Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Love this Kahr

A Kahr PM9 pistol in 9mm that is.

Weighing under 1 pound and only 5.3 inches in overall length, with a 3 inch barrel and a choice of a flush-fitting 6 round and extended 7 shot magazine this is perhaps the perfect concealed carry firearm. Nice and flat, it can conceal easily in a front jeans pocket in a decent holster or disappear under a shirt with a similarly good inside-the-waistband holster on.

After receiving my Kahr PM9, with the slide in the matte black Tungsten DLC finish and factory installed Trijicon night sights I was eager to take it to the range.

The gun arrived bone dry from the factory, with evidence of it having been fired for the useless ballistics identification program required by two states, and the brass from the test firing was in an envelope that came in the firearm case. The Kahr clearly needed some lubrication before taking it to the range.

Taking apart the Kahr PM9 is relatively simple: Line up the disassembly notch and then push the slide stop out of the frame. This required a bit of work as the slide stop is in tight, and needed a little encouragement in form of taps from a plastic hammer to work its way out. After swabbing the barrel to ensure there were no hidden obstructions, cleaning off the firing marks from the test firing and adding some Tetra lube to the slide rails and barrel hood, it was time to reassemble.

Reassembly took a little work, with lining up the slide on the frame and getting the striker assembly out of the way so the slide stop could be replaced and the slide move freely. With that done it was off to the range.

I brought with me 2 boxes of 100 round Winchester white box value pack 9mm fmj ammo and 1 box of 50 Federal Hydrashock hollowpoints.

As the manual said it takes 200 rounds to break in, I took it at its word. On the first magazine there was one glitch where on the final shot the fired brass failed to eject but sat on top of the magazine and was easily cleared. This did not happen again during the session.

On firing the Hydrashocks I was in for a bit of a shock – the muzzle flash from those rounds was significant, so much so that it appeared that I was using a flamethrower. This would not be good in a night time situation as the flash was very visible in the relatively good light of the indoor range. In addition, of the 50 rounds fired there were two failures where the slide failed to go back into battery and pick up a new round, so I would not consider this batch of Hydrashocks as reliable carry ammo for this gun at this point – maybe it was the 250 round break in. On the upside, the Hydrashocks were as controllable as the white box ammo with similar accuracy.

The PM9, despite its small size was easily controllable with either the flush fitting magazine and even more controllable with the extended seven round magazine, and quite accurate at 10 yards, as can be seen from the accompanying photo of the target below. The trigger pull on the Kahr was a bit long but very, very smooth – certainly the best pocket pistol trigger I’ve ever shot, easily besting my comparably sized Hungarian made Walther PPK-clone and my Russian Makarov. There was no real significant recoil issues and controlled pairs of shots or even rapid strings were easily made and still accurately hitting the target.

The only downside to the Kahr are its array of sharp edges – the magazine feedlips are razor-like in sharpness (as the cut on my finger can attest), presumably on the theory that if you run out of ammunition you can pull out the magazine and use it as a last-ditch knife. In addition the top of the slide release, where you push down to release the slide is likewise sharp, as are the slide serrations for pulling the slide back. A little smoothing of the edges on this not-cheap and otherwise excellent firearm is certainly called for and would be an excellent improvement in the user-friedliness and carryability of the product.

Others at the range also tried it and was impressed with both its controllability and its small size. The firearm is similar in size to many .380 caliber handguns and packs a more effective round and a better trigger as well. In short this is possibly the finest pocket gun available, sharp edges and all, and I highly recommend it for those looking for an easily concealable firearm to accompany your carry permit.

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