9mm NATO


#1

I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but I’m about to ask a 9mm question. A shooter has asked me:

Is 9mm NATO the same as “+P” in the US, and is there a difference between pistol and submachinegun ammunition?

I’d like to add to that - Is there an official 9mm NATO US weapon?

Ray


#2

[quote]Aside from the obvious difference in bullet weight (9mm NATO is 124 grain, most commercial plinking 9mm ammo is 115 grain) rounds that are loaded to NATO spec are loaded to a higher pressure than rounds loaded to industry standard.

The ammo industry uses something called SAAMI Standards to establish the pressures that ammo should be loaded to. The SAAMI pressure for 9mm Luger ammo is around 35,000 PSI, and C.I.P (think European SAAMI) rates 9mm Luger ammo at 34,080 PSI. According to documentation, the 9mm NATO rounds are pressured at 36,500 PSI (again according to CIP). That means that when compared to standard 9mm ammo, the 9mm NATO ammo is running a higher pressure, analogous to a 9mm +P load, which SAAMI rates around 36,000 PSI.[/quote]

Is there an official 9mm NATO US weapon?

Beretta M9 and M9A1
Sig P226 navy (Mk 24 Mod 0)
Sig P228 - M11
Glock 19


#3

Thanks MissingSomething.

Aren’t there two 9mm NATO cartridges? The M882 for pistols and the other (M?) for SMGs. Isn’t the M882 loaded to quite a bit less than +P?

I’m still confused by the 9mm.

Ray


#4

From TM 43-0001-27

Here is a link:
http://www.ar15.com/content/manuals/TM43-0001-27.pdf

9mm Ball

Type Classification:
Commercial.
Use:
Modified M3 Submachine Gun or commercial weapons.
(The use in M9 Pistol is not authorized.) The cartridge is
intended for use against personnel.

Projectile weight… 115 gr
Mid case pressure … 38,500 psi (avg),
43,000 psi (max)
Velocity … 1125 + 90 fps, 15 ft
from muzzle

CARTRIDGE, 9 MM, BALL, NATO, M882

Type Classification:
HQDA (DAMA-CSM), dated 15 April 85.
Use:
Pistol, 9 mm, M9. The cartridge is intended for use
against personnel.
Projectile weight…112 gr

Performance:
Case mouth pressure …31,175 psi (avg),
36,250 psi (max)
Velocity …1263 ± 5 fps, 15 ft
from muzzle

CARTRIDGE, 9MM, HIGH PRESSURE TEST, M905

Type Classification:
HQDA (DAMA-CSM), dated 15 April 85.
Use:
Proof testing of M9 pistols. The cartridge is intended
for use in proofing new pistols and test barrels to
demonstrate safety prior to releasing weapons to the
field.

Performance:
Chamber pressure …50,000 psi
Velocity … NA


#5

OK - I already had all of the TMs, and both SAAMI and CIP data but I’m still confused.

You said the 9mm NATO used a 124 grain bullet and yet the TMs say 112 and 115. And the TMs indicate the M882 is less pressure than the +P. So, is the answer to my friends question :

Yes, there are two loads, one for SMGs and one for pistol. The pistol load (M882) can be used in either weapon but the SMG load is similar to the +P.

Is that a good answer?

Or, maybe I’m trying to compare CUP pressures with Piezo??

Ray


#6

This is information I obtained directly from a source at Winchester some years ago regarding the M882 (which they made on government contract):

9mm NATO 124 MC M882 Specs:MIL-C-70508
Velocity = 1230+/-49 fps average @ 52.5’ from muzzle. Chamber Pressure = 34,519 psi average maximum (from 7.848" test barrel)
Winchester LAT Data: Velocity average over the last 5 lots <1249 fps and Avg max chamber pressure <32,783 psi. My personal chronographing of the M882 from an M9 confirms the velocity information - MV usually runs about 1175 fps from the shorter barrel.

First, I do not know why the military spec requires a 7.85" barrel. For SMG use, I guess. dV/dL for the M882 is 35 fps/inch.
Second, chamber pressure is measured using the NATO method, not the SAAMI method. NATO method uses a pressure transducer at the case mouth in a test barrel. Therefore, you can’t directly compare pressure results from the different test methods.

There was a time when MIL-C-70508 could be found on the internet. I don’t know if it is still there, but if so, there is more detail about the M882 to be found in it. I do not know of another 9mm SMG ball cartridge in official US military service, but would expect the special ops guys have some different rounds they sometimes use in their MP-5s, UZIs, etc… Back when I knew more about such things, USAF specials and AFOSI used both MP-5 and UZI. Run of the mill troops never even saw a subgun.


#7

[quote=“RayMeketa”]OK - I already had all of the TMs, and both SAAMI and CIP data but I’m still confused.

You said the 9mm NATO used a 124 grain bullet and yet the TMs say 112 and 115. And the TMs indicate the M882 is less pressure than the +P. So, is the answer to my friends question :

Yes, there are two loads, one for SMGs and one for pistol. The pistol load (M882) can be used in either weapon but the SMG load is similar to the +P.

Is that a good answer?

Or, maybe I’m trying to compare CUP pressures with Piezo??

Ray[/quote]

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I have no idea why the US TM states the weight at 112 grains for nato spec… Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to that. I have found that the US kind of “does its own thing” when it comes to “Nato” things… Maybe its just a typo in the TM?

Here is what Wiki says about NATO 9mm.

[quote]9 mm NATO variant

Comparison of 7.62 mm NATO, 5.56 mm NATO and 9 mm NATO.
The 9 mm cartridge has been manufactured by, or for, more than 70 different countries and has become a standard pistol caliber for NATO and other military forces around the world. Its official nomenclature among NATO users is “9 mm NATO”. The 9 mm NATO can be considered as an overpressure variant of the 9×19mm Parabellum that is defined by NATO standards.[27] The service pressure Pmax of the 9 mm NATO is rated at 252 MPa (36,500 psi) where C.I.P. rates the 9 mm Luger PTmax somewhat lower at 235 MPa (34,100 psi). The 315 MPa (45,700 psi) proofing test pressure used in the 9 mm NATO proof test however equals the proofing test pressure used in the 9 mm Luger C.I.P. proof test. While the NATO standards do not specify the type of bullet to be used, the Hague Convention of 1899 prohibits the use of expanding ammunition in warfare by signatories, and therefore official 9 mm NATO ammunition is FMJ “ball” bullets. However, JAG attorneys for the U.S. military have issued opinions on the use of “open-tip” ammunition by snipers, stating that such ammunition is legal according to the laws of war including the Hague Convention (“open-tip” ammunition is still fully jacketed, and not designed to expand on impact)[28]. Declaration III also does not apply in conflicts involving non-signatories to the Hague Convention.[29] Therefore, the use of expanding 9mm ammunition by U.S. and NATO forces is not prohibited by international law in the current conflict in Afghanistan.
[/quote]


#8

Reference to a 112 grain bullet has appeared before, but is a total mystery to me. I have not found one single source, including box labels, military manuals on ammo and on the M9 pistol, etc., that refers to a “112 grain” bullet in relation to the STANAG ammunition of any country.

Lew - can you explain all of this?


#9

[quote=“JohnMoss”]Reference to a 112 grain bullet has appeared before, but is a total mystery to me. I have not found one single source, including box labels, military manuals on ammo and on the M9 pistol, etc., that refers to a “112 grain” bullet in relation to the STANAG ammunition of any country.

Lew - can you explain all of this?[/quote]

STANAG 4090 - 9mm Ammunition.

States bullet weight will be between 108 and 128 grains.


#10

Unfortunately the above info regarding the M882 is incorrect in regards to bullet weight. Has anyone come across a U.S. made 9mm M882 NATO load with anything other than a 124gr FMJ? And as I understand it, only Winchester and Federal have been contracted to make 9mm NATO ammo, and both of those manufacturers load a 124FMJ.

Here’s a link to updated info regarding the STANAG 4090 9x19mm NATO load from Lew Curtis’ website:

gigconceptsinc.com/files/STANAG4 … e_9x19.pdf

Also, here’s a Power Point presentation regarding NATO ammo, weapons, interchangability and testing:

dtic.mil/ndia/2007smallarms/ … 1120am.pdf


#11

You can sort of get through to MIL-C-70508 here but it is a bit clumsy: mil-spec.tpub.com/MIL-C/MIL-C-70508/index.htm

I saw the 9mm NATO STANAG once, and I sort of remembered that it allowed for a range of bullet weights, and so it does.


#12

In looking back at some of the old TMs and other references (prior to 9mm NATO) they say the 9mm was simply the commercial cartridge with the 115 grain bullet. Maybe that is where the confusion started? That would have been the +P ammunition in all liklihood.

And I still don’t understand the reference to “modified M3 Submachine Gun”. Can they be talking about the old 45 ACP M3 that was modified to fire the 9mm.??

I’m glad I don’t collect 9mm. I’ll stick with US Match ammo, thank you.

Thanks to all you guys for contributing.

Ray


#13

Regarding the earlier mention of the Glock M19, an AF friend who knows about such things has been keeping me informed about the USAF Specials wanting it instead of the M9 or M11. I don’t think that has happened yet because of safety concerns, what with the Glock having been involved in a significant number of inadvertent shootings for any of several possible reasons. If the USAF buys some it may have to incorporate an external safety, sort of like the M1911.


#14

Ray, to the best of my knowledge (Lew and/or John Moss can probably correct me if I’m wrong) the U.S. doesn’t make any 9mm loads specifically for subguns. Only one single 124FMJ NATO load is used for both firearms.

A year ago I had a brief conversation with Lou Behling (Sp?) at the Western States cartridge show in Reno. Lou was involved in the development of the then new NATO load and it was decided that only one 9mm load was to be developed for both pistols and subguns. I haven’t seen any U.S. NATO military boxes specifically marked as being for “subguns only” (though I could be wrong).


#15

Thanks Leon. I think my friend’s question was in regard any 9mm NATO, not just what is made in the US. If any of the information in the TMs is right (I’m beginning to wonder) someone is making both a pistol and a SMG round. However, one of the links posted by Lew seems to indicate there is only one 9MM NATO.

John and Lew are watching this thread, I hope, and maybe they are ready to chime in?

Ray


#16

Ray the M3 sub-machinegun was indeed available in 9x19. I had one of the 9x19 units and sold it with my M3 some years ago. The “kit” consisted of a bolt, barrel, and magazine, USGI manufacture. Worked perfectly. Not common here as most were for use in Europe. JH


#17

This is dangerous since I’m going to post without looking up anything.
After WWII the Germans retained the 8g (124gr) bullet as their standard load. The British and Italians kept the 7.5g (115gr) bullet. When NATO standardized the 9mm, both kept their old bullet weights. Belgian (FN) headstamped rounds with the NATO mark come in both 7.5g & 8g bullets. As far as I know, both bullet weighs have been acceptable as NATO standard since the beginning and most are pretty interchangable since NATO weapons are suppose to be able to accept the range of NATO loads in their caliber to support inoperability of forces with various nations logistics support.

When the M882 was being developed, I was in and out of the Aberdeen small arms unit pretty regularly. Back then it was still the XM882. I was told that the US wanted a 125gr bullet but wanted the 115gr velocity so they boosted the pressure to the top of the NATO range (or maybe a little over). The story is complex, but the bottom line is the XM882 was part of the early problems with the Beretta M92, but the Army didn’t want to talk about that. The powder in the XM882 caused a very high transient pressure spike that wasn’t noticed at first. It is a Bad Idea to shoot any XM882 ammo in a pistol-period. This is the story I was told by the people involved in testing 9mm at Aberdeen and who had all the instrumentation. They had gotten samples of all the 9mm loads they could lay their hands on and were testing them to build a baseline for their data.

Cheers,
Lew