9x21mm IMI Ammunition
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History of 9x21mm Ammunition
Born of necessity, the 9x21mm has become a mainstay among competitive pistol shooters in Europe. Several countries in Europe do not allow civilians to possess firearms chambered in calibers used by the military. With this restriction in mind, Israel Military Industries introduced a cartridge that would give users the advantages of the 9x19mm cartridge without violating the gun control measures in place. By simply making the cartridge 2 millimeters longer a new, non-military, cartridge was created. Since the case is longer and the bullet is seated deeper in the longer case, the 9x21mm has the same overall length as the 9mm Luger cartridge. The great advantage is that there was not need to make any major modification to firearms that were already chambered for the 9x19mm except for a simple barrel swap to allow for the different case length.
Another advantage of the 9x21mm cartridge is that when it was introduced, the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) did not allow for 9mm Luger to be used as major power factor caliber due to the unsafe pressures that were generated. The 9x21mm can achieve these velocities without the potentially catastrophic consequences of the 9mm Luger handguns of the time.
This cartridge generates about 400 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle and has a velocity of 1250 feet per second with a 123 grain bullet. With a 115 grain bullet it will achieve velocities in the 1300 feet per second area. These give the 9x21mm approximately 400 foot pound of energy at the muzzle.
The 9x21mm cartridge has lost many users in the United States as the USPSA has changed their rules to allow 9x19mm to make major power factor in open division pistols. However, it remains popular in Europe, especially among competition shooters. There are several manufacturers who make pistols and ammunition in this caliber and there is no sign that demand will drop off any time soon.
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