When I first tested a Kahr K9 pistol several years ago, I was so impressed I immediately adopted it as my “go-to” concealed carry gun. The K9 was as light and compact as many .380 pistols then on the market, and it provided 9mm punch. A .40 S&W version was also available, but I went with the lighter-recoiling 9mm version. I acquired an inside-the-waistband holster, but the gun was small enough to carry comfortably in my pants pocket. The gun was exceptionally reliable—critical for a handgun intended for self-defense.

Kahr now offers a dazzling array of .45 ACP, .40 S&W, 9mm and .380 pocket pistols. They’re very similar in size and heft, but features can vary considerably. Kahr pistols feature a locked-breech, delayed-blowback design very similar to that used on Browning’s famed Hi-Power pistol. However, Kahr pistols have no external hammer. Instead, they use striker-operated firing pins with passive firing pin safeties. Most of their models lack a manually operated safety. Those with manual safeties also have Kahr’s new enhanced trigger, which delivers a slightly shorter length of pull.

In operation, pulling the trigger activates a cocking cam, which pulls the striker rearward and compresses the striker spring. It also depresses and deactivates the firing pin block. When the trigger travels all the way to the rear, the striker is released. By now, the firing pin block is completely depressed, allowing the firing pin to drive forward and ignite the primer. The trigger only travels 0.38 inches. This system allows the firing pin to be located more to the rear of the slide, protecting it from gases and powder fouling. Patented by Kahr founder Justin Moon, this system is used on all Kahr pistols.

Dynamic Duo

I was able to test two Kahr pistols recently—the PM45 and the CW9—which both have polymer frames. Kahrs with steel frames are generally easier to shoot because they’re several ounces heavier and absorb more recoil. But, in my opinion, polymer-frame models are the way to go. Recoil remains manageable and the guns are easier to carry.

In these guns, the slide runs on steel inserts permanently set into the frame. In addition, polymer rails help keep dirt at bay and aid in reassembly. Steel-frame Kahrs feature rails similar to those found on 1911 pistols. An offset feed ramp allows for a slim, 0.9-inch-wide slide in 9mm and .40 S&W Kahrs. The slide on the .45 ACP version is a hair over an inch wide.

The PM45 represents Kahr’s top-of-the-line offerings. In addition to match-grade polygonal rifling, P-series guns have front and rear combat sights that are drift adjustable. Night sights are an available option. They’re also shipped with two magazines. The CW9 is an “economy-priced” model that requires less machining. It also has standard-cut rifling and comes with only a single magazine. The front sight is pinned in place and is non-adjustable. The rear sights for both pistols are rounded at the corners to prevent them from hanging up when drawn from a pocket. The rear faces of the front sights are also slightly sloped for the same reason.

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  • The Facts

    Bologna… the author MIGHT have had success with his 2 pistols… but take a trip on the internet, Google and youtube about Kahr “issues, failures, problems” etc, etc… and you will get a load of problems…”heartwarming” reliability? sounds like this guy has the same touching regard for honesty as BathHouse Barry Obama.