The 9×19mm Parabellum is a firearms cartridge that was designed by Georg Luger and introduced in 1902 by the German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) (German Weapons and Munitions Factory) for their Luger semi-automatic pistol. For this reason, it is designated as the 9mm Luger by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI), and the 9 mm Luger by the Commission Internationale Permanente pour l'Epreuve des Armes à Feu Portatives (CIP).
According to the 2014 edition of Cartridges of the World, the 9×19mm Parabellum is "the world's most popular and widely used military handgun and submachinegun cartridge." In addition to being used by over 60% of police in the U.S., Newsweek credits 9×19mm Parabellum pistol sales with making semiautomatic pistols more popular than revolvers. The popularity of this cartridge can be attributed to the widely held conviction that it is effective in police and self-defense use. Its low cost and wide availability contribute to the caliber's continuing popularity.
Georg Luger developed the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge from his earlier 7.65×21mm Parabellum round, which itself was derived from the original 7.65×25mm Borchardt cartridge in the Borchardt C-93 pistol. Shortening the length of the cartridge case used in the Borchardt pistol allowed him to improve the design of the toggle lock and to incorporate a smaller, angled grip. Luger's work on the Borchardt design evolved into the Luger pistol, first patented in 1898 and chambered in 7.65×21mm Parabellum. Demand from Germany for a larger caliber in their military sidearm led Luger to develop the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge for the eventual P08 pistol. This was achieved by removing the bottleneck shape of the 7.65×21mm Parabellum case, resulting in a tapered rimless cartridge encasing a bullet that was 9 mm in diameter.
In 1902, Luger presented the new round to the British Small Arms Committee, as well as three prototype versions to the U.S. Army for testing at Springfield Arsenal in mid-1903. The Imperial German Navy adopted the cartridge in 1904 and in 1908 the German Army adopted it as well. The ogive of the bullet was slightly redesigned in the 1910s to improve feeding.
To conserve lead during World War II in Germany, the lead core was replaced by an iron core encased with lead. This bullet, identified by a black bullet jacket, was designated as the 08 mE (mit Eisenkern—"with iron core"). By 1944, the black jacket of the 08 mE bullet was dropped and these bullets were produced with normal copper-colored jackets. Another wartime variation was designated the 08 sE bullet and identified by its dark gray jacket, and was created by compressing iron powder at high temperature into a solid material (Sintereisen—"sintered iron").