I pocket carry a Kahr MK9. I love that gun! It’s not for everyone. It’s heavy – which I like – and really expensive: around $700. People who need to pinch their pennies are well advised to take Jarhead6’s advice and buy the TTAG 4.5 star Kahr CW9. Oh wait, he recommends the .45 caliber CW45. As .45 cartridges cost significantly more than 9mm’s, buying the CW45 makes you penny wise and pound foolish (as the Brits are wont to say). Besides, the CW45 MSRP’s at $449. That’s still a lot of money. If you’re really stretched, I’d recommend a used gun. How about a Smith & Wesson 642 for shade under three bills? Or a CZ82s? What’s the cheapest acceptable carry gun you’d recommend? HiPoint?

78 Responses to Question of the Day: Best Inexpensive Carry Gun: Kahr CW45? [VIDEO]

    • That’s my carry piece when I want more than my TCP. It’s somewhat smaller and lighter than my XDM, and really, if I need 20 rounds, I’m fubar’d already.

      Plus, it has an external safety in addition to the trigger safety. ND? Not on my watch.

    • Beat me to it. I had a PT709 which is basically identical except it’s a single stack. Felt a little cheap but fed and fired every time. I’ve seen the G2 for as little as $200 on line, and if I were going to go back to a small auto I’d prefer the higher round count.

      • A normal price right now is about $229…and Taurus is offering a $50 rebate until the end of the year. Basically puts the price at around $180 (exclusive of tax).

        • $177.44 for me, after rebate + background check.

          I’m eligible for a 10% discount at one of the local places. ?

    • I logged in to second this. Taurus Pt11 G2 Is the single best cheap CCW you can buy today. It replaced my SIG P938 as my EDC.
      Suckers can be had for 190 bucks after factory rebate. Once you get past the LOOOONG trigger pull, it’s just a helluva gun.

    • I couldn’t agree more. At the current stupid-cheap, sub-$200 prices, it’s the best value going in handguns right now. I bought one for $200 on a lark, and the damn thing has been flawless. Accurate, comfortable, easy to shoot, well-made, 12+1 capacity, and comes with two magazines and adjustable sights. Nearly every review I’ve seen has been positive (that’s what got me to buy one when the price dropped). Taurus seems to have really got this one right.

      It does make one wonder, though – if Taurus can sell these for under $200, why does an extremely similar Glock cost more than twice as much?

    • I couldn’t agree more. I haven’t had a single issue after several hundred rounds of various brands and types. And it’s pretty damn accurate, to boot!

    • Chip,
      I bought both SR40 and SR40c models, out the door at ~$800 and have enjoyed both. TTAGs review sold me, and Robert’s comment on tattooing the “Loaded when up” line on…something…was hilarious.

      Buy American.

  1. I’m gonna say it: Kel-Tec P3AT. $250 or less new. Lifetime warranty and small enough to take everywhere.

    Add $50 and get an LCP or closeout LC9 (old hammer-fired model). Another $50 and Black Friday will score a Kahr CM9 easy.

    • And if you want a full size, go with the Ruger 9e — the less expensive version of their SR9 series. They appear to be uber reliable and eat EVERYTHING. There does not appear to be a brand of ammunition or type of bullet that will not cycle 100% of the time. And they are accurate. Oh, and you can purchase a brand new one for around $350 if you are willing to shop around.

      • I agree. I am thrilled with the 9e. Really nice trigger, adjustable back strap, soft shooting, and I have yet to have any ftf/fte/etc. Got mine on sale at grabagun.com for $299 + $6 shipping. Sleeper deal for sure.

        Best part? One of my buddies knocked it off the table onto a rough concrete floor at the range. He froze and stared at me, probably expecting an tirade. I picked it up, brushed it off, and said “no worries!!”

  2. I got my CZ75B for around $400, but it’s a bit too large for most people to carry. Maybe a used G26?

    I would have no problem with a Hi-Point as a home defense gun, but like the CZ and other full-size pistols it’s going to be harder to conceal.

    • I’ll say SCCY CPX as well. Mine was used; $180 out the door with both mags. Feels and shoots like a quality gun. So I guess it is.

  3. I picked up a Ruger SR9 pro. $350. I would highly recommend this for a conceal carry, low cost pistol. If you have not checked out the pro version I would strongly recommend taking a look at it.

    Hoplopfheil +1

  4. Yes, I would recommend a HiPoint. For that half of the working population making less than $30K annually and trying to raise and protect a family an inexpensive gun tthat works with a no questions guarantee is worth considering..

  5. CW 45s have a street price of 300-350
    CM 45s are arround 325-400 (if you can find one)

    Honestly recommend a cw9 (carry one) for 300-350.

    • My CW45 has always acted up. It’s what keep me from carrying it. I keep thinking another 20 rounds or so will get it in shape but alas I don’t carry it.

      • We have 1,it was supposed to be my wife’s.

        I was going to say down thread that I usually wind up carrying it more(in a Remora) than my G19.

        You reminded me it did take a little tinkering to run good.

        Polish the feed ramp and the magazine lips(tips from kahrtalk.com). Also run at least the manufacturer’s recommended 200 rds through it, and know it is a little bit susceptible to limp wristing.

        Oh and forget about conical shaped bullets like Critical Defense.

        Quirks aside it is skinny in your hand, skinny in your pants and packs a punch.

        Wife usually only wants to carry the “Little Cutie Pie” anyway.

      • Same experience here. CW45 and P40 both acted up: bent small parts, FTFs, slide locking back mid-mag, and never reliably cycled most of the wide HP designs (such as XTPs). I’ve forgiven sins such as those in other pistols if they smoothed out after 100-200rds, but they never did in both of these pistols. And that was just range sessions, not the IDPA courses or extended sessions I’d put a concealed pistol through before trusting it.

        LC9s Pro, M&P Shield, CW9 (I’ve heard nothing but good things about the 9mm Kahrs), XDs, G43, G36, etc are all better purchases.

    • My CW9 has been flawless through…um, I lost count. I’d guess around 800. Has eaten everything without a bobble.I usually run 124 HPs, with RN for practice, and it is comfortable and accurate to shoot. I did add a Hogue HandAll Jr. because I have soft (office) hands, and it has been a wonderful addition. I bought it ‘two years ago for $380-which was good for my area, since the dealers charge $75 to DROS a gun they didn’t sell, taking the benefit out of lower cost internet sales. It’s thin, it’s light (16 oz empty), and it carries 8 rounds in a pocketable pistol.

      And being in California, I cannot buy a CW45 since it is not on the roster. [I am a fan of small .45s.]

  6. The Kahr CW380 is a great pocket gun that goes for ~$350. A Smith & Wesson Shield goes for less than 4 bills if you shop around a little. If you can tolerate a cruddy trigger, the S&W SDVE goes for about $300. All are reliable guns from reputable manufacturers.

    If you’re desperate a Hi-Point is the only truly cheap carry gun I would consider.

    • I carry the CW380 when the CW9 is too big. I don’t care what anyone says, the CM / PM 9 /40 is too big for a pocket.

    • I have the CW380. Piece of crap. Do not buy it. There are alot of similar horror stories out on the net about this gun. Mine are consistent FTF, slide does not go back to battery, and locking open in the middle of a magazine. These happens every magazine. It has been back to Kahr twice. I have had others shoot it and the problems still occur. Over 700 rounds through it of a number of brands both FMJ and defensive ammo. It shoots only HPR FMJ and Remington UMC decently. It will not shoot any defensive ammo including Corbon & Hornady. I will try Corbon Powrball next. For the cost of the ammo trying to get this thing to shoot I could have gotten a Sig P238.

      I have a CM9. Wonderful gun that shoots everything. However I will not consider a Kahr again due to their customer service and having to pay for the shipping. Other companies pay both ways. When I call Kahr and if I am lucky to get someone they make me feel like I know nothing and the problem resides with me. Other manufacturer’s I have dealt have good, nice people to talk about the issues. I would advise staying away from the CW45 due to this. Heaven help you if you have a problem and need to get it resolved.

      • CW380 sucks. Its weird, dang thing hurts to shoot. Trigger guard pinches my finger, and the recoil is worse than the CM9, which is an awesome gun. Only reason I sold it was because the XDS9 was so much better.

      • My CW380 was problematic too, However the fix was a new set of spring for the striker and recoil from Kahr. Turns out the striker spring was too strong. It acts against the recoil spring and will keep the cw380 from returning to battery. Also before the recoil spring change, It would start to fail to return to battery after 25 rounds until cleaned again. Last range session i put over 125 rounds downrange without an issue. And that’s why i carry it, I can run 100 rounds in a match with it without any pain issues.

      • My Kahr P380 was equally horrific- four trips to the factory for repairs, and it still didn’t run right before I finally got rid of it. Never again.

  7. Canik TP9SA retails for less than $300 and been reviewed on here and by many many other’s online. I’ve tried to abuse mine and fail, so far so good, I’ve spent more on ammo than the pistol since I got mine. I have let everyone that wants to to try it shoot it at the range, even asked a few to shoot and give me their impression, if it was bad it would not hurt my feelings. One small woman said it was a bit big for her hands, but I have the larger back strap on it.

    1500 rounds no real cleaning, wiped down and oiled keeps going BANG and I keep 😀 with about $320 spent on it after the $25 rebate.

    Yet to have an OOOOOPS (no bang), decocker was triggered. Pun intended.

  8. Gotta’ go with Taurus Tcp or Millennium G2 in 9mm. Either runs like a champ and costs way under $300. And Taurus is doing 25-50buck rebates on top of this. And I had a used Taurus 85 that ran great(250 used)…

    • Does the Cobra work? My understanding is that it is essentially a Lorcin with a different name stamped on it. Not being snarky, it’s a real question.

  9. I carry a Taurus TCP in summer my sd9ve in winter. If I was bigger I could carry it all the time but light clothes and I print with it. Sd9 is only 280$ at academy for black Friday picked one up last year and plan on getting another because they are awesome once you put an apex trigger in. Mine has 2500 rounds thru no problem

    • I have exactly the same combination. I like my $200 TCP but I have more faith in my $289 SD9VE. I guess it’s because I trust 9mm more than 380. I like to shoot better and am more accurate with my RIA 1911 FS tactical in 9mm more but it is heavy.

    • Careful with those Apex springs. I started getting light primer strikes about 10-20% of the time (depending on the brand of ammo) after a couple thousand rounds. I put the originals back in, and it’s been flawless since. YMMV. I thought about buying a fresh set of Apex springs, but decided against it, since I no longer have any problem with the stock trigger. Practice makes perfect.

  10. If they still made it I’d nominate the Ruger P95. You could probably find a pretty nice used one for $250 or so.

  11. I may catch a stream of effluent here for suggesting it, but I recommend the Norinco 213 (or a Zastava M88, if a 213 can’t be found).

  12. For cheap and not going to be run hard, the Ruger LC series is tough to argue with.

    In America most “used” guns barely fit into that category. Most dudes get a gun, fire 200 rounds through it then sell it, at least they do locally.

  13. Another vote for Kahr. pm9 disappears in my cargo pockets, and it’s also invisible under normal circumstances IWB. Sometimes I’m lazy and just slip it (pocket holster, of course) in the front pocket of my jeans. It’s a little tight but still comfortable and easy. I got it used for $500, cm9 is basically the same thing but will be cheaper and new!

  14. I still love my old Bersa Thunder .380 CC. First pistol I ever bought, and it cost $329 with tax. The non-CC models are less. They run well and look nice.

    Nowadays I with run a S&W Shield 9mm or S&W Bodyguard .380, and when found on sale can be had for less than $400, but I picked up a Ruger SR9 on sale for $360. It’s a thin double stack that can take a full sized mag when needed and has a good out of the box trigger. I just wish it didn’t have the safety on it. It’s a good general purpose pistol for a nice price and a lifetime warranty.

  15. He’s right, the CW45 is a bargain that’s hard to beat when it comes to a reliable lightweight compact 45 pistol. I bought one used with 2 mags for less than $300 with every intention of using it as trading material, but after shooting it I found it to be reliable, accurate, and pleasant to shoot with an excellent trigger and less muzzle flip than other much more expensive compact 1911’s, so I kept and upgraded the pistol with a set of factory night sights, a bonus is that most 1911 mags work perfectly in the CW45. I was so impressed with the CW45 that I picked up a used CM9 with 3 mags for $325 which has proven equally reliable and pleasant to shoot. The CM9 is the only reliable and affordable pocket 9 with the diminutive dimensions of most pocket 380’s. So far my CW45 and CM9 have functioned flawlessly through several hundred rounds in each. Before I owned one I was under the mistaken impression that Kahr was second rate firearm manufacturer like Keltec or Taurus, boy was I wrong.

  16. To suggest the CW45 doesn’t merit consideration due to a MSRP of $449 is a misleading and deceptive argument. Only suckers pay MSRP. You can find a used Kahr CW, CM, or CT pistol in 9, 40, or 45 all day long in the $300 range, or you can buy one new from Buds ( http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/index.php/cPath/21_51/Handguns/Kahr+Arms ) in the $300-$325 range with free shipping and no tax in most states, then add a transfer fee around $25 depending on the FFL dealer you have it shipped to. Any Kahr CW, CM, or CT model handgun in your choice of caliber is a bargain that’s hard to beat for a quality reliable handgun.

  17. American made? If I was raising a family on $8 an hour hi-point c9. Little more income I would and do have to go with S&W shield($350) or compact($350 used police trade in)

    Foreign made? Tcp for $200, or Arcus hi-power clones for $280. The 98dac is a tad smaller than a g19, takes hi-power 13/15 round 9mm mags and is heavy steel.

      • Thanks didn’t realize those were made by Taurus USA, both of my previous Taurus handguns were made in Brazil.

      • Yes and Taurus gives you a NRA membership too-and employs Americans. Never a problem with 4 I’ve owned. I got no idea how they dump so many 111 G2’s here for so little $-but it’s a brilliant strategy…

  18. Pocket Carry – Taurus 738 TCP
    IWB Carry – Taurus Millenium PT111 G2
    Open Carry – Canik TP9SA / Walther PPX

    Affordable Shotguns:
    Maverick 88 / Stevens 320

    AR15: Palmetto State Melonite Freedom

  19. I’ll stick up for milsurp. Polish Wanad P-83 for < $250, P-64 for @ $250, ammo is available online and is not unduly expensive. Bulgarian Makarovs are going for @350 I think, when they can be found. I would kind of like one of those Wanads myself.

    • +1 for Makarovs & P-64s. I’m still kicking myself for not picking up the two that were keeping my Tokarev company on the shelf. The Mak was $150, and the P-64 $200.

    • The P-83 is one of the best deals in milsurp right now. Widener’s has them for $200, with two mags and free shipping. The one I got is in very good shape, and like every 9×18 blowback-action commie gun I’ve ever shot, is a laser beam. Much nicer trigger than my P-64, almost as good as my CZ-82s. The grip is a bit more comfortable for me than the P-64, too, because the pinkie rest on the P-64 magazines doesn’t fit my hand well. But it’s pretty heavy for its size and capacity, and the sights are typical milsurp (small and rudimentary).

      • Pinkie rest on my P-64 mag bothered me too, so my son and I cut/ground it down pretty much flush with the mag face. You can see it in my WICAW pic. It isn’t as pretty as it used to be, but the gun fits my hand just right now. I didn’t modify my since-purchased spare mags, I figure if I have to use them I won’t be noticing the “bother”.

  20. An incident in Charleston County S.C. where a 13 year old boy defended himself from two (2) armed, violent, home invaders has been getting attention as of late. In this case the kid, home alone, retrieved and used his mother’s .45 hitting the thug with THREE (3) slugs as he, the 30 yr old “Son of Sharpton” was kicking in the rear door of the teen’s home. When police arrived they discovered a handgun dropped outside the house by the career criminal when he was shot so it’s clear he was willing to kill any witnesses.

    Why do I mention this case? Well it IS a crime ridden “low income” area, the home owners were new to the neighborhood and I doubt the handgun used to defend his life and home was a “high-end” model more than likely it was a Hi-Point (I don’t own one) or one comparable in price.

  21. I’ll state the obvious, Glock G26/27 for under $500 in any state. Fits in cargo pants or disappears on the belt and is reliable. Super easy to field strip and clean. 10 rounds all the way up to 33 for the G26. Save your money a few more months and buy the Honda Accords of semi auto pistols.

    • I’m sorry, but what’s “obvious” about a $400-$500 gun when the subject is “_most_ inexpensive handgun you would carry” and the thread is full of reliable sub-$350 guns?

  22. I am a true Glock fanboy but I bought a Walther PPX from CDNN for $275, put 1000 rounds of fmj and jhp through it with no problems. I bought the Canik tp9sa and tp9v2 from J&G Sales for $289 a piece and have 1500 rounds through each of them ( jhp and fmj) with zero problems. The tp9v2 is almost the same size as my glock 19 and can be carried comfortably.

  23. I think you touched on it RF. Whatever com-block special can be had is a good a way to go. Hard to beat a snub nosed .38

  24. Springfield fanboy here. I’d take an XDs in 45 if I was looking for an inexpensive EDC and I wasn’t someone of very large stature. I’ve seen them at the local gun shops for around 400, used, and I personally like the grip safety for the added safety from NDs while holstering (looking at you Glock). I personally carry an XDm-9 4.5 when I go out, but as stated previously, I’m a man of large stature, so it conceals easily for me and 19+1 gold dots makes me all warm and fuzzy.

    My dad has the PT111 1st Gen and he’s had zero issues with it and I think they go for pretty cheap, but if I remember correctly they have some issues (1st Gen), so I suppose G2 might be a better option. I personally really like Taurus pistols, I’ve never had a problem with the few I’ve owned, but a friend of mine always talks smack about em. Diff’rent strokes for Diff’rent folks I guess.

    • Those first-gen PT-111s are the subject of a safety recall. It has to do with the pistols not being drop-safe, so you might want to encourage your dad to look into it.

      • Thanks for the info, I was unaware. I’ll let him know, but I doubt he’ll do anything about it. As far as I know, it hasn’t seen the outside of his safe for years, but ahain, thanks for the tip, I’ll do some research if my own on the subject.

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