Kahr CW9 review


May 2, 2010, 04:15 PM
This is a short review of the Kahr CW9. I am not a professional gun rag review writer, I am just a regular joe that likes firearms. I wrote this review for those who are interested in the kahr line of handguns. Some of the content of this review will contain my opinions, YMMV.

Having recently sold my Sig P232, I was in the market for a new back up gun to carry at work. The Sig P232 was an excellent little pistol, but I had made the decision to get away from the .380 cartridge due to it becoming hard to find and expensive in my area. I currently reload for 9mm and 45acp, so I wanted the new back up gun in one of the two calibers. Having the pistol in a caliber I reload for will allow me to shoot/train with it more and not break my limited budget.

My requirements for a back up gun were :

1.) Must be reasonably Light weight.
2.) Must be in an effective caliber.
3.) Would prefer a thin/slim profile.
4.) Must be reliable.
5.) Must be combat accurate.
6.) No snag points.
7.) Trigger in DA/SA, DAO, or a Trigger that could be modified easily.
8.) Must have a decently aggressive grip texture.
9.) Must be simple to manipulate and shoot one handed.
10.) Rust resistant.

Most of the above points are self explanatory. A few I will go into with more detail due to my needs in a back up weapon. Light weight: I am already packing a lot of weight in equipment (40+ lbs). Thin/slim profile: with the location that I carry my back up gun, the thinner it is, the less obvious it will be, for me and everyone else. Trigger: I would prefer a higher poundage trigger pull because this back up gun wont be in a high security holster like my duty weapon. Aggressive grip texture: my hands are rough and callused from years of work and 20 lpi front straps, so I need something that has some bite to it. Easy to manipulate and shoot one handed: more than likely, one of my hands will be occupied , so it is important that the back up gun lend itself to ease of use with one hand. Rust resistant: I sweat more than the normal person. In my job, if it rains, I am wet. If it is hot, so am I. If it snows, I am cold. The back up gun must be able to deal with the elements.


A friend and I decided to take a trip out of town to visit several shops where we could both look at and handle several pistols that fit my criteria. I was able to narrow down my choices to 3 pistols. A Glock 26, a Kahr CW9, and a Kahr CW45. While taking a break, my friend and I were talking about one of the gun shops in our town and how they were not doing too good financially.
I remembered that the local gun shop had all three of the pistols in stock. We agreed to head back home and visit the local shop to do some hands on comparisons. At the shop, I quickly disqualified the CW45 due to its slightly larger size.
I was now down to the G26 and the CW9. After about 20 minutes of hard thought, I finally chose the Kahr CW9 pistol. The G26 was a close contender, but it was thicker than the CW9, it weighed more, the grip was shorter than the CW9 , and the grip texture was not as rough as the CW9. It would also be a pain in the rear shooting lead out of the G26, but I have done it before with no problems.

The local shop made me an offer of $450 on the pistol and I accepted. The CW9 only comes with one 7 round magazine, so I had to purchase another one for $35.
I could have purchased this pistol somewhere else and save about $40, but I was more interested in helping the local store out.


I spent the ride to the range getting accustomed to the Kahr's unique trigger. I am use to shooting Glocks and 1911s and I knew I was going to have some minor transition issues at first due to the DA pull. The factory suggests a 200 round break-in period and I have read that others have experienced FTF/FTE's during this break in, but they usually go away after the 200 rounds.

I started out with about 50 rounds of 115gr BBI LRN reloads. Accuracy was excellent from the little pistol. I was able to keep all my rounds in the X at 7 yards. The Kahr shot POA using the BBI ammo. I backed up to 12 and 15 yards and got the same results, but the group opened up a bit. I will admit that I am not much of an accuracy shooter. Most of my range time is spent shooting drills from the holster in defense style scenarios. I decided to speed things up a bit at 7 yards. I used my Galco Royal Guard IWB Glock 17 holster as an improvised holster for the Kahr. My limited ability with the kahr's trigger then became apparent. Things were smooth til I began firing multiple shots quickly. I was dipping the muzzle down and not paying attention to the front sight throughout the trigger pulls. Rounds were landing 3"-4" lower than my point of aim. Not the kahr's fault at all. Anyone who shoots revolvers should not have any problems with the Kahr's trigger.
No malfuctions at this point. Ejection was positive, casting the empties about 4 feet at 4 to 5 o' clock in a nice pile.

I went back to my range table and got some 115gr FMJ reloads that I load to 1200fps. This load is my "go to" 9mm load. It seems to work magic in all of my 9mm pistols. I started at 7 yards again, slowly shooting for accuracy. As I was shooting, I watched the front sight like a hawk. I gradually began speeding up my shots. After I ran that drill a few more times, I went back for speed. From the holster , my shots landed where I wanted them, tight enough for government work.

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May 2, 2010, 04:17 PM

I will need a little more time working with the trigger, but I do not feel that it will be a major obstacle at all.

I was shooting with two other friends that day. Both friends enjoyed shooting the kahr as well.
I did not find the recoil to be extreme, and recovery time from shot to shot was short once I had gotten the swing of the long trigger reset. After firing 110 rounds through the Kahr , I did notice that the trigger pull was slightly smoother than what it was out of the box.

Once I was finished with FMJs. I loaded up a magazine of Cor-Bon 115gr +P, which is what I currently carry in my Glock 17. These rounds are HOT , sending that 115gr hollow point at an advertised velocity of 1350 fps. The little Kahr got snappier when I shot the Cor-Bons , but not uncontrolable. It definitly let you know that you were not shooting standard ball ammo. The Cor-Bons landed close to one inch high at 7 yards, which was fine with me, grouping was tight. I only ran one magazine of the Cor-Bons through the Kahr as I am not a wealthy man, and I have to go out of town just to find Cor-Bon ammunition. I plan on trying out more defensive ammo to see what the Kahr likes.

Cleaning & Disassembly:

After the range, we began cleaning. I decided to clean the Kahr first because I was interested in checking out its guts. The slide is removed by pulling the slide back til the vertical mark on the slide is parallel to the verticle mark on the frame (left side of pistol). From there, you pop out the slide stop just like you would with a 1911 style handgun. Sounds easy, but on my CW9 it wasn't, It was in there tight! I was finally able to wiggle it out with some more force and harsh language. The slide stop is held in the frame by a spring that keeps tension on the shaft of the slide stop . You do have to pull the trigger to release the slide from the frame once the slide stop is removed. From here , we just rock the recoil spring and guide rod out , then the barrel.
That is the basic field strip for the Kahr. I started examining the slide's components. I commented to my friend that it looks a whole lot like the Glock slide. I decide to take it apart to see how the slide's internals were designed. It is a bit complicated at first due to the slides back plate being nearly friction fitted to the rear of the slide. I took my small flat tip screwdriver and used it to pull down on the striker spring. This pulled the striker spring plunger out of the back plate. I took the slide stop and stuck the shaft in between the plunger and the back plate. I then got my smallest screwdriver and pressed it into the hole in the back plate. Once this is done, you are free to wiggle the back plate off, if you can. Just be careful to not let the slide's parts come flying out once the back plate is removed. From there , you are free to remove the the slide's internals. I do not recommend stripping the slide unless you have a good solid place to do so. There are about 11 parts in the slide. They are not held together in units, and they are easily lost, as I performed when the extractor fell out and bounced across the floor. Slide disassembly is not necessary, but I like knowing how things work and the peace of mind it gives me knowing how to strip it if I need to. I am not going to brave stripping the lower yet. The frame looks very simple and straight forward. The Kahr was easy to clean and re-assemble.

Carrying the Kahr:

So far, I have carried the Kahr CW9 on duty for two weeks. The slim design is very nice, and the weight is barely noticeable. The stainless slide has not shown rust due to rain or perspiration. There has not been any incidents of accidental magazine drops while carried. The CW9 is not a pocket gun, but it is pocketable. I have slipped it into my waistband on several occaisions when making a quick trip down the road. So far , so good. I don't forsee any issues arising.


All in all , I like the Kahr . It is fun to shoot, it is accurate, and it has shown to be reliable thus far. The Kahr shows good craftmanship and I have not detected any visible flaws in the exterior or interior. More practice, training, and range time are in order for now. I still want a Glock 26 so I can pit it head to head with the Kahr to see which one would better suit me for the purpose of being a back up gun. Plus, The G26 would make an excellent addition to my G17 and G19. Too many wants and not enough cash.....as usual.

May 2, 2010, 09:25 PM
It will probably not be possible for you to fully disassemble the lower. Some of the major parts are held in by blind pins: you'd actually have to drill a little hole in the polymer of the left side of the receiver to get them out.

I had to send my CW9 to Kahr to have the trigger bar replaced (trigger wasn't resetting properly), and when it came back, sure enough there's a new little hole in the left side of the frame, matching up to that pin on the right side that holds on the plate that covers the trigger bar.

Ala Dan
May 2, 2010, 10:42 PM
good report on the Kahr CW-9~! I own one myself, and I could not have
written a better summary of this little pistol. They are just fantastic~!
I gave $300 for mine NIB; but that extra magazine cost me $35 as well.

May 2, 2010, 10:51 PM
I have a CW 40 and a P 45 The Kahrs are rugged, well made pistolswith a nice steady trigger pull. I have no experience with thier 9mm offerings but they would have to be very nice guns.

May 3, 2010, 07:34 AM
excellent review of your workout with the kahr. I have 2 Kahr brand pistols, an E9 and a PM9. Both are really wonderful pieces of work.

Congrats and good luck with your Kahrs.!

May 3, 2010, 08:37 AM
Thanks for the great review Sapper771. Nicely done! The wife just picked up a CW9 and we have yet to make it to the range yet. Were looking forward to it!

May 3, 2010, 08:53 AM
I appreciate you Gentlemen taking the time to read and comment on my review.
I know some of you are like me when you are looking at buying a new pistol/rifle. I usually spend a few days bombing online search engines for reviews on the pistol/rifle in question. I enjoy reading reviews , even if it is a firearm that I do not intend on purchasing. It gives my gun buddies and I something to talk about if that particular firearm comes up in conversation. On top of that, I may learn something new that I can add to my methods.

I did purchase a Glock 26 that I am in the process of writing a review on. So far , everything is going great with it. I will post it in a few weeks, once it is complete.

Thanks again !

May 3, 2010, 04:05 PM
Thanks for the review, I've considered the CW9 as an alternative to the glock 26 for IWB carry mainly because of thinness. I have the G26, G19 and G17 and see them as the near perfect 9mm trinity.

May 3, 2010, 04:54 PM
Nice report. Very accurate. When working on slide internals I use a "Kahr Doohicky" to hold the striker spring and guide rod in place while I remove the rear plate. Then it is easier to slowly release the internal parts without them flying aroung the room. I made mine from a piece of coathanger.


May 3, 2010, 07:49 PM

I too have the G17, G19, and G26. I think they are a great combo, very versatile and flexible. I can use the same holster and mag carrier between the three, and the G17 mag fits them all.


That's a neat little tool. I will have to conjure up one of those. Thank you for the info.

May 4, 2010, 02:36 PM
I think you might be better served by the "glock tool." It is pretty much a skinny punch on a plastic handle and only costs about $5. I use it for practically all of my guns. From taking the firing pin out of my glocks to pushing out the pins from my m4.

May 1, 2011, 02:40 AM
Sounds like a good gun. I considered a CW9 before I got my G26 a few years back. I have been totally happy with my G26 but might still add a compact single stack 9mm to my remuda at some point.

The Lone Haranguer
May 1, 2011, 07:05 AM
I am not a professional gun rag review writer, I am just a regular joe that likes firearms.
I would rather read an unbiased opinion. :)

When you get used to the Kahr trigger, very good work can be done with it.

Johnny Lightning
May 1, 2011, 07:27 AM
Great report on the CW9! I am also in the market for either a G26 or CW9 and can't decide which to get. I think it is going to come down to which feels better in my hand. I have a G17 already and am thinking it would be nice to add to my Glock collection but the CW9 is tempting. The Gen 4 changable backstraps might sway me towards the Glock.

May 1, 2011, 10:42 AM
Op date is almost a year ago. Since that time kahr has come out with the cm9. I suggest giving that a look. The cw9 is great iwb but the cm9 is pocketable.

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