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Handgun selection, Kahr owner input

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Gurnard, Aug 11, 2004.

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  1. Gurnard

    Gurnard Member

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    Hey gang,
    Forgive me if this has been done to death but I did do a search w/no luck.

    Anyway, I travel a lot for work, sometimes into not-so-nice areas of some cities, so… I’m thinking about the CC permit. Limited handgun experience: Had a .357 20 years ago, shot a .45 once a year in the Navy (again, years ago), currently have a rarely fired, jam prone “el-cheapo†.380 auto which shall remain nameless so as not to offend other owners.

    So, I want to upgrade and am/was considering the Kahr PM9/PM40. Not knowing where to start in picking a new handgun – I bought the Handgunner annual magazine, looked at photos, specs & prices – stopped at a few gun shops & looked through the glass, handled a couple (kind of awkward, not even knowing what questions to ask & nobody wants to look stupid), talked to an acquaintance who is a self proclaimed “expertâ€, went to a gun & knife show…Still no closer to a purchase.

    I’m kinda waffling on the Kahr after handling it. I’m looking for small and concealable but plan to do quite a bit of shooting but this one was REALLY small. My “expert†dismissed this gun as something you wouldn’t want to shoot much but…he also said “No Glocks†with some vague (or maybe valid but over my head) problem with the safeties (?). Then again, he’s very much a “I’d rather push a Chevy than drive a Ford†type of guy. The local range has a nice selection of Glocks to rent (test drive?) but I haven’t, mainly because of the safety comment.

    Whew! After all that BS I finally get to my questions –

    Who here has shot the small Kahr a lot? Any pain afterwards? What about the slightly larger version?

    Some of the other recommendations I’ve gotten but haven’t seen let alone touched or fired - .357/.38 revolver, Sig (no specifics, just Sig) and USP compact.

    Given the above critera/experience – any other suggestions (big can of worms there, eh?) Oh, also <$1000.

    Thanks in advance & once I buy I’ll be back for more brain-pickin’ on concealment.
     
  2. critter

    critter Member

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    I think you are on the right track by doing your homework first. Couple of observatons.

    I own and carry a Kahr MK9 and shoot it a lot. Mine is 100% reliable-a necessity in a carry gun. Mine is also very accurate for the small gun-short sight radius type carry gun. It is pleasant enough to shoot-the polymer model is a little less so I would guess due to the lighter weight. It is a good choice though IMHO.

    Your other observations are also valid. A good, small revolver in .38 or .357 would be good. I'd prefer a .357 because you can use 38's to practice and shoot a lot and .357's for familiarization and for serious social work. Some of the small Smith's, Taurus would be good but I have a Ruger SP101 that I favor. A little heavy (bad for carry-good for shooting) but it is a great little hideout gun with authority!

    Both should be WELL under you $1K limit, more likely half that. And, yeah, be sure to return to ask your CCW questions. A lot of the good folks here will have tips to put you on the right track. The main one is you will have to do a lot of experimentation with carry methods, holsters and clothing to find something that works well for YOU.

    Good luck in your search.
     
  3. gbelleh

    gbelleh Member

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    I like my PM9 a lot. The checkering can get rough on the hands after a couple hundred rounds. Everyone seems to tolerate recoil differently.

    There's nothing wrong with Glocks (provided you are familiar with the safety features and are using a suitable holster). IMO, you should forget everything your friend said and go to a gun shop and rent/shoot as many guns as you can. With a $1,000 limit, you should be able to find a great gun for yourself. Don't worry about asking questions. You know the old proverb... "He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."
     
  4. Mikul

    Mikul Member

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    I don't own a Kahr, but a friend shoots his MK9 a lot (about 200 rounds per week). It's been very reliable. His only complaint is that the magazines are expensive (~$30) which is about average for any gun. He's just spoiled with Glock and 1911 magazines.

    Glocks are very good guns. Some people have reservations because they have no external safeties and while technically classified as a double-action handun, the trigger pull is as light as most single-actions. This makes it a very unforgiving gun. Perhaps not the best choice for a first gun, but only you can make that decision. After all, external safeties and heavy double-action trigger pulls are no substitution for a brain.

    The H&K USP is also an excellent gun. Be sure to handle one because they either fit your hand just fine, or they feel like a brick.

    Sigs are also excellent guns. (I'd say that Sigs and H&Ks are the two best and I can't decide which is better). They are all double-action first shot and single-action on all followup shots. This doesn't bother a lot of people. It drives me nuts, so no matter how good the gun is, I won't buy one, but that's a personal thing. Try dry-firing several different models. The triggers are better on some than others. Their competition models are downright sweet.

    .357 revolvers are good. Get a 3 or 4 inch barreled revolver instead of the cutesy snubnosed revolver that everyone has to have. The 3-inch revolver isn't that big, handles the recoil better, and gives you a decent sight radius. The .357 is a potent cartridge and unless you like getting beaten up, get the longer gun. IMHO, 6-rounds isn't enough. Most police only hit 1 out of 6 times, so until you're better trained than they are, expect one hit out of each cylinder and carry a reload or two and expect those reloads to be very slow compared to a semi-auto.
     
  5. Calhoun

    Calhoun Member

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    I've got a P9, and carry it almost every day. Never had any problems with it. Goes bang every time; which is the all time, #1, end all-be all requirement for a CCW. It is a light weight gun, and you can tell when you shoot it, but it's not unbearable. I hear that the K9 is better b/c it's alot heavier (actually heard that it's REAL heavy for the size pistol it is). Kind of a trade off. Very accurate. It can make a golf ball sized hole all day.

    Kahrs can have problems for the first few hundred rounds, so be sure it is broken in before you bet your life on it. 300-400 rounds seems to do the trick. Maybe less. Test it with your carry ammo too.

    Over all, the only complaint I have ever had is what gbelleh said, the checkering can tear up your hand a little. The slide stop too, but you get used to it quick.

    Hope this helps,

    Calhoun
     
  6. Gurnard

    Gurnard Member

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    Hey, thanks for the input!

    I was kinda thinking he might be wrong on the Glocks. My understanding is that many police officers carry them…surely they wouldn’t carry junk.

    Anyway, you guys brought up a couple more questions.
    1. Could someone define good or bad triggers? I’ve seen this mentioned many times on this board, even people performing modifications to get it "right" but…??? Are we talking heavy vs. light? In a high-stress situation would you realistically notice a hard pull?
    2. Carry ammo vs. target ammo – Why? Price? Wear & tear?
    3. Calhoun - What type of problems are we talking about here? Jams or failures? I'm seeing several mentions on this board about failed parts (A thread on the XD40 comes to mind) I need to steer well clear of this since I've never disassembled a gun.

    Also, I only mentioned the $1k limit because my “expert†is pushing Kimber. Even if it’s the best there is - it’s simply more than I’m willing to pay.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    I have no experience with the Kahr polypistols but lots with an MK9, and also with steel and alloy S&W J-frames, and some with Glocks. Almost all the Glocks are going to feel bigger because of the double-stack mags that most use. If you plan to shoot a lot, the PM9 may start to feel like it's hammering you. Even all steel subcompact handguns are not necessarily something you want to spend all day firing, but the lightweight versions (poly or alloy) are definitely less comfortable to fire in quantity. However, for carry, less is more.

    One thing you might think about, and this might still come in under your budget, is to buy an all-steel gun for practice and an identical or nearly identical lightweight for carry. If you buy clean but used J-frames, this should be possible and still leave you with hundreds in change for ammo, training and holsters. Whoops, make that holster :) because if you buy "right" you may be able to use the same mags/speedloaders, holster, etc. for both, which is good in more ways than one. A poly and steel Kahr pair probably won't make that budget cut...

    For the purposes you're talking about, I wouldn't get too torqued up on triggers. Remember how adrenaline works...

    Carry ammo vs. practice -- yes, cost, but you should run at least several hundred rounds of your intended carry ammo through a pistol to assure yourself about reliable feeding, ignition, extraction, etc. This is less of a factor with a revolver, which tends to eat pretty much whatever it's served as long as the springs haven't been d!cked with so it won't bust the caps.
     
  8. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    It's starting to look like the Kahr's are this generations "Gold Standard" in concealed defense pistols.

    These guns are reliable, accurate, HIGH-quality, and durable.

    The Kahr trigger action is becoming quite famous. In "feel" the Kahr trigger feels like a well-tuned S&W revolver trigger.
    It isn't a "hard" feel, nor gritty. It has a DA revolver-like smooth pull that just somehow feels "right".

    Unlike many autos, the Kahr is quite safe, due to the revolver-like, longer trigger pull.
    I usually tell people to shoot the Kahr like it's a good DA revolver.

    The Kahr polymer pistols had somewhat more than the normal Kahr development problems, but it seems the "bugs" have been ironed out.

    The Kahr K9 or K40 are about the same size as a Walther PPK/s, although heavier.
    That weight is an advantage in shooting the gun, and a slight disadvantage in carrying.
    The MK series Kahr's can be comfortably carried in a pocket WITH A POCKET HOLSTER, the steel K series is just too heavy for pocket carry.

    If you intend to wear some type of holster, I recommend the K series, for the feel of the slightly larger grip.
    The K series grip, also draws raves from owners, who comment on the comfort and secure grip.

    Many "micro" gun owners who take their Glocks or other micro pistols to shooting schools complain that after a day on the range their hand is very tired.
    K series owners say there is no fatigue at all.

    As above, the Kahr needs a 200 round break-in period, and in fact, the factory mandates it.
    Within that 200 rounds a new Kahr MAY experience jams of one type or another. Most don't, but it's just common sense to give the gun the break-in and verify the reliability of the gun/ammo combination.

    I recommend shooting cheap practice ammo for most of the break-in period, then shoot enough defense ammo to verify reliability.
    If the chosen ammo gives problems, try another brand/type.
    A broken-in Kahr with ammo it "likes" is about the most reliable auto ever made.
    I currently have around 6000 rounds through my K9, and the failure rate is 0%. Not ONE failure.

    Unlike many "micro" autos, the Kahr was specifically designed to handle ANY commercially available ammo, including +P+ 9mm.

    If you give a Kahr the proper break-in, carefully select a brand/type of ammo that is reliable and accurate, there is no BETTER concealed defense gun on the market.

    Unlike many autos on the market, the Kahr needs no custom work. The rubber grips on the K series is perfect, the sights are excellent, and the Kahr trigger action needs no tuning.
    Any custom work is usually for personal cosmetic reasons.
     
  9. nhhillbilly

    nhhillbilly Member

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    Kahr PM9

    My son for his graduation from high school wanted a PM 9 He was raised right.

    We have shot it quite a lot. I find the gun a bit small and light. Well made, accurate and reliable. I would have purchased the next size up. As Clint Smith say's "When carrying no gun is small enough. When you need one no gun is large enough. "

    Training or practice ammo is normally what you can purchase inexpensively. Mostly Winchester White Box 9mm 100 rounds for $10.00 or $11.00.

    Suggestions that before you purchase any firearm go and take an NRA basic pistol course. These are normally under $100.00. Most instructors I know bring an assortment of handguns to give students options to test. The training is basic but very good. It is both classroom and range. Course is about 10 -12 hours.

    All the major brands, Sig, Glock, Beretta, Colt, Springfield, Smith and Wesson..... make good guns.

    A semi -Auto conceals a bit better then a revolver, as they are a bit thinner. A revolver has a simpler manual of arms. Both systems are good. Have carried both on duty and off duty and never felt under armed with either.

    Min. cartidge for self-defense for me is 9MM or .38 Special.
     
  10. Sawdust

    Sawdust Member

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    There is a forum solely dedicated to the Kahr brand over at www.glocktalk.com where you will find answers to all of your questions regarding Kahrs.

    HTH,

    Sawdust
     
  11. obiwan1

    obiwan1 Member

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    I bought my wife a K40 a couple of years ago. GREAT gun. Too heavy for pocket carry, but for purse or holster carry it's perfect. I have no experience with the MK series but I love the "K". I got a chance to heft a T40 last weekend. Superb grip. If I was buying something for me, the "T" would be it.

    By the way, my current pocket carry gun is a KelTec P11 in one of a couple of pocket holsters that I own.:D
     
  12. Jim PHL

    Jim PHL Member

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    I have a K40 stainless. One of the keys to shooting the Kahr is learning to "stroke" the trigger through it's complete pull. When shooting a Glock or revolver many people take up the slack in the trigger to a point where it is just ready to break, hold there, and then squeeze past that point to release the striker or hammer. The Kahr really does have a smooth, light pull that is consistent through the entire motion. I've found it best to learn to smoothly stroke the trigger through its full length of pull rather than try to stage it. I would guess that if you ever need to fire it in self-defense, this is how you'd fire it anyway (probably a lot faster than you would on the range!). It is similar in length and height to a mini-Glock or a j-frame revolver. It's slimmer than both for easier carry, handles the .40 S+W very well and is stone reliable. This is an excellent choice for a concealed carry gun.

    (The fact that mine is listed for sale in the BUY, SELL, TRADE: HANDGUNS section has nothing to do with this review!)
     
  13. Calhoun

    Calhoun Member

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    Gurnard-

    The problems I wrote of in the first few hundred rounds are normal break in things. No mater what gun you buy, you will probably have a short break in time. Usually 200-400 rounds. Even if you go and spend $1000 on a Kimber you will probably have to break it in. Don't worry if you get a few jams, failure to feed, failure to eject, etc. during this period, it's normal. The way that the Kahr internals are laid out are a little cramped. They just need a little time to get into their groove. Anyway, it will probably take you a few hundred rounds to get used to your new gun anyway, so it's an even trade.

    You were right on with the ammo. Less expensive ammo for practice, full power stuff for carry. Saves wear and tear on the gun and your wallet. The more you shoot, the better you are. The better you are, the better you feel (so eat your beans at every meal!).

    Peace out,
    Calhoun
     
  14. Climb14er

    Climb14er Member

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    <The Kahr trigger action is becoming quite famous. In "feel" the Kahr trigger feels like a well-tuned S&W revolver trigger.
    It isn't a "hard" feel, nor gritty. It has a DA revolver-like smooth pull that just somehow feels "right".>

    I have an early 1970's S & W Model 60 snub with a fantastic trigger/action job and the Kahr PM9 Diamond Kote I have is every bit as smooth after a few hundred rounds.

    The MK9 is a little heavier and the same size as the PM9. If you want light and compact, get the PM9.

    Personally, I could handle the PM9 easily but found the .40 caliber version very harsh. The PM9 is very smooth, reliable and accurate.
     
  15. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    I like Kahrs. I've probably shot 8 of them total. I owned a P9 Covert (PM9 frame with a .5" longer slide and barrel) that I put about 900 rounds through and never had a single problem. Recoil wasn's super pleasant, but I wouldn't call it fierce either... For someone used to putting 200 rounds through a full size gun, 100 rounds should be no problem and I mostly shot 124 Gr +P Gold Dots which aren't exactly slouches... The 7 or so rounds of 127 +P+ Ranger Ts I put through there were definately a bit peppier.

    On the gun itself, I find them to be a very good, solid design. Love how trim they are and how light the poly guns are. Triggers range from good to very, very good and even though they don't offer a true second strike DAO feature, I like that the pull is consistant from the first pull on.

    I'm currently very happy with my CZ PCR as a carry gun but if I wanted something smaller and esp if I wanted something trimmer, the Kahr TP9 would be the very first gun on my list.
     
  16. twowheel

    twowheel Member

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    For what it's worth, I have Glock 23, S&W 340 scandium .357 and Kahr PM40. I like them all. I carry the S&W most of the time. Very light and easily put in pocket holster. I carry the Kahr at times, in a IWB holster. Trigger is quite good. IMHO a .357 will penetrate too much and go too far, so I generally carry the S&W with .38 spcl +P. The .40 makes a bigger hole and does not go through engine blocks! The Glock 23 is also .40. Rugged and dependable as a rock. Clunky, boxy to carry unless wearing large outer garment. For summer, the S&W or Kahr go with me.
     
  17. Gurnard

    Gurnard Member

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    Hello again,
    I’d like to bounce something else off you guys…

    I know that many of you have several handguns from different manufacturers. Does switching between brands/models give you any trouble?

    I ask because I’m thinking…Why not two guns? One small for CCW, one large to shoot a lot - One nicer/new one less expensive/used.

    Is shooting one much more often and then carrying another a bad idea?

    Cratz2: Thanks for the info, but I'm afraid you lost me on the ammo specs...I'm not new to guns (hunted with a shotgun since I was a kid) but have very limited handgun experience - I've got some homework to do before "124gr +P gold dots" means anything to me. Not being a smart-ass or unappreciative, I just didn't understand it. I understand 124gr is a measure of weight...powder measure or projectile weight? The +P and +P+ is greek to me.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2004
  18. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    There's really no problem with owning and shooting many guns, AS LONG as you don't get "confused" about which one you're reaching for when things serious.

    Where many people do get into problems is in failing to practice, or constantly switching carry guns or holsters.

    In these cases, if you've been carrying a certain gun or carrying it in a certain holster, then make a change, you might fumble under stress.

    Classic cases are a man used to carrying an auto with a manual safety switching to a double action auto. Under stress he was trying to release a safety that wasn't there, instead of just pulling the trigger.
    Another case was a police officer used to carrying his gun in a cross-draw holster, finding himself clawing for a gun that was now in a strong-side inside the pants holster.

    The answer is to practice often with the carry gun and holster you plan to use. If you make a carry gun or holster switch, PRACTICE with it until you "remember" just what you've got, and where it is.

    On ammo, most 9mm defense ammo has either 115 or 124 grain bullets.

    "Gold Dot" is a brand name used by Speer.
    Other brand names of good defense ammo are Federals "Hydra-Shok", Remington's "Golden Saber", and Winchester's "Silver Tips".

    +P and +P+ refer to ammunition loaded to extra- higher velocities.
    This refers to Plus Power, or Plus Power Plus. +P ammo is commonly available in several different calibers of pistol ammo. +P+ is usually sold to the police, since this ammo can be unsafe in pistols not made to handle it, or in such bad condition it might not be safe.

    You can buy the +P+ type ammo from several companies, but it's up to you to insure your gun is OK with it.
    The Kahr pistols are, being specifically designed to handle any commercially available ammo.
     
  19. Gurnard

    Gurnard Member

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    Damn,
    You sure are a helpful bunch!

    Learnin' a lot. Thanks to everyone.
     
  20. only1asterisk

    only1asterisk member

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    I don't shoot the smallest Kahrs as my hands are just simply too big to do so with any comfort at all. I have carried a K40 concealed and it would be close to tops on my list it I wanted to return to everyday carry. It is about as small as I go. I would recommend the K-series or better, the T-series Kahrs in 9mm as a decent choice for a carry gun that one could shoot on a regular basis.



    David
     
  21. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    To the new question, I grew up with 1911s and most of my shooting career has been with them. And more recently with Berettas, CZs, Glocks and SIGs. I really don't have a problem going from one to the other, but I can see how someone the bulk of whose experience was with DA/SA pistols could have a concern transitioning to a cocked and locked 1911. But as far as gowing from a SIG to a Glock to a Kahr... I don't think most folks should have much of a problem. My main problem, after having shot 1911s so long, is the Glock ALWAYS shoots high for me from a draw. SIGs and Kahrs are fine in that respect. And keep in mind, from 7 feet to 7 yards where most actual self defense shootings are most likely to occur, the difference in point of impact is tiny.
     
  22. mini14jac

    mini14jac Member

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    All of my daughters like shooting the PM9.
    There is a little muzzle rise, but none have complained about the recoil, or any pain.
    (Shooting my wife's Airweight .38 is a different matter. The girls find it painful and uncomfortable to shoot, and if they've shot it once, they won't shoot it agian.)

    I just crossed the 1000rd mark with my PM9. No problems at all.
    I mainly shoot the 100rd/$10 box from Walmart for practice.
    For carry, the Winchester jhp from Walmart works quite well, but I mainly carry Gold Dot 125gr +P.
    The little Kahr seems to love that round.

    For such a small gun, it is surprisingly accurate, and easy to shoot.
    I agree with what others have said about the trigger.
    Kahr guns have smoother, lighter triggers than any other stock auto that I have tried.

    I had a MK9 that I loved, but it was just too heavy for me to carry.
    If you are like the majority of CCW holders, if a gun is too heavy to carry comfortably in your pocket, it will spend most of the time in the car, or at home.

    The PM9 rides quite well in a $10 pocket holster from Uncle Mike's.

    As for another gun, that is a great idea.
    I like a Glock for a home defense gun, and a Kahr or Keltec .380 for carry.
    That way, the operation of each is the same.
    Chamber a round, point, pull the trigger.

    (Oh, and for a beginning shooter, I would stay away from the PM40, or try one first. From what I've read, the recoil is significantly more than the PM9.
    The .40 is quite a bit more "snappy" than a 9mm.)
     
  23. Skirmisher

    Skirmisher Member

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    My husband and I both carry Kahr P9's and our son carries a Kahr MK9. Our grandson has a Kahr K9 and is working on a carry permit. We all love our Kahrs because of the slim design for ease in carrying and the accuracy and reliablity.:D
     
  24. gbelleh

    gbelleh Member

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    To answer your question about switching between many guns...

    I carry several different guns depending on clothing, weather, etc. But, they all function the same way...just point and pull the trigger. That allows me to carry any DAO semi-auto or any revolver, also any DA/SA auto in DA mode with safety off. So, I can carry a Kahr, Glock, HK USP, revolver, PPK, Bersa, Makarov, Mauser HSc, P-11, P-32, without any problem. Carrying a 1911 or HKP7 would require special attention.
     
  25. NMshooter

    NMshooter Member

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    Since you mentioned a range, I would recommend going there and shooting as many different handguns as possible. Every handgun mentioned so far will get the job done, the big question is which one do YOU like the most. So get out there and start shooting, and have fun!:)
     
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