9mm Carry Options besides Kel-Tec


August 11, 2004, 09:22 AM
Here's the situation: I'm wanting to get a purse gun some time in the future for my wife. She likes the Kel-Tec P11 9mm because of the size and very light weight. This will be a gun that will be carried a lot and shot a little, but I will make sure it's reliable.

Around here, a P11 with a chromed slide will be around $300. I've heard good and bad reports about the kel-tecs, so I wanted to get some other options. What other handguns will be in the same weight and size range, without costing an arm and a leg? She doesn't like the way revolvers handle, so I'm looking for an auto. What has worked for you?

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August 11, 2004, 09:36 AM
I don't own one, but given your requirements, I'd get a Kahr PM9, or maybe MK9 if the weight isn't a factor.


August 11, 2004, 09:45 AM
There aren't too many small, high quality 9mms in that price range. For a couple hundred $ more you have many more options. You could consider a Kahr PM9. It is more expensive, but a nice, high quality gun. A Glock 26, or maybe a Sig 239? Also more expensive, but very nice.

Both the Kel-Tec and the Kahr would require a break in to make sure everything is working properly. They are also not easy guns to shoot well for those who don't practice regularly. The Sig or Glock would be likely to be reliable and might be a bit easier to shoot well. Just my opinion. You need to have your wife try several guns and decide for herself.

August 11, 2004, 09:55 AM
How much would I expect to pay for a Kahr P9 or PM9? I just looked up their web site, they look like nice guns.

August 11, 2004, 10:16 AM
A PM9 will probably run $550-$600, maybe a little better if you have good connections. However, before buying a 9mm that small, make sure that your wife is going to be able to handle it.

While I enjoy my PM9, my wife does much better with a Bulgarian Makarov. Not as powerful as a 9x19, but still pretty potent, and my wife handles hers very well. You can get a good one for around $150.

August 11, 2004, 10:21 AM
A new Kahr P9 or PM9 will probably be in the $500 +/- range, depending on where you are. You could find a used one for less. Guns America has several PM9s listed between $522 and $675 (w/night sights).

August 11, 2004, 10:44 AM
I was just noticing, the P9 appears to be only slightly larger than the Kel-Tec, and weighs 15.8 ounces. Since it will be in a purse, that might be a better option since it will be easier to shoot. If I needed to, I could download some rounds just enough to take the 'sting' out of them for practice.

The Mak would be a good choice, but isn't it heavy? I've only shot one, and it was several years ago, but it seems like that was my impression. If it's not light, she will end up not carrying it.

August 11, 2004, 11:54 AM
S&W 908S (s=stainless)...about $425 or so. Single stack, 8 shot, thin, reliable out of the box, accurate, easier manage recoil than Kel-Tec, lifetime warranty. Hoque grips for the 3913 model fit perfectly and provide better ergonomics than the stock grip.

August 13, 2004, 07:48 AM
I have a PM9, and it is easy to shoot and carry.
It costs about twice as much as the KelTec though.

Has your wife shot a KelTec? Where a Kahr has a light, smooth trigger, a box-stock KelTec has a trigger that only a lawyer could love.
Also, in my experience, the KelTec has more recoil, and is more difficult to shoot well.

That said, most KelTecs run fine out of the box, and KelTec factory service is top notch. If you put a couple hundred rounds through it to make sure it works, and have her shoot a couple of mags through it, you would be good to go.
You did say it would be carried a lot, shot a little, right?

If you want to stay in the price range, but get a more shootable gun, you could look at the Bersa .380. Close to $200 with a stellar reputation for reliability. With good defensive ammo, she will be able to hold her own.

But, since you asked about a 9mm, recommending other guns is the same as saying "Just get a Glock!". :p

August 13, 2004, 09:50 AM
Have you looked into the CZ RAMI. Small, fairly light, and 10+1 rounds of 9mm. If they are anything like the rest of the CZ line they are dead on reliable out of the box. Accurate too. Might be a little heavier than what you are looking for though. Haven't heard of any problems with them. Check them out at the link below.


As to the Kahr, they are great. I have a P9 that I bought used for, I think, around $425. But it was in like new condition, had maybe 50 rounds thru it. Look around and you can probably find a decient deal on one.

Big piece of advice, get your wife to pick out her gun. Have her shoot them, if you can, before you get one. If she dosen't like it, she won't carry it.

It sure is fun shootn' with girls.

August 13, 2004, 11:20 AM
For around $300 you can pick up the Steyr S9-great little gun.

I would also suggest the CZ RAMI, but everything I know about them is second hand. I would like to have one myself.

August 13, 2004, 12:10 PM
What about an XD-9 sub compact? Great gun and light too

August 13, 2004, 01:31 PM
Calhoun is 100% on target. Your wife better pick out her pistol, or you will never hear the end of it.:p And if she can shoot a variety of pistols before choosing hers so much the better.

August 13, 2004, 10:03 PM
star firestar m-43 nuff said.. lol

August 14, 2004, 12:49 AM
Only thing I know of is a Kahr PM9, but it cost a lot more than the P-11. A pistol that weighs 64% more than the P-11 and is a lesser caliber is a Bersa .380 ACP. These sell for about $200. From what I read on forums like this is that they are very reliable. Empty weight is about 23 ounces. If that isn't too heavy for you, and if .380 caliber is acceptable, then the Bersa is an option.

August 14, 2004, 01:00 AM
Check out the Bersa Use CorBON 90grHP or Rem 102gr GS I paid $212 for my Bersa.

August 14, 2004, 01:27 AM
i'm always good for an RAP 401 plug.

that said, it's heavy for it's size. may not be a good purse gun.

August 14, 2004, 08:47 AM
P-11 is a good choice for a shooter that is willing to "wring" it out...I have 2 that are 100% reliable<~~~Gotta make me a double shoulder rig!lol

That being said, I would also look at the Kahr PM9...yea they cost some bucks, but they are sweet guns...

Purse guns dont really HAVE to be small and light...Going up to a decent revolver might be an option...Give it some thought and get ready to duck "Charley"

August 14, 2004, 09:18 AM
CZ RAMI is a great choice but quite a bit heavier than the Kahr PM9 or Kel-Tec P11 but not so heavy as the RAP 401. I picked up a RAP 440 (.40 S&W version) for $200 at a gun show, if you can find the same price you may find the extra weight tolerable, its been 100% out of the box.

At ~$400 RAMI is between the two in price.

Mine's been 100% out of the box except for 147 gr JHP where the last round would sometimes nosedive. Bending the top loop of the mag spring up a little seems to have cured this, I'm waiting for Wolff to offer extra power spring for these mags. My wife has no trouble shooting it with 115gr ammo. (She's quite petite at 5'2" 105 lbs)

Another one ot look at is the Beretta 9000S. This can be found for ~$350, its lighter than the RAMI but is absurdly thick for tis size, which may not matter in a purse gun, if it feels as good in her hand as it does in mine.


5-shot J-frame revolver is worth considering too. Taurus titianium .38 special Model 85 runs about $330 and at 12.5 oz is about as light as you are gonna find, but my wife finds the recoil objectionable -- it really jumps when firing Hydrashoks.

August 14, 2004, 09:26 AM
I think this guy is looking for you. The firestar plus is a fine little light weight double stack 9mm. And this price looks right, at 250$


August 14, 2004, 11:54 AM
I was looking for two guns for CCW one being a pocket gun and the other an inside the waistband gun in a large caliber.

My criteria was

Lite weight
380 ACP for the Pocket
9 Para, 357 Sig., 40 S&W or 45 ACP for the ISWB gun. I have no problem with any of the calibers in life saving situations.
Double action only
Cost wasn’t considered, as I would pay top end for the right gun

The 380 was the easy pick, as I wanted a true pocket gun the Kel-Tec P3AT fit the bill. Initially I had extraction problems with the first couple of boxes of ammo. It was sent back to the factory and since then it hasn’t missed a beat (300 rounds through it) Accuracy is acceptable for its intended purpose. This little bugger is so small and lite you can carry it all day and not know you’ve got it in your pocket.

The ISWB gun I was looking at the Glock 26,27, 36, Kahr PM9094A, PM4043A and the Kel-Tel P-11.

My initial pick was the Glock 36 but with the 6 round and heavier weight and went back and looked further I ruled out the Glock 26 & 27 due to their stubby grip and weight. So I was left with the Kahr and the Kel-Tec. I’ve heard nothing but good reports on the Kahr but it is couple hundred dollars more than the Kel-Tec. Reports concerning the Kel-Tec were pretty good so my thought was go with the Kel-Tec and if it has problem sell it and get the Kahr and use the saved money for the Northwest Trade Rifle I want for you semi-auto blasters it’s a smooth bore flintlock in 20 ga.

To date I’ve put over 550 rounds through the P-11 and it hasn’t missed a beat firing 4 manufactures ammo and reloads. Accuracy is acceptable for its intended purpose. My first shots out of the P-11 I wasn’t printing the paper dish I was aiming at? This was due to the stronger and rougher trigger pull comparing the P-11 to my Smith 4013 the Smith has a DAO 1st shot smooth a butter. But with practice all rounds go into the paper plate at rapid fire. Practice, Practice and more Practice. I paid $259.95 on sale for the P-11. Considering the recoil I see anything out of the ordinary but then I shot a lot of big handguns. Other may think recoil is excess.

Something else to consider the 9mm Para is a good cheap caliber to shot Practice, Practice and more Practice. Just picked up on sale a 1000 rounds Blazer 9mm for $4.55 a box. I reload over 29 calibers and stopped reloading the 9mm due to being able to buy new so cheap.

So that's my take on my ISWB pistol.

Have a good day and remember to pray for our troops.

Vietnam Vets against Kerry

Old Dog
August 14, 2004, 09:37 PM
My wife loves it. Great value. Bet-your-life reliable. Thumb safety. Light. Easy to shoot, surprisingly accurate.

August 15, 2004, 09:32 AM
Can't believe I forgot to mention the Taurus Millenium. Its true DAO meaning you can get a second hit on a hard primer by pulling the trigger again. Kel-Tec, Kahr, Glock, etc. need the slide to move back ~1/4" to "reset" the trigger.

Hits the price range too. Somehow these guns look bigger than they are. But I'd be very leary of a used one as there were serious problems with them initially.

Mine's been 100% out of the box and has a very good DA trigger that's got better with a little shooting.

They now make a Titanium Millenium that is seriously light weight and carries a reasonable price premium over the normal gun. I'll probably get one if it comes out in .40S&W or .45ACP -- I like my 9mm Millenium, but not enough to get two, its mostly a 9mm thing -- I'd never carry a 9 if .40 or .45 is available in the same size/weight gun.


August 15, 2004, 01:35 PM
$ for $ you just can't beat a Kahr !!

August 15, 2004, 09:26 PM
9mm purse gun: bobbed hammer Taurus 9mm revolver (or older S&W 940)
don't have to worry about the "out of battery" and can fire from inside the purse

Just read: Doesn't like revolvers

OK, XD Subcompact or CZ Rami

August 15, 2004, 11:17 PM
Wally said: "Kel-Tec, Kahr, Glock, etc. need the slide to move back ~1/4" to "reset" the trigger"

I think the Kel-Tec 9mm is also a true double-action (meaning you don't have to retract the slide to reset the trigger). The P32 & P380 require this, but not the 9mm.


August 16, 2004, 09:02 AM
We stopped at the mall to get tires on my wife's car on Saturday.
I got her KelTec P32 out of the car and put it in her purse, so we could leave the car to get the tires installed.

The gun probably weighs 11oz. loaded.
Right away she starts saying, "That sure makes my purse heavy."!

Weight is important.
I agree with the statements above.
If possible, let her shoot the gun before you buy.
And, let her see how if feels to carry it.

W Turner
August 16, 2004, 11:32 AM
The Kel-Tec is a good value if you get a good one. I have owned 5-6 different Kel-Tec's and they were all good ones.

I never had an issue until the last one I bought (P3AT). The hole for the extractor roll pin is slightly overbored, which allows the pin to slip down just enough to score the aluminum receiver. This will be resolved when I send the upper in for the hard chrome treatment.

All of the models I owned were accurate enough, reliable and functional carry weapons. I even got to shoot one of the (semi)rare P40's. THAT was a handful and painful to shoot. The P11 is no worse than a .38 +p in an airweight to me.

Everybody knocks the trigger on the KT's, but it is no worse than that of a j-frame and to me it is actually smoother, esp. the new production KT's with the 8lb. hammer spring.


August 16, 2004, 12:19 PM
>>Around here, a P11 with a chromed slide will be around $300. I've heard good and bad reports about the kel-tecs, so I wanted to get some other options. What other handguns will be in the same weight and size range, without costing an arm and a leg?<<

There are no others to compare. When you factor size, weight, caliber and price they all add up to the KelTec.

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