1911 guy taking polymer plunge...help and thoughts plz


October 25, 2007, 06:22 PM
Please Help a diehard 1911 fan and USMC vet taking polymer plunge

New to THR but been shooting 1911s since the Gipper was Prez an Col. Cooper was middle aged.

I'm looking to buy a nice lightweight, small, under 30oz automatic and have settled on Kahr's PM series (open to any other suggestions but KelTec). Simple question here. I'm *NOT* looking to re-ignite the not so usefule "stopping power", "velocity" etc., debate.

All I'd like to know is, for folks who've done a good bit of shooting with CCW size (i.e., 3.5 inch barrel or less) 9mm and .40 autoloaders, do you feel like the extra recoil snap you get from the .40 is worth the difference when compared against teh 9mm.

Thanks in advance for all thoughtful replies.

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October 25, 2007, 06:38 PM
I personally think the 40 is the perfect round you can go heavy or light, and it is cheap to practice with. The recoil is not that bad, and you can buy pretty light loads. With double tap ammo a 40 will do just about everything in one gun. I have a mag full of each.

for home protection and carry in town
40 S&W 135gr Nosler JHP
Ballistics : 135gr. @ 1375fps / 567 ft/lbs- Glock 23 (4.0"bbl)

for woods carry
40 S&W 200gr. WFNGC
Ballistics : 200gr. @ 1050fps / 490 ft/lbs- Glock 23 (4.0"bbl)

Buy the 40, you will not be sorry. To get an idea, my 40 m&p with a 4.25" barrel has less recoil than my freinds 1911 with 5" barrel.

October 25, 2007, 06:47 PM
thanks jamesr especially for the specific ammo tips

October 25, 2007, 06:50 PM
This is where limp wristing will really get you. Unless you ALWAYS focus on your hold and grip, you will have stovepipe issues. It's not the gun - it's just not for everyone.

I had an issue with a Kel-Tec P40 (no longer made). After some investigation, hold turned out to be the issue. After 50 or so rounds, any loss of focus led to a stovepipe.

Kahr PMs are smaller. That would be my main issue.

I ended up with a PM9. YMMV

October 25, 2007, 07:00 PM
Check out Springfields Xd series. I Have the Xd 40 so far every one that has one on this site has nothing but good things to say about them.

October 25, 2007, 07:01 PM

Top to bottom:

Beretta Px4 40cal 4" barrel, but thin and light, 7.59" length *10+1

*Depending on your State laws, 10, 14, 17, round mags

Colt Defender 45 3" barrel 7+1

Springfield EMP 9mm 3" barrel 9+1

All under 30 oz

Good luck Marine,



Springfield EMP 9mm

EMP video


Beretta Px4 40cal or 9mm


Colt Defender 45


October 25, 2007, 07:08 PM
My dad recently traded in his Kahr CW40 for a CW9. He couldn't stand the snap of the .40 in such a small lightweight pistol.

Personally, I have other pistols for the range so I would not have minded the extra recoil in a pistol used solely for ccw and self defense. I will admit though that that CW40 was a HANDFUL!! A kickin' little devil it was! The trigger was smooth as butta'. Haven't shot the CW9 yet but I'm assuming its just as good.

WOW the PM series .40 must be a handful of dynamite! But hey its not made for target shooting and extended range sessions!

.357 magnum
October 25, 2007, 07:16 PM
If you are not stuck on a 3.5 inch Barrel, then I would recommend a SW-MP in a 9mm or .40. I own both models along with many other polymer guns[mostly .45's .40 and 9mm] The MP is the most slender polymer out there. If you are willing to go with a 4 inch barrel you could get a 9mm and load it with Remington 124grain +P ammo. Makes a great stopper and 9mm ammo is the lease expensive of the major calibers. If you want a tad more punch you can get a .40 caliber MP, which has the least amount of recoil of any .40 I have ever shot. The recoil is straight back. Load the .40 with Winchester 180gr Ranger T-some of the Beat Ammo for SD out there period! And you are ready to Rock and Roll.:evil: I have found it easier to get off very accurate follow-up shots with 180gr ammo. The .40 was originally made to shoot 180gr as the 9mm was made to shoot 124gr. The MP is a great gun at a very reasonable price. Take Care!
The Best to You and Yours!





October 25, 2007, 07:37 PM
It will be hard to beat the EMP for CCW. It is not Poly, but is a LW with an aluminum frame. Mine is great. For Poly pistols I would, as another "die hard" 1911 fan, recomend the XD SC in .40. No buisness getting the nine in the same size/weight package and recoil with 180 JHP's is not bad at all. The fast 155 & 165 Gr. loads are a bit snappy. It is wider than the EMP and not quite as concealable. My Kimber CDP Ultra .45ACP is as small as the XD SC in 9MM or .40 and that is my first choice for carry unless I don't want to fool with the problem of concealing it. If I go out with nothing but jeans and a T-shirt in the hot Alabama summer I am more apt to carry my NAA .22 Mag or .32 ACP Seecamp. ;)

Load the .40 with Winchester 180gr Ranger
That is what is in my XD SC right now .357 magnum.

October 25, 2007, 07:41 PM
from one1911 lover to a nother, aswell as a fellow serviceman...

give one of these 2 a shot.

TaurusPT111 MilleniumPro.

both compact, lightweight, reliable, accurate. both conceal well, point real good, handle better, and are affordable.

Mag's arent "cheap" for either, but I dont concern myself over $30 bucks for the opportunity at a reload... if I need it...

for me, they hit where they point, and have a good slim and full grip, similar imo to the 1911 in the aspect of a good hold.
Id post pics, but the silly site regs wont let me post the same pics twice unless I pohotoshop them again.

enjoy yer search!
Peace, ip.

October 25, 2007, 07:47 PM
I enjoy shooting my XD9SC much more than I enjoyed shooting my XD40SC. I don't see why that would change with a Kahr, assuming I can afford one some day.

October 25, 2007, 07:50 PM

Welcome to The High Road.

You've had some great recommendations so far.

I'd also recommend you look at the M&P. I consider myself a bit of a polymer hound and the M&P is definitely my favorite. I've tried and shot most of the newer age polymer guns, with the exception of the Beretta PX4.

I cut my teeth on Glocks, and the newer age polymer guns are a big improvement over Gaston's original design. In my opinion, the M&P's ergonomics are simply unmatched.

With that being said, if you want to move past polymer and stay closer to your 1911 roots, the EMP is indeed a fantastic little gun. I don't know many people that have had them that didn't speak highly of it. But, it's not a polymer pistol and I don't classify it as a duty gun (mainly because of the price point).

Good luck with your decision.


Lonestar, It's really too bad that you live on the other side of the continent. You and I have such similar tastes in handguns, that I'm sure we would have a blast (literally) at the range!

.357 magnum
October 25, 2007, 08:22 PM
Walkalong you Love that Winchester Ranger T ammo as much as I do!
It is excellent ammo! Since they released the new version of it back in May, the expansion is Awesome! :eek:

You Take Care Sir!
The Best to You!


October 25, 2007, 08:42 PM
Check out the Walther P99 Compact.

October 25, 2007, 09:01 PM
If concealed carry is the only use for the gun, then you might be on the right track with the Kahr PM. However, you may be looking at the wrong gun if you are planning to shoot it alot. Kahr makes some great carry guns, but they aren't as robust and as reliable as some of the slightly bigger polymer options like Glock, XD, HK, Beretta, M&P, etc...these guns also allow for a much greater capacity(double stack mag), and have a picatinny light-rail for the add-on of a nice tactical light/laser which is great for home defense.

Like I said before, Kahr makes the best carry pistols out there..but I'd be willing to bet their polymer guns won't handle nearly as much action as the other guns I mentioned. I had bad luck w/ my first PM9, but it was so easy to carry and I loved everything about the gun, so I decided to give it another try and had much better luck this time around. Still though, just looking at the polymer frame by itself and how the frame-rails look makes me so nervous that I quickly put it back together again:) The plastic Glock, on the other hand will shoot a life-time's worth of rounds with only minor maintenance and cleaning.

The .40 is a GREAT round. My favorite all-around, actually. A Sig in .40sw and I'm one happy fellow. The recoil is totally manageable and not a big deal in a normal, service-sized pistol, but in a polymer 16oz Kahr it is NOT fun to shoot. Heck, my PM9 is no fun to shoot even with 9mm +P ammo.

As for "stopping power", a good 9mm +P JHP will do the same thing a .40sw JHP would do to a bad guy if you hit the same spot. Technically a little smaller of an average wound-cavity and a little less muzzle energy(lb-ft), but I've seen some numbers and gelatin tests of 9mm JHP ammo that blew away some other .40sw JHP ive seen in terms of ballistic performance. I usually match the caliber to the over all size of the gun before I buy it. I like 9mm for 3-3.5" barrels, .40sw for 4-4.5" service pistols, and .45acp for 4-5" pistols. I trust the performance of the rounds the most in those barrel lengths. Gotta run..good luck!

October 25, 2007, 09:08 PM
if it were me, it would depend on the main purpose of the gun. if its going to be used a lot for target shooting, i'd go with 9mm. ammo cost and less abuse to the hands and wrists would be worth it in the long run. if its going to be a carry-a-lot-shoot-a-little gun, then i'd go with a .40 for the extra energy delivery. i've tried the gun you're interested in .40 and 9mm and there is a noticeable difference in felt recoil. they're both great, reliable, accurate guns. i think its a good choice.


October 25, 2007, 09:44 PM
awesome response from everyone...mucho thanks for the pics lonestar...good decision to join.

semper fi gents. i appreciate the input and will update when i buy.

October 26, 2007, 09:21 AM

another thing to consider is that a lot of the polymer pistols have after market conversion barrels. you can go big to small.
example: you could get a glock, sig, or XD in .40 and then get a 9mm conversion barrel for $150-200. if you're going to shoot a lot, the 9mm conversion barrel can save a lot of $$.

additionally, you can get a .357 Sig barrel, too if that strikes your fancy.

October 26, 2007, 09:39 AM
Having owned/own most of the polymer stuff...

between Glock, XD, and M&P I would HANDS DOWN choose the Beretta PX4.

all are good and reliable, but the Beretta is tops. (my .02)

FWIW I only own the PX4 in 9mm.

October 26, 2007, 09:55 AM
In a subcompact I deffinately preffer the 9mm....and that is from another 1911 carrying .45 lovin "by gawd A-merican" ;)

Even in the mid sized glock I find the 9mm more enjoyable and much faster shooting. I once owned a .40 Keltec pocket-rocket...way too much for so little. Any limpwristing with a hotter .40 and it jammed half the time...it was the ONLY time "I" ever limp-wristed anything in my life...you needed "show-lin (sp?) wrists of iron" I guess....probably why they discontinued it in .40 I'd say 9mm Gold Dot 124GR +P...if it functions well....some smaller nines don't like hotter or really long OAL 9mm ammo so try it out good with whatever you buy

October 26, 2007, 09:56 AM
How about an HK USP Compact?

As reliable of a pistol as there is, HK reputation, performance, etc. and you can carry it in a variety of ways. Hammer down DA/SA, DA/SA with the safety on or cocked and locked like a 1911.

Give 'em a look. I think you will like them.

October 26, 2007, 10:18 AM
I see S&W620 suggested the HK USPc. I would actually suggest the HK P2000sk or a P2000 but the USPc would be a good choice as well. When HK designed the USP and USPc they designed them to be in .40 S&W and to handle the recoil really well. I believe they have a recoil reduction system in their guns that works very well.

I would definately try one of these with an LEM trigger. They represent the pinnacle of a polymer DAO gun.

The Lone Haranguer
October 26, 2007, 10:28 AM
All I'd like to know is, for folks who've done a good bit of shooting with CCW size (i.e., 3.5 inch barrel or less) 9mm and .40 autoloaders, do you feel like the extra recoil snap you get from the .40 is worth the difference when compared against teh 9mm.
Having had a Glock 27, I personally do not. It is not punishing like a .357 snubnose revolver, just unpleasantly "snappish." I like the 9mm far better in guns of this size.

The PM9 is an excellent pocket gun; I have one myself. However, if you are going to carry in a belt holster, a larger gun is no more difficult. Another outstanding plastic, sorry, polymer;) gun in the size range you are looking at is the S&W M&P compact. Mine has functioned perfectly since the very first round. It is however somewhat thick and "chunky." Since you like the 1911, S&W makes the M&P in a .45 about the same size as a Colt Commander. :)

October 26, 2007, 11:57 AM
I like my PM9,it feels good, shoots,great, and I wouldn't want to get shot with either the 9, or the 40

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