In 1903 the Flemish (people from Belgium) were considering a new standard service pistol for their Army. This pistol was the Bergmann #6 and it was chambered in the then new 9mm Bergmann cartridge, which had been developed parrallel with the pistol.
In the early part of the 20th century the United States was also looking to upgrade from a service revolver to an automatic. In 1906 and 1907 they tested the 9mm Bergmann cartridge in service pistol trials. The United States decided not to adopt the 9mm Bergmann and eventually the Browning designed M1911 and .45ACP cartridge as the new U.S. service pistol. How different things would be today had they decided to adopt the 9mm Bergmann?
In 1907 the Spanish began production of this cartridge at the Pirotecnia Militar de Sevilla. The next year, 1908, the Spanish adopted the Bermann Modelo 1908 as their official sidearm and began manufacturing the round with the designation 9mm Largo. This was the beginning of a a long history of 9mm Largo service to the Spanish Military and Police.
The Spanish continued to use this cartridge in one fashion or another until after 1981 when the Fabrica Nacional Toledo produced the final government run of 9mm Largo ammunition. Over it's life, the Spanish used it in pistols, carbines, and submachine guns and sporting arms. From 1907 to 1981 the Spanish used a variety of designations for this round:
In the late 1980s and early 1990s many surplus pistols in 9mm Largo began coming into the United States and appeared on the surplus market for reasonable prices. This of course increased the demand for ammunition and in 1994 CCI made up a test batch of 9mm Largo ammunition with a 124g TMJ bullet in it's aluminum cased Blazer line. This ammunition met with enthusiasm from the shooting public and was soon sold out. CCI decided that this was a commercially viable cartridge and added it to the Blazer line as a permanent offering with the 124g GDHP bullet. Demand for this ammunition isn't great enough to warrant full time production, consequently CCI only manufactures it when unfilled orders begin to pile up. Therefore the supply tends to ebb and flow.
The brass manufacturer Starline also saw an opportunity with the influx of 9mm Largo firearms and began production of 9mm Largo boxer primed brass for the reloader. This brass was introduced in the mid 1990s and remains in production. With the release of this new virgin brass a major bullet manufacturer, in cooperation with Starline, developed modern loading data for the 9mm Largo. Some shooters have reported problems with these cases when used in Destroyer Carbines because the extractor groove is not exactly like the Spanish specifications. This causes the extractor to 'jump' the groove and fail to extract a fired case.
On July 19, 2001, I received news from Starline that they have changed the dimensions of their 9mm Largo brass as it relates to the extractor groove. Hopefully this will correct the extraction problem with the old brass in Destroyer carbines. I will keep you posted. Below is a copy of the email I received:
WE HAVE BEEN MADE AWARE OF A PROBLEM WITH THE EXTRACTOR GROOVE DIA. AS IT RELATES TO DESTROYER CARBINE BY ONE OF YOUR USERS. THE 9 LARGO EXT. GROOVE HAS BEEN MODIFIED FROM .335 TO .320 +/- .003. THIS APPEARS TO HAVE ELIMINATED EXTRACTION PROBLEMS WITH GUN SYSTEMS WE TRIED IT IN. PLEASE POST THIS INFO. FOR DESTROYER CARBINE OWNERS WHERE APPLICABLE. MANY THANKS FOR YOUR HELP WITH THIS AND FOR THIS SITE AS INFO. HERE MADE US AWARE OF PROBLEM AND GOT IT FIXED."
V.P. STARLINE BRASS
In 1996 Winchester introduced a new cartridge, the 9x23mm Winchester. The exterior case dimensions of this round are almost identical to the 9mm Largo. Interior dimensions are different though, as this cartridge is loaded to much higher pressure than the 9mm Largo. For this reason 9x23mm Winchester ammunition should not be used in 9mm Largo firearms. Reloading the brass to 9mm Largo specifications should not pose a problem, if it is remembered that the case capacity of the 9x23mm Winchester is less than that of the 9mm Largo and powder charges are adjusted accordingly.
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