I don’t generally care for micro pistols. I carry a Commander 1911 or larger for self defense, and I have never had the need for something smaller. Maybe it’s a confidence thing, I’m not sure. One thing I am sure of is that the subcompact pistol market has been exploding in recent years. Guns like the Smith & Wesson Shield, and the Springfield XD-S have been flying off of the shelves like Furbys in 1999. Well, the Kahr Arms CM9 made its way into the hands of my girlfriend and I just had to play with something new . . .
The CM9 is the less-expensive version of the Kahr PM9. The biggest difference between the two is that the CM9 has a MIM (metal injection molded) slide stop and traditional rifling versus the polygonal rifling found in the PM9. Now that doesn’t make the CM9 a cheap floozie. In fact I think it just shows the PM9 for the gold digger that she really is. With an MSRP of $460 dollars this pocket rocket is well within most people’s means.
Two-dot combat sights come standard on this little ccw gun. Kahr was smart to do this and it instantly makes me more interested their product. I’m sure this was their goal all along. The sights sit on a nicely machined stainless-steel slide that is somewhat elegant in its simplicity. I say somewhat because it’s diminished by the polymer frame it rests upon, I have no idea what I find so unappealing about the frame, but there’s definitely something. Right? As far as style goes, some people may find beauty in its simplicity. I see it as boring.
Aside from how it looks the frame functions quite well at most of the things a frame is supposed to do. The magazine release is easy to actuate and has a very positive feel to it. The slide catch is large and easy to hit if you’re into that sort of thing (a true operator operates with the slingshot method).
Before I pronounce the CM9 slippery, I have to explain that if someone duct taped a porcupine/cactus hybrid to any gun’s frame, then I might be happy with its grip texture. With that said, I find the grip’s texture not aggressive enough.
One thing they got right on this piece is the double-action trigger. It is as smooth as a presidential candidate. The trigger pull is fairly long and quite heavy, but it breaks consistently. Did I mention how smooth it is? Because it is ridiculous. It reminds me of a nice old Smith and Wesson revolver in double-action mode. The reset is quite long as well, but it is quite consistent.
The single most important attribute of any firearm I test is its reliability. Kahr recommends a 200-round break-in period on all their guns. I found that before I got to the 200-round mark there were a couple hiccups, mostly failures to feed. There have been no malfunctions after the 200-round mark, despite maybe 1500 rounds of various brands of ammo going through it. I will say that this makes practicing malfunction drills difficult. That said I wouldn’t hesitate to trust my life to this gun.
I found the accuracy to be extremely good for a carry pistol of this size. Unlike my rifle skills, I am somewhat confident in my ability to squeeze decent groups out of most handguns and what I got with the CM9 wasn’t bad. Due to the long reset I found that it was difficult to shoot quickly.
I have a tendency to shoot low and left like many right-handed shooters. It is something I struggle with every day. But the top left group is at 10 yards and it’s about a two-inch group. The main target was a little bit of controlled rapid fire. The CM9 is never going to win a bullseye competition, but it was never designed for such things either.
Breaking down the Kahr is just like taking down a CZ-75, all you do is pull the slide back, align the notches on the slide and frame, then pull out the slide stop. The recoil spring is captured and the barrel just pops right out. Cleaning reminds me of that Bounty paper-towel ad, “the quicker, thicker picker-upper” because gunk just takes a single swatch to come out. No tiny nooks and crannies to hit, even with my big fat sausage fingers.
I have to say I was surprised by this little pistol. The reliability and accuracy really impressed me. The term noisy cricket comes to mind. That grip texture is the only thing that really bothers me and that could easily be solved by getting a set of Talon Grips to put on the gun. If this gun is indicative of Kahr pistols and other offerings then you can color me interested.
Specifications: Kahr CM9
Operation: Semi-auto trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; “Browning-type” recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
Barrel Length: 3.0″, conventional rifling; 1:10 right-hand twist
Overall Length: 5.42″
Slide Width: .90″
Weight: Pistol 14 ounces, magazine 1.9 ounces
Grips: Textured polymer
Sights: Drift adjustable polymer rear sights, fixed front sight
Finish: Black polymer frame, matte stainless-steel slide
Magazine: 1 – 6-round magazine, flush floorplate
Rating (out of five stars):
Style: * * *
Maybe some people think that it’s a good-looking pistol, but I’m not one of them.
Ergonomics: * * * *
As long as you don’t feel like your hand is on a Slip’N Slide then they’re great.
Accuracy: * * * *
You’ll be shooting better than any storm trooper with this concealable baby for sure.
Reliability: * * * * *
No hiccups after the recommended break-in period.
Overall: * * * *
Add a no-nonsense IWB or pocket holster and this is a great inexpensive concealed-carry gun. Period.
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