Review: Lapua 9mm 123-grain FMJ

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posted on August 28, 2019
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Lapua has an enviable international reputation among competitive shooters that want quality ammunition. Whether shooting factory-loaded centerfire or rimfire (with rifle or handgun), or loading their own ammo, their products have earned the respect of shooters. When SSUSA Managing Editor John Parker asked me if I would like to wring out Lapua’s 123-grain 9mm load, my immediate response was yes, and 100 rounds arrived at my door.

Editor’s note: The best deal we found online for this load was at AmmunitionStore.com, $23.99 for a 50-round box.

Review: Lapua 9mm 123-grain FMJ


For test guns, I used three of my 9mm match guns. All have spent a lot of time on a 25-yard benchrest, testing various factory ammo and handloads. That’s given me a large database on what they’ll do at their best and worst.

My older M&P 9mm Standard (4.25-inch barrel, 1:10-inch twist) is stock, except for adjustable sights and a 3.5-pound trigger job. The loads it likes best will do 2.35 to 2.50 inches. The rest are in the 2.75- to 3.25-inch range.

My M&P C.O.R.E. 9mm (5-inch KKM barrel, 1:16-inch twist, Trijicon RMR reflex sight and a 2.75-pound trigger job) serves for Carry Optics. The best loads I’ve found will produce 2-inch groups.

With the Ruger 9mm PC Carbine (1:10-inch twist, stock gun with a RMR Type 2 reflex sight), the most accurate load was in the 1.25-inch range, with most in the 1.5- to 1.65-inch range.

Lapua 9mm accuracy test in Ruger PC Carbine
The Lapua load was the most accurate one the author had found for his PC9 Carbine, as well as his S&W 9mm C.O.R.E.


I ran some rounds through all three guns to check function. Ejection was positive, and the feeding was flawless. The next step with the limited number of rounds on hand was benchrest accuracy tests and chronographing.

The M&P Standard was first, and the accuracy chart will show that the groups were average. But they were acceptable, given the gun’s round count and previous accuracy history. I wondered if the 1:10-inch twist rate barrel on the M&P was a factor, so the PC9 Carbine was next.

That showed the 1:10-inch twist rate wasn’t a factor. The groups were the best groups I had ever fired from that gun—with any load. Period.

Lapua 9mm 123-grain FMJ review
The 123-grain FMJ bullet features a concave exposed lead base (see the left photo) that the author feels contributed to the excellent accuracy. On the right is our obligatory beauty shot of this 9mm FMJ round.


The C.O.R.E was the last gun, and produced another pleasant surprise. I’d yet to find a load in that gun that grouped below 2 inches, but the Lapua load bested that by a noticeable margin. The 1:16-inch twist KKM match barrel loved that load, and I could see potential for it in NRA Precision Pistol or Bianchi Cup use.

I was curious so I pulled a bullet. It showed a very nice concave exposed lead base that obviously sealed the bore well at the velocities recorded by the C.O.R.E. and PC9 Carbine.

Lapua has an excellent reputation for quality ammunition, and this 123-grain 9mm FMJ load certainly lives up to it. And now, as part of the Nammo group that includes big names like Berger, SK, and Vihtavuori—the sky is the limit.

Accuracy and Chronograph Chart
Accuracy figures are the average of three five-round groups from a 25-yard sandbag rest measured center-to-center in inches. Velocity was measured over an Oehler 3 screen chronograph at 10 feet, and is the average of five rounds per gun across the screens with Power Factor (PF) noted.

Lapua 123-grain 9mm FMJ Accuracy and Chronograph Chart

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