Back to Cartridges Back to The Collection Back to Home

The 9MM Luger
Nation Year Max. press.
Germany 1902 37400psi
This famous and some what hyped cartridge was originally known as the 9mm Parabellum. The name was taken from an old Latin saying "if you would have peace, then prepare for war" Parabellum literally translates into "for war" or "prepare for war". This should give some idea of the mindset of the German government at the time this round was developed. This mindset was given full flower a dozen years later when the First World War erupted. Many who deride the .45 A.C.P. as an old obsolete cartridge, and look to the "modern" 9mm as it's replacement should take note of the date of introduction of the 9mm, three years earlier then that of the .45. This cartridge is capable of twice the operating pressure of the .45 in it's standard form, and is thus able to achieve higher velocity. At the turn of the century, all of the major powers were going towards smaller, faster bullets in both rifle and pistol cartridges. The U.S.A. bucked this trend with the .45 auto because of some bad experiences had in the Philippines with the "new" .38 rounds, and the American tradition of the classic .45. What really boosted this round to prominence was the introduction of the P-35 pistol (the Hi-Power), by Browning in 1935. The Walther P-38 introduced just before the Second World War (World War part 2), was the first production double action in a full powered military cartridge; it too used the 9mm. In 1973 S&W combined these features in a pistol which was also reasonably priced, and had a hit with their M59. I had a Model 59 back in the late seventies, it was the second pistol I had ever bought in my life. I actually liked it quite a bit, though it seems very primitive compared to the newer third and fourth generation "wonder Nines" out on the market now. I have since become a devoted believer in the mythical power of the .45 (older and wiser), but still have several 9mm pistols in my collection. The round is very over rated, as careful comparison between it and the .45, and even the old .38 will show. Even so, I would not wish to be shot with one, particularly with some of the heavier bullets recently developed for it. Comparison of ballistics tables will show that the 9mm is almost identical with the .38 Special, the same round the U.S. Army found to be unsuitable at the turn of the century and replaced with the .45 A.C.P.

Standard Load
Bullet Powder Measure Velocity Energy Comment
124gr FMJ Bullseye 3.7gr 1000fps 275fp
Bullet Powder Measure Velocity Energy Comment
147gr JHP VV 3N37 5.7gr 1140fps 424fp Favorite load
124gr JHP VV N350 6.4gr 1281fps 452fp
115gr FMJ VV N350 7.1gr 1408fps 506fp Boom
124gr FMJ Bullseye 4.5gr 1200fps 397fp Nice load
115gr FMJ Bullseye 4.9gr 1300fps 432fp
115gr FMJ Bullseye 3.9gr 1150fps 338fp