Based on a design patented by Austrian inventor Georg J. Luger in 1898, the German Luger, produced by German arms manufacturer Deutsche Waffen- und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) in 1902 became the world's first 9 mm pistol. After World War I, increasing acceptance of 9 mm rounds led to 9 mm weapons including the Luger being adopted by armed forces and police departments in many countries.
Weapons that fire 9 mm Parabellum ammunition are easy to control and have relatively low recoil, allowing for faster, more accurate follow up shots. That fact, along with the availability of cartridges and compact 9 mm pistols with high-capacity magazines, have made 9 mm pistols the most popular and widely used handguns in the United States and around the world. In most U.S. law enforcement agencies, 9 mms have replaced old standby .38-caliber revolvers to become the standard-issue sidearm.
9 mm pistols have long been manufactured by a number of leading gunmakers: Colt, Smith & Wesson, Glock, Beretta, Sig Sauer, Taurus, Ruger, and more. Some of the most sought-after 9 mm pistols on the auction circuit are models from those brands, as well as those by companies that are no longer in business, including the storied Luger.
- In 2007, a Smith & Wesson 9 mm semi-automatic pistol stolen from the Graceland Museum in Memphis, TN was later found in the museum's toilet
- In a 2015 Graceland auction, Elvis Presley's Walther model PPK/S 9 mm pistol sold for an unbelievable $62,500
- In 2013, an extremely rare Mauser Model 1909 experimental 9 mm pistol estimated to sell for $32,500 to $45,500 hammered for $57,000