Ammo Brief: 9mm Ultra

A quick look at 9mm Ultra, also known as 9mm Police.

The 9mm Ultra cartridge was designed for the Walther PP Super semi-auto pistol introduced in 1972. This seven-shot autoloader was designed particularly for the West German police. It was not available to the civilian market until 1975, and then only in small numbers. Quite a few guns in this chambering have shown up in the United States, as the West German police discontinued it.

In recent years, the Sig Sauer P230 and the Benelli B76 auto pistols have also been chambered for the 9mm Ultra. The cartridge was actually developed in 1936 for the German Air Force but was never officially adopted.

The 9mm Ultra is 1 millimeter longer than the .380 Auto and 1 millimeter shorter than the 9mm Luger, with the same general case dimensions. In terms of inches, the .380 case length is 0.680 inch, the 9mm Ultra is 0.720 inch, and the 9mm Luger is 0.760 inch.

Original loading of the 9mm Ultra (by Hirtenberger of Austria) used a 100-grain full-jacketed bullet at a muzzle velocity of 1,060 fps. GECO (Dynamit-Nobel) loads a 94-grain full-jacketed bullet at an initial velocity of 1,054 fps. Both bullets are of truncated cone shape. Ammunition is hard to find in the United States, and American companies do not load it. The case has a slightly rebated rim, 0.02-inch smaller than the base.

9mm-Ultra-table

General Comments

European police have traditionally carried small .32 Automatic and .380 Automatic pistols. However, with the increase in crime and attacks by terrorist groups, they found themselves outgunned by those on the other side of the law. There was some reluctance to adopt the full-powered 9mm military auto-pistol, which is heavier and bulkier than the more convenient .32 and .380 autos. The 9mm Ultra was an effort to provide greater stopping power, while retaining the small, handy pistols police were used to carrying. Even so, German police now carry 9mm Luger-chambered handguns.

The 9mm Ultra is as good as and probably more effective than the .380 Automatic. Handloaded with 9mm jacketed hollow-point bullets, it would certainly be satisfactory for small-game hunting. Hirtenberger, Fiocchi and Dynamit Nobel still offer this cartridge. It’s sometimes called the 9mm Police.

Editor’s Note: This article is an excerpt of Gun Digest’s Cartridge’s Of The World.


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