Introduced at the NRA convention in 1996, the 9x23mm Winchester was designed to permit safer and faster shooting by sport shooters while still providing major power factor. The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA), the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), and the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) were dealing with a serious issue in the early 1990's - sport shooters' handguns were failing catastrophically, because shooters were trying to reach major power factor by combining firearms and calibers ill suited to such high pressures.
To be considered a Major Power Factor for competition in these disciplines, the ammo must meet certain criteria. If the ammunition meets these requirements, the shooter will not incur scoring penalties for Minor Power Factor ammunition. Power Factor is calcualted by multiplying the bullet weight times the velocity and dividing the result by 1,000. 175 was the minimum score in 1996 to be considered Major. A .38 Super would need a bullet weighing 130 grains to be traveling at 1,350 feet per second to qualify for Major. This was just possible for a .38 Super, but it was also close enough to safe limits and there were enough problems to motivate Winchester Ammunition to collaborate with the Colt Manufacturing Company for a solution. They developed a cartridge that combined the increased magazine capacity of bullets with a diameter of 9mm, and the capability of handling the higher pressures generated by pushing a bullet that size to Major Power Factor velocities.
The cartridge that resolved this issue was the 9x23mm Winchester. The bullet diameter was the same as the .38 Super, so competitors already had on hand many of the necessary reloading components for loading their own ammo. The similarities, however, between the .38 Super and the 9x23mm end here. John Ricco designed the strengthened case in 1992, which allowed about 25% higher case pressures for the 9x23. Ricco called his case the 9x23 Super. Ricco used Winchester cases for producing his prototype cases, so Winchester made use the design to manufacture 9x23mm Winchester cartridges. Ricco filed a lawsuit against Winchester that halted Winchester production for 7 years, at which point the case was resolved.
The IPSC reduced the Major Power Factor during this time from 175 to 165, which made the .38 Super a safe choice for shooters. This struck a blow to the popularity of the 9x23 since there were many users of the .38 Super. The 9x23mm, as a result, became a novelty cartridge. The ballistics of the 9x23mm are actually a little better than the .357 SIG and with a higher magazine capacity. Unfortunately, perhaps due of the origins of the cartridge, it has never accepted as a cartridge for personal protection.