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I’ve never been a big fan of polymer frame guns. They’re light, some even toy-like. For me, they don’t have the solid grip that I get from metal frames, and they just don’t look as bad-ass as good old fashioned solid steel firepower in the hand. But looks don’t count for everything – especially when considering a pistol that’s meant to be concealed. But my bias for heavy handguns aside, there is definitely something to be said for the plastic fantastics. . .

The Kahr CM9 is the more average-looking (and cheaper) version of its popular, sexier cousin, the PM9. Actually, Kahr’s taken the slightly larger (and just as plane-Jane) CW9 and chopped the barrel and grip to make a truly tiny niney. The difference between the PM and CW guns: they’ve replaced the match grade barrel with regular rifling (1-10 right hand twist), toned down the fancy stuff (squared lines and simple engraving as opposed to the PM9’s roll marking), and ship them with a single six-round magazine.

For a self-defense pistol I want at least one spare mag, but with the extra $200 and change rattling around in my pocket (compared to the price of a PM9), perhaps dropping about $30 for a spare isn’t a real deal-breaker. Although, I’m not sold on the one 6-rounder they give you to begin with. I noticed that it didn’t sit completely flush with the grip, so I gave it a good tap (note: seating the mag aggressively also racks the slide) just to make sure. To my surprise it completely disassembled, spilling the rounds and components to the floor. Awesome.

Being from Wisconsin, I’m paying close attention to what the handgun market has to offer in the way of CCW pistols, and the CM9 fills that bill. I’m an average sized college-aged female, so I like to wear slimmer-fitting clothing. That gives handguns with less displacement more appeal for me. The slim 14oz. Kahr, at only .90” wide, with its 3” barrel hides neatly, even in my skinny jeans.

Functionally, I consider that an upgrade from my SIG SAUER P238 – nearly the same size, the same round capacity, but packing lighter-punching .380 ACP cartridges. Not to mention the internal safeties and striker firing mechanism have their appeal when considering a conceal carry pistol. However, as with any single stack sub-compact 9mm, you sacrifice capacity compared to say, a double stacker like the Glock 26 (10+1) or the sub-compact Springfield XD (also 10+1)… just something to consider.

I expected such a light pistol to snap at the range and it definitely does, but it’s nothing that a firm grip can’t deal with. The only problem is that firm grip must be accomplished with only two fingers. Not a problem if you have smaller hands like me, but if you’re a big guy with meat hooks on the ends of your arms, you may want to opt for an extended magazine.

As a comparison, Beretta recently released a new pistol that fills the same niche as the CM9 – the Nano.  It has the same capacity and size as the CM9, but the Nano has a steel chassis in the grip frame that brings its weight to just under 17.7 oz. compared to the Kahr’s more svelte 14oz. While 3.7 oz. doesn’t sound like much, it makes a noticeable difference in ease of carry (better) and how high that muzzle pops (worse) after giving each round its send-off, making the Kahr less pleasant to shoot.

In short it has more muzzle flip. For me that flip, in combination with the Kahr’s long (albeit, smooth) trigger pull, and the lack of a short reset, means potentially less accurate follow-up shots – not something I relish when I only have seven rounds to stop a baddie. So with that bad guy stopping power in mind, I tried out the CM9 with a couple of self-defense types of ammo in addition to my usual (cheap) munitions:

PMC – 115 grain FMJ, 1150 fps
Remington UMC – 115 grain FMJ, 1145 fps
Hornady Zombie Max – 115 grain FTX, 1135 fps (ya know, in case you needed a backup gun against the undead hordes)
Pow’R Ball – 100 grain +P JHP, 1475 fps

Kahr says their guns require a 200-round break-in period, and they do. After 200 rounds of cheap-o PMC (yep, I’m broke-ass), I experienced one stovepipe, and one instance of the slide failing to lock back on an empty chamber. In 200 rounds of Remington UMC, once again, the slide failed to lock back once. For the Hornady, I put 50 rounds through, and experienced another slide lock-back failure. But for the Pow’RBall? No issue in 40 rounds, with the exception of the red imprint my palm was sporting, courtesy of the Kahr’s aggressive backstrap checkering (and damn, did that thing get snappy after a while). While the slide not locking back didn’t impair my ability to shoot, I did find it a little unsettling.

If you’re looking for a light little pocket rocket that won’t break the bank and the 9mm cartridge works for you, the CM9 will suit you just fine. The dot and post sights are great for quick target acquisition, it has crisp slide serrations, and it isn’t so small that my groupings were wild (and I am far from a pro shooter). But the long trigger, snappy muzzle flip, lone magazine in the box, plastic grip, and the over-aggressive checkering leave something to be desired. Call me superficial, but I still don’t dig how this pistol bears more than a passing resemblance to my dorm room refrigerator.


Model: CM9093
Caliber: 9mm Parabellum (Luger)
Capacity: 6+1
Overall Length: 5.42”
Barrel Length: 3.0” conventional rifling (1-10 right hand twist)
Height: 4.0”
Width: .90”
Weight (unloaded): 14 oz., magazine: 1.9 oz.
Sights: Drift, adjustable, dot and peg
Slide: matte stainless steel
Frame: black polymer w/ front and rear strap checkering
MSRP: $517 (about $380 street)

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Style * * *
Plain Jane with a polymer frame. Stainless steel is too eye-catching for my concealed carry comfort, so I guess matte has its place. . . but that doesn’t make it anything to look at.

Ergonomics (carry) * * * * *
Striker-fired, light weight and not a lot of real estate. Pretty hard to beat.

Ergonomics (firing) * * *
It’s a light pistol with only 3” of barrel to send that bullet off on its journey, so it has some snap to it. The two finger grip doesn’t help on that front. This isn’t a range gun.

Reliability * * *
There was one stovepipe during the break-in period (granted, that was likely the cheap ammo), but then there’s that troublesome slide lockback issue to think about.

Customize This * * *
Trijicon night sights and Crimson Trace LaserGrips are options. For such a small pistol, what else do you really need?

Overall Rating * * * *
It’s light, easily concealable and seems to go bang when you want it to. And it won’t break the bank. So what if it won’t win any beauty contests? In all, not bad at all for a budget model mouse gun.

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    • Destinee, welcome to our motley crew of scribes and scalawags! You missed a good time at the ‘Acts Of Valor’ preview, but interviews are interviews and we can’t leave people hanging.

      Self-disassembling magazines and iffy slide stops don’t represent the build quality we’ve come to expect from a Kahr. Snappy recoil from a tiny 9mm is par for the course, unfortunately, but some guns minimize it better than others.

      I loved the Nano at the SHOT Show, because it shot more like a .380 than a tiny 9mm. Beretta claims it’s the low bore axis and nested recoil springs, but I think there’s they use some Element Zero (from Mass Effect) somewhere in the slide. Either way, it recoils like a mouse gun (or a heavy, full-size 9mm) and it doesn’t put permanent grooves in your palm.

  1. Great little gun. Kahr deserves a lot of credit for producing an affordable, quality, made-in-USA carry piece without cutting down on much besides the cosmetics. I love my MK9. It was a rental gun, but that seems to have just given it a chance to get broken in, ’cause it’s still in great shape, and it feeds everything without complaint. The extra weight of that stainless frame makes it pretty pleasant to shoot, too. But you can’t go wrong with any of the Kahrs. It’s just a matter of picking the combination of price, size, recoil, and weight that’s right for you, then shooting a couple boxes through it to get past the break in period. Which I’m going to do with any new gun anyway, just for fun and familiarization.

  2. It seems to have some of the same issues the P3At is alleged to have. I say alleged because I have never had these problems with mine.

  3. I looked at the CM9, PM9 and CW9 among three or more other options when deciding on a mini nine. CM9 was out immediately due to small grip size – and I’m a small 5’6″ 142 lb guy.

    Happy shooting, dv

  4. Hold on. Let’s go back to that magazine disassembling part. How does that not send the reliability rating into the potty?

    • This. I tend to be rather firm when seating the mag. If doing so causes the gun to crap its load of ammo at my feet, reliability = 0.

    • And what was that about seating the magazine so hard that the slide cycles? Bizarre. Maybe he meant “releases” but to me the word “racks” means to draw back and release.

      But yeah, to describe the magazine malfunction in such shocking terms, but then never say another word about it, is pretty weird.

  5. 3/5 isn’t exactly a stellar rating, but I get your question. I researched that issue and didn’t find much on it. And from my discussions with CM9 owners it doesn’t appear to be a routine failure.

    • Maybe so. But a failure like that would cause me to ditch it (or at least the mag) as a carry gun, unless I was counting on distracting the BG with laughter.

      Anyhow, welcome and thanks for the informative review.

  6. I carry the cw9, it’s been flawless with almost 1k rounds ( with a firm grip, dont limp wrist it) and my 2nd favorite gun to shoot next to my sp101

  7. I just got the CW9, the CM was just too small for me to hold. And I’m very familiar with the hand picture, my hand was the same way after breaking mine in. Amazon is mailing me a Hogue slip on grip as I type. But… it shot like a dream. I expect at least a couple FTE’s in that break in, but I had zero. The extra grip really helps control it too.

  8. I love my CW40, have the same issue with the mag, does not really seat all the way in. I’ll fill the mag, put a round in the chamber, take the mag out, put another round in and put the mag back in. Sometimes the gun will lock open after firing the first round, seems to be a mag feed issue.

  9. I can’t imagine the velocities quoted are for a 3″ bbl.

    Good review, informative and detailed without being boring. Hope to read more from this author.

  10. Having a Kel-Tec P11, I think the pic of the Nano looks interesting. The P11 has never caused me any trouble, but the quality is basic as one would suspect from a sub three hundred dollar piece. Beretta has always made nice stuff, if you discount the somewhat weird style queues on their newer pistols. If the Kahr can truly be had for the street price indicated, it looks like a winner. Anybody know what their service is like? Nice review, points up the relevant information without being overly technical. I got the P22 and a PK380 for the wife (she has trouble racking the slides on bigger stuff) but I am rethinking, due to complexity. I was considering the new LCR 22 (I tested the .38 and found it snappy for me) but since I have an SP101 .357, maybe the deal is to let her dry fire it a lot and load it up with .38 and just let it go at that, it has enough heft to be controllable and she just wants it for her use at home.

  11. Nice review, thanks…

    This is not a criticism of you review, but of Kahr – this is an American-made gun that typically runs at the higher end of price points (whether it is their less-expensive gun or not). Why do they require a “200-rd break-in period) again?

    Glocks, XD’s, Sigs, M&P’s, and H&K’s (the full gambit) of quality guns at various price points don’t require a “break-in” period. Typically you buy it and it works.

    I realize the Kahr’s are all about slenderness, but this seems strange to me – and worse, Kahr owners seem to accept it as part of ownership. I get that many Kahr owners love and swear by them, but that “break-in” period is something I haven’t been able to get past.

    • Tim, I would like to point out that another fine American made pistol maker requires a 500 round break in period. Kimber as a matter of fact. A little strange if one really thinks about it, but it didn’t stop me from buying one. I just purchased a Kahr CM9, giving due consideration to all reviews and any other info I could find. At under 400 bucks I simply couldn’t look away from this candidate for a great little pocket 9mm. Happy shooting!

      • I traded my Kimber 1911 for an H&K. As long as you are happy with your purchase, then so am I.

        My point, however, is still valid – why should an ostensibly top-notch firearm require a break-in period to function correctly? If you are willing to bet your life on it working correctly, not only requiring a break-in period, but then coming out of a pocket where lint and other gunk can affect it – so be it. Happy Shooting to you my friend.

        • Small, tightly-fitted guns (and the Kahr is both) are sensitive to friction and spring weight. They could hand lap it for you at the factory. But that would cost more money. They could put slightly less strong springs in it out of the box, but then as it declined in strength, you’d have to replace it sooner.


          They can give you a recoil spring that is at the upper edge of the weight range, which will give you the longest life possible. They can let you fire-lap it yourself. You’ll pay for the ammo instead of paying more for the gun, and get the benefit of familiarization in the bargain.

          I gotta’ wonder who all these people are who whine about having to put 100 rounds through a brand new gun. Who buys a new gun and then doesn’t want to shoot it? Are you being chased by ninjas who will give you just enough time to fill out a 4473, but not enough time to test fire your new piece?

  12. “To my surprise it completely disassembled, spilling the rounds and components to the floor.”

    Wish you would have gone into a little more detail on that spontaneous magazine disassembly. That really seams like a major issue. Did the floor plate come off the mag because it was defective or just cheap…?

    Anyway, good review. I’m pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite Youtube personalities contributing to TTAG. I hope to see more posts in the future!

  13. Great review, I have heard a lot of good and a small amount of negative things about this pistol. I am expecting one in the mail from on Monday. ($363.00) For that price, its earned an audition to secure a spot in my CCW “line up”. Excited to see you writing for Destinee! Great work keep it up!

  14. Any gun that requires a “break in” of X number of rounds won’t be finding a home with me. With guns, you pretty much get what you pay for. Fork over the extra $$$ and get one that works first time every time if you’re gonna count on it to save your azz.

    • …and 6 years later, I still have to side with Joseph. Glock, Canik, Ruger, S&W, never had to “break-in” any of them. Goes bang first time, goes bang every time, on target all the time! D.K.

  15. This is very cool that Destinee is on TTAG, good review btw. that video with the bumpski literally made my day, i have to have one myself now.

  16. Reading the KahrTalk forum, it seems that each Kahr model can have serious problems. New CM9 owners with FTRB, nosediving rounds, slidestops that need repair, mags that split, mags that don’t drop freely. Warranty is only 5 years to the first owner and Kahr argues with customers about picking up shipping costs. I’d look elsewhere unless you are a gunsmith.

      • Not really Robert.
        Usually when I read a review on any subject the researchers overall rating IS an average of all the other ratings. That is how he / she determines what overall rating to give the product / service.

        As I am now aware that is not the case with this product, may I ask how overall value is assessed. So that I will better understand the ratings for future comparison of products?

        • Ron, I see the point you are making and had considered it beforehand. You are perhaps looking for a mathmatical correlation between the individual ratings and the overall rating. But, when I was considering the overall rating, I took into account the fact that its asthetics and firing comfort aren’t necessarily detractors to the overall use of the gun, especially when considering it will mainly be hidden and infrequently fired. Additionally, I factored in the price point, which I touched on in my review. But, ultimately, as with any rating system such as this, there is a certain amount of author subjectivity that can be expected.

          • Hi Destinee,
            The reason I have a problem with this review is on a scale of one (1) to five (5) three (3) is average.
            You rated this gun average in all categories except carry which you consider to be excellent.
            Yet you gave the gun an overall rating of above average.

            Now lets SUPPOSE your next review ( gun B) is as follows:
            overall rating 4
            You rate this gun above average in three (3) categories which were average with gun A, excellent as a carry gun (the same as gun A) and in what most consider the most important catagory ( reliability) you consider gun B to be excellent while gun A is average.
            In summary:
            You consider four (4) of five (5) categories to be average with gun A, with one(1) being excellent.
            You consider three (3) of five (5) categories to be above average with gun B, with two (2) being excellent and not one average rating.
            Gun A was considered to be above average in one (1) category, gun B was considered above average in all categories, yet you consider both guns to be above average overall.

            The reason people read reviews is to gain knowledge about a product or service they cannot other wise obtain without purchase.
            This is especially true with guns which most people cannot evaluate (except for trigger feel ) prior to purchase.

            While it is true that subjectivity plays a part in evaluation ( beauty is in the eye of the beholder) the grading criteria must be consistent for the reviews to be useful.
            Example: Gun A with a twelve (12) pound trigger is rated at two (2). Gun B with a twelve (12) pound trigger is rated at four (4) because in the opinion of the reviewer it will mostly be carried and fired very little. While this may be true gun B still has the same crappy trigger as gun A when it is fired. A twelve (12) pound trigger is a twelve (12) pound trigger. Therefore the evaluation of these two (2) triggers is inconsistent and of no use to the reader.

            The subject matter the reviewer chooses to use for evaluation is that which the reviewer considers to be of most importance.
            When a reviewer rates a gun below average in four (4) of the five (5) cateories of importance and another gun above average in all categories then rates both guns equal overall, that reviewer loses credibility as an evaluator.
            This is why gun magazines don’t rate guns. Instead of a measurable rating they go over the guns features, much as you did, then state an opinion at the end of the article.
            “If you are looking for a concealed carry gun, you could do a lot worse than brand X” ( this is as close as they get to a negative opinion).
            Which is why gun magazines are worthless as an evaluation tool.

            Grading systems which are not consistant for all evaluations are just as worthless as an evaluation tool.
            A gun which exhibits average characteristics in four (4) of five (5) of the areas of importance is an average gun.
            A gun which exhibits above average characteristics in all cateagories is an above average gun. They are not equal.
            If I were to consider both guns by their overall rating they would be close on my list of possibilities.
            In reality gun B should be much closer to the top.
            If I cannot read your reviews and come to this conclusion the reviews are of little use to me.
            If I read a review and am left wondering how the reviewer came to his/her conclusion the review is of little use.

            There is a reviewer on YouTube who goes by FirearmPatriot.
            While I do not consider him to be the best reviewer of all time, his grading system is consistent from review to review. Therefore if you are considering a Kahr CW9 and a Ruger LC9 you are able to compare and contrast the two based on consistent information arrived at using the same criteria each and every time.
            This is what a review is suppose to do. This is what makes a review useful.

        • Ron let me try to explain this to your over thinking over analytic brain. There are 5 categories and a final overall category for each gun reviewed on this site. If you notice those five categories are not all encompassing, so the reviewer takes into account all the aspects of the weapon some of which are not in those 5 categories, as you can see, and then comes up with a final overall rating for the weapon. It’s pretty simple and very easy to understand to be honest my nine year old boy even gets it, so stop over thinking things and enjoy the quality reviews on this site. Oh and myself coming from 15 years in the Army with multiple combat tours and a mastering of so many weapons systems I lost count, I think this site is great and all these reviewers put in hard work so you can read this site for free. So suck it up and stop complaining.

    • Probably went to a public school so she never learned how to do averaging. How can it have an over all average of 4 when she scored it as one 5 and three 3’s?

      • That presumes the “Overall” rating is a straight average.

        Might be a weighted average, might look at factors beyond the raw integers (how “strong” is that 5, and how about those 3’s?), or a completely independent scoring that merely looks at the other ratings for guidance, if at all.

        Oh, wait! That’s what both the reviewer AND the guy who rubs the site said it is! Golly, go figure.

        Just because you cannot figure out a particular methodology doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        • I’ve got a wife that shoots, so I understand women look at things differently. It may be deficient in 4 out of 5 catagories that “we” look at statistically, but if it’s “cute”, or pink, or something else like that, she may rate it overall better than a good old Glock or Ruger.

  17. My 2 cents,
    I’m on my 2nd Kahr. My CM9 had 3 nosedives in the first 100 rounds but flawless since then (350 rnds). My CW9 was absolutely flawless thru 500 rounds before I sold it to get the CM. Yes, the magazines are a known weakness but in 3 years of paying attention I’ve never heard of one falling apart and mine have been fine. You can learn a lot from the guys (and Gals) on With just a little care and common sense, 9mm Kahrs will run flawlessly. I currently carry the CM IWB or in my pocket very comfortably and with an extra mag I got 14 rounds handy.
    BTW I highly recommend a couple hundred rounds thru ANYTHING you’re carrying. You don’t really just take it out of the box, load hollow points and stick in your belt, do you? Don’t you wanna get aquainted with her first? I believe the CM is the best value in a small, deep cover 9mm for the following reasons:
    *Easy carrying;
    *good ergonomics;
    *good USABLE sights;
    * slide locks back after last round;
    *trigger well balanced for safety AND smooth, easy pull
    * mild recoil and good accuracy due to low bore axis and great trigger;
    * can take a steady diet of +p. ammo;
    *good reliability in my experience
    *Made in the USA!
    Nothing else in this price range and small size matches up.
    We’ve got a couple glocks and other full size weapons in the family but I find myself carrying the CM most and it’s a pleasant shooter to boot.

    • The CM9 is a good value, The better value in my opinion would be the Beretta Nano BU9. The Nano gives you better accuracy, better sights, less recoil, quicker follow up shots, besides being more reliable and it is built like a tank.

      • I’d disagree with you, GOOFA, having shot a PM9 and a BU9 back-to-back yesterday. I wanted to like the BU9 more than the PM9, but the Kahr was a nicer-shooting pistol. The PM9 is about 3.7 ounces lights but a good grip kept recoil relatively the same between the pistols for me. Also, the Kahr has a FAR better trigger than the BU9. The Beretta’s take-up is mushy and overly long. The sight difference between the two is a matter of personal opinion: three-dot (BU9) vs. post-and-dot. But as the sights are replaceable on both, I’d say that’s a push. Plus, I’d rather have night sights like Trijicons than either of the stock sights on both pistols. I don’t know that I’d say that the Beretta is “more reliable”. You can find people with who’ve had problems with both pistols. Overall, I am more likely to purchase a Kahr than the BU9. Your mileage may vary.

        • Brashear… I respect your opinion. I’m sure you realize that the PM9 can cost up to $150 or $200 more than the Nano which currently sells for $399-$429. I will agree on the trigger as far as Kahr’s being better, but I give the Nano trigger a B+ once it is broken in. No manufacturer can give you a smoother DA trigger than Kahr when comparing other firearms in that category. Sights are subjective, many competent users of CCW and BUG’s would never get to the point where sights matter at all. For the most part these are Point & Shoot friearms where you would not rely on sights but you rely on your Point & Shoot skills. As far as Kahr goes, I have owned 10 new pistols from Kahr. I am well versed with Kahr firearms. They are far from being trouble free. Only 3 of my Kahrs have been 100% and that is my K9 Elite, my K9 DLC and my PM9. I have had 3 pistols replaced entirely, 3 slides replaced, one of them due to cracking within 700 rounds, 2 addl frame replacements, 2 barrels replaced and the rest were other misc. problems. I will say this, if you are patient, Kahr will generally get to the bottom of your troubles and your pistol will be trouble free. If you go on Kahrtalk forum you will find a lot of unhappy campers their because ther pistols have been back to repair 2, 3 and on occasion more times. You stated that both guns have their problems. I can guarranty you that Kahr’s polymer line surpasses The Nano in the severity and percentage of problems. Kahr’s P380 has been out just over 2 years and they still haven’t been able to correct it problems and produce a relatively trouble free pistol. One more item, I disagree with you on felt recoil between the two. I shoot between 25-30,000 rounds per year and I’ll stick with my claim. Good luck with your Kahr purchase. Like I said, if you get a good one, you’ve got one hell of a gun.

  18. Nice review, Destinee. You successfully pointed out everything I don’t like about guns that are designed to a price point. They’re not for me when the P.O.U. is to save my life.

      • Hey Tim,
        Yes, POU is Nutnfancy for Philosophy of Use.
        Just common sense stuff put on paper and in video.

        • I know – I have watched him in numerous videos. I generally like him, although he seemed to get away from what I liked (reviews of guns) and more into the outdoor “run and shoots”, knives, etc… so don’t watch much anymore.

  19. Radman,

    Those nosedives may have been from the follower moving past the mag release slot window – follower ledge rubs on the piece of the mag release holding the mag in just enough to slow the vertical travel of the follower. I sanded down the edge on mine and no more problems!

    • Sparky,
      You are correct. I did the same mod ever so lightly and solved the problem. I even did it on my 3 good mags to be sure of no issues.
      You must be on Kahrtalk. Lots of good help there for Kahr owners or prospective buyers. I looked long and hard on Kahrtalk and elsewhere before choosing an EDC.
      Destinee’s excellent, unbiased review is just the type of info folks need before making a choice.
      Keep your eyes, ears and mind wide open!
      I LIKE most guns…But you gotta LOVE the one you’re gonna live with everyday.

      Hey Will,
      I hear ya brother, I’d carry my 12ga or my local Swat Team if I knew combat was eminent…The P.O.U. of these little guns certainly involve balancing EDC/All day carry practically in our normal lives and still have enough firepower to have a fighting chance.

  20. Hey Des,
    QUIT SPYING ON ME WOULD YA?? ***LOL*** I think it’s funny that we both got Kahr cm9’s and did video’s on them the same week. I took mine out for it’s torture test yesterday and had almost the same opinion. Two failures to slide-stop, and 2 FTF’s. I won’t give up on it yet. I got it as a BUG and nothing compares to my 1911’s, but it is snappy. Always a great review and if you didn’t get the LOL, I was totally kidding. Take care. Shoot safe and train.

  21. Sure am glad I went with a Sig P250SC. A skosh wider (1.1″), a skosh longer (3.6″ barrel), a tad heavier (about 25 oz unloaded), but I carry 11+1 9×19 rounds, it’s not snappy, the trigger doesn’t suck, and I’m at 400+ rounds (75 +P 124gr JHP, the rest a mixed batch of 124 and 115 grain FMJ – mostly Winchester White Box 100 round Party Packs) without a malf. Came with two mags. Can be swapped into anything from this subcompact into a full size high capacity .45ACP by exchanging non-serialized parts. Grip texture is stippling like slightly worn skateboard tape, not grenade checkering — just as secure, less painful (I’m sure a week at Gunsite would raise blisters. . . but if I was doing a high-volume course, I could wrap the grip in Scotch tape or 100mph tape if need be, with no change in size).

    Price? $340 (from a major dealer at gun show).

    And it’s dishwasher safe! (Only half kidding — some of the springs might rust, maybe the slide lock lever as well. AFAIK, everything else is stainless steel or polymer.)


    Spare mags are pricey — I paid $37 apiece for spares. In other words, about what you’d pay for a good 1911 mag from Wilson.

    Sig went with some new, proprietary sight system, so not even sights for other Sig P200 series pistols fit. Meh. . . if you want glowie-sights, make sure you get one with factory Tritium sights (costs more). If big, easy to see white dots cream your Twinkie just fine, you’ll like the standard sights.

    Holsters? It is to laugh. . . but Grandfather Oak set me up with a nice IWB Kydex rig (made for a Bersa Thunderer, fits the Sig like they used my gun for the mold).

    I think I can live with those cons. Given that I have been knocking my head on the ground five times a day in the direction of Ogden, Utah since the Reagan Administration; that I follow COL Jeff Cooper’s name by muttering, “Peace Be Upon Him”; and this is the first piece of Combat Tupperware I’ve ever bought (only the second I’ve really liked), the fact that this has replaced my Enhanced Combat Commander as my usual daily gun says a lot.

    • I’m currently working up a review of the SIG/Sauer P250 subcompact. As you indicate, it’s just a hair bigger in every dimension than a Kahr (or a PF9 or LCC9) but it shoots and behaves more like a G19.

    • Nothing against the Sig- I know it’s an excellent firearm. But to say that it’s “a tad” heavier than the CM9 is a distortion: the 11 oz difference is HUGE in the context of a highly-concealable pistol. The CM9 is a true pocket pistol; the Sig is not.

  22. The Kahr polymer guns appear to be a nice piece for carry but I have witnessed far too many issues at the range with other shooters and their Kahrs for me to ever part with money for one and then deal with a temperamental carry gun. When it comes to pocket carry I go for an Airweight .38 snub instead.

  23. I just purchased this CM9 and I am surprised at the stiff slide spring. I hope the spring eases up after a couple hundred rounds. If not I wonder if there is an after market spring that is not as stifff Anyone know?

    • Dan… Some of the Kahrs can require a little more strength to operate the slide. The operation will get a bit easier with more use, but not a lot. That spring weigth has been selected because it gives that selected model its most reliable operation. Different owners use different types of ammunition and a gun must be designed with that in mind. Be careful if you change the spring to a lighter one, it may alter the timing to the point of malfunction, not good. Good luck.

  24. The spring is very stiff out of the box however it will loosen up as you work it (follow the breakin steps listed on kahrtalk) and fire it. I have put 200 rounds through my CM9 and I havent had one failure of any kind. I know some people have had issues but there are many like me that have not had any. Just make sure to follow the breakin steps and it will loosen up. Keep shooting and keep safe.

  25. guess i bought a good cm9 and had a mail-in for free extended magazines.
    no problems except for one of 5 magazines seemed to not feed twice so i took it apart and stretched the spring a little and seems ok now. i keep them numbered to keep track.

    you don’t need but 2 fingers on the grip so the complaint it being short is nil

    it’s all what you get use to.

    that and my springfield xdm compact 40 3.8 and i’m pretty happy shooters

  26. Destinee – You mention carrying on-body as an “average sized college-aged female.” What holster do you or would you use for a CCW pistol around the size of the CM9 or Nano? My wife is convinced that carrying on-body is impossible for her, and it seems like you two may have similar builds.


  27. Everything I have heard including this review only confirms my decision to buy this gun. Thanks

  28. nice review , I enjoy reading other peoples comments you can always gain more knowledge. while reading this I’m cleaning the rust off my XD sub compact, I live in a very warm climate and sweat is a big problem IWB holsters soak it up, most of the time I carry it open, that’s where stainless is better. as far as the checkering on the CM9 grip shoot a HK with the sharp diamond points you will grow to love the CM, at the range I use a half finger driving glove it saves on the hands. and for most malfunctions it usually is shooting technique. I just bought a CM9, so I have to go see how well mine shoots.

  29. I bought a CM9 for 379 @ at a local gun show just recently.I put 300 rounds down the tube with out a hiccup.I have large hands, put the pinky extension on it, opted for a Clip Draw on it, carries so well i constantly forget i have it on when going into areas where carry is not permitted. I appreciate the writers eval, but most women find the gun not to their liking.I think recoil is less than other mouse guns.My build had no problems with the magazine and the fact of no safeties for me is great.I put a crimson trace laser on it and it is dead nuts on for expect able combat distances for a 3″ barrel. For the price and the quality of my build, i was very pleased.I give it 5 stars on all of the authors points of evaluation.

  30. Picked up my new cm-9 today… So uh what’s the deal on the recoil spring?
    I am a 185 lb male( my left hand has a little less than normal strength).; I have no problems with my 1911 or sig p226 slides.But this thing is a wrestling match to lock the slide to the rear ( skinny slide/ strong spring). I figure my left hand will get stronger AND the spring should work in after some range time. But I am tempted to take atrade in loss and pickup the 2″ sp101 I originally wanted.

  31. I love my cm9, it’s easy to carry, I shoot it well and not one single failure in 500 rounds. Lots of holster options too.

    • As do I. I bought one a week ago today to replace my kimber ultra tle ll because it was just too hard for me to conceal. I ran 150 rounds through my CM9 yesterday without issue. It was very accurate as well. I also felt it was quite easy to shoot. Maybe because I’m use to practicing with 45 acp rounds? Who cares how it looks if it’ll save your life and I trust this gun with my life 100%!

  32. I’ve had a CM9 for about 6 months, and absolutely love it. Flawless from day one, and I didn’t even clean it first-to anxious to shoot it. Have since put over 600 rds.of various ammo through the CM9, clean it regularly, and still no problems. A lot of initial problems with all handguns is due to operator error, or not reading the Owner’s Manual thoroughly. Lastly, the “break in period”. Who in their right mind would use any handgun for EDC right out of the box, or expect it to not possibly have a production problem, without checking it out first?? For me, a caution to shoot 200 rds. first (or for breaking in) is a good reminder to anyone to become familiar with your purchase if intended for EDC/SD, and a cheap method to establish reliability.
    Your EDC could save your life! Take care all, and be safe.

  33. I sold my nano and bought the Kahr CM9 haven’t been happier. The triggers are about the same, reliability the kahr is 100% – nano is a disaster! First endless problems with extraction, stovepipes. Not to mention you cannot extract the cartridge because the slide rail won’t lock back. Then the trigger finally would not work anymore. Sold the nano and bought a Kahr. No problems, period!

  34. I recently purchased a CW9 with no owners manual. I have loaded two magazines, one with hollow points and one with practice rounds. I intend to practice with the gun before carrying it anywhere or hopefully before needing it at home, but I, too, am experiencing very heavy slide action. I have used a number of different weapons in my lifetime, but am now 65 with arthritis just bad enough to limit my hand strength. Is there anything besides repeated use that will lighten the action, or am I using the wrong gun for my situation?

  35. Decent review, a little whinny… boo who it left a mark in you hand? OK, check back in 15 minutes, it’s gone, not permanent. The Kahr is a great gun. After break-in, as long as you read the manual, use good ammo and don’t limp wrist it, it is reliable. The Nano was a flash in the pan and hear little about it. Nano has real design issues, not break-in issues.

    I find CM9 easier to shoot (faster more accurately) than the Ruger LC9 because of the better trigger and size of grip. The trigger on the CM9 is shorter, does not stack and resets positively, again with shorter throw. I don’t understand the reviewers comment about the long trigger short reset causing follow up rounds not to be accurate. The CM9 trigger is best in class except for one. The CM9 trigger is way shorter pull the Ruger LC9 which also stacks, easy then hard to pull. CM9 is smooth and even, and the pull is not long at all, again for this class of SA/DA gun. With that said the Glock 26 is better overall and more gun, i.e., fire power. The Glock trigger out of the box is great.

    The small size is a plus to with the Grip. It is easy to really clamp down in the Kahr and control it. Again it is easier to me to shoot than LC9. The Glock 26 is beast in control, because of the mass and design, but the thick grip doesn’t feel like you have as good grip as the smaller Kahr. The Kahr is small so you have to do something with your supporting hands fingers, keeping them away from slide. However for daily carry, the Kahr’s smaller and lighter size fits my carry needs better at times. I carry the Glock 26, other times Kahr CM9. The Glock 26 Gen 4 is best for me so far for “sub-compact” 9mm, but a little bigger then the new crop of sub-micro 9’s.

    There are limits in size and smaller is not always better. There are practical limits. None of the tiny 9mm’s are true pocket guns in my opinion. The Kahr CM9 is the perfect min size.

    I carry in a side holster. I have seen pictures of wallet holsters for the CM9, which might work in loose cargo pant front pockets or back pockets. Not a fan of pocket carry. I can present my firearm with a holster faster. I am not against pocket carry for a little .25ACP or .380ACP as a back up pocket gun, not a primary gun.

    • The only problem I found with the cm9 is burrs on the Follower. I shot various types of ammo through it with out a problem

  36. pocket guns belong in pocket rigs. then “hand on gun, in pocket” is by FAR the fastest ccw draw.25% faster than any realistically covered belt rig. If I am going to ccw a belt rig, it’s gonna have much more gun in the rig, like an alloy commander, chambered in 460 Rowland, using 70 gr bullets at 2300 fps, for 850 ft lbs of power, with no more recoil than ball .45 ammo.=, yet leaving only 5 guys standing after a chest hit. My load is better than the best 357 jhp loads, on critters, so I rate it as being about 95%, or leaving 5 guys on their feet, out of 100 chest hits. as vs 30 still standing after chest hits with .45 ball.

    • You’re going to shoot 2300 fps rounds inside of a restaurant or movie theater if sh*t goes down huh?
      Good luck in court with the legal aftermath.,….

  37. Destinee, “bad ass” aside, poly guns have been around for +30 years. The parts that matter, barrel, slide and gun action are metal.

    I have a CM9 and Glock 26 Gen 4 (and sold my Ruger LC9*). You will not find better triggers then these two guns in small 9mm. The glock is a better gun, but too large to pocket. I hate pocket carry but I like have a 9mm small enough to allow me to do it when a side holder/vest/Kbar TDI waist pack will not do. I love the CM9, smallest 9mm you can carry besides with smooth trigger (got rid of LC9). There is the +$1000 9mm Rohrbaugh. The Diamond Back 9mm is small but low end fire arm, I would not trust EDC, everyday carry. Do your research, the Sig and Nano are not well like guns by owners and have reputation for less than stellar reliability. The prices have gone up since this review in 2012 if you did not know. The Kahr CM9 goes closer for the +$500 MSRP than “street”. Also she shot only 115Gr ammo. That is fine for range, but FBI and several studies show 124Gr in 9mm is a min. Of course use only premium ammo to carry, 124 Gr Federal HST, 124Gr Speer Gold Dot, 135Gr Hornady Critical Duty. They all come in standard and +P. I use +P. For practice I use reloads, RN. I have over 250 rounds through my CM9 and not one a FTF (failure to fire). Keys are clean it, no limp wrist, use quality ammo and READ the manual.

    (*Ruger LC9 is a great gun, quality, value, and trigger is fine, until you shoot a gun like a Glock 26. Then it ruins it for you. I did not want to do a trigger job on any carry gun, for legal liability reasons. If you don’t mind having a trigger job the LC9 is ideal 9mm CC gun and a bargain. Galloway has a trigger, trigger bar and hammer mod that will make the LC9 trigger shorter, smooth and slightly lighter. However LC9 is too long and tall to pocket. The Glock 26 Gen 4 replaced the Ruger. The CM9 fills in the super subcompact niche for me. I still holster carry most of the time, but it nice having a gun I can put in a DeSantis Nemesis holster and slide in pocket. Pocket I don’t find good for quick access as a holster, but if it means no gun or pocket, then the choice is easy. I have 4 carry systems: side pancake holster, vest, waist pak and now pocket. The last one is exclusively for the Kahr CM9, the Glock 26 and my former LC9 would not pocket.)

  38. Concur. Seems to happen on the 2nd round. (i.e. the first one feeding after you’ve squeezed off the first shot.)

  39. I own the Kahr PM9 . These Pistols are right next to Gold. Five years ago I bought it New for 519.00 @ our local large sporting good store. Now they are 750.00 ? uh… As for the the PM9 it is an excellent pistol plus an excellent carry pistol. Sights are the best of the many handguns i own. It goes bang on any Brass load i have ran thru it. I would not hesitate to buy the CM9. Less detail means less time means less money ! Kahr will never build a bad firearm. Before listening to any gun salesman check Kahr firearms company out throughly. I did before i made the purchase.

    • yep quality doesn’t come cheap, I compared the ruger, glock, sig (my favorite brand) I liked cm9 the best. metal frame handguns are good but when it comes to carrying it all day I’ll take the polymer frame. I heard of feeding problems and I found casting burres on the foweler in one of my mags. when I get new mags I always inspect them

  40. I carry a Kahr CM9 everyday. I own 6 glocks & a S&W Shield but I find the little CM9 carries best. I kinda wish Kahr would shorten the trigger pull. 1,000 thru it never 1 jam using the 6 rnd mags. 7 rnd mags jam everytime. I posted about Kahrs junky 7 rnd mags and I got a reply from Dave at Kahr to send them back and they’d replace them. Lets see if they live up to that. he he rolling eyes.

    • I took the 7 round mags apart and found burrs on the followers, I polished them off and they work perfect. I do this with all my mags

  41. I’ll keep my soft shooting, heavier Nano that didn’t require a break in period. However, I’ve got to admit that Kahr has a very sweet, albeit long, smooth trigger.

  42. I love my KAHR CM9. I’ve various other carry pistols, several of which are more costly, or bigger names, and none get carried near as much as the KAHR. It’s functioned flawlessly from day one, sights were dead-on right out of the box, trigger is smooth and light for a carry gun, and the ergonomics work for me, and I’m 6-3 with large hands.

    Guns are one of those things that people can be very loyal to, from various makes & models, to caliber, and some people are just plain ol gun snobs that think their choices are the only correct ones, or you have to spend a certain amount of money to get a “good gun” and there is a modicum of truth to this. But my KAHR has been a great, 100% dependable gun from day one, that shoots and handles great, and I would recommend the KAHR CM9 to anyone.

    PS…and how easy is it to carry in a Blackhawk pocket holster!

  43. I just won a CM9 in a drawing at the local range. I have yet to shoot it, and I am interested to see how it feels. I am a big guy, 6′, 400+, and have HUGE hands. It took me a while to find a standard gun that felt completely comfortable in my grip (Springfield XD9). I’ll shoot it Wednesday and see.

    • Congrats! The CM9 is a great shooter for a small, deep concealment weapon…I’m very happy with my CM9 although I just have average+ sized hands. If you can get 2 fingers on the grip you’ll be fine…been shootin mine like that for a few years now. It carries in my waist like it’s not there. You should be able to get extended mags for more grip. You can find lots of useful help at, an excellent Kahr forum….go to for oem accessories & Mfr. info. Kahr recommends 200 or so rounds for break-in although mine had very few failures early and has been flawless since about 150 rounds….the 7 round magazines can be a problem…to help break it in, I strongly recommend you rack the slide briskly a couple hundred times and then clean and oil it BEFORE shooting. GoodLuck

  44. Thanks for the review destinee, I was just doing a quick walk up on the Kahr and ran across it. The only reason I’m commenting is all of the discussion about break in periods lol. Imagine breaking in a new Armalite ARand and having to rod the barrel for every single shot out of the first 50. Then it got easier with rodding out after every five rounds for the remaining 50. 🙂

    • Geez, I’d have sent that one back!!! Just finished off my 1st 1000 rds in a brand new Del-Ton AR15. Very impressive for a sub-$1000 gun. ZERO problems.

  45. I have never posted here before But I am had have been for over 40 years a National Match Pistol & Rifle shooter, The people that seem to think that a 200 round break-in period is crazy are nuts –I always consider 1000 rounds a minimum number of rounds to put thru a match gun to get it to break in and start firing and grouping correctly, Now I understand that the Kahr pistols are not in any way considered target pistols they are for personal protection, but if your not willing to put the time in to break in a pistol -or rifle for that matter then carry pepper spray it does not need a break in. There are many other companys that will tell you as well that their pistols or rifles need a break-in period—-Nothing works perfect out of the box every time-Remember If man made it –man can screw it up.

  46. After much research and consideration, I bought a gently used CM-9 as a warm weather EDC. I had recently decided that my Glock 27 was just too bulky for IWB carry, and although I still advocate J-frame class revolvers for those unwilling to master a semi auto, I felt that my model 38 S&W was also on the thick side. I’ve been patiently waiting for Glock to roll out a single stack 9, but it still hasn’t happened. I had read all the various horror stories, but the ergonomics and workmanship of the Kahr CM line is superb, regardless of price.
    When I initially got the pistol, I ran a magazine of hollowpoint 115 grain Remington through it and the 7 round backup I bought. It worked fine. I bought a Don Hume leather IWB holster, and proceeded to carry it either in my waistband or in my vehicle until late October when I switched over to my Glock 36 ( another gun, another story for a different day). Long story short, it wasn’t until today that I actually put a fairly significant number of rounds downrange. I LOVE THIS LITTLE GUN! I put about a hundred cheap steel case Tula 115 gr rounds through it with no issues at all. It shoots to point of aim, recoil is far more pleasant than any light revolver. Fired rapidly, the trigger pull is very easy to master.
    I’m no longer a gun snob. Any company can have issues with a particular product. I grow very weary of those so-called “experts” among us that feel that their choice is the only one that makes any sense. I like 1911 pistols, I like Glocks of all flavors. I worked in armed contract security and carried every day. If I knew there was going to be trouble, I’d have a 12 gauge or a rifle! I tried the mouse gun route for awhile, but I was always uneasy having dealt with drugged up opponents in “hands on” situations. For me, 9mm is about the floor for stopping power. The CM-9 is about as convenient as most 380’s with a lot more stopping power.
    After today, I’m seriously thinking about a CM-45 to compete with my Glock 36 for Winter carry.

  47. Jesus, who proofreads your work? Instead of having your co-workers post comments on your article, why don’t you ask them to read it BEFORE you post it online. And nice beret. The 80’s called, they want their hat back.

    Seriously, there is no TRUTH to be found in any of the reviews on this website. Guess fishing for sponsers is more important than actually reviewing a firearm honestly.

  48. There was a time not too long ago that a “break-in” period was highly recommended for any semi-auto intended to be used for self-defense. It’s not just breaking-in the machinery, it’s acclimating the shooter to the weapon as well.

    I remember a trip to the range years ago, where a friend first shot a new weapon he’d been carrying for two weeks. Needless to say there were malfunctions, and they were due to incorrect grip…during recoil the left thumb was pressing up on the slide stop thus locking the slide back after every shot.

    Then there’s always the possibility of uncovering a mechanical defect as well during that 200-round break-in period.

    It was good advice 40 years ago, and remains good advice today.

  49. I bought my CM 9 new several yrs. ago; break in not a issue as I’ve broken in rifle barrels,engines,two wives; during break in I had difficulty manually retracting the slide; after break in, slide is still stiff, but easier to operate. the CM9 is now my primary carry gun replacing my G36 because the CM is more flexible carry wise (try to carry a G36 in your shorts pocket,w/ or w/o a pocket holster) . I prefer strong side iwb / owb depending what size pants/shorts I grab in the morning. pocket carry during cold time of yr. (Wisconsin).
    after 2M rounds downrange ( I compete with my carry gun,) ( don’t you?) the slide is as after break in, no side play, no FTE / FTF . during competition, empty mags are dropped on cement floor / ground without destructing. long reset on trigger is CM’s biggest – ,but after 2M rnds. your used to it.

    for competition and strong side carry I use 7rnd. mags ( which allow a full grip without printing ) and 6rnd. w / finger hook for pocket carry w / a 7rnd. reload. 14/15 Critical Defense rounds if needed.
    as much as I love my G36 and G21, the CM 9 is the best purchase made in a long time.

    bottom line, more rnds. thru gun, more natural (confident) you will feel.

  50. A good gun overall. Although I had to send the 1st one back to the manufacturer because something happened internally during the break-in period. The polymer behind the recoil spring got all “garbled” up. Still can’t figure out why (maybe I shot it too fast?)….$60 bucks shipping and a 2 month wait…I got my new gun back…

    I still really like the gun. Even though I can only get two fingers on it, It’s the gun I’m most accurate with of all my pistols.

    It’s my EDC. I trust my life with it. Hopefully I never have to.

  51. I have carried a MK9Kahr for over 20 years now, and never had a malfunction of any kind when firing it. I am a retired police officer with over 36 years of service. I did have to replace the recoil spring when I noticed that a small piece of the plastic had broken off after I had fired it at the range and was cleaning it. It still fired with the broken plastic piece, but didn’t want to take any chances. That was about 7 years ago, no problems since. As far as being accurate, this little Kahr was more accurate than my issued SW 5904 at 25 yards at the range for me. I carry 115 Gr plus P plus hollowpoints in it. Am going to try some of the new NOV X ammo, to see how it shoots in it.

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