Top Nav

Driving the Kahr CW9

Kahr CW9

Kahr CW9

After reading many reviews, I finally took the time to shoot the Kahr CW9 at the range.

I’ve been seriously considering another summer carry in 9mm and the Ruger LC9 and Kahr CW9 were being considered and in the running for top spot. It also means that I will be trading in a gun to help finance the chosen one; something that I’m not happy about doing but such things have to be done at time.

Unfortunately, the range did not have a Ruger LC9 range gun, but they did have the Kahr CW 9. So, I would like to share my impression of the gun with you while fully noting that some of you actually own and carry this gun. So, you may or may not agree with me on some points – but that’s alright.

I’m trying not to compare the Kahr with a Glock or any other gun; I want it to stand on its own merits and it has quite a few going for it.

First the basic specs (those who know these by heart, bear with me)

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; “Browning – type” recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
  • Barrel: 3.6″, conventional rifling; 1-10 right-hand twist
  • Length O/A: 5.9″
  • Height: 4.5″
  • Slide Width: .90″
  • Weight: Pistol 15.8 ounces, Magazine 1.9 ounces
  • Grips: Textured polymer
  • Sights: Drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight, pinned in polymer front sight
  • Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
  • Magazine: 1 – 7 rd, Stainless

Here is the range gun that I used:

Kahr CW9 Review

Kahr CW9 Review

The ammunition I used was 124 grain Jacketed Hollow Point (1100 FPS) as supplied by Georgia Arms.

This was going to be a test and familiarization run; no accuracy trials, no speed runs, no precision runs.

My first impression upon receiving the gun how light it was. With magazine this thing weighs out at 17.7 ounces empty. Not bad.

The second thing that I noticed was that it fit my hand very well. I’m used to handling pistols that have thick as well as fairly skinny grips and this was no exception. I would; however, be fitting a Pachmyr Tactical Gun Sleeve to help thicken the grip to my hand a little and to offset the aggressive stippling on the handle of the gun (more on that later).

I like the 7+1 capacity and the magazines are slim enough to carry several spares on your person. The magazine has a “Pinky catch” and it did that with my hand. (Note: I do not use the little finger when gripping. It’s just something that I broke myself of for the most part, but I do catch myself uses the pinky from time to time)

The sight setup on this particular gun had a red-dot front sight with a simple vertical bar in the center of the rear sight. I think that they call this a “Bar-Dot Combat” sight. I call it the “Dot-the-I” sight arrangement.

The slide stop lever is predominant and easy to actuate with the thumb of the shooting hand without shifting too much of the grip.

Although the gun has a “Chamber-Loaded” indicator on the right side, it was about useless to me. My hands are not rough from typing too many letters but I could not really tell a difference in it when I ran my finger across it when the gun was loaded as when I did the same with the gun unloaded. I don’t need it to tell me when the gun is loaded anyway.

The magazine release is comfortably located and takes no effort to push it. I found that I did lose some grip when pushing it to release the magazine, though. A grip sleeve might help in that area for me.

I did a dry fire several times to acclimate myself to the sights and the trigger.

The trigger is very smooth and surprisingly short. I had expected a longer pull. My trigger finger is not cramped when the striker is released. I only wish that it had a “slack-point”, a point just to when it ready to fire, the pressure seems to ease up a bit, which tells you that the striker is about to be released. I could not find the trigger’s reset point – if there is one. Perhaps more familiarization time with the gun may help me discover if there is a trigger rest point or not.

Loading up the first magazine I noticed that some of the rounds did not look like they seated properly. Upon closer inspection I noticed that as I loaded each round I could feel a click as the rim of the cartridge passed by a point in the magazine; the base of the cartridge was flush with the back of the magazine. If I didn’t ensure that this “click” was felt, the cartridge would still load but would not be seated in the magazine fully. Maybe, that was me. Perhaps some owners of this gun can enlighten me on this point.

With that being said, the magazine was easy to load and did not require a “helper”. I did notice that the edges of the top lip of the magazine were somewhat sharp. They did not cut my thumb but they did poke at it a bit.

It was time to shoot the CW9.

The face of the trigger is smooth. While a lot of people like smooth trigger, I find that a grooved trigger help me position the pad of the trigger finger on the trigger better. But, it’s not a deal breaker if a gun has a smooth-faced trigger.

Recoil from the first shot was snappy, but manageable. I would have to be a little more aggressive with my grip. Since the grip felt slim in my hand, the grip sleeve might help me out her.

The gun cycled perfectly and did not skip a beat. I was not looking for groups; I was looking for point ability. I was aiming at an imaginary point on the target, pull the trigger, and see how close I could get to that image. The first six shots were shot low to get a general feel for the trigger. I then started moving toward center mass and then to the head. After about 20 rounds, I was starting to get a feel for the gun. I had only brought 50 rounds with me so I had to be a quick study. One point, one shot.

Point to a spot in the throat area get a flash sight picture and pull the trigger. Move to the upper chest, flash sight picture, pull the trigger. Move to a head shot, flash sight picture and pull the trigger. Just take different points and try to hit it. Move up and down the body using 9mm acupuncture techniques.

I pulled four shots out of the main area that I was working in when trying to fast fire and not being used to the trigger, but all in all the gun did what it was told to do and I was satisfied with my first introduction to this pistol.

Now, by the time all 50 rounds had been shot, the stippling on the back of the grip was getting to the web of my shooting hand a little. For me, a grip sleeve (possibly a Pachmyr Tactical Grip Sleeve with finger grooves?) may provide me with a better grip.

My impression of the Kahr CW9 is favorable. It’s not a Glock or a Springfield or a Ruger. It is what it is – a quality handgun that I would carry without reservation.

I’m sure that you Kahr CW9 owners feed your gun its favorite ammunition. I’d like to hear from you on this.

I can’t help myself:

While the initial report was intended to be a “stand-alone” review of the Kahr CW9, I am also cognizant that comparisons between the CW9 and other pistols (and revolvers) is inevitable as most of us have carried a variety of pistols and revolvers.

In all reality, I hope to see comparison comments that will open discussion

One point that I forgot to make in the initial write-up is that, in my opinion, the CW9 is not a “beginners pistol”. It will take time and practice to master the somewhat long, but smooth, trigger pull in order to place shots accurately and with consistency – as it does with a double-action revolver. An advantage is that you do not have that DA to SA transition, which cause a lot of shooters with DA/SA pistols to throw away that first shot (I don’t mean literally throw away but simply the first round does not hit the intended mark).

I like the trigger on the Ruger LC9 better, although the pull is longer than the CW9s. The trigger pull on the Ruger is reminiscent of long double-action revolver triggers. The trigger on the Ruger LC9 has (what I call) a “slack point” as is found on many double-action revolvers. Watching the hammer on the LC9, the slack point comes when the face of the hammer is about equal to the top of the slide; there is just a bit of slack just before the hammer falls. Once I found the slack point, I could hold that hammer position all day. When ready to fire, the hammer drops with just a little bit more pull.

The slack point in a revolver was that last opportunity to make sure the sights were aligned with what you wanted to hit. I learned to use that slack point to my advantage on many occasions during some friendly non-timed competition where hits in the 5x circle meant taking home a trophy or not.

I found the CW9 to be a good “instinctive” shooting gun. That is, I could focus on a spot that I wanted to hit and, without using the sights, come close to hitting it. That tells me a lot about the ergonomics of the gun; the gun becomes an extension of the hand instead of a foreign object held in one’s grip. Instinctive shooting lends a lot to ‘combat accuracy’ when you are trying to win the heart and mind of the enemy – two rounds to the heart and one round to the mind.

The one thing that I did not try was one-hand shooting. Due to the thin grip, a two-handed hold was essential for me. The same holds true with the LC9, as it does with my G36. With my G36, a grip sleeve helped immensely in that department and I have no problem shooting the G36 one-handed. It’s not that I have large hands, it’s that I have somewhat long fingers and need either additional length or width in the grip area (A Beretta 92FS with Pachmyr finger-grooved grips is a perfect fit in my hand). A person with shorter or thicker appendages may not have a problem at all with the CW9’s grip.

As with anything, tradeoffs are to be made.

I’m looking forward to reading responses from more users of this gun.

Print Friendly

, ,

  • http://www.facebook.com/pedalmasher Sandy Scott

    I’m not sure how the CW9 operates in relation to the PM9 – a gun that I have in my collection. I find the gun (PM9) to be incredibly reliable and accurate, but there is one (to me) fatal flaw. It is exceedingly difficult to rack after over 400 rounds fired. To me, it makes the gun dangerous – especially to a beginner – due to the fact that on a malfunction, a “tap & rack” maneuver might be quite difficult to pull off, and probably impossible for the average woman. Of the many semi-autos that I have owned and operated, this is the only gun that exhibited that irritating and perhaps dangerous characteristic.

    Another detail that I was not terribly impressed with vis-a-vis the PM9 was the quality control of the magazine/magazine fitting. One magazine that came with the gun would continually slip out of the locked position (the button used to disassemble the mag) and start to open from the bottom and the other would not fall free when the mag release button was depressed. Kahr wanted me to return the gun for a little apparent “adjustment” to the mag well. I didn’t – too much bother. They did replace the malfunctioning mag.

    I would counsel anyone who decides to carry this weapon to get adequate malfunction practice in order to have confidence in your ability to handle a malfunction under high stress. Perhaps the adrenalin generated from such an event will be adequate to enable the user to rack the slide. I’ve been weight training for many years, shooting for 60 years, have military and police training and experience, and I have a hell of a time racking this gun.

    • JimA

      The CW9 is not as hard to rack as a PM9. The slide is longer and heavier and the recoil spring is somewhat lighter because of this. My wife has no trouble with her CW9, and she has a relatively weak grip.

  • Infidel

    Despite everything good one might say about Kahr armaments, the one most important thing to consider when thinking about purchasing these weapons:

    Do you really want to contribute money to the Moonies by buying a Kahr (or by subscribing to The Washington Times)?

    Look it up. The “Reverend” Sun Myung Moon (and his family) didn’t just disappear. They went totally mainstream. So mainstream that people have no idea that the Moonies are more powerful (and stealthy) than ever.

    Buy any gun you want, but do consider the source.

    • johnb847

      I ask this out of ignorance, not to provoke. What is your issue with the Moonies? All I know of them is the goofs who used to beg for money at the airport. Rather than taking this thread off topic, please just give me a link to reasons to be give them my money.

      • TxPatrick

        Moon or obama, Moon or obama and mooslim buddies, what is worst???

    • Herbert88

      What have the “Moonies” ever done to you or anyone you know? Your political and religious prejudices should be voiced in some political or religious forum, not in a discussion of a firearm.

      • Outrigger Jack

        I think it is always wise to consider the source! The “reverend” Moon is one to be eyeballed with a suspicious eye.

        • TxPatrick

          A bunch of people buy that Commie ammo and AK`s

  • johnb847

    I have a CW9 and love it! It is, as Daryl says, a very natural pointing gun. After very little range time, I shot it in a competition and placed second; much higher than usual. It was a backup gun match so the distances were not that long, but still I was far more impressed with the gun’s performance than mine. The DAO trigger pull is longer than a Glock but still smooth and soft. To me this is a perfect carry gun; it is thin and light making it very comfortable to carry all day. Yet it is not so small as to be difficult to control. The sight radius is enough to get accurate hits at 15 yards. To me, its a perfect balance.

    I’m not sure what Sandy’s issue is with his PM9. I am not a big guy and don’t lift weights but I have no problems racking the CW9. The edges of the mag lips are sharp and can be punishing on the thumbs when doing a lot of shooting. Other than that the quality of my gun and mags are top notch. It is well fitting, smooth and so far completely reliable. One complaint: additional mags are expensive; more than $30 each the last time I looked.

    When I can, I’m planning on getting a second CW9. They are mechanical devices, so having a backup is always a good idea. That I would invest my limited funds on a second one says enough about what I think about the CW9.

  • Dano Mcconnell

    I have a P-45, a P-40 and a P-9 (these are the “Step-Up” versions of the CW series. Physically, they are the same dimensions as the CW series; just with some improved machining.
    Of all (and I do mean ALL) of the handguns that I have carried and trained with over the past 50 years – these “P” series Kahr pistols are my “hands-down” favorites. They fit every Personal Protection Firearm criteria that I have. Seven (7) to eight (8) round capacity would be the only detractor, if it weren’t for the fact that I have never had any difficulty hitting what I aim at with the first round (Real Life or Practice).
    I honestly can’t say enough good things about them.
    A potential drawback (For a Beginner) in purchasing a “New” Kahr, is that they require “Breaking In”. A “New” Kahr needs to be cycled about 350 times to properly break it in so that it becomes completely reliable. Having done that, it will eat just about anything you want to feed it. Too many times a “Beginner” will purchase a Kahr, not realizing that it requires breaking in, and trade it in; thinking it to be unreliable. This could be a “Boon” for the wise shopper who knows what they are looking at. “P” series Kahr pistols are somewhat pricey; so if you can find one that has been traded in and hardly used – you can save some serious money off of someone elses mistake.

  • modraker

    After carrying a KelTec P11 for a couple of years, I switched to the Kahr CW9 because the trigger pull on the P11 was way too heavy. I like my new CCW alright but I miss the 10+1 capacity and the shorter height of my KelTec. If I could find a KelTec P11 with the smooth trigger of the Kahr, I would be a happy man.

  • SCfromNY

    I have a PM9 and agree with most of the reveiw. It does twist in hand from the recoil in such a small gun. But it was better and for me softer to shoot than a lightweight J Frame. I made a decision because of it’s size when I bought it to ONLY fire one handed. It , more so than others is a gun that would only be deployed in an extreme situation and I feel the time taken to assure a firm and consistent grip would be a disadvantage. About 500 rounds and 1 FTF in the first 50. Perfect since. For those interested I use Power Ball

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dan-Ess/100000666571492 Dan Ess

    Don’t own a plastic Kahr, but I do have two all metal models: a K9 and a MK40. And I’ll say this, they are very accurate and very easily carried all day in an inside the waste band holster. Even the MK40 (smallest 40 around I know of) has very little recoil, since it’s all stainless. I added a Hogue Handall sleeve and it is wonderful. I’ve been thinking about the PM45, probably take one for a test shoot at my LGR if they have one.

  • ROOKS1

    I own the CW9 and I love the pistol! I have been lookiing for a pocket pistol say LCP. But, I am having a hard time steering away from the Kahr. Really looking into the PM series, I can only hope and imagine that the PM’s are just like the CW9 if not BETTER…

  • Kenpo33

    I own a LC9, a rohrbaugh R9 , and a kahr PM40 for different concealed carry situations. Each weapon shoots differently but the R9 and the LC can be carried in different seasons. The LC for winter the R for summer. I then got the pm for better knock down power and winter. The only trouble I had when any new was with the kahr with the slide failing to lock after the last round. After a trip back to the factory it has worked with ALL ammo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.schroeder.96 Ed Schroeder

    I had A CW9 and loved everything about it but the trigger and I could not get any grouping with it.. I could shoot my .38 snubbie better and got tighter groups with it, so I sold the CW9 and got a SW MP9c that I can shoot a lot better. In all, I believe it was the long trigger pull that made accuracy for me impossible.

  • Jeff

    I just bought a CW9 yesterday and took it out to the desert to shoot. I only put 55 rounds through it so far because 9mm is so hard to come by right now. But it ran 100% reliable and accurate right out of the box! I’ve never had such good groupings and reliability from any new pistol. My Ruger sr9c came close, but the trigger is so light on it I had a couple of flyers until I got used to it. I was only shooting at about 7yds but was putting everything in the bullseye or 10 ring. I found the trigger to be amazing! And compared to the Kel Tec pf9 that I just sold, the recoil on the CW9 was really quite light. I got fatigued fast with the pf9-not with the CW9. Wished I had a couple hundred more rounds I can’t wait to get it out again.

  • PlayerlimiTT

    I’ve been playing with a few different ccw weapons recently and have shot all manner of these little fantastic plastics. From the boxy G26 dressed in 9mm. To the cheaply bought Kel-Tec PF-9. My thoughts were thus; Glock 26 is exactly that, a Glock. Felt big in my hand and kicked my wallet in the money pouch. If I’m spending that much I’d rather get a G17. The Ruger LC9 grip felt minimal and weird in my hand, and as soon as I shot that trigger. It was left behind. Then I got a chance to shoot the Kahr PM-9. It was a pretty close run thing, but I never approved of the feel of it in my hand.

    It wasn’t until last month that I had a chance to shoot the CW-9. I was under the impression that because of its msrp, the company obviously didn’t have as much invested in the low end of it’s model’s and it was more of a shelf filler for consumers. It wasn’t interested in selling to those of us who don’t have the 799.99 to throw at a B.U.G. it seemed like an afterthought marketing used to catch are attention.

    But grab my attention it did. It’s not flashy or something for the gun case. It meets the everyday man and woman’s needs with no thought to anything but plain and simple solid craftsmanship. My CW-9 has been run dirty, dropped on every conceivable surface and shot everything from 147gr handloads to Winchester White Box 115gr target loads, without the least complaint. It’s gotten a good amount of use, at just under 900rds.
    What Kahr has done isn’t a pretty weapon. It’s not a Glock (and that’s just fine…). But it has my full confidence in its use as my primary ccw or a dependable B.U.G.

    We all get to have our own opinion on this debate and to each their own. But from the box provided, to the range and beyond. The CW-9 is the one for me, not because I couldn’t afford the Glock… but because of the well crafted, smooth trigger and manageable and amazingly small felt recoil. Paired with the simple but well worked overall feel. What Kahr has done is make a handgun made to get a lot of use, be gentle to the wallet and perform on demand with precision and the reliability needed in a ccw.

  • alireznews

    Thank You for very nice review. I have Kahr CW9 and love it.