Known as the 9mm Luger to some, the 9x19mm Parabellum cartridge is the most popular ammunition cartridge for handguns in the world – with more than 60% of the world's law enforcement agencies currently using this cartridge. The 9mm semi-automatic Luger was used as the standard issue handgun during World War II for many national militaries, and the ongoing popularity of 9mm ammo testifies to its capabilities as a pistol cartridge.
NATO adopted the 9x19 Parabellum in 1955 as their official sidearm cartridge. And 30 years later, the U.S. Military exchanged the venerable .45 ACP for the 9mm as their official cartridge. Many people debate this decision still, yet less than 10 years later, shooters were able to find 9mm ammo in almost every gun store.
Georg Luger developed the cartridge and began selling it for the DWM Luger semi-automatic pistol in 1902. The cartridge is compact, allowing shooters to carry quite a bit of 9mm ammunition without the burdon of excessive weight. For this reason, many civilian gun owners and police agencies have moved away from handguns like the .38 Special and .357 Magnum. They now favor 9mm semi-automatic handguns, and ammunition availability has followed this trend – with 9mm cartridges more plentiful and easier to find than .38 Special or .357 Magnum. The Federal Bureau of Investigation even switched to the 9mm Parabellum before they started using the more modern 10mm cartridges.
While not the most powerful ammunition cartridge, 9mm ammunition allows for better control and follow-up shots, which helps novice shooters who are unable to effectively deal with larger cartridges. Depending on your level of skill and experience, you may want to speak with a salesperson about the best 9mm cartridge for your needs.
The cartridge does not have as much stopping power as the .45 ACP, yet it remains a great choice for many shooters due to being lightweight and compact. Used in conflict resolution around the planet, 9mm Parabellum ammunition has also been used by hunters. Modern JHP loads serve well in hunting applications, and you can usually find them where 9mm ammunition is sold.