I have the P9 Covert, basically your gun with the shorter gripframe. Kahr's instruction manual tells me to insert a magazine when the slide is locked back, and then to release the slide with the slide-lock lever to chamber a round.
I've heard of people having problems chambering rounds when pulling the slide and releasing it. My understanding for why this happens is that your hand is not as quick on the release as the slide lock lever, and thus the compact recoil spring is not able to apply its full force to closing the slide (because there is some small friction with your fingers that causes infinitesimal drag on the slide).
Since Kahr specifically says to chamber a round by using the slide-lock lever, that's what I do, and I don't have problems. There have been a couple of times when I experienced problems with chambering, and they've both been times when I pulled the slide back and released it manually to chamber a round.
I think it's more a question of engineering on a knife edge than a design flaw. To get these small guns to work flawlessly, I've had to follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter. I have to say that I'm very impressed with the performance I get from the Kahr, even though I'm not particularly enamored of the gun's "soul."
I appreciate the reply, Erich! I must admit to (1) ignorance and (2) relunctance in following KAHR's advise..although I've no doubt it's correct! I've just done it, without the magazine, to grasp the concept...after reading your post, but I'm relunctant because of the "force" when I release the slide lock lever. Guess I'm afraid it'll fire off a round! No chance of that?!
I have owned a K9 and two K40s. I currently have one K40 that lives in an ankle holster in the top of my boot as a back-up weapon. I kept the 40 as I found I shot it better in rapid fire than I did the 9mm.
As Mr. Erich noted the factory does recommend feeding via the slide release lever. Based on my training as a LEO, that is the method I use as it is the quickest for me in a reload situation. Once I have inserted the new magazine, I basically already have the start of my support grip, so I just use my left thumb to release the slide release lever while obtaining the support grip. It takes a little practice, but most folks find it very quick and effective once they have gotten used to it.
The Kahr has an internal safety device designed to prevent ADs while releasing the slide to charge the pistol. That being said, the Kahr just like any other brand of pistol is a mechanical device with parts that could conceivably fail at some point. I just make a point of always keeping any brand of weapon pointed at the target while performing any task - reloading, dropping the slide release lever to charge, applying a safety lever or decocking lever - my barrel stays pointed at the target until I am reholstering or have safed a long gun. Personally I think that is a good habit to work on forming, regardless of the brand of handgun/weapon involved.
I think you will notice in your manual they also suggest a break-in period, not sure but I think they say 200 rounds. While we expect any weapon to function with 100% reliability straight out of the box, because they are mechanical devices, I personally do not trust my life to any pistol straight out of the box. I will not carry one on or off duty, until I have fired my own personal break-in figure, which is considerably higher. Again just a matter of personal choice.
I have to admit, a SA pistol is my preferred pistol. I am not a big fan of DAO pistols, as most I have tried (not very many admittedly) had very long trigger pulls to me. My fingers are also not the longest in the world either, which complicates things at times with DAO and some DA triggers. The Kahr was a very pleasant surprise. That is why one is now my back-up weapon.
Just my thoughts for what they might be worth. Hope they answer some of your questions.
Enjoy you Kahr, as I do like the platform very much.
Mine didn't work despite two (2) trips back. I have never seen one work although I am assured that they do. I wanted it to work as I thunk it just right for CCW. Now I have a G26. It works if it is too fat and heavy. Sure wish it had worked.
The only models I have any personal experience with in the Kahrs are the K series, the K9 and K40. All 3 of the ones I have owned worked perfectly for me. I don't consider myself as someone who has great luck with things, as Mr. Murphy and I are far too well acquainted.
If you have not, you might want to take a look at a K series, unless that one just seems too big for you. But I admit, I prefer steel framed pistols, and some folks simply do not care for the weight in a smaller handgun. To me it is a plus, but many disagree. Just a suggestion if it helps. The K40 I kept is my backup riding in an ankle holster in to the top of my left boot. As a LEO I would never have kept it nor would I carry it now, if it was anything but 110% to me.
Twoguns (My fellow 41er): I don't doubt your experiences at all but I think I am going to wait and see what the Kel-Tek PF-9 does over time. I know it is not a service gun but I don't plan to shoot it with any regularity beyond test firing. Course it could just be the big old black cloud that follows me with regularity! I sure wish that Poly 9 had worked!