Downsizing is a term with mostly negative connotations, as it usually means a staffing reduction and pink slips, but in the world of handguns, downsizing can be a good thing. In the past 20 years, I’ve seen semi-automatic handguns in .45 ACP downsized from large, heavy, service-type sidearms with 5-inch barrels and weighing some 39 ounces or more to diminutive concealment models with 3-inch barrels and weighing about 17 ounces. And all of this while only losing one or two chubby .45 ACP cartridges in terms of capacity. In the past, I’ve credited the 1994 magazine ban (that reduced magazine capacities to 10 rounds) for driving the trend, but whatever the catalyst has been, countless law enforcement officers and legal civilian gun permit holders have reaped the benefits.

Kahr Arms has produced some of the best mini .45s on the market with its TP45, P45 and PM45 pistols, the latter having a 3.14-inch barrel and a 5+1 capacity. The newest in the series, the CW45, was introduced a couple of years ago. The goal behind this pistol was to offer Kahr quality and features at a reduced price. The first cost-cutting measure was the change from a barrel with polygonal rifling (a Kahr standard) to one with conventional land-and-groove-type rifling while retaining the usual 1-in-16.38-inch right-hand twist. The 416 stainless steel slide on the CW45 has fewer machining operations and is roll-marked, rather than engraved, with the Kahr name and model number. Other price-decreasing items include a slide-stop lever that is metal-injection-molded (MIM) instead of being machined steel, and the CW45 comes with only one magazine instead of the usual two. What all of this amounts to is an MSRP of $485, as opposed to the $805 price tag on the Kahr P45…

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