The initial cartridge was created by removing the bottleneck of the 7.65 mm Luger cartridge, resulting in a tapered rimless cartridge. The ogive of the bullet was slightly redesigned in the 1910s in order to improve feeding.
To conserve lead during World War II in Germany, the lead core was replaced by an iron core encased with lead. This bullet, identified by a black bullet jacket, was designated as the 08 mE (mit Eisenkern—"with iron core"). By 1944, the black jacket of the 08 mE bullet was dropped and these bullets were produced with normal copper-colored jackets. Another wartime variation was designated the 08 SE bullet and identified by its dark gray jacket, and was created by compressing iron powder at high temperature into a solid material (Sintereisen—"sintered iron").
The 9x19mm Parabellum has become the most popular caliber for US Law Enforcement agencies, primarily due to the availability of compact pistols with generous magazine capacity utilizing this cartridge.
During the period between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s, a sharp increase in the popularity of semiautomatic pistols coincided with the adoption of the Beretta M9 by the US Army. At the time, most police departments were issuing .38 Special caliber revolvers with a six-shot capacity. The .38 Special was advantageous to other options like variants of the M1911 because it offered low recoil, the revolvers were small and light enough to accommodate different shooters, and it was relatively inexpensive.
Possessing superior ballistics to the .38 Special revolver cartridge, the 9 mm is a shorter round, and being an autoloader cartridge is stored in flat magazines as opposed to cylindrical speedloaders or clip (ammunition).
The 9mm is also used by law enforcement outside of the United States. On June 14, 2009 the Minneapolis St. Paul Star Tribune reported that Alliant Techsystems, Edina, and Humbert CTTS SAS were awarded an approximately US$14M contract to provide Speer GoldDot 9mm ammunition to the French Gendarmerie, French Customs, French Corrections and all 250,000 police officers in France.