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  #1  
Old 11-09-2010, 9:35 AM
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Default Kahr PM9 Buying Review

I've been shopping around for a Kahr PM9 and just purchased, so I thought I would post my experiences in case they are helpful to anyone else. Earlier I had heard about some problems Kahr owners experienced, FTF, FTE, magazine spring problems, etc., and had kind of written them off as glitchy and too expensive being in the $700-$800 price range. My more recent research started to give me the impression that it was the older Kahrs (2003 thru 2006) that were having the majority of problems, and that the bugs seem to be worked out by the manufacturer in the later (2008 and on) models. Then, I stumbled across a few Kahrs in a gun shop a few months ago (sorry, can't remember which) with new PM9's priced in the low $600's and it got me re-considering.



Well I wanted to try one out before first, so I started calling around to my local gun shops, looking for a rental. American Shooting Center in Kearny Mesa had one until just a few months ago, and Iron Sights in Oceanside had one a 'long time' ago, but both ranges took them out of their rental lineups. It was hinted to me that the guns might have been glitchy, but not confirmed. I kept calling ranges in a 100 mile radius and finally came upon On Target Shooting Range in Laguna Niguel who had one.

On Target had a black PM9 in inventory, and unfortunately, only the 'extended' 7 round magazine with a funky red baseplate/grip extension.



It wasn't cheap shooting in Laguna Niguel. Range fee, rental fee, and ammo fee came out to $50, and that was for only 50 ROUNDS! You are forced to shoot their reloads (can't even shoot new stuff through their rentals) and it is a 'no rifle' range unless you've taken their safety course first. Also, their distance markers are weird. Not the typical 7yrds, 15 yrds and 25yrds. It was more like a 12 yard marker line, an 18 yard marker line, then maxing out against the back wall at 28 yards...so you have to kind of guess at distances.

I immediately got to work testing out the PM9. I wasn't the biggest fan of their standard sights. They are a little large for being so close together. If I had the money to spend, I would definitely consider the tritium night sight upgrade. Since there was no 'regular' 6 round mag, and I was keenly interested in seeing how recoil felt with such a small grip, I tried a few times to chamber each round, remove the extended magazine, fire, then re-insert the magazine to chamber another round and repeat. I found the gun extremely controllable and very fun to shoot. I was accurate to 3" groups out to 15 yards, but at 25 yards, I could only hit paper about 50% of the time (no accuracy at all). My hand was sore after the 50 rounds, but I think that may be partially due to reloading the magazine, which had a REALLY stiff spring.

The big problem that I ran into was constant failure to feed. I would fire a round, and the slide would be stuck half way back, with the next bullet stuck coming out of the magazine:



This happened 4 times. I was sure to insert each round firmly into the magazine so I don't think it was user error. Also, the range master said I could have been limp wristing, but I've never had this problem before...actually I usually have the problem of holding pistols to tightly and with locked arms, so I don't think that was it either. Each time (you're not supposed to clear FTF's yourself), the range master would come out, remove the stuck round, toss it downrange, then fire a test shot. I wasn't too happy about losing 6 - 8 of my test rounds in that fashion.

I left liking the feel of the gun, but still not knowing how it feels to shoot it with its standard mag, and seriously wondering about the reliability of the pistol, having repeatedly experienced the most common complaints I read about Kahrs. It could have been chalked up to a bunch of things. Bad reloads? Poorly maintained rental guns? (it did look dry). An older version of the gun? User error? It could also have been worn down parts. The slide was very easy to pull back on the rental so I wondered if the spring was a little worn out.

When I started calling gun shops about price, I was told that the 'new' PM9's would cost about $20 more than the "old" PM9's, and that a 'new' version had been introduced by Kahr on October 1, 2010. I contacted Melanie Herbert in Sales at Kahr Arms and she confirmed that there was indeed a 'minor' redesign. She said when I saw the new gun, it would be beveled at the front and the slide stop to give it fewer catch points. She also said the barrel was just slightly longer in the newer version.

I went on to do some research online. It looks like the barrel is between 1/4" and 1/8" longer, and the front sight of the new Kahr was also moved another hair forward. It appears clear in pictures that the 'new' PM9's slide protudes farther from the business end of polymer frame than the old one did. I've read bloggers who say that the spring in the new PM9 is slightly longer and that they have had to 'cut' springs received from Kahr to fit into their older PM9 models. Here are pics of the old and new Kahrs to illustrate the difference (not my pictures):



I personally think the Kahr loses something in the looks department with the redesign. the beveled barrel gives it a 'space age' look which is incongruent with it's two tones, where it had more 'classic' look before. I read on other threads that the redesign was meant to 'fix' some of the issues complained about previously, including it catching while going into pockets/holsters. One of the comments I saw was that the new PM9 is harder to 'rack' and the noise is different...a more 'positive' click. Hopefully this helps resolve the ftf problem I witnessed. I decided I definitely wanted one of the 'new' PM9's.

The cheapest price I saw for the standard matte stainless version with two magazines and standard sights was $600. There were a few dealers offering this price. I narrowed mine down to Impact Guns in Ogden Utah, and Hyatt Gun Shop out of Charlotte NC.

http://www.impactguns.com/store/602686068017.html

http://www.hyattgunstore.com/kahr-ar...rd-sights.html

The prices have gone up slightly over the past 2 weeks, and they are now at $619 and $604 respectively where they were both $599 online back in mid October. I read a few bad things on some other Calguns threads about Impact Guns, and personally found them to be non-responsive with no returned messages until I finally left to two emails and a phone call. To their credit, they did finally call me back after 4 days, and seemed eager to do the deal, but I was feeling a little leery. Hyatt Gun Shop on the other hand was great, and I was immediately assigned one sales guy, Robert, to work with. They've been around since 1959 and are A+ BBB rated so I felt I could buy with confidence. I ended up paying $34 shipping, $35 to my FFL, Don Gussler in Santee CA (+1) and $25 to the DOJ, so $693 in total. My experience so far with Hyatt has been nothing but positive.

I'm currently in 10 day hell, but did get to go down and see the gun. Inside the cheapo Kahr container, the gun was inside an oil soaked plastic bag. I immediately noticed there was dirt in the 'grip bars' used to chamber a round and the gun definitely looks fired. I hope this is from Kahr test firing each pistol (with dirty hands) and that I didn't get a used pistol, but my look was brief and I will pick it over more closely when I can take it home. As I said, it was soaked in lube, which I guess is a good thing?? My first impression was that the barrel sits awkwardly on the polymer frame, with a bigger gap between the frame & barrel at the front and a smaller one near the trigger. Hopefully this will be a non-issue and I look forward to taking it to the range over thanksgiving!

Last edited by lumwilliam; 12-03-2010 at 9:12 AM..
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2010, 9:45 AM
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Interesting review....thank you.!...Good luck with your new weapon. Give us a range report on the performance when you can.
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:25 AM
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Great review.
Keep us updated.
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2010, 1:32 PM
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On target doesn't maintain they're guns very well I rented a glock there and it was keyholing when I told them that they kinda laughed and said " yea it nust be really dirty"
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Old 11-09-2010, 2:54 PM
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I've got a PM9 and it's been flawless. I think I have about 1000 rounds through it. Maybe a little less. Great CCW gun.
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2010, 4:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UserM4 View Post
I've got a PM9 and it's been flawless. I think I have about 1000 rounds through it. Maybe a little less. Great CCW gun.
When did you buy it? I keep hearing the earlier ones had more problems then the PM9's made after 2007.
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Old 11-11-2010, 8:02 PM
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Lum, once you get it cleaned up and ready for prime time, you're going to love that gun! BUT, it is very compact and tight so don't expect it to shoot like a Glock or 1911. Think of it more like a hot rod 29 Ford roadster with a big bore hemi in it. It can take +P ammo if you like and will shoot better than you do, hands down. But it is a hand full to manage - at first.

The new model was beveled by request of one or more large purchasing organizations for improved re-holstering. To maintain the balance of mass they lengthened the slide .1" and have a longer recoil spring assembly which may help in chambering also.

Here's what you need to do before you shoot it. Go through this Proper prep of a new kahr, the first post is the one to follow. I don't recall if Jocko goes into working the feed ramp but you need to make extra sure that is clean and shinny is good. Then watch Slide stop reload? Sling shot? Who cares? which gives critical info regarding chambering the first round (one of the most frequent issues for new Kahr owners). Then watch YouTube - 2 handed recoil management.m4v that shows a proper grip. Note: the instruction picks up after 3 min. Another of the most common complaints by new Kahr shooters is the stove-pipe and they swear the are gripping it right. It is right for other guns but you have to strangle the Kahr because it is so short and you don't have the leverage of other guns. This video shows the 2 hand grip with proper tension to return to target quickly.

For the breakin period you should use FMJ ammo and I suggest something like Federal American Eagle before trying others. Like I said the gun is tight and there are a lot of parts that move against each other inside that have to get smoothed out. Once you shoot a box of good stuff then you can try other stuff. Don't be surprised if your preferred defense ammo gets stuck on the feed ramp at first. I discovered that after it's broken in and the feed ramp is polished a bit it will take about anything.

There's a lot more you will pick up but I'm trying to help you have a positive first experience. It's painful for someone to pay good money for a gun and they come back from the range and complain that it stinks. No matter they didn't follow instructions and clean it or they grip it like a gangsta, a bad experience is hard to overcome. So I hope you get a good start and your Kahr makes you proud.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for that post and all the links Oldlincoln! Soon as I'm through my 10 days, I'll definitely be back to look them all over. I've been curious about recoil with this gun. I've been told to practice the 'two in center mass, one head shot' in rapid succession, but On Target in Laguna Niguel would NOT let me do any rapid fire drills. The recoil seemed manageable with the PM, but the rental did snap, leaving me to wonder how accurate a quick follow up shot would be.

Also, you mentioned the gun could 'shoot better' then me. Do you mean that it's a capable weapon for distance shooting? Hope that is true but from the 50 rounds I spent with the loaner and the short distance between the fat front & rear sights, it's hard to imagine anyone being consistent at even 25 yards. I think it would be awesome if I could get there...with a pocket pistol!
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:31 PM
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I have a PM9 and really like it. As far as recoil, my wife prefers to shoot the PM9 over the S&W 642 with light .38sp wadcutters. Bottom line, recoil is minimal especially for such a small gun.

You will read that Kahr recommends chambering the 1st round by locking the slide back and releasing with the slide stop and NOT slingshotting. Unfortunately, I still find this true. Chambers every time with the slide stop and jams 30% of the time when slingshotting. And I am not slingshotting like a pu$$y! I'm getting ready to go read all the info posted above by OldLincoln, hopefully I can find some tips.

I find the Kahr very accurate out to 15yd, much more so than the 642.

I think you are going to like it. Go here for more reading and info:

http://kahrtalk.com/forum.php
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Old 11-29-2010, 9:43 PM
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I purchased my Kahr PM9 from Hyatt Coin for $610. I think that was about the best deal going for the "new" PM9 with the beveled barrel and longer spring.

Here are a few pics of it next to and in my new Remora 'clipless' iwb holster which is pretty amazing in itself:




I haven't actually been able to shoot the gun yet because...big surprise from Kahr, it came with a few problems. The rear of the polymer grip is all chewed up and frayed where it meets the steel barrel. Rough polymer edges...probably from sloppy manufacturing, stick out and can get caught on clothing/holster, etc. You can also see peeling polymer along the top all along where the plastic meets the barrel. I've got a message in to Kahr to see how/if they will address this:


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Old 11-29-2010, 9:49 PM
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Old 11-29-2010, 9:55 PM
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[/QUOTE]

my old kahr cw9 was like that too...but never had issue with FTE/FTF issue.
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Old 11-29-2010, 9:56 PM
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If you get a good one, hold onto it like grim death. Otherwise, make sure Kahr pays the freight both ways.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniper4usmc View Post

my old kahr cw9 was like that too...but never had issue with FTE/FTF issue.
Did you think the frame being like that was acceptable? I don't want to be overly picky about it and can probably just use a file to smooth it out.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:13 PM
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thanks for the good info.

just as a point of reference, my local indoor range here in norcal is about the same cost-wise...

$16/hour lane fee
$10 flat fee for most pistol rentals
$15.99 for 50 rounds of 9mm (remington 115gr umc here)
$1 for a target

that puts you to a $45+ outing in a hurry.

hope everything with the kahr works out!
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumwilliam View Post
Did you think the frame being like that was acceptable? I don't want to be overly picky about it and can probably just use a file to smooth it out.
I don't own a Kahr, but doesn't look like much of a problem to me. I'd file or cut off the burrs and hit the range!

If it doesn't shoot well after the break in period, _then_ send it back to Kahr.
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Old 12-02-2010, 4:00 PM
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Default Kahr PM 9 Mfg May 03-Purchased New June 05

Howdy:

My Kahr PM 9 has nearly 21,000 rounds down the "tube" with neary any problems from the get go. Rare to have FTF unless student (I'm NRA Pistol Inst) doesn't rack the slide properly and/or inadvertently presses on magazine release button or limp wrists (common) weapon w/o proper grip hold during sessions!

At 14,000 Kahr factory tune-up (didn't need) and at 20,000 Cylinder & Slide Package II tune-up (IWI Night sights replaced with XS Sights - front Big Dot-age related). Preventative maintenance tune-ups!

While a C&S, replaced OEM barrel (still perfect) with new Kahr barrel. Replacement barrel had to be replaced by Kahr because of rough chamber as per John at C&S. During test firing, new barrel hood needed adjustment (peening). Nearly 1,000 from June 2010, PM 9 is still 100% reliable and my glasses, forehead no longer are "targets" for ejected brass.


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Old 12-02-2010, 8:17 PM
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If you have FTF with FMJ, send it back to Khar.
I had FTF with FMJ during break in. I could not break in the pistol when it kept having FTF. So I sent it back to Khar and they fixed it, no FTF after that.
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Old 12-02-2010, 8:18 PM
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What an excellent read! Talk about doing your homework. Good luck with your Kahr
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:29 PM
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I have had 0 issues with my PM9. It just works. I'd bet my life on it. It goes bang each and every time. Oh and did I mention it is the most accurate short barrel gun I have ever fired.
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Old 12-03-2010, 9:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd_shooter View Post
I don't own a Kahr, but doesn't look like much of a problem to me. I'd file or cut off the burrs and hit the range!

If it doesn't shoot well after the break in period, _then_ send it back to Kahr.
I was a little irritated to see the lack of fit-and-finish on a $700 gun. If it was a bersa thunder or CZ or I got it for $250 or $300, I might just file it down myself, but for a Kahr...I think it's going back to them.

Also I've having a mag release problem. The 7 round mag is TIGHT and won't drop when I hit mag release. In fact it's so tight that it needs a good push to go in and a tug out. Those two problems combined were the tipping point for me.

When I got my Kahr brand new, it was in a platic baggy covered in lube...a mess. The serrated grips on the slide were dirty with crud and greasy fingerprints and there was black gunk in crevices all over the barrel. I called the reseller, Hyatt Gun in Charlotte and was really angry...accusing them of selling me used. But they were adamant that it came to them from Kahr exactly like that. Anyway, it's going back and I'm hoping it will arrive better the 2nd time around.
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Old 12-03-2010, 9:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zman View Post
What an excellent read! Talk about doing your homework. Good luck with your Kahr
Thanks Zman! I think Calguns is a great resource and if someone posted their compiled research for each type of firearm including best place to test fire, best place to buy for best price...it would make Calguns even better! Hope my homework helps make someone else's buying experience a little better.
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Old 12-03-2010, 9:32 AM
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Great detailed review. Will continue to watch as the saga unfolds. Hope it comes back just right.
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Old 12-03-2010, 9:37 AM
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Very Nice review. Thank you
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:55 AM
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Default Thanks for the update..!

Hopefully customer service will come thru for you..
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Old 12-24-2010, 9:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumwilliam View Post
Anyway, it's going back and I'm hoping it will arrive better the 2nd time around.
lumwilliam - Please update when you get your PM9 back. I'm considering getting one and still very much on the fence about it. Your post is an excellent resource, thank you.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:35 AM
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I have a PM9 that I love! It was perfect out of the box. No FT anything so far. It's still in the break-in period (probably a couple hundred down the pipe so far). No problems at all regardless of how I load (rack or slide release). Both magazines work great.

It is so small and light I barely notice it. Like others have said, it is simply the most accurate small pistol I've ever fired. 2 inch groups at 7 yards are common. That might not be good shooting for some of you, but for me that's damn good. I'm actually not that good of a shooter, but the little Kahr makes me look like one.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumwilliam View Post
When did you buy it? I keep hearing the earlier ones had more problems then the PM9's made after 2007.
I bought it about a year and a half ago. But I got it 2nd hand so it's quite old.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lumwilliam View Post
Did you think the frame being like that was acceptable? I don't want to be overly picky about it and can probably just use a file to smooth it out.
It's polymer. Either it's gonna have a bit of flashing or wear where there's metal contact. All my HK's have flashing near the steel rail guide inserts. And HK's are probably the highest quality poly pistols out there. It's no big deal if it doesn't negatively affect function.

But's here's the thing with Kahr as well as some Rugers... they're custom fitted to a certain degree. Some generations of Kahrs are not interchangeable between slides and frames. It's no HK in that department. Also, if you look at the PM9 frame, you'll notice that there's a significant bow in the slide rail area. In otherwords, if you look down at the frame, it's not always perfectly parallel. Still, no function related issues to report.
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Last edited by UserM4; 12-24-2010 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 05-05-2014, 9:36 AM
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Originally Posted by sniper4usmc View Post

Resurrecting this thread.

I just bought a new PM9. After firing the recommended 200 rounds through it for "break in" the back of my slide rails look just like that. I wasn't sure if it was bad news, or normal wear. I guess it's normal wear. If it reaches a point where it doesn't keep getting worse, then I'm OK with it. Had me worried at first though, because before I fired it, it was a perfect fit.

If this is normal wear, Kahr should put a note about it in the manual. Guess it's time to break that out and read it...

On the plus side, I love this little gun. Shoots great. Can't believe how accurate I am with it. My first mag fired, at only 7 yards, every round was in the center dot, within a half inch group. That's better than I usually shoot. Tried shooting the 100 yard steel, and hit it every time! Out of a 3 inch barrel, I was impressed.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by OldLincoln View Post
Lum, once you get it cleaned up and ready for prime time, you're going to love that gun! BUT, it is very compact and tight so don't expect it to shoot like a Glock or 1911. Think of it more like a hot rod 29 Ford roadster with a big bore hemi in it. It can take +P ammo if you like and will shoot better than you do, hands down. But it is a hand full to manage - at first.

The new model was beveled by request of one or more large purchasing organizations for improved re-holstering. To maintain the balance of mass they lengthened the slide .1" and have a longer recoil spring assembly which may help in chambering also.

Here's what you need to do before you shoot it. Go through this Proper prep of a new kahr, the first post is the one to follow. I don't recall if Jocko goes into working the feed ramp but you need to make extra sure that is clean and shinny is good. Then watch Slide stop reload? Sling shot? Who cares? which gives critical info regarding chambering the first round (one of the most frequent issues for new Kahr owners). Then watch YouTube - 2 handed recoil management.m4v that shows a proper grip. Note: the instruction picks up after 3 min. Another of the most common complaints by new Kahr shooters is the stove-pipe and they swear the are gripping it right. It is right for other guns but you have to strangle the Kahr because it is so short and you don't have the leverage of other guns. This video shows the 2 hand grip with proper tension to return to target quickly.

For the breakin period you should use FMJ ammo and I suggest something like Federal American Eagle before trying others. Like I said the gun is tight and there are a lot of parts that move against each other inside that have to get smoothed out. Once you shoot a box of good stuff then you can try other stuff. Don't be surprised if your preferred defense ammo gets stuck on the feed ramp at first. I discovered that after it's broken in and the feed ramp is polished a bit it will take about anything.

There's a lot more you will pick up but I'm trying to help you have a positive first experience. It's painful for someone to pay good money for a gun and they come back from the range and complain that it stinks. No matter they didn't follow instructions and clean it or they grip it like a gangsta, a bad experience is hard to overcome. So I hope you get a good start and your Kahr makes you proud.
+1

We own 2 KAHR's PM9 PM40 and P45. The above info is consistent with our experience. I had to adjust my grip but otherwise no complaints. Wife got the grip right from the git go (dang it) and she can shoot a 3 in pattern with any one of them at 15 yds. Blows the center out of the target at 5 yrds. I'm not quite as accurate with them (I blame my big hands) but still respectable out to 15yrds
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