I don’t believe that anyone will disagree with me when I state up front that the 9mm Parabellum is the most widely used, centrefire, pistol cartridge in history. That’s it; period; end of discussion!
But that being said, the 9mm Parabellum (a.k.a. 9mm Para, 9mm Luger, Patrone 08, 9x19, 9mm NATO) generates very strong opinions among shooters. Is it the pistol cartridge perfected or a pitiful joke of a round? Accurate or you can’t hit the side of that proverbial barn with it? Suitable for military purposes or a mediocre combat cartridge? An excellent police/personal defense cartridge or you take your life in your hands if you depend upon it for protection?
While the 9mm Para is used by more armies, police forces and civilian shooters around the world than any handgun cartridge in history, there are those persons who almost refuse to acknowledge its existence. Some go so far as to claim its present popularity – which, by the way, has lasted 104 years – is but a passing fancy and shooters will come to their senses any day now and return their allegiance to larger caliber pistol cartridges.
In this article I will examine the 9mm Parabellum and see if we can come to any conclusions for its international popularity and the seemingly incongruous dislike displayed towards it by so many.
This story was first published in the Guns Australia January/Febuary/march 2011 issue of Guns Australia > Jan/March 2011.