The 9 millimeter Parabellum is currently in use by over 60 percent of law enforcement agencies as well as holding the position as the number 1 military handgun cartridge. It ranks as the standard round for U.S. NATO and many other countries. According to a Newsweek article, the 9 by 19 handgun sales have eclipsed revolvers in popularity. It is considered an all-purpose handgun round that shows good to excellent performance for practice shooting, competitive target shooting, small game hunting, personal concealment, self-defense, military and police applications. Georg Luger is credited with its design, and in 1902 it was manufactured by Deutsche Wafffen-und Munitionsfabriken Company. Its low ammunition cost and availability make it one of the most economically friendly handgun calibers on the market. It has several bullet types with special designs, used for different applications.
Most of the standard semi-automatic 9 millimeter handguns are chambered to accept the hollow-point-designed bullet. In place of a conical, sharp-ended projectile, the hollow point bullet has a cavity in the nose. Rather than pass easily through a target with a crisp entry, the hollow-point expands upon impact in a typical mushroom fashion. It is designed to impart heavy traumatic injury or destruction while entering, lodging or exiting. These types of bullets typically have more knockdown power since they open up quickly and provide heavy resistance, making them ideal in law enforcement situations where a solid jacket bullet might pass through a combatant and injury bystanders. They are also popular as self-defense rounds.
Full Metal Jacket
In addition to using full metal jacket bullets in military rifles, they are often applicable for the 9 millimeter handguns. The bullet is typically made of lead surrounded by a treated copper alloy metal. The encasement of the outer harder metal makes it more durable, able to penetrate the hardest substances at the highest velocities without deterioration or losing profile. Full metal jacket bullets are highly accurate and they do not leave a soft core lead residue in the barrel. Modified full metal jacket bullets are commonly used as military armor-piercing rounds.
The soft point, or soft-nosed bullet, is classified as a lead-expanding projectile even though it might be partially jacketed in copper or brass. Also known as a semi-jacketed bullet, the very tip or nose is composed of lead which allows the bullet to expand upon impact, opening up a larger cavity than the full metal jacket type. The design of the soft point was intended to keep the barrel less prone to lead fouling. The soft point tip expands more slowly upon impact, offering a larger entrance wound than the full metal jacket but not as large as the hollow-point.
Frangible (meaning to break apart) bullets are actually designed along the features of a shotgun round. They contain a number of pellets encased inside a copper bullet. When the bullet strikes an object, the copper casing breaks apart and releases the pellets. It is designed to inflict maximum internal damage with the least amount of penetration. The kinetic force is increased due to the instant stopping power, providing increased knockdown force. They are typically used for small game and home defense applications. They rarely penetrate through the intended target to cause collateral damage.
Match rounds are used in competitive shooting events. They may have the outside appearance of a standard bullet, but are often loaded by hand to precise specifications. These designer-type bullets may contain special powders and are measured within stringent weight specifications to produce higher velocities and flatter trajectories. The bullets will have more consistency in grain weight and design than a normal round.
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