Saturday, June 2, 2007

Kahr CW9 Review & Range Report

This is my first review on this site, though I'd like to do more of them as I'm able. No company sponsored this review either, I bought the firearm with my own money. Would I be opposed to firearms companies giving me guns to review? Nope...but I don't see that happening. Not that I'd be too upset if they did however. I need to get a larger gun safe anyway. *grin* Anyway, here's my review.


I recently got my Kahr CW9 out of layaway from Sportsman's Warehouse. This particular pistol was chosen based on Internet research and in store fondling and is intended to replace/supplement my Taurus M605 .357 Magnum as my carry gun.

I first considered the Walther PPK in .380 based on it's size, but decided against it. There was also a brief flirtation with a Beretta Tomcat in .32 ACP, but I also decided against that. It was then I had the opportunity to handle a Kahr P9 (9mm) in the store. The grip fit my hand and the extension on the magazine prevented "pinky dangle", which I hate. I have small hands, and have trouble getting my hands around some of the other pistols on the market, mostly those with double stack magazines. The Kahr P9 pointed well and as mentioned earlier, it seemed to fit my hand like a glove. Another advantage was it's light weight. I am a huge fan of steel and wood, but after a while the weight of an all steel gun wears you down. After drooling a bit over the pistol, I handed it back to the guy behind the counter. I liked it a lot, but was turned off by it's high price tag. I'm not a rich man after all. It was then he mentioned there was a cheaper model (about $200 less) with only some minor differences.

I placed my order on the spot.

Here's a comparison from Kahr's website:

"The main differences are that the CW Series have conventional rifling, instead of match grade polygonal rifling; the CW Series have a MIM (metal-injection-molded) slide stop lever, instead of a machined slide stop lever; the CW Series cannot be retrofitted with night sights because the slide does not have a front dovetail cut; the CW Series slide have fewer machining operations; and the CW Series have simple engraving on the slide instead of rollmarking; and the CW Series are shipped with one magazine instead of two."

In other words, it's like the difference between a Ford and a Mercury.

Anyway...time passed. Yesterday morning I went up to my range and set up shop at the pistol range. Kahr recommends a 200 round break-in before they consider the pistol reliable enough to trust your life to. I brought with me a 250 round Remington UMC Megapack in the yellow box and 40 rounds of Corbon +P JHP's. Both rounds used 115gr bullets. That's about $85 worth of ammo. I loaded up my three magazines (I bought two extra mag's for $30 each at SW) for a total of 21 shots and slid a magazine into the gun. I thumbed the slide release and it slid forward with authority.

I took careful aim with both hands and set the tip of the front site cutting the center of the target. Slowly I took out the slack in the DAO trigger (no safety, just like a revolver) and then squeezed it all the way back. BANG! ...surprisingly little recoil...smoke...and a 9mm sized hole about an inch and a half below the center of the target.

For the next three and a half hours or so, I continued to pull the trigger and it continued to go BANG every time. I did have 1 FTF, but it was my fault. The magazines have the top round angled up at about a 30 degree angle. Somehow, I failed to put the last round in the magazine properly and it failed to strip the cartridge. It was definitely not the guns fault.

The Corbon +P JHP fed just fine too, though there was substantial recoil compared to the standard load. Remember, this is a pistol that weighs in at just under 1 pound.

Over the course of the morning, I learned to shoot it better too. I was tipping the front down at the last second when I pulled the trigger. I practiced moving my trigger finger independently instead of squeezing my whole hand, and soon I was hitting pretty close to POA every time. The switch to the +P loads required a little adjustment too, but I soon got the hang of it. Most of my shooting took place at a distance of 14 yards, or 42 feet. I'm sure with more practice, I could extend the range I can reliably shoot this gun. The target on the right is straight 115gr 9mm ball ammo at 42 feet, while the target on the left was shot with Corbon 115gr 9mm JHP ammo at the same distance.

Back at home, I stripped the gun down and cleaned it. After 290 rounds, it was filthy, but surprisingly easy to clean with the stainless steel slide. Once it was clean I lubed it with some tetra grease and gun oil. There, good as new!

Would I recommend this gun to someone wanting a decently priced, reliable, light carry gun? You betcha! It's also pretty darn accurate too. I'm no Bob Munden, but I still managed to get some good shots in with it.

Here's the manufacturers website. Anyone at Kahr, I'm willing to review any of your other offerings, just let me know! *wink*