Histone methyltransferase that specifically trimethylates 'Lys-9' of histone H3. H3 'Lys-9' trimethylation represents a specific tag for epigenetic transcriptional repression by recruiting HP1 (CBX1, CBX3 and/or CBX5) proteins to methylated histones. Mainly functions in euchromatin regions, thereby playing a central role in the silencing of euchromatic genes. H3 'Lys-9' trimethylation is coordinated with DNA methylation. Probably forms a complex with MBD1 and ATF7IP that represses transcription and couples DNA methylation and histone 'Lys-9' trimethylation. Its activity is dependent on MBD1 and is heritably maintained through DNA replication by being recruited by CAF-1. SETDB1 is targeted to histone H3 by TRIM28/TIF1B, a factor recruited by KRAB zinc-finger proteins.