Which Guns Use 9mm Ammo and the History of 9mm

9mm is What Caliber
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Which Guns Use 9mm Ammo and the History of 9mm

Which Guns Use 9mm Ammo?

Without question, the 9mm is the single most popular handgun cartridge in the world. Don't believe it? Try to find some 9mm ammo when there's any kind of shortage — you'll see it's the first one gone in those situations.

The 9mm round is used by everyone from first time shooters to the FBI, from soccer moms who conceal carry to U.S. military special operations. It's as utilitarian of a round and caliber as any could possibly be.

A Brief History of 9mm

The 9mm round was designed by George Luger. It was originally created in 1901 and introduced to the public in 1902. Since that time, it's been used by virtually every military and police force in the world.

The cartridge was presented to the United States military and the German military in early 1904, and it saw widespread use in World War I. It grew in popularity from there based on its performance.

It was designed to be lethal at 50 meters but is actually capable of maintaining lethality further out. It has a flat trajectory, making it a very accurate handgun round.

One of the main attributes that contributed to the success and rise in popularity of 9mm ammo, other than accuracy, is that it can hold tremendous capacity in magazines.

Other guns and rounds of the time (such as the 1911 and .38 Special) were hampered by capacity and lack of performance. The 9mm cartridge allows a large magazine to fit into a small gun while still supporting performance that outshines competitors.

As time went on and the round was forced to compete with other calibers, it became the standard-bearer. It saw widespread adoption in the United States by police forces and was the majority choice for most officers by the 1980s.

In 1985, the .9mm Beretta M9 was picked to replace the .45 ACP 1911 as the U.S. Army's official service handgun. This effectively cemented the 9mm’s place as the caliber of choice in the United States.

It was around that time that striker-fired polymer pistols became widespread. The popularity of models such as the Glock 19 created a boom in both striker-fired polymer pistols and the use of the 9mm round.

Why the 9mm?

There are many reasons to love the 9mm round, but the most common are price, availability, accuracy, useability, capacity and concealability. It's a workhorse caliber that fits any budget or taste — it's quite literally the caliber for anyone.


Being the most popular handgun caliber in the world has its advantages, particularly when it comes to price. In most cases, the price per round is either comparable to or cheaper than competing rounds, especially when you buy in bulk.


As the most popular round in the world, 9mm is the easiest to find (panic-buying and other kinds of uncontrollable events notwithstanding).

At gun stores, gun shows and online, the 9mm is likely to be the first item you see where ammo is for sale.

Even on our website, it's the first caliber offered when you search for bulk ammo and regular pistol ammo.

That's not by accident. 9mm is what people are looking to buy most frequently, so if you're shopping, it's the easiest to find and buy. Should that be your deciding factor?

That's up to you, but it certainly doesn't hurt to know you can always find the ammo you need.


As we mentioned earlier, 9mm has a flat trajectory, which helps it stay on target better. While it's rated to 50 yards, anecdotal evidence demonstrates that you can hit targets considerably farther out.

A simple YouTube search nets you multiple videos of shooters firing a 9mm handgun and hitting a target located 100 yards or more away.

While you might never have the space or desire to attempt such a feat, knowing that the round can travel that distance and hit what you were aiming at is a huge mark in the plus column.

This also makes it easier to increase your own performance in target shooting at close ranges; for that matter, it makes for better efficacy in a self-defense situation, too.

Let's face it, you want to hit what you're aiming at regardless of why, and the 9mm round has proven its ability to do so consistently.


The 9mm round is also one of the most user-friendly cartridges on the market. We've discussed how that’s true with respect to the round’s accuracy, but it also has low recoil, which makes it easy to control when shooting.

That added control makes it easier for you yourself to be more accurate as well.

The 9mm round also supports the lowest recoil out of the standard self-defense calibers, which are 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.

If you want it for self-defense or target shooting, it's usually considered the easiest round to use while you get used to firing.


This is usually the feature that tips the scales in favor of 9mm for the average person. If you're looking to purchase a gun, you want to be able to fit as many bullets in it as possible.

Why? Because reloading sucks. You didn't buy a gun to reload it; you bought it to shoot it. You don't get to enjoy shooting your pistol if you're constantly stopping to put more rounds in it.

And that’s not to mention the self-defense aspect: If you bought the gun to defend yourself, you want to give yourself as much chance of survival as humanly possible.

A full-size 1911 in.45ACP usually only holds seven rounds.

What if you need more than that? If you find yourself in a particularly dire situation, there’s a great likelihood that you won’t be given the chance to reload.

Plus, nervousness brought on by a stressful situation or a lack of practice can lead to missed shots, at which point the extra capacity may be an actual lifesaver.

Even with inherently accurate guns and calibers like 9mm, the stress of a real self-defense situation causes people to miss all the time.

Just look at some of the videos of police shootouts — trained and practiced officers often miss.


While this works in tandem with capacity, concealability is still a factor unto itself. The thing about 9mm guns is that, even when they're small and concealable, they can still hold a lot of rounds.

The Sig Sauer P365, for example, is considered a micro-compact pistol.

As that name implies, it's an extremely small handgun — one of the smallest on the market, actually. It's small enough to fit inside your pocket without being obvious.

Despite its small stature, that firearm still holds 10 rounds, and that’s without any sort of grip extension. While that speaks to Sig Sauer engineering, it also is simply not possible in a caliber other than 9mm.

What Guns Shoot 9mm?

Are you sold on 9mm yet? If you are, you'll find a long list of firearms that fire the 9mm cartridge. Here are a few, broken down by manufacturer:

Smith & Wesson


Sig Sauer

Heckler & Koch



M&P 9






M&P Shield






M&P 9 2.0






M&P 9 Shield EZ















USP Tactical









Those are just the most common 9mm options you'll find at gun stores and shows.

There are a fleet of other manufacturers making handguns in 9mm, including companies such as Springfield Armory, Colt and Hi-Point, just to name a few. If a company makes handguns, it makes a 9mm handgun.

The 9mm round is one of the most celebrated, popular and user-friendly calibers on the market.

If you're looking to add one to your collection, considering it for a first purchase or just want to reaffirm that you made a good decision in your last purchase, you can rest assured that 9mm is a solid, practical ammo choice.

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