What is 'Easier' to Shoot - a Kahr PM9 or S&W 642?


April 3, 2007, 11:01 AM
The Kahr thread got me thinking......how does the PM9 compare to the 642 (or any other .38 special J-frame) in shooting feel and recoil?

I have a 642, and the first few times out with it it felt pretty stiff in my hands. But I am getting used to it, and think it is very acceptable given the lightweight package.

Would the PM9 feel about the same?

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April 3, 2007, 11:08 AM
I shoot both, and with comparable self-defense loads they feel similar to me. Of course, you have vast differences in trigger pull, and the recoil impulse is different in a semi-auto than it is in a revolver due to the slide action, but if you can handle the 642 you shouldn't have any trouble with the PM9.

April 3, 2007, 11:56 AM
Recoil: PM9 is less

Shooting Feel: very different. The Kahr has a long but smooth & light DA (well, striker) trigger, the x42 is a long and heavier DA pull. I was quicker and a bit more accurate with my PM9, but I am a revolver newbie and my j-frame skills are improving, so hopefully that will change over time.

I owned both for a bit, but sold my PM9 (traded it on another j frame!) primarily because:
1. The Kahr made me bleed. The slide bit me or the frame abraded me, I'm not sure which. I'd be bleeding after about 50 rounds, though, and started wrapping my hand with athletic tape to prevent it. This was annoying.
2. Putting the Kahr back together was annoying to me. If I didn't get the recoil spring assembly in just so the slide wouldn't go back on the frame easily. I tired of disassembling and reassembling a few times each time I tried to put it back together. I haven't heard others mention this, so perhaps I simply didn't understand the Kahr well enough.
3. The Kahr didn't carry as well in a pocket as I thought it would. It was a bit flatter than the j-frames, but in pants where this mattered (typically jeans) I had a heck of a time drawing it from my pocket. In comparison, the j-frames just slide right out.

So I made a commitment to study and practice the j-frame, which I am working on. I feel no remorse in choosing another j-frame over my departed PM9.

The Lone Haranguer
April 4, 2007, 12:15 AM
I have a PM9, a Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum and a Colt Agent (lightweight .38 Special), and have owned a S&W 640-1, an all steel J-frame also in .357 Magnum. The Kahr is far superior, IMO, for actually shooting. The 9mm cartridge has far less recoil and blast than the .38 Special, to say nothing of the magnums, and it holds two more of them (one more than the Colt). The high-visibility sights are far superior to the revolvers' fixed sights, and the trigger pull is much lighter and smoother. At short ranges I can keep all - or nearly all - of my shots from the Kahr in the circle of an IDPA target (roughly seven inches in diameter), even rapid fire, whereas I am lucky to hit anything with any of the aforementioned revolvers.

I will give a slight edge to the concealed-hammer J-Smiths for ease of draw from a pocket, as the squared-off slide with protruding sights can snag. I get around this by wearing cargo pants, "relaxed-fit" jeans and casual slacks with large pockets, and using a pocket holster.

April 4, 2007, 12:38 AM
The Kahr pistols were easier (less recoil) for me to shoot than even a steel-framed S&W 640 using .38 Special.


April 4, 2007, 07:28 AM
For some reason the recoil is just too much (personal ergonomics or something) for me even with light loads. The felt recoil from my PM9 is negligible. I can shoot it comfortably all day long.

April 4, 2007, 12:46 PM
PM9 all the way. Recoils less, and is more accurate for me than when I shoot my buddies 642 double action. Plus it holds 2 more rounds, and is 9mm power versus .38. I keep thinking about picking up a snub, but with the way my PM9 carries and shoots, I'd probably never carry the snub.

April 4, 2007, 12:55 PM
I shoot my PM 40 much more accurately than my 642 snubby. The PM 40 has more recoil, but the trigger pull is much smoother.

April 4, 2007, 04:08 PM
I had the same question for myself. I am practically addicted to small-frame Colts, especially the snubs like the Detective Special and Agent/Cobra.
I also have a Kahr MK40 Elite I traded for last year. While the all-metal gun is heavier and more shootable than the PM series, the .40 is stiffer hitting than the 9, so maybe it balances out a bit.
Once I got used to the Kahr, which took a little while, I noticed I seemed to be hitting well with it. Curious, I laid out a range table with it, an excellent DS, and my Smith 640 (which has had a little tuning). I then fired six-shot sets with each (well, the Smith was pretty quiet on the sixths) into paper at 21 feet.
As a lover of Colt snubs, this absolutely kills me to say: I shot the Kahr significantly faster, and significantly more accurately at speed, than the DS. The 640, of course, was even further behind. Ow, but true.
Not to mention the superior effectiveness of the .40.
I've always felt well-armed with my DS and Agent, but now I have to admit, that if I had to hit hard and fast, I'd be better off with the Kahr.

April 4, 2007, 04:18 PM
I can shoot the J frames better or longer but prefer the PM 9 for carry. The PM 9 will give you what I call Kahr thumb. A bruising and bleeding spot right at the spot where the thumb attatches to the hand. I know two others with this weapon and it happens to them anywhere from 25 to 75 rnds. My hand stays bruised for days.


April 4, 2007, 04:55 PM
Yep, JMusic, mine bleeds there. I have a scar from too much PM9 shooting. I started wrapping with athletic tape...

Now I'm just carrying a snub. The only issue I have to worry about with the web of my hand is pain from shooting 357 rounds :evil:

April 4, 2007, 06:05 PM
Thanks for all of the great comments.

I think I'll just have to pick up a PM-9, and over time figure out which one I prefer (compared to my 642).

While I don't even have a CCW yet, I plan to apply for one in the next couple of weeks. Once received, if I decide to carry, at least I'll know exactly which gun I like.

April 4, 2007, 06:43 PM
Yep Loplop, can't disagree with anything you said. Have a 638 in my backpocket right now.:D

Dman, I just returned from Arizona where I shot with a friend for a week. We had several different agenda's but one was to wring out the PM 9 to see what it was capable of. We shot from 50 yds to 3, shooting at steel plates the size of a man's chest. Basically 50 yds you could hit one in six. Not until we closed within 20 yds were we confident of 100% hits. Inside 15 it really started to shine. Go to ThreatFocusedForums.com to review the whole test. The test was then confirmed by another shooter in an independant test. Good luck with your purchase.


April 4, 2007, 08:24 PM
The first thing I had done for my new PM9 was had a Hogue Handall slip-on grip put on. Cost me about $10 and made the gun much easier to hold on to. I can shoot +p and +P+ loads in mine without discomfort, though the web of my hand gets a little sore after a few magazines.

The Handalls can be a little tough to slip on, but definitely stay put. Best thing you can do for a small auto.


April 4, 2007, 10:19 PM
JMusic your experiences with accuracy reflect mine, although I never went out as far as 50yds (25 was my max with it).

Lou, just to clarify; I never experienced any pain or discomfort from recoil forces, per se. Just that the slide bit me. I felt the little Kahr was a very soft shooter. A grip wouldn't have helped, although the athletic tape did :)

April 4, 2007, 10:38 PM
pick up an "A-Grip". It's an adhesive backed wrap. They are specifically designed for Kahrs, Glocks, and other semi autos. Very soft and thin. They add practically nothing to the grip size, but the slight cushioning and the increase in gripping ability really make the PM9 much more fun to shoot. Plus if you don't get it on right the first time, the adhesive is very forgiving. Just take it off and start over. Once it's on though, it won't move. They're about 25.00.
While you're at it, try some Pearce Grip Extenders for your mags. They replace the floor plate in the 6 round mags and really help controllability.

April 5, 2007, 11:48 AM
exypikins, thanks for the tip. I have a gripper on now and it doesn't address the problem. I've rounded the corners on the backside frame and it did some good. Do you know who makes the A Grip? Again thanks for the advise. Take care.


April 5, 2007, 12:13 PM
I owned five different j-frames over the course of two years. Steel, alloy Airweights and Scandium AirLites, 38 and 357.

I put off buying a PM9, even though I wanted one. All the horror stories kept me from buying one.

Finally I broke down and bought one. Took it straight to the range, put about 200 rounds through it. FMJ, JHP, +P and +P+.

No Kahr thumb, no slide bite, no tape, no blood, no FTF, no failures of any kind. Plus, I shot it faster and far more accurately than any j-frame. It lives in a front pants pocket every bit as well as a j-frame. I have no trouble dis/re-asembling it.

J-frames went up for sale, and are just a memory now.

No contest for me.

April 5, 2007, 09:10 PM
Here's the link for A-Grip


T. Bracker
April 6, 2007, 04:45 PM
I have the PM9 and the S&W Model 60, J-frame. For me, I shoot the PM9 better, especially when compared to full house .357 loads.

April 7, 2007, 12:11 AM
The PM9 is easier to shoot. When it shoots, that is. My trigger broke after only 30 rounds.:cuss:

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