close up of 9mm in box

Why Is The 9mm So Popular

The 9mm is the bread and butter of the shooting world. It has been a very, very, long time since the status quo of what is normal has changed. The 9mm has remained, and will likely continue to remain, most people’s ammunition and Caliber of choice.

So, why are 9mm pistols so popular? In short their longevity and ease of use. A 9mm can quite comfortably fire 100,000 rounds throughout its life. If a standard magazine holds, say, 12 rounds. Then you are getting around 7500 full magazines fired before you start to see meaningful wear and tear. You are also getting flexibility with ammo. There are a LOT of 9mm weapons. Not just pistols, rifles, and submachine guns too. This means you can get away with buying in bulk on an ammo type that fits all of your guns. In military or police settings this is a huge factor in their popularity.

Be you the manufacturer, gun maker, or the shooter. There is a reason that manufacturers like Glock and Beretta continue to use this type of round and caliber of weapon. Sure, they may manufacture their own in some cases. But they are, more or less, the same.

9mm rounds close up pistol in background

The 9mm

The 9mm is the most common type of gun. The name refers to any gun that can fire a bullet that is 9mm in diameter. a 9mm can be a pistol, rifle, machine gun, or any other kind of gun that is capable of using that specific round.

There are no other requirements for what a 9mm is. Many people think 9mm and think a Beretta pistol or Glock.

Which is fine, most 9mm are pistols. But not all. While that is the technical definition, most people refer to any semi-automatic pistol as a 9mm. They are usually correct, as most semi-auto pistols are 9mm.

A close up of a 9mm round in a box black and white photo

Who Uses The 9mm?

Since the 9mm is the most common caliber, they are used by just about everyone. If you have a pistol at home, chances are it’s a 9mm.

They are so commonplace and so easy to use that there is very little reason to have any other. Unless of course you are hunting and have buckshot on hand. But, again, you might even be hunting with a 9mm rifle.

It depends on what you are hunting and how good of a hunter you are. Law enforcement also typically use 9mm. Most officers have their weapons and ammo provided to them by the station.

Almost all police stations have a pretty sizeable stockpile of ammunition in case of emergencies. The military even tries to use 9mm by default for the same reason.

If things get crazy in the heat of battle, struggling to find ammunition that fits your weapon could be the difference between life and death.

That’s why everyone will have pistols issued that carry 9mm, many will have rifles that use 9mm NATO rounds, so even in a pinch, you should be able to get by. Additionally, since 9mm weapons last so long it saves the military buying everyone a new gun every year.

This isn’t cost-effective and makes people inefficient shooters. Having a gun you’re comfortable using is very important when determining accuracy.

Muscle memory is everything. It also means one person can pick up another person’s gun and use it effectively.

A close up of a 9mm round in a box

Why Has The 9mm Remained So Popular?

The 9mm has stayed popular because there hasn’t been much of a reason to change. The 9mm is reliable, accurate, reasonably cheap, universally usable, and very long-lasting. There has yet to be any revolutionary steps forward in this area.

The main reasons are;

Perfect balance – For many, the 9mm is a good balance between stopping power, accuracy, and carries a good amount of ammunition in the handgun to make an adequate deterrence.

Firepower – The 9mm round packs a punch. You can place a good amount in a magazine so it’s a good balance between firepower and stopping power.

Availability – There are a huge amount of choices for weapons, that will now come in the 9mm caliber.

Robust – Because they are popular, much R&D has been done and we have historical analysis to confirm. 9mm pistols are immensely durable as a result of this knowledge.

Reliable history – The first 9mm luger was 1902. That’s over a century of weapons development dedicated to the caliber. We also have data, making the 9mm one of the most popular calibers for home defense for example.

Ammunition choice – The types of round available for this caliber are almost unmeasurable. Just about all conceivable types of round and grain are available. And the ammunition is plentiful, which is always handy.

Cost – Because the 9mm is manufactured in great numbers, the manufacturing cost is correspondingly lower than other calibers. It is a good cost-effective weapon.

Flexibility – With many of them about, there are many options to further enhance your needs from the firearm, say with extended magazines or more durable components.

Customizable – There is a large after purchase market where enthusiasts make modifications to improve the useability of the weapon. From night sights to springs.

Or at least, none that are cost-effective on such a large scale. Anyone who has served in the armed forces, of any country, will tell you as follows. The military does not use the best guns, the best ammo, and the best equipment per person.

They use the most cost-effective. Sure, giving every soldier $10k guns with explosive ammo might seem like a good idea in principle. But in reality, it’s not financially sustainable, and the benefit is minimal.

As of now, there is no other comparative caliber weapon that could replace the 9mm. Sure, there is the 32 that is quite powerful. But it is more expensive, doesn’t last as long, and there are far fewer to choose from.

What you might want to do if the 9mm isn’t for you is look at Glock. They have a wide range of pistols with various calibers, so you can find the one that is exactly what you are after.

A close up of a 9mm round standing up

The FBI And The 9mm

The FBI has put their stamp of approval on the 9mm. They have been using the 9mm for a while now and it looks like they will continue to do so. This alone is reason enough to have faith in the 9mm. The FBI has one of, if not the best, ballistics labs in the world.

A ballistics lab measures the power of weapons, how much damage they do, range, life span, etc. Everything you could need to know about a weapon, the FBI knows it. They have used this knowledge to determine that the 9mm is the way to go.

They interestingly moved away from the 9mm for a while in the 90s but brought the 9mm back after evidence that the 9mm was still superior.

45 ACP rounds


Hopefully, you now have everything you need to know about the 9mm. It is by far the most superior caliber of pistol for the army, the FBI, and secret service.

I don’t know about you, but if that’s good enough for them that’s good enough for me! There are also so many choices of 9mm that you are bound to find one that is right for you.

If you are looking for a good 9mm that is cheap to buy, reliable, but easy to use then I would recommend the Glock 17 or the 19. Both are great choices and won’t let you down. More importantly, though, they won’t break the bank!

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