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Opinion of Kahr handguns?

2838 Views 13 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  bob
I found one today and must admit it was love at first "feel." Can't remember the model, it was a single stack, polymer framed 9mm. So much thinner than a Glock 26, perfectly shaped grip and frame angle, it was impossible not to like. I wonder how reliable these are? I doubt I'll ever buy another pistol without seeing what sort of reputation it has. My SW-99 caused burned fingers have taught me this!
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Mine (a P9 Covert) worked flawlessly after the 200-round break-in period. This was as-advertised. If the mag release had been reversible (I'm a lefty and I had problems with unintentional mag releases when I pocket-carried), I'd still be carrying it every day.

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My first was wasn't so hot, but I love my second one.

My first was an MK9.
The slide would often fail to completely close on a round. This still happened after a few hundred rounds, although it may have been better. It was always easily closed by a nudge on the slide rear. Still, it was nothing I wanted to deal with in a carry gun. I probably should have sent it back to Kahr, but I didn't.

I blame the dual recoil spring system for that. The shorter ones like the MK use two recoil springs- one coiled inside the other- similar to a Seecamp (in fact, I think they paid to use the Seecamp patent). The thing is, only one of the two springs was exerting any force in the last bit of slide travel. That occurred almost exactly where the slide would stop short of closing.
You could feel the difference when cycling the slide by hand. I looked at some others back then, and they were all the same.
I've heard that Kahr has made a change or two since, and they aren't like that, but I don't know. This was maybe four years ago.

I still wanted another.
Ordinarily, after having some trouble, I might have stayed clear of them. But I felt the Kahr was a one-of-kind gun, and a pretty specialized one. I liked the overall idea f apocket 9mm, and wanted it to work. I was willing to try again.
But I wanted a model with a single recoil spring.

I found, and got a PM9 Covert.
The Covert models used a short MK/PM-size grip with their "standard" length K9/P9 slide and barrel. This gave me a single recoil spring, but still had the shorter grip for pocket carry.
It has been fine, and has never missed a beat. After testing it out a while, I put it in my pocket and it's been there for the past three years.

It actually squeezed out my beloved J-Frame S&W from that pocket.
I can shoot it a lot better, it has better sights, I like the trigger better, and it holds more ammo. But the important thing is that I can shoot it better. Much better.

The bad thing is that Kahr has evidently dropped the Covert models. I've heard they were dropped, and the last time I checked their website- they were listed in one place but not in another.
But companies drop guns and bring them back all the time, and they could have done so already.
If not, and you want the shorter "pocket size" grip, you have to get the smaller slide also. If you want the longer slide, you have to get the longer grip (which I doubt will fit in jeans pockets). There are places out there shortening the grip frames to MK/PM length- at least on the polymer frame guns. Cylinder and Slide comes to mind.

I've heard of others having problems here anf there with Kahrs. I haven't witnessed any others, so can't verify. Ordinarily, I would say that if a gun seems to be having more trouble than usual, I would run from them.
But I think this is different.
We are asking this gun to do a lot. Think about it- The K9 and P9 shoots the same cartridge and holds only one round less than the S&W 39. It's the same when compared to the S&W 3913, Sig P225 and P239- all of which were, and still are, compact 9mms. The Kahrs are smaller than a Walther PPK and other .380s that were considered standard size for their caliber just a few years ago.
Its' a big jump going to a 9mm in a gun that small. That's why I cut them some slack, even though it took me two tries to get a good one (and I DID get a good one). So I look at the bright side of how nice it is to have a pocket 9mm that works and I can shoot almost as well as a full-size 9mm.
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I have only used a Range Rental Kahr 9mm. Although I liked the way it felt and handled I thought the recoil was a little sharp. Of course that would be somthing I would tend to get use too if I purchased it. I want to try out the 45acp. model. The 45acp recoil to me is fine or it is in the short bbl'd 1911's I've shot. Still I like the idea of that round in the Kahr package. Maybe one of the other members will report on the 45 Kahr makes. Or maybe they have already. I maybe on the look out for a used one later on.
I had a Kahr Polymer 9. Two trips back and it never worked. I have also never seen one work although every one tells me their does. I have a Walther PPS and it works. I had a KelTek PF-9 and it worked with ball.
I've had an MK9 Elite 98 for years. I couldn't be happier.
I have a P9 that I bought used and never had a problem with it. I'm up to 1500 - 2000 rounds without a serious problem (the sights are off a bit to the right). On the other hand, an acquaintance bought one and it took two trips back to the factory to work right. My observation is that the 9's tend to work better than the 40's, the "full sized" tend to work better than the "mini's" and the steel frames work tend to better than the polymer frames.
I have a Kahr PM9.
It is light and has been reliable.
It is unbelievably pleasant to shoot with Cor Bon DPX 9mm's in it. I keep it loaded with those.
I don't think you can go wrong. The customer service at Kahr is great as well. I wanted a lighter trigger and they sent me the spring kit at no charge. Pretty neat.
Howdy Mr. Demented,

Well sir I reckon it is a Chevy-Ford type issue on the Kahrs, at least to me. You know I lean towards steel whenever possible in handguns. I have owned 3 Kahrs, and have a friend who owns a Kahr, K9 in stainless. I have owned two 40s, both K40, and one K9.

I have never had the first problem with any of the 3 I have owned. I currently have only one, a stainless K40, that is my boot/back up handgun now. I personally feel that the recoil of the 40 in my hands is not as sharp as the K9 felt to me. Go figure.

I have heard folks say their Kahr has always worked great, and that it never has and apparently never will. I believe what folks say, as they have no reason to be less than honest when discussing their particular handgun.

I would tend to agree with the previous comments that the full size (meaning K series, not their target model) tend to work better than the smaller versions do, and that steel tends to work better than polymer does. But that is just me sir. I base that thought upon comparing the various Kahr pistols owned by folks I know. Most have chosen the smaller, polymer versions and do tend to have issues with theirs at times.

By comparison, the only issue I have experienced with any of the 4 K series pistols I know of, is the need to replace a broken slide stop in my shooting buddy's K9 stainless. It broke during range quals for him, and the break was in the portion on the outside - the release portion. I simply ordered a replacement from Kahr and received it in a very reasonable timeframe. He was back up and running with his back up pistol in short order.

I reckon based on my personal experiences and observations, I would suggest you consider a steel framed K series. But again, that is just me. Hope this helps some anyway sir.

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I have a PM9 and a T9 Novak.........both great guns!!!! never a failure
Howdy Mr. Demented,
... I reckon based on my personal experiences and observations, I would suggest you consider a steel framed K series. But again, that is just me. Hope this helps some anyway sir.


I would think the steel framed K series would have a similar type magazine catch that the 1911's have. Is that true? I am looking at the CW9 (polymer) but am afraid the mag catch with the polymer frames may not be as robust (meaning weaker spring) by the very nature of its design, I may be wrong.

That is the beauty of the 1911 design, you put in as strong a spring in the mag. catch assembly as you desire, eliminating magazine "dumps".
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Howdy Mr. NewsFlash,

Well sir I am sure no expert on the Kahr pistols, nor on anything else for that matter. I have fired a wide variety of the Kahrs that were available maybe 4 or 5 years ago. Our local FLEOA chapter had a shooting match, and the sponsor for it was my buddy who owns the gun store I consider "mine". Mr. Gary covered most of the expenses the range needed to allow the shoot to take place, as well as bringing out a large assortment of pistols he felt many LEOs might well be interested in trying out before laying their money down. He also brought out a ton of ammo to shoot in his guns.

After the main match, he said ok guys here are some guns and the ammo is beside them. Try what you want, and if interested talk to me about what my LEO price is on weapons. I had intended to compete in the shoot, but when I arrived I was asked if I would be willing to run the various courses and set them up as well. I decided to avoid any issues of a potential conflict I would simply run things and not shoot as well.

So I made up for not shooting by wearing his various pistols and ammo supply out. Mr. Gary and I had previously gotten together at his ranch and done some shooting. He was a Kahr distributor at the time, and had finalized on what he wanted as his carry Kahr - a K40. He knew me and my tastes well enough to suspect I would want one. So he warned me before he handed me his to shoot that I would probably want one after I shot his.

That was my first exposure to shooting any Kahr pistol. I had handled a few in his store but had never fired one. After shooting his, he grinned and said well do you want one? I grinned and said nope - I want two, one in 40 and one in 9 - both K series. So I was already familiar with both when I shot the other models at the shoot. None of the other models felt as good in my hands as did the K series. But in fairness, I should note I am a dinosaur - I prefer my pistols built on a steel frame and normally opt for the full size of various brands.

I do not really remember how the magazine release felt on the other models now. But I can tell you that it is a deliberate mag release on the K40 and K9 - at least in my view. Hitting the mag release on them reminds me much like hitting one on a 1911, Sig P226/P229, and CZ75B/SP01.

But before you rely strictly on my impressions, I suggest you wait and allow members who own other models to comment on how they feel the magazine release on their pistols compares to those of other full sized pistols they own.

Not an exact answer, but it is the best one I can offer.


P.S. Also in the interest of keeping the comparison of the various Kahr pistols on a more even playing field, I should note that I have never pocket carried mine. My current K40 either lives in a Galco ankle holster in the top of my boot, or in an inside the waistband Safariland J holster (I use their model designed for the Glock 19, as they did not list one for the K40 when I got mine).

So I do not pocket carry, and I am right handed. But having said that I have never had any issue with any of my K series with unintentional magazine releases. It takes a deliberate movement, with what I consider to be "normal mag release pressure" to drop my mags.
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My current Kahr P9 has performed flawlessly for three years and has not proved ammo sensitive. Corbon Powerball with its roundnose orgive may give it an edge in reliability, though mine works with everything

I keep this pistol squeaky clean and very well lubed and carry it in a belt holster. After I determined the P9 to be reliable, I shoot it very little and only to test fire now. At least 1000 rounds have been fired through it.

The company is user-friendly and most helpful.

I have a P9 (actually two), and intend to keep them.

I have been carrying a sidearm virtually daily for over 30 years, and have tried almost everything reasonably conceivable as a carry weapon.

To me, the P9 at around 21 ounces loaded with eight 115 grainers is plenty enough pistol for anything I might actually run into, with a chance of my surviving.

Being that it is slim and light, as well as relatively short, I find it easy to conceal, and easy to carry for 8 hours plus.

My first one, which I've now had for over 6 years, is well in excess of 3000 rounds fired with zero FTF or FTE after the first 150 rounds.

It is as accurate, actually more so, than I am.

Nuff said.
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