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Old April 7, 2002, 12:37 PM   #1
Foxy
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Any difference between 9mm Luger/9mm Parabellum?

I was playing around with my TZ99 last night, loading the mag with A-zoom snap caps that I recently bought, cycling the rounds through manually.

I noticed that the TZ99 failed to eject the last round consistently. After some experimenting, I found that the ejector was not engaging the bottom 'lip' of the cartridge, so the round was not being thrown out. All the other rounds flew out because they were being supported by a round underneath it - the last one had nothing except the follower, and so wouldn't eject.

After some experimenting with the available types of 9mm and other brands of snap caps, we found that the Winchester White Box stuff fit the best - it would not come out of the ejector unless we slapped the slide (disassembled the pistol) against our palm or something. The A-zoom snap caps didn't even touch the extractor and fell out without moving the slide at all.

Now, to get to my question - the pistol is marked 9mm Para, while the A-zoom snap caps are marked 9mm Luger. Is there some infetestimal difference in the thickness of the 'lip' at the bottom of the cartridge between the two? I always thought that Parabellum and Luger and x19 were all synonomous for each other. Then again, the Winchester stuff was marked 9mm Luger as well. Could it just be that the A-Zoom snap caps were not made to the right dimensions?
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Old April 7, 2002, 01:06 PM   #2
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9X19, 9mm Lugar, 9mm Parabellum all same case dimensions.
Could be that your caps are out of spec even tho labled properly.

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Old April 7, 2002, 03:03 PM   #3
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9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, 9mmx19 and 9mm NATO are all different names for the same child.

And because I see it coming...
Before someone else explains it wrong: para bellum means prepare war, not for war. That would be pro bello.
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Old April 7, 2002, 04:05 PM   #4
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T.Stahl,

Quote:
Before someone else explains it wrong: para bellum means prepare war, not for war. That would be pro bello.
LOL! I guess you were first to explain it wrong!

Para is a Latin prefix meaning "for". Bellum is a Latin word for war (or "all against all").

So Parabellum means "for war" just as Luger thought when he named the military round he designed for the military pistol he designed.
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Old April 7, 2002, 04:43 PM   #5
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Sorry, Blackhawk, T. Stahl is correct.

The quotation is from Vegitius, and says, "Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum", or "whoever wants peace should prepare war". This is usually misquoted as "Si vis pacem, para bellum", which means, "If you want peace, prepare war."

It is a warning that the best way to maintain peace is to have the capability for war. Another version of the same idea is "Speak softly, but carry a big stick".

"Parabellum" was adopted by the German Deutsche Waffen-und Munitions Fabriken (DWM) as a cable address, the equivalent of a modern web site or e-mail address. They used it as a slogan or trademark on a number of guns, including the pistol we call the Luger (which is known as the Parabellum pistol in Europe) and the Parabellum machinegun used on WWI German aircraft.

So "para" really does mean "prepare", not "for", although we would probably say "prepare for war", not "prepare war" as the Latin has it.

FWIW, we call the pistol the "Luger" because Stoeger bought the sales rights for it early in the 20th century and wanted a unique name. They hit on the name of the designer/salesman Georg Luger, and registered the name as a Stoeger trademark. So no one else in the U.S. can call a pistol a "Luger" and the name is used only in the U.S. Also, note that "Luger" is spelled that way; not "Lugar" or "Lugger" and NO umlaut. It is pronounced to rhyme with "Ruger". Herr Luger's first name is pronounced "Gay-orgk", which is the German equivalent of George.

HTH

Jim
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Old April 7, 2002, 05:09 PM   #6
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By the way, what does "Molon Labe" mean. Couldn't find the words in Latin dictionaries.
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Old April 7, 2002, 06:25 PM   #7
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Molon Labe's explained here.
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Old April 7, 2002, 07:12 PM   #8
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Jim Keenan,

Quote:
So "para" really does mean "prepare", not "for", although we would probably say "prepare for war", not "prepare war" as the Latin has it.
For a dead language, Latin seems to kick a lot!

http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary has a usage entry under "para" styled "si vis pacem, para bellum" that's translated: "if you wish peace, prepare for war." It also has a definition of "para" as a prefix, which is: "closely related to."

The Latin phrase uses two words "para bellum", but the Luger implementation is one word of which "para" is a prefix modifying "bellum". Any marketing copy writer worth his hire would come up with an argument that George Luger's remarkable sidearm was designed to be used as a higher firepower replacement for the revolvers and handguns then used in combat. There weren't any successful, dependable, and instantly reloadable combat handguns before, and designating the new one as "closely-related-to-war" or "parabellum" was brilliant and close enough to a proper translation for marketing purposes. However, "parabellum" isn't a proper word in any language -- it's a marketing term or trademark like Freon or nylon -- so you won't have much luck looking up in a proper dictionary.

Luger almost sold his design to the U.S. Army around 1900, but his original caliber was an anemic 7.65 mm. He redesigned it to 9mm (also bowing to the desire of other countries he tried to sell it to), but the lines were drawn, and the Browning design was selected by the U.S. for several reasons including the NIH (Not Invented Here) stigma.

Marketers and inventors have long been privileged to be their own lexicographers, and in the age that spawned the dreadnaughts and was between major wars, naming a pistol a "prepare for war" instead of simply promoting it "for war" doesn't have quite the needed panache to be effective. The 9mm cartridge was designed for military use from its smaller predecessor forward. Dreadnaughts were designed as "big sticks" or "para bellum" devices, but a combat handgun isn't going to deter any enemy that's advanced its weaponry to at least the rifle.

What became the Jeep was designed "for war", and it lacked the capability to deter any enemy. (It's interesting that the Jeep inspired a dedicated farm vehicle after WWII that gained fame and longevity as the Land Rover.)

I'll concede that your Latin skills are correct, but not to the application of them in this case. Luger was interested in selling guns -- not the finer points of a dead language -- and parabellum was a great term to further that. Did George Luger think of it? I don't know, but it ain't proper Latin...!
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Old April 7, 2002, 11:44 PM   #9
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Blackhawk, I learned Latin for seven years, anybody here who could beat that?

Para is the imperative of parare, which means to prepare. Para therefore means prepare!
Bellum is the accusative of bellus, the war.

Who's laughing now?

Just look at the original quote, si vis pacem, para bellum, and you can see that your translation can't be correct. Or look at words like paramilitary. A paramilitary unit is a unit that prepares people for the military.
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Old April 7, 2002, 11:51 PM   #10
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Just a quick update - I tested my roommate's A-zoom snap caps, and they fit fine. His are older than mine; maybe they changed the machinery lately?
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Old April 8, 2002, 01:44 AM   #11
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T.Stahl,

Quote:
Who's laughing now?
Me! LOL!

Parabellum isn't a Latin word. It's a marketing label like Kodak, Freon, Polaroid, etc., and since Latin is a dead language, it doesn't get new words like English. Parabellum is a Latin sounding English/German/etc. word that merely has roots in Latin. It hasn't even made it into standard dictionaries despite being coined and widely used more than a century ago.

There is something I'm confused about though. If you're not a doctor with a need for it, why would you study Latin for 7 years? English is a lousy language for technical fields because it's so dynamic. Gay used to mean happy, and just what is "consumption" that people used to die of? OTOH, a parathyroid of Hippocrates' time is still a parathyroid!
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Old April 8, 2002, 04:25 AM   #12
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Latin Wars

Jim Keenan has all his data correct. The original quote, is not "Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum" though that is how it is often rendered.

Para is indeed imperative.
Bellum, is of course a neuter noun, and "Bellus" does not exist. Being a Neuter noun, its accusative is its nominative.

Thus ParaBellum, to any native latin speaker would likely translate:

"Prepare for War!"

I've only had 4 years of formal instruction in the Lingua Latina. I've spent a few more years studying it for kicks.

Additionally, it's quite likely that Herr Luger (6 years formal instruction in German), knew Latin. Why do you ask? Cause a man was not considered educated back then unless he knew Latin and/or Greek. Although from the looks of this thread some of us believe that is still the case... it is obviously not a popularly accepted truth, and thus best spoken only in small enclaves where we can spend hours correcting one another grammatical errors rather like Roman Centurians correcting Jewish insurgents in Monty Python movies...

Let us not forget that it was the Germans who organized Latin into the structure it is today. "Thermos" the brand name was coined by a small town in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, based on the ancient Greek root. Alas... such genius is slowly dying...

Edit: Why study Latin for 7 years if its a dead language? I learned more from taking Latin about history, English, and literary analysis than I ever did in any other class. The study of the Classics had a significant impact on the structure of this country. Or have you not noticed how we live in a Republic, rather like that of Rome, and how our public buildings tend to resemble Greco-Roman Architecture?

But we've digressed.

-Morgan
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Old April 8, 2002, 04:28 AM   #13
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You lost me with the latin but I do know a little trivia,"consumption" was what Doc Holliday was dying of, TB.
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Old April 8, 2002, 09:43 AM   #14
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CaesarI,

Quote:
But we've digressed.
Yes, and it was fun!
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Old April 8, 2002, 02:40 PM   #15
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Yes, parabellum is not a Latin word, it's two welded together. As far as its use as a brand name is concerned, Latin translations are often used as brand names. Audi for example is the imperative of audire, to hear, meaning listen! It's the translation of the owner's name, Horch. Or Semperit (a tire manufacturer), another two words put together. Semper it means it always goes, quite fitting for a tire, isn't it? Or the power-tool brand Metabo, meaning I will change (something). Or Mercedes, which in the first place was the name of one of the first dealer's (Jellineck?) daughter. It also means reward or prize. Also quite fitting to see your Mercedes as a reward for your hard work.

And this hidden, yet fitting, meaning is the difference to other brand names like Kodak, Cadillac, Binford or whatever.

Why study Latin for seven years, you ask. Because unlike others, I'm not only interested in the time and country I live in.
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Old April 8, 2002, 08:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Why study Latin for seven years, you ask.
Are you a priest? Just curious.

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Old April 8, 2002, 11:39 PM   #17
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Thanks for the backup, folks. There has been a lot of misunderstanding about that name "parabellum". I agree that the word, spelled that way, was a trademark, but the two words from which it is composed are pure Latin, not "Germanic". It is not in dictionaries because it is a trade name, not an actual word.

As long as we are here, a further note on cable addresses. During the heyday of international cable systems, a cable address was as important as a web site address is today. Every company that did, or hoped to do, business on an international scale had a cable address name. Coupled with the city, this was enough to address a cablegram from anywhere in the world. "PARABELLUM BERLIN" or "COLT NEW YORK" was sufficient; the cable company knew the actual address.

Further, to save cable charges, orders could be placed using code words. Cable codes were, by international agreement, five letters, so catalogs of the time would show an item, the price, and the cable code for ordering. For example, 1000 rounds of 8x57 ammunition might be AKGNH, and 5000 rounds would be AKGMM. A .25 pistol might be SOFOK and a .32 pistol would be SUBJO (as in the 1920 Aldazabal catalog). Other codes would indicate the quantity or terms.

Today, people looking at old arms catalogs for DWM, ALFA, Savage and others puzzle at the strange letters on each item; that is the explanation.

Jim
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Old April 9, 2002, 12:44 AM   #18
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Quote:
Any difference between 9mm Luger/9mm Parabellum?
Luger starts with an L. Parabellum starts with a P.
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Old April 9, 2002, 02:49 AM   #19
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Gallia est provincia

Gaul is a province.

2 years of Latin in Catholic high school. (All male.) Forgot almost ALL my Latin except that one simple phrase. STILL bear the emotional scars. Where'd I put my gun? Just kidding.

BTW, Gaul is modern day France, in case you were wondering. Conquered by the Romans. So too much of Britain. Germanic tribes never succumbed. They were tough nuts to crack even back then.

Why take Latin? You get to watch a lot of "Monty Python" tapes. (We did.) And the Punic Wars were cool. Rome versus Hannibal and the Carthaginians. You know, "Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants." He really did, that crazy bastard.

Besides, what would life be without emotional scars?....

BORING!!!!
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Old April 9, 2002, 10:02 AM   #20
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T.STahl,

You've overanalyzed and gotten confused by what you know. Occam's razor, remember?

Mercedes is a girl's name coined long ago, and its meaning may indeed be "reward" or "gift from God," but it's a real stretch to make it have anything to do with cars. A city in Uruguay has that name, and dates back to the 18th Century.

There are many other compound standard words that use para as a prefix. Parachute certainly doesn't mean "prepare for chute" as much as it means "closely related to chute." A parathyroid gland has nothing to do with "prepare for thyroid," but it's right next to the thyroid and was thought to be closely related to it. Would you contend that parapsychology or paranormal mean prepare for psychology or normality instead of the coiners trying to show a relationship?

This thread was fun, right up until your innuendo "unlike some people" appeared. There's another word you might want to consider: "pansophist".

The fact is that neither you nor anybody else around here knows exactly why the compound word "parabellum" was coined and exactly what it was intended to convey. As a trademark, it's simple, descriptive, and elegant. When you try to armchair quarterback it into something a Latin speaker would understand, you just outsmart yourself. Again, remember Occam's razor!
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Old April 9, 2002, 12:00 PM   #21
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Although this thread got a little nasty, it is extremely interesting reading. I am not a history buff of any sorts, but none the less, a very interesting topic. I have no idea which of the two main posters are correct but I appreciate both of their detailed explanations. That is why I continue to read this forum!! Thanks to both!
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Old April 9, 2002, 03:24 PM   #22
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Blackhawk,

Ok, so for occam's razor's sake, para bellum means prepare war! and that's it.
But I'm still sure there's more than a fair chance that DWM chose this as a brand name for the same subtle reasons Horch chose Audi or Benz chose Mercedes. Or do you think he would have named the cars Antonia or Gretel if that had been her name?
You keep saying that because it's a brand name, it's actual meaning is irrelevant. So it doesn't matter what audio, video, or television means as long as it sounds good?

So you related "because unlike others..." to yourself? I hope that's not a case of projection because I didn't mean you.
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Old April 9, 2002, 05:13 PM   #23
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Sorry, but you're BOTH wrong....

The English prefix para- comes from both Latin AND Greek. In Greek it means "beside, nearby, along with." Hence the words paradigm, paramorphine, paranormal, paramilitary. It also comes from the Latin imperative of parare meaning "to defend." Hence the word parasol; a small umbrella that protects one from the sun.

I believe parabellum is a combination of the Greek meaning of the prefix "para-" combined with the Latin word for war (bellum). Therefore, "for war" is not a bad interpretation. "Prepare war" or "prepare for war" are incorrect translations in my opinion, even though (if I recall correctly) parare can mean "to prepare for" as well as "to defend" in Latin. But I believe "para" is from Greek in this instance, not Latin.

Therefore, parabellum literally means of or related to war. It is a name that makes perfect sense to assign to a military standard type of ammo.

I didn't need years of Latin or Greek to tell you guys this. All it took was a good dictionary.

Now put your daggers away before someone gets hurt! How about pistols at 10 paces instead?
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Last edited by MasterBlaster; April 9, 2002 at 06:16 PM.
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Old April 9, 2002, 05:46 PM   #24
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MasterBlaster,

I bow to your knowledge and skill in cutting through all this with Occam's razor! The victory is yours, and may you enjoy its laurels in peace, happiness, prosperity and long life!

Quote:
Now put your daggers away before someone gets hurt! How about pistols at 10 paces instead?
Ouch! Am I to infer that you think we're safer from one another wielding pistols at that modest distance than with drawn daggers? And this, a shooters site! Oh, the humiliation, the shame, the humanity of it all!
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Old April 9, 2002, 06:12 PM   #25
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On the contrary.....

Quote:
Ouch! Am I to infer that you think we're safer from one another wielding pistols at that modest distance than with drawn daggers?
Actually, I was secretly hoping you're both EXCELLENT shots!!!
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