The Many 9mm Rounds From Around the Globe

If you walk into a gun store and say, “Hey, let me get a box of 9mm.” You pretty much know what you’ll be handed. The standard 9mm round is so popular that it’s THE 9mm, but it’s certainly not the only 9mm round out there. 9mm is a popular bullet diameter, and there are over a dozen different types of 9mm rounds. Today we are going to give you the knowledge necessary to be unnecessarily pedantic when someone says their gun is a 9mm.

There are plenty of rounds that use a 9mm projectile but go by titles like .38 Special and .357 Magnum, but we’ll leave those off the list. We are only including rounds that have 9mm in the title.

9mm Luger/Parabellum/NATO/9×19

This is the current champ of 9mm rounds. It’s the most popular 9mm cartridge ever produced and it goes by many names, oddly enough. It’s a plenty-powerful round that perfectly rides the line between size, power, recoil, and capacity. The standard 9mm round remains the king of handgun rounds and serves in numerous roles, including police and military use, concealed carry, and even in PCCs.

Federal Ammuntion 115gr FMJ 9mm
When you say 9mm this is what you likely mean.

9x19mmR Federal

This short-lived 9mm round is neat and, sadly, an underappreciated round. It’s essentially the same as the world’s favorite 9mm round but features a prominent rim. It was created for use in revolvers but never took off. The rim allowed it to load and headspace without the need for a series of moon clips. It’s been out of production for decades now, sadly.

9mm Short/Kurz

9mm Short or Kurz in German is a fancy way to say .380 ACP. In the United States, the round is known as the .380, but across the pond, it’s 9mm Short or Kurz. This is a 9x17mm round designed for small, blowback-operated guns. It’s popular in pocket pistols and often launches a lightweight projectile compared to standard 9mm.

Ruger LCP
Is 380 ACP a valid choice for defensive use? (Photo credit: Ammo to go)

9x18mm Ultra

The 9x18mm Ultra falls between a 9mm short and 9x19mm. The round was designed for the Luftwaffe in the 1930s but was never adopted. It never saw much popularity outside of Europe. The round was a bit more powerful than the .380 ACP, and guns from Walther, SIG, Benelli, and Mauser were produced, but only briefly so.

9mm Makarov

The Soviet Union drifted away from the powerful 7.62 TOK for the 9mm Makarov. It’s a small cartridge that’s close to the 9mm Short in power. Much like the 9mm Short, it works well in blowback-operated firearms. The projectile is somewhat larger than the standard 9mm at 9.25mms. The cartridge was never super popular outside of Soviet countries and milsurp collectors.

9mm Glisenti

The Italians ripped off the Germans to produce the 9mm Glisenti. It’s identical in size to the 9×19 but was reduced in powder and power. The Italians needed a cartridge that successfully worked in blowback pistol designs, so they downloaded the standard 9mm to do so. The Italians used several pistols and submachine gun designs in World War 1.

Glisenti Model 1910
The 9mm Glisenti Model 1910 is quite art deco, but very underpowered. (Collectors Firearms)

9mm Browning Long

The 9mm, Browning Long cartridge was developed while browning worked with FN alongside the FN 1903 pistol. This cartridge features a 29mm case and a semi-rimmed design. It’s designed to be slightly less powerful than the 9×19, so it could be used in the FN M1903 pistol with its blowback design. The 9mm Browning Long saw action in World War 1, but not much beyond that.

9mm Japanese

The 9mm Japanese is a 9x22mm round with a rimmed cartridge. The Japanese designed the round for the Type 26 Revolver. It’s a fairly anemic round that fired heavy cartridges at a fairly slow velocity. Even within Japan, it was never highly popular and is completely obsolete today.


The 9x21mm round was designed to provide a 9mm option for countries that ban any cartridge used by the military. The case is slightly longer, and the bullet sits a bit deeper, making it the same overall size as the 9x19mm. It’s loaded to similar velocities with identical projectiles. The 9x21mm is very popular in Europe, especially Italy, for competition use.

9x21mm cartridge
The 9x21mm is a neat workaround for legislative purposes. (Magtech)

9x21mm Gyurza

Don’t ask me how to pronounce Gyurza, but I can tell you it means blunt-nosed viper. This particular 9mm round is of Russian origin and was designed to pierce soft armor. A hard sub-caliber core allows it to leap through soft armor with ease. These are light, fast rounds, and we’ll likely never see them in the United States.

9mm Steyr

The 9mm Steyr was designed for the M1912 Steyr pistol and used a 23mm case. It’s a little lighter loaded than your standard 9mm round. The cartridge provided a fairly capable round with lighter recoil. The round was also used in submachine guns in Austria but became obsolete after WW2.

9mm Largo

The 9mm Largo is another 9x23mm round, but it is not interchangeable with the 9mm Steyr. It’s slightly more powerful than the Steyr but still a step below the 9mm Parabellum. The Largo round was developed for the Bergmann–Bayard 1903 pistol and the Spanish military. It remained fairly popular in Spain until the 80s.

1903 Bergmann Mars pistol
Bergmann developed their cartridge for the Mars pistol. The Spanish dubbed it the “9mm Largo.”

9x25mm Mauser

DWM designed the 9x25mm Mauser as an export cartridge alongside the C96. It’s based on the 7.63x25mm round but features no bottleneck. This powerful cartridge was fairly capable and had a hair more “oomph” than a standard 9x19mm round. It became popular before and after WWI and was used in numerous submachine guns.

9x25mm Dillon

The 9×25 Dillon is a relatively new round designed only in the 1980s. An employee of Dillon necked down a 10 mm case to a 9mm projectile. The goal was to get a 9mm round to qualify for the IPSC major power factor class. The 9x25mm Dillon is a very powerful cartridge with the ability to propel a 115-grain projectile up to 1,800 FPS.

9x25mm Super Auto G

The 9x25mm Super Auto G is another 10mm case necked down to 9mm. This gun comes from Austria but never reached any real level of popularity. It’s quite powerful and pushes a 9mm projectile quite fast, although there is very little data or consistency between handloaders.

9mm Winchester Magnum

In the 1970s, Winchester aimed to produce an automatic cartridge that could compete with the .357 Magnum. The 9mm Winchester Magnum was a 9x29mm round that was quite powerful. The round was adopted in guns by Wildey, AMT, and LAR but never reached mainstream success.

9x23mm Winchester

Winchester and Colt developed the 9x23mm Winchester in 1996 to replace the .38 Super in competition. The idea was to produce a non-semi-rimmed design to allow for more reliable feeding in double-stack semi-auto pistols. A long and convoluted production history killed the round before it could ever get off the ground. You can still find it every so often.

box of 9x23mm winchester
This mighty big 9mm is still produced by boutique companies. (Buffalo Bore)

All The 9mm

As you can see, 9mm is a popular projectile choice It’s a capable projectile that’s the right size for a number of applications. It’s unlikely to ever fade away, and I don’t doubt that we’ll see more and more 9mm rounds as time passes.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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