For some, concealed carry (or off-duty carry) denigrates into a game of “what is the smallest handgun I can carry and still consider myself armed?” And I get it, really.

Despite Clint Smith’s famous saying about handguns being comforting not comfortable, they can still be a pain for many to fit into their life/clothing styles. Luckily for me, my work dress requirement is pretty casual, and I’ve long since given up on ever impressing anyone with my sartorial splendor. Since my wife is onboard, things are simpler.

For those who must fit their handgun to their clothing, rather than vice versa, it behooves them to look for something reliable, reliable, and reliable—delivering as much punch as possible in a package size they can accommodate and control. The secret for sub-compact handguns is the same as for any firearm: good shot placement and the ability to continue place subsequent shots in critical areas until the threat ceases to be so.

We live in a heyday of handgun offerings meeting the preceding criteria. State after state has acquiesced to the demands of their citizens to be allowed to do what the U.S. Constitution already provides— to keep and bear arms!. This “fresh look” at concealed carry has spurred manufacturers to modify old handgun lines or produce new ones that are more concealable and offer what the consumer wants.

One company that has made compact handguns their bread and butter since their inception about 15 years ago is Kahr Arms. Beginning their firearm career with solid, reliable all-steel models, Kahr eventually added a second line of equally solid, reliable, pistols wearing polymer-frames. Their P9 and P40 models were rousing hits, and the subsequent PM9 and PM40, 9mm and .40 S&W versions, respectively, are equally well respected. In fact, in some circles that include well- known trainers and operators, as well as a few of us gun writers, the PM9 is believed to be just about as perfect as a pocket gun can get! I’d find it hard to disagree, especially in light of it being my current pocket gun of choice.

Gun Details

Realizing not everyone wants to deal with recoil approaching the 9mm level from the P9’s diminutive package, or wants to be weighed down by even one extra ounce, several years ago Kahr tossed their PM9 into a hot water wash and full power dryer, shrinking it down to fit the .380 cartridge. The new polymer-framed P380, a more diminutive version of the PM9 with reduced weight and smaller dimensions, certainly fills the bill for those so inclined.

The P380 weighs in at a lightweight 9.97 ounces, down 4 ounces from the PM9’s eminently carriable mass. With the slide planed down 0.15 inches to 0.75, and overall height and length shrunk to 3.9 and 4.9 inches, respectively, the P380 rides unobtrusively in the pocket, even carrying 6+1 rounds of an effective hollow-point load.

Never content to travel the well- worn path, Kahr chose not only to use a shrinking ray on the P380 but also added a few features most other .380 pocket guns are lacking. First, the action is a true John Moses Browning, tilting barrel, locked breech action. A locked breech delivers several benefits—including lower recoil, more reliability, with a recoil spring and slide mass lighter than on blowback pistols. Secondly, the diminutive slide is machined to accept dovetailed front and rear sights. This allows the owner to choose any of a plethora of sights out there for Kahr’s pistols, or the owner can stay with the three white dot system with which Kahr’s P380 is normally equipped.

Undeterred by its diminutive size relegating it to the pocket pistol genre, Kahr’s P380 utilizes Lothar Walther match- grade barrels to help squeeze out that last bit of accuracy possible. This is not normally given much consideration for what many call belly-guns. There are no sharp points, such as external hammers, to disastrously snag during the draw. The trigger system is, like all Kahr pistols, a double-action-only, utilizing an internal striker with all safety systems internal and controlled by the trigger.

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