9x19 Parabellum


need bullet weight for 1904 first production 9x19 and what bullet weight did the military 9x19 bullet weight in 1915. did it change for ww2. I have found anything from 115gr to 125 gr there must have been a standard for the German military.


The German military standard was 8.0 g, because that was what its developer DWM offered. This was not changed when going from truncated cone to the rounded nose during WW1. The army designation was “Pistolenpatrone 08”, muzzle velocity given as 327 m/s from pistol and 390 m/s from MP38.

In WW2 an iron core (Eisenkern; 08mE) was introduced to save lead. External bullet dimensions remained the same so that bullet weight dropped to 6.4 g. Propellant load remained the same so that a higher muzzle velocity resulted. Some western intelligence idiot (pun intended, the Soviets were not so blind) overlooked that the higher velocity resulted from the lighter bullet. This is where the “hotter sub-machinegun load” nonsense originated. The German army never had a special sub-machinegun load. 08mE bullets were blackended. Otherwise the jacket is the same gilding clad steel as for the lead core bullet.

Later in the war, solid projectiles made entirely from sintered iron (Sintereisen, 08SE) were introduced, weighing only 5.8 g. These required a different propellant and were very close to the lower recoil limit of reliable operation.

Edit: Bundeswehr today still uses the 8.0 g bullet weight. The NATO standardization agreement (STANAG 4090), which still calls the cartridge “9 mm Parabellum” (not 9 mm Luger) allows a bullet weight between 7.0 and 8.3 g.


The Germans had nothing to do with the 115gr bullet. The earliest use of this bullet was by the Finn’s for their MP31. It was apparently adopted as a higher velocity, flatter shooting round for the longer effective range of a Machine Pistol. Winchester produced this bullet (a copy of the Finnish bullet) for the Finns beginning with a 1939 contract or agreement. Subsequently the British took over the contract and used this bullet for the Stun gun development. That is why the British were the big users of the 115gr bullet during WWII. The Italians also adopted the 115gr bullet for their MP38, probably as a result of tests of the MP31 Soumi MP, though there is no documentation to support this theory.

After WWII, many nations continued to use the 115gr load for both pistols and MPs, but as far as I know, the German Army never adopted this bullet as JPeelen described so well above.



Actually, I believe the first production date for German Ammunition, not reflected on the headstamp, was not 1904 but rather 1902. I believe the first production pistol for this caliber of ammunition was what collectors have named the “Luger (Pistole Parabellum) Model 1902 Fat Barrel.” aThe headstamp of this cartridge, from Deutsche Waffen und-Munitionsfabriken A.-G., Karlsruhe, was still the older version * D.M. * K. and was loaded with the 8 gram CNCS truncated cupro-nickel jacketed bullet. Evidently, specimens of that cartridge are very rare today. I feel quite fortunate to have one, which entered my collection probably about 40 years ago. I never have had the opprotunity to acquire another one in that time.


thanks for the info if my conversion are correct some were between 89 to 128 gr. depending on materials


Peelen - do you have documentation about the reason why some thought that there was a “hot” machine pistol load done by the Germans? My understanding is that this idea came not from bullet weight, but rather from a misunderstanding of packets bearing the label “Nur in Maschinenpistolen verschiessen,” which we know now resulted from a quality and interchangeability problem, primarily the tendency of some steel-case ammunition to stick in the chambers of weapons more precision, such as the P08, than a “burp gun.” I think the bullet weight/velocity question was well understood by firearms experts in all parts of the world, including the “west,” by WWII. The U.S. Ordnance department, with experts like Phil Sharpe, certainly understood it. Just my own thoughts on the matter - I could be wrong, of course.

Edited for spelling only


John, the German labelling certainly added to the confusion.

The P08 had a step in its chamber (has been discussed on this forum), invented by Georg Luger himself to improve gas sealing. When steel cases came into use, they sometimes stuck in the P08 chamber because of this step. So the label you mention was introduced for steel cased catridges: “use only in sub-machineguns”.
Later it dawned upon the Wehrmacht people that meanwhile the P38 was in production and a lot of 9 mm pistols in use which had no problem with steel cases, but the label said the could not use it.
So the label was changed as it should have been worded from the beginning: “not for P08 (some stuck cases)” (vereinzelte Hülsenklemmer).

I have no documentation how exactly the “hot sub-machinegun load” myth in connection with German ammunition came up. Analysis of enemy ordnance is always under a shroud of secrecy and reports are very rarely found. I myself have not archived texts where someone repeats the myth.


Peelen - thanks for reminding me about the step in the chamber of the P-08 barrels. I had not thought about that in my answer, but of course, that pistol, aside from being very sensitive to changes in loadings and to malfunction from fouling, would not be friendly to cases with less elasticity than brass. I was not aware that the labels concerning case sticking were a clarification of the original “Shoot only in Machine Pistols” label, although I should have been. It is quite logical.

Almost every citation about “hot machine pistol ammo” in relation to WWII German 9mm steel-case cartridges mentioned the original label as documention. It seemed to make sense to English speakers doing a literal translation with little actual knowledge of the background for the label.

I have four 832 round carriers for 9 mm 08 ammunition. Only the one from 1942 has the “Nur in Maschinenpistolen verschiessen” label. Ones dated 1943 and 1944 carry the label you mentioned, “Für Pistole 08 Beschränkt geeignet (vereinzelte Hülsenklemmer)”. It would seem that the change probably took place sometime in late 1942 or early 1943.


Ryaussy, The 8g bullets are normally referred to as 125gr or 124gr. I think referring to them as 128gr would confuse things. Weighing the actual bullets it is not unusual for them to vary in weight by + or - 2 or even 3gr.