In today’s shooting world, the 9mm is the most common
caliber of choice for pistol shooters. In a semi-auto pistol, the magazine size
averages 17 rounds. While the 9mm’s stopping power doesn’t come near to that of
the .45, the advancements of ballistics research coupled with the large number
of available rounds in one magazine makes it a very formidable weapon of
choice. Most are surprised to know, however, the when George Luger designed the
9mm round, his emphasis was on wounding and not killing the enemy.
The 9mm, whose technical name is 9x19mm, is also called the
9mm Luger or the 9mm Parabellum. It was originally adopted by the German Army
in 1908 as the cartridge for the famous Luger pistol. Following the first World
War, it was quickly adopted by countries and law enforcement agencies around
the globe. Sine, It has become the world's most popular pistol cartridge with
most of the militaries of the world, including all of the NATO countries,
having some form of this caliber in use. It is also used by many police
agencies, including the FBI.
The 9mm uses standard .355" bullets, generally from 100
to 147 grains in weight. The standard NATO load uses a 124 grain FMJ bullet.
The various 115 grain JHP bullets are generally the top choice for civilian
personal defense, while the 124 grain bullets usually provide the best
all-around performance. The 147 grain bullets were originally intended for use
in sub-sonic submachine gun loads but have become popular with the heavy bullet
crowd for use in pistols. The bullet makers have responded with high quality
147 grain JHP bullets such as the Hornady XTP and Speer Gold Dot.
Remington ballistics tables (Federal and Winchester are
similar) for the standard 115 grain JHP load show a muzzle velocity (MV) of
1155 fps and a muzzle energy (ME) of 341 ft. lbs. The trajectory of this load
shows a midrange rise of .9" over 50 yards, and 3.9" over 100 yards.
The 9x19 is one of the best auto pistol cartridges for long range shooting.
The reloader can do quite well with the 9mm, seeing as there
is a vast array of different components available. There are plenty of
.355" bullets available, and a number of common powders that work well in
the cartridge. What I have discovered is that a powder with a medium burn rate
seems to work best in my 9mms, though you might find other wise, depending on
the other components you choose.
According to the Speer Reloading Manual Number 13, their
popular 115 grain bullets can be driven to a MV of 1166 fps by 5.6 grains of
Unique powder, and 1244 fps by 6.3 grains of Unique. Their 124 grain bullets
can be driven to a MV of 1159 fps by 8.0 grains of HS7 powder, and 1249 fps by
8.9 grains of HS7. This is a pretty good field load for a 9x19 pistol.
The 147 grain Speer bullets can be driven to a MV of 845 fps
by 5.0 grains of HS6 powder, and 956 fps by 5.6 grains of HS6. These Speer
loads used Speer cases, CCI 500 primers and were chronographed in a 4"
As with all semi-auto firearms that are mag-fed, it is
always important to take into consideration the overall case length with
seating your bullet. IT’s best to find the maximum case length your gun will
accept by feeding a “dummy” bullet into your chamber; this would be a bullet
with no primer or powder, simply just the bullet seated in the brass casing.
This will give you an exact measurement of the headspace in your gun’s chamber.