Kahr CW9 range report and first impressions


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Patriotme
October 22, 2010, 12:12 AM
I picked up a Kahr CW9 over the weekend for $400. It came with one mag, a pretty cheap plastic case and a 3 piece trigger lock (you put a plastic bit on either side of the trigger and run a pin through it. Put your own lock on the pin). The packaging wasn't that impressive but the gun has a very good feel and seems well made. It has a good feel to it and just feels like it's much higher quality than the Kel-Tec PF9 (my next choice).
The trigger has a long double action pull but is not too heavy and breaks nicely. If you shoot it kind of like a two stage trigger then it's not bad and you can get some decent accuracy out of this little gun. There is no external safety.
The break in period according to the manual is 200 rnds. I put 175 rnds through it today and was satisfied about it's reliability. I started off with 100 rnds of Winchester White Box (115gr FMJ) and followed that with 50 rnds of Blazer (115gr FMJ). The last 25 rnds were Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P HP. I used 5 factory mags (4 seven rnd mags and 1 eight rnd mag) for today's testing.
If I did my part I could easily keep 6 out of 7 rnds in an area the size of a silver dollar at 7 yds. I usually had one flyer. The sights are not bad although I'm not crazy about having a white front sight and a white bar centered in the middle of the rear sight. It worked ok today although it's not my favourite setup. I can however see how it would be fast and visible at close range and in poor lighting.
I used a 6 o'clock hold on the target. As this is a concealed carry gun I only tested it at 7yds today. I also had another shooter that needed checking on now and then in the next lane so I didn't feel comfortable wandering down to the other end of the range.
The recoil was not at all bad. It's got a little muzzle flip but this little gun is very controllable and pleasant to shoot. Everyone always says that CCW guns are carried a lot and rarely shot because the recoil is so annoying. I can't see that happening with this gun. I plan on putting a lot more rnds through it. I also have a J frame .38spl and the recoil is much stiffer with the revolver.
The manual says to load the weapon by inserting a mag with the slide lock to the rear. Release the slide using the slide lock. According to the manual if you insert a mag and then rack the slide this can cause the slide to not fully go into battery. I did not see this but I did have one instance in which the bullet (Blazer) took a nosedive instead of chambering. This happened one of the 5 times I loaded the weapon by racking the slide. There were no problems when loading the CW9 using the method stated in the manual.
The 124gr +P's had a little more recoil than the ball ammo but not much. I didn't think recoil was a problem with this gun. My daughter however put 2 mags through the gun and did not like it. She thought the muzzle flip was a bit much and returned to shooting my XDM (9mm). She only shoots full sized handguns so anything that kicks more than a service 9mm or 4" 38spl seems like a handful to her (BTW, the GD 124gr +P worked great in the XDM as well).
My overall impression is this is a great carry gun. It's flat and I've been wearing it around in a cheap universal holster (IWB). It doesn't poke me or drag my pants down. I have high hopes for carrying this once I get a decent holster.
The mags are about $40 each from Kahr and run about $40-$44 at the local gunshops (if they even have them in stock). I ordered 4 mags from CDNN 4 days ago and they came one hour before I planned on leaving for the range. CDNN absolutely rocks. The mags averaged about $30 and S/H was about $7. I can't say enough good things about these guys. I've ordered from them 3 or 4 times in the past and they've always been great.
Takedown of this pistol is easy and uneventful. If you can take down an M1911A1 and a Glock then it's no big deal. You do need to make sure that the recoil spring and guide are centered when putting the slide back on the frame. That's about the only thing to look for. There are witness marks that you align when inserting the slide lock. It's a very easy gun to field strip.
I put a lot of work into researching CCW guns over the last few weeks. $400 is not a fortune but it's a decent amount for me. I considered the Ruger LCR (still love it) and the Kel-Tec PF9 (still seems like a great value) but am happy with this weapon. I'd recommend it.
Some have stated that they have accidently hit the mag release on CCW weapons while shooting them or sitting in their car. I didn't have that problem today and I'll be honest with....the mag release kind of sucks. You reeeeaaaally have to push that button in hard to get the magazine to release. The mag also does not drop free and must be pulled out. I bought one 8 rnd mag and for some reason this magazine was especially hard to pull out. The 7 rnd mags all pulled out OK but they did seem to fit a bit more snuggly than other semi autos that I've shot. Perhaps it was a quirk of this 8 rnd mag and maybe additional shooting will change the stiffness of the mag release. I don't know. I don't think this would be an issue for a man but a woman with weak hands may have a harder time if she got a couple of odd mags with this issue. Someone with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome could have some difficulty as well.
In conclusion, the gun seemed accurate and was entirely reliable when I loaded it as the manufacturer instructed. I used 3 different brands of ammo and had good results with each. I doubt that anyone that shoots regularly would complain about the recoil and I can't see this gun being so uncomfortable that it would be left at home instead of being used for it's intended purpose....CCW. You are instructed not to load an individual rnd in the chamber as it can break the extractor. A local gun shop employee told me that they've replaced several extractors on Kahrs while I was looking at Kel-Tecs and talking guns. BTW, the Kel-Tec PF9's are flying off of the shelves in my area.
I hope this long rambling review helps someone looking for a CCW gun.

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Doug S
October 22, 2010, 12:20 AM
Nice review.

Lone_Sheep_Dog
October 22, 2010, 12:27 AM
I have one of these and I really like mine. I've had it for about 2 years. It took me a while to get used to the trigger. I also had issues during the break in period. The last round would not chamber correctly. This gun works great for pocket carry in a desantis holster if you have big pockets.

Patriotme
October 22, 2010, 01:47 AM
I have one of these and I really like mine. I've had it for about 2 years. It took me a while to get used to the trigger. I also had issues during the break in period. The last round would not chamber correctly. This gun works great for pocket carry in a desantis holster if you have big pockets.
Yeah, I'm pretty happy with the gun so far. I'm not too concerned with that one failure to feed properly as I wasn't using the recommended loading method and there's something going on with that 8 rnd mag. I'll run another 100 rnds through it next week and see how it is.
So how was your magazine release button? I wonder if mine is really stiff because it's intended to not release the mag by accident while shooting or sitting (while carrying) or if it's just a freaking stiff spring on it. I've seen a couple of YouTube vids in which the shooter accidently hit the mag release while shooting these small semi autos.

franco45
November 1, 2010, 12:09 AM
Nice review. I have put about 600 rounds through mine with no problems

whatsoever. I have a Crimson Trace laser on mine. I carry it in a High Noon

iwb holster and I sometimes forget I have it on.

Patriotme
January 14, 2012, 12:44 AM
Man... I can't believe how long it's been since I got this pistol. I wish I had kept up a round count as time passed. I would guess that I've put another 600 rnds through it since the last review. I shoot full sized semi autos mostly but I always try to bring this gun to the range and run a few magazines through it since I do carry it concealed (or a LCR).
There's not much else to say about it other than it's been 100% reliable and it's a great gun. I stopped carrying it over the summer because I got a LCR and was carrying that pretty regularly (no real reason....it's just new). I kept shooting the CW9 though and kind of got out of the habit of cleaning it. Long story short...it went about 5 or 6 months without a cleaning and still ran great. It's an accurate and reliable little gun. I'd recommend it.

Mr. Tettnanger
January 20, 2012, 09:48 PM
I got one about two week ago and have yet to put some rounds through it. I have been trying to rack and release the slide as often as I can to break it in. This bugger is TIGHT! I hope that once I get some rounds through it that it loosens up. I love the feel and size of it!

usp9
January 21, 2012, 07:22 AM
I have been trying to rack and release the slide as often as I can to break it in. This bugger is TIGHT! I hope that once I get some rounds through it that it loosens up.

Forget the hand racking and go shoot it. A magazine's worth of rounds will do more than all the hand racking can possibly accomplish. The gun isn't all that "tight", it just has a heavy spring. Go have some fun.

Patriotme
January 21, 2012, 08:34 AM
Hmmm.....I went back and read over the original post again. Everything is the same except that the magazine release loosened up long ago and now is comparable to most other semi autos. I haven't thought about it in a while so it hasn't been an issue. Mags now drop free easily.
I've got a Crossbreed holster for it and have to say that they absolutely rock. I also have a Galco Classic Lite shoulder holster that I like a little better. It did take a while to get adjusted properly but that's probably because I've never been big on shoulder holsters before.
I'd still recommend the CW9 and have no buyer's remorse with this purchase.

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