It is the most popular centerfire handgun caliber on the market and the least expensive to shoot, not bad for a round that has been in existence for over 100 years.
The 9mm Luger was introduced to the market by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken or “DWM” for short in 1902 for use in their Luger semi-auto pistol, hence the name 9 mm Luger. The round was designed and developed by the German firearm designer, Georg Luger, who wanted a compact round that was lethal at 50m. It evolved from his previous work on the 7.65x21mm and 7.65x25mm cartridges. Luger presented the ammo to the British Small Arms Committee in 1902 and three prototypes to the US Army in 1903 for testing. By 1904 the German Navy officially adopted the cartridge followed by the German Army in 1906. Since then it has been used all over the world and was adopted by the U.S. military for use in the M9 Beretta in 1990. Recently the F.B.I. just switched back to 9mm which had not been discontinued as a duty caliber since 1986, after the deaths of two agents involved with a Miami shoot out, had caused the agency to deem it in effective. The Washington post interviewed some top brass at the F.B.I. and this is what they had to say about the 9mm round.
“According to FBI Special Agent Ray Cook, the current unit chief of the FBI’s Defensive Systems Unit, the bureau, which continuously tests various types of ammunition, began considering a return to the 9mm round in 2007 in part because of advances in ballistic technology. “During our testing, we found that the [9mm] rounds used in the Miami shootout tested the lowest on our scale,” Cook said in a recent interview at the FBI Academy, referring to the bureau’s ballistic standards and testing methods put in place following the shooting.
The new 9mm round — known to gun aficionados as the 147 grain Speer Gold Dot G2 — is significantly more effective than what FBI agents carried into the field in 1986. According to Cook, the bullet has been rigorously tested and has received high marks in the FBI’s most important category for bullet selection: penetration.
Cook says that the lighter the bullet, the faster the gun can “drive” the round into the target. For the FBI, that translates into 12 to 18 inches of penetration into the human body. The 9mm’s weight, Cook added, also increases an agent’s accuracy in a gunfight, according to the findings of a 2014 FBI report that was leaked online last year.
According to Cook, the bureau’s ability to research and test weapons in ways that other law enforcement agencies cannot gives it great sway over many police departments.
“When we do something, local departments take note,” Cook said. “They see that if it works for us, it’ll work for them, too.”
This has created a huge move among police forces nationwide to the 9mm caliber as a defensive weapon in the line of duty. In my opinion the 9mm is a great round for the consumer also, with its low recoil, and relatively cheap price per round this makes it a great choice for the first time handgun buyer or the most experienced target shooter. If it is good enough for military’s all over the world it is probably good enough for you or me.