9mm NATO damages 9mm Luger pistol

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

About a month ago I mentioned a post by Caleb warning people not to use 9mm NATO rounds in 9mm Luger / Parabellum pistols.

A reader, who shall remain anonymous, emailed me this account of what happened to him.

Your message about the 9 mm Nato versus 9 mm Luger (9×19 mm, 9 mm Para) is correct and should be a warning to all users of 9 mm pistols. I found out the the higher pressure of the Nato round can be punishing. The same day as I received my first and brand new police service pistol, the Walther P5, I took it to my shooting club to show it to the lads and to shoot it.

Because I ran out of ammo, I borrowed a box from a military friend, who used 9 mm Nato rounds. After two shots my new pistol jammed, because the extractor broke off. I had some explanation to do the next day in order to get my service gun back in working order and got the message: Never use military ammo in non-military firearms. So, any surplus army ammo: use it in the Browning High-Power or the Glock, but not in “civilian” pistols.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 24 comments
  • Jay Dee Jay Dee on Jul 23, 2012

    The problem with 9mm pistols is bore diameter. I've seen bore diameters that slugged as small as .352 to over .360 in a Browning Hi-Power. Obviously a hot load developed for the Hi-Power would cause major problems in the smaller bore. (Blew the case out down the feed ramp.)

    Commercial ammunition is loaded with that tightest bore diameter in mind while military loads are for one or two guns where bore diameters is a known quantity.

  • ZAC ZAC on Jul 28, 2014

    the ending statement doesnt make much sense "use it in a browning hi power or a glock not "civilian" pistols", both those pistols are civilian pistol yea armies all over the world use hi powers, but any civilian can buy one, and glocks are used more by civilians and police then military...