm cartridge that allows more penetration or power expansion. The most popular load in 9mm bullets among law enforcing agencies in United States is 7.5 g (115gr) +P+ 9 that loads at 400 m/s, considered as the best load used for self defense purpose. The effectiveness of the 7.5 g (115gr) +P+ 9 load is based on the hydrostatic shock theory that allows the 9mm cartridge energy to cause significant wound in a living thing through 7.5 g (115gr) +P+ 9 load. The weight of the bullets used in cheap 9mm ammunition is mostly between the range of 115 to 147 gr.
The effectiveness of bulk 9mm ammo directly depends on the type of load used in the bullet. There are different types of loads with variation in energies they contain. There are loads available with energy little more than 400J and up to 700J of energy. Similarly, the penetration depth is also dependent on the type of load, with a capacity of penetrating from 8 inches to 40 inches.
The 9mm hardball used by the NYPD raised issues like over-penetration, including passing through the human body in most cases, that forced NYPD to switch their firearms with alternates.
In 1986, the Miami Shoot-Out happened in United States where two bank robbers succeeded in killing two FBI agents beside the fact that the robbers were outnumbered by 4 to 1. Later studies into the incident showed that both robbers were shot multiple times but they kept fighting. Many investigators blamed the 9mm Silvertip used by the FBI agents as it failed to expand properly allowing perpetrators to fight for the long time. Even though, the incident create a controversy against the use of 9mm cartridges, but most of United States police still use 9mm as their priority ammo.
Loads Used in the 9mm Parabellum Cartridges
The 9mm Parabellum Cartridges are now in use for more than 100 years. During this period, many manufacturers used different types of loads in order to achieve different results. Some wanted more penetration power while other manufacturers were interested in longer ranges or larger expansion ability of a bullet. The loads used includes mostly full metal jacket ball load that is known as FMJ. Other types of loads include loads with tracers, dummy load, blanks, exotic load for law enforcement agencies, duplex and triplex loads, shot loads, squeeze bore loads, and tubular bullets.
The Ball load was initially used in the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. These bullets were FMJ coated with truncated cones weighing 124 grains that were later replaced by round cones in 1915 but the weight remain the same. Even though, Germany used round cone bullets from 1916 onwards, but United States used truncated bullet loads well into the 1930s. Later, in an attempt to conserve lead, Germany switched to a new type of bullet with an iron core known as black bullet jacket. These bullets become increasingly popular, as Germany used these bullets as standard bullet ball loads for army.
Another type of bullet was used by compressing iron powder at high temperature into a material known as Sintered Iron. These bullets were known for its dark gray color. These bullets were used commercially in 1943. During the Second World War, Switzerland used ball loads that were covered into the aluminum case from 1941 to 1945.
During the same period, Germans also developed another ball load for the use in pistols with silencers. The 150grains FMJ bullet was developed to achieve subsonic muzzle velocity. British also used many heavy ball loads to use with the silencers. Some of the ball loads were heavier to the extent of 170 grains.
Loads with Tracers were used initially by Germans. Even though, there is not much evidence but most believe that German Navy used tracer bullets as experiments before First World War. Tracers bullets started to become evident after 1930s, when General Franco’s forces widely used these bullets in the Spanish Civil War. During Second World War, many nations started to test and develop different types of tracer bullets. France was the first country that started to develop 9mm Parabellum tracers for commercial use immediately after the Second World War.
Dummy Loads are also considered as the initial loads developed by DWM to use in 9mm Parabellum cartridge. Germany commonly used this hollow and light weighted dummy loads in First World War. After 1940, Germany introduced dummy loads with plastic cases with only a steel head. During the Second World War, Winchester produced dummy loads for Britain. Beside Britain, Australia and Canada also used dummy loads during the Second World War.
Dummy loads become popular and are commonly used today for different purposes. There is a wide range of dummy loads available to use with 9mm Parabellum cartridge.
Blank Loads is another common type of load used in 9mm Parabellum cartridge. Many German companies commercially produced blank loads after 1920s. Most of the companies used iron powder with paper bullet to create a weight for the bullet for its effectiveness. Another variation of blank load includes mercury filled in a wooden bullet.
The common use of such blank loads in bullets in United States is in Holly Wood and for training purposes. The French and Britain also produce blank loads commercially.
Proof loads are developed by many countries that are manufacturing 9mm Parabellum cartridge and other 9mm ammunition to test the weapons. The basic use of such loads is proof testing of the weapons during manufacturing. Different countries develop different types of proof load according to the use in these countries. In United States, the proof load is used in tinned case with red case head. In Belgium and Britain, cooper cases are used while in Czech Republic, nickel cases are used.
Above mentioned loads are most commonly loads used in 9mm Parabellum cartridges but there are hundreds of other variations manufactured in different countries around the world for special purposes known as Special Loads.
With hundreds of different kinds of loads available for 9mm Parabellum, it is hard for a layman to distinguish between different types of loads. For this purpose, headstamps are used to help people distinguish between the loads. With the help of a headstamp, anyone can easily identify the company that developed the round and the country where the round is manufactured. It can also help you in identifying other information like if the round is for commercial or military use, the type of the load, the case design and the manufacturer. There is a code on the headstamp that enables user to identify the bullet type. There is a list of such codes available on different ammunition websites online. If anyone is trying to buy 9mm ammo for sale, it is really important to understand the importance of interpreting code on the headstamp in order to save yourself from any accident.
The cartridge case capacity of the 9mm Parabellum is 0.862 ml i.e. 13.3 grains H2O. The empty case generally weighs not more than 4 g. The bullet diameter is normally 9.01 mm with neck diameter equals to 9.65 mm. The base diameter is around 9.93mm while Rim diameter is 9.96mm.
The maximum pressure used and reported till now is 280 MPa by a variant known as 7N21. You can check out some performance data of this caliber.
Latest Improvement in 9mm
In the early 1990s, different manufacturers came up with multiple variations of the original 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge with different pressure standards. Overpressure cartridges are manufactured by different firearm companies that are commonly labeled as “+P”. If the cartridge is of super high pressure loadings, it is labeled as “+P+”. These high pressure loadings are proved to have better ballistic performance as compared to standard loadings. Most over pressure cartridges contain more powder as compared to a traditional cartridge.
Some variants also allow 9mm round to achieve better terminal effectiveness. Such variants include improvement in jacketed hollow point bullet technology that comes up with better bullet designs. Jacketed hollow point technology improved the rate of expansion of a bullet and decreased the chance of bullet fragmentation.
Another popular 9x19mm Parabellum variation is used by NATO. The variant is commonly known as “9mm NATO”. This is another overpressure variant of the original design, manufactured according to the standards of NATO. As the use of expanding ammunition is not allowed in NATO, the commonly used ammunition in 9mm NATO is FMJ ball bullets.
Similarly, Russians also developed overpressure variants according to their military standards. Russian variants are mostly light weighted with high muzzle velocities. These 9mm variants are designed to increase the penetration power of the round with a goal to penetrate through heavy body armor.
Another armor piercing variation of 9mm Parabellum is 7N21 that generates the highest pressure of 280 MPa. Another similar variation is 7N31 that is based on the same concept but used a much lighter bullet in order to achieve higher muzzle velocity.
For the use in trainings, United States also developed a variant known as SESAMS (Special Effects Small Arms Marking Systems). During training, the rounds with blue and red markings are used in the 9mm caliber. The rounds are similar to paint balls in function. The 9mm SESAMS bullets are used in especially designed pistols along with popular rifles like M4 and M16.
The 9mm SESAMS allow law enforcing agencies to conduct trainings with the identical rounds that are used in real life. As the rounds are almost similar to any other 9mm rounds, they are clearly marked as use of such rounds in normal circumstances can damage the weapon and can cause harm to the person trying to fire with these rounds.
Common Case Materials in 9mm Cartridges
The most common element used in the cases for 9mm cartridges in last hundred years is Brass. The brass cases are often plated with nickel to make them more durable and often for identification purpose.
Even though, Germany was experimenting on the steel cases from early 1900s that were washed with copper in order to prevent corrosion but they never produced the steel cases commercially until 1930s in a bid to save brass. Soon, multiple variations of steel cases were manufactured in Germany that includes cooper-washed steel cases and dark gray lacquered steel cases. Even though, many countries including France and Russia are still using steel cases commercially but United States never adopted steel cases, besides experimenting on them for few years.
Another popular alternate to brass is aluminum. The first country to produce aluminum cases was Switzerland that started producing the cases in 1941. These rounds were accepted widely immediately after their availability, but for unknown reasons, Switzerland ceased their production just after four years. Countries like Belgium, Britain and France also experimented on the aluminum cases, but never launched them for commercial use.
Some other materials also include plastic that is used in blank and short range rounds. These cases most often use metal heads in order to create weight for the bullet. Similarly, cases made up of titanium were also experimented but never launched commercially.
Some of the most popular manufacturers of bulk 9mm ammo are Winchester, Remington, Federal, Speer, ATOMIC Ammo and Cor-Bon. Winchester manufactures 9mm rounds with different loads. Winchester FMJ and Slivertip are among the popular 9mm bullets used in United States. Even though, more than 70 countries manufacture and use cheap 9mm ammo, but only 27 countries are considered as the significant manufacturers of the best 9mm ammunition.