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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

Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 6+1

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″

Height: 4.0″

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.

More from The Truth About Guns:

Gun Review: GLOCK 43 9mm Pistol

What I’m Carrying Now: A Browning Hi-Power With Winchester Silvertips

What I’m Carrying Now: A GLOCK 26 Loaded With Federal HST

Gun Review: Ruger Security-9 Compact 9mm Pistol



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  1. Not bad, though I like the weight of my K9, and I’d probably go for the MK9 instead. I’m kind of on a full metal kick these days 🙂

  2. Only thing I wanted from Kahr, and now S&W, is a lipped magazine. The one that comes with the LCP is great, doesn’t give me another finger on the grip, but it secures my middle and ring finger nicely which prevents the recoil slip I got when I had my Kahr, now Shield.

    • Try the CW9. One extra round, lipped magazine allows full three fingered grip. And a little bit longer barrel (3.65, as I recall). 15.7 oz. Otherwise the same pistol. Mine has been quite reliable, with two failure to feeds (nose diving rounds) in 400 rounds.

      • I own both the CM9 and the CW9. Each pistol is fantastic, I have had no problems with mine. They are pretty much the same pistol with the CM9 having a shorter grip and barrel. The cool thing is that the magazines for the CW9 fit in the CM9.

    • You can buy the Kahr polymer magazine base that has much more of a lip than the metal one for $10 or $15.

  3. I’ve seen these retailing for as low as $300.00. I love mine, and it has been, with the exception of my LCP, my most reliable handgun.

  4. I’m with you on the small gun thing.

    Unless you live somewhere that dings you for printing even a little bit, the whole pocket pistol thing is pointless.

    Of course it’s probably the product of new gun owners who are paranoid that someone will know they’re armed and freak out.

    The truth, though, is that most people would never guess that the bulge under your shirt is a gun. And even if someone did AND they got all hoplophobic and judgey about it, their discomfort is no reason to give up the advantages of a standard sized compact (think Glock 19/23) over one of these pocket rockets.

    Just sayin…

    • +1

      A compact like the XD/m or Px4 are small enough to carry without anybody noticing. As I have said many times a full size is concealable even in the summer if you where the right clothes. A subcompact/micro pistol has a purpose. For the professional, i.e., LEO, private personal security guard, they make good backup guns, and for the private citizen something to carry when circumstances dictate. For me that generally means the golf course where even my XD/m bothers my swing. The longer the barrel the better the ballistics. AS shootingbull has shown, the better ballistics broadens the selection of self defense ammunition and in the very unlikely event that you find yourself caught up in a mass shooting incident better standoff range.

    • “Unless you live somewhere that dings you for printing even a little bit, the whole pocket pistol thing is pointless. ”

      This is not the only situation where pocket carry can be advantageous or preferable. Sometimes people just don’t feel like holstering up and carrying a bunch of gear.

      I spent all of July 4th weekend with an LCP in my pocket. It’s better than going unarmed. Pointless is a bit of a stretch, my friend.

      • Agreed. I can think of lots of scenarios where a bigger gun isn’t a very good option. Not everybody sits at a desk all day, and trying to do an active job like construction for ten hours a day in hot weather with a full-size pistol in a IWB holster on is going to be pretty uncomfortable (or near impossible if you wear a tool belt). For those desk jockeys, some of them work in “gun-free” workplaces and would be fired if their gun was discovered. There’s lots of reasons to pocket carry a small gun besides just being worried about spooking the neighbors.

      • I overstated it a bit. The golf example above is one I hadn’t thought of. And though you’re not likely to get shot at the 9th hole, it’s smart to have and not need. Also, physical labor, etc.
        So I stand corrected*.

        But… the reason you carry a firearm is to stop someone who’s trying to murder you*. If that happens, a handgun is already is big compromise.

        To voluntarily give yourself an even smaller chance of surviving because you want to wear basketball shorts instead of cargo shorts, or a tight t-shirt instead of a loose one or any other myriad comfort issues, just doesn’t compute for me.

        It’s like when I see grown men wearing flip flops out and about, as if a fight (or the need to run) just isn’t going to occur on a nice day.

        So no offense intended towards those who HAVE to carry something smaller.

        *I did consider the BUG usage, but if you’re going to your back-up, something’s already gone wrong or you’re arming a family member, friend, etc. In that case I’d rather a small .38 any day.

      • Agreed. They are all the same caliber as the bigger guns (9, .40 or .45, depending on model), which is all that really matters. Especially since Shooting the Bull has shown that the loss of velocity, particularly at bad breath distances, is negligible with the right ammo.

        • I’m fairly certain my ability to run in flip flops or sandals is much greater than your ability to run in your new balance tennis shoes.

    • for me it’s comfort, and the fact I occasionally need to dress up. You just can’t tuck your shirt in over a compact and *not* have it look wrong. I need a pocket gun for that.

      • That is why God invented Hawaiian shirts. You can wear them out and look cool like Thomas Magnum.

    • Carry the biggest meanest gun that is feasible. Sure, a Glock 19/23 gives you a whole lot more firepower. At least this is still a 9mm, even though it is only a 6 round mag. That makes carrying extra mags even more important.

    • 1. Carrying IWB can be uncomfortable for some people more so than others. I tried several different holsters (some of which were expensive custom made stuff, not some cheap junk), and regardless of which one I use, even my pocket pistol is sufficiently annoying in that mode.

      2. Sometimes you’re carrying in places where you’re legally allowed to, but only until asked to leave (at which point you’d be trespassing) – think Target or Starbucks lately. Not advertising that you have a firearm helps.

      3. If I remember correctly, the statistics for DGU were that something like 97% of them involves no shots fired, since the attacker simply retreats in the face of a lethal threat. In other words, in most cases what matters is having a gun – any gun. In the event of the remaining 3% where I have to pull the trigger, it still works better than no gun. All in all, on the balance of probabilities, I’m willing to sacrifice that minor decrease in safety for the sake of comfort and ease of carrying wherever.

  5. +1 Mediocrates. If you want a tiny gun you don’t have to go .380. This is on my short list of carry guns. The CW are even less $.

  6. Weight in a carry gun is important – light weight carry guns don’t sag trousers, don’t hurt backs, and in general are a pleasure to carry. Light weight carry guns don’t get left in the safe at home.

    I’ve carried a Kahr PM-9 for nearly eight years – I’ve worn it with suits, shorts, and lycra bike shorts. I’ve worn it in business meetings, presentations, and while playing sports. I’ve checked it as luggage and carried it while traveling. It’s small, comfortable, and surprisingly accurate (and controllable) with Federal +P HST rounds.

    I can’t think of a better gun for my purposes.

  7. I’ve been carrying my CM9 for 3 years now. Not a single issue. I mainly carry in a Galco Ankle Lite holster or in a Crossbreed Supermini Tuck that was originally purchased for the larger CW9. It’s great for lightweight carry, particularly in the summer.

    • The Sig P290RS is a true double-action pistol (hammer fired, “re-strike” capability, hence the RS). The Kahr CM9 is a striker fired pistol with a double-action-style trigger. The Sig also weighs almost twice as much as the Kahr.

      • Make that 15.9 oz vs 20.5 oz…..not double by any means. The 290RS is much better as far as recoil.

  8. I have an MK-9 and it makes a great BUG. However, these things have one major flaw – the mag feed lips maintain very little grip on the top round. Without using a perfectly-fitted mag pouch I’ll frequently find a 5- or 7-round mag has magically downloaded itself in my pocket to a 3- or 5-round mag.

  9. I found the Kahr CM’s trigger pull to be amazingly long and indefinite, with bits of grit along the way. After it eventually goes bang, you’re searching for a reset that’s even longer than that of a Sig P226 without SRT.
    In the micro category I chose the XDs 3.3″ 9mm. You’ll like its very, very aggressive grip texture too.

  10. I love mine. Over 2000 full power reloads and counting, and several boxes of factory hollow points. I have not had a single hiccup with mine, and I’ve never had that experience with another pistol of it’s size.


  11. “No hiccups after the recommended break-in period.”

    I don’t care much for guns that have a “break-in” period.

    • Not a fan of Ed Brown’s and Les Baer’s? Those both have break in peroids as well.

      • As does Kimber. Most 1911s have a recommended break in period, AFAIK. Cars have break-in periods for much the same reasons–being a machine, the friction surfaces have to be smoothed by use for proper function.

      • Glocks don’t. Beretta 92’s don’t. Why do some guns have break-ins and others don’t? Are break-in periods indicative of less precise manufacturing? I suspect so. Am I wrong?

  12. I agree that the trigger I’ve felt on this pistol feels like an “old Smith and Wesson revolver in double action mode.” Of course, I thought one of the points of semi-auto pistols was to get away from a double-action (feeling) trigger pull. Also, I think it’s only fair to add about $80 onto the price for the ammo you have to shoot before the gun (allegedly) starts working right.

    • It has no external safety, so the DAO trigger provides a margin of safety, particularly important for a pocket carry pistol.

    • Not fair at all. One needs to put 400-500 rounds thru any firearm to test for functioning, reliability, and to learn its handling characteristics. Why penalize this particular firearm for something that should be applied to all?

  13. Great gun and a great bargain.

    FWIW mine required no break in period for full function with the factory fmj or hollowpoints that I have available (remington jhp, winchester wb, and ranger-t).

    As others have mentioned the magazines are the largest negative for me. They will spill rounds if left in your pocket. Need to be carried in a mag holster or you will end up washing ammo.

    Other than that the trigger is firm but smooooth. And yes it is long. I like it that way for my intended use. It is small enough to carry in all weather and in basically any clothing. It regularly sells for under $350 (sometimes way under!) And because of that, it will be carried. The texture could be more aggressive (like my CZ-P09) but it isn’t an issue for me and maybe that helps carry comfort.

  14. I guess texturing is a matter of opinion. Since I work a keyboard, I have soft hands–and the texturing on my CW9 was painful. I ended up getting a Hogue HandAll Jr. which smoothed all that out, provided a sticky surface all around the grip (the Kahr side “panels” are kind of slippery), modest but noticeable palms swells, and a finger ledge for the middle finger, adding to controllability.

    • I’m with you. I tried a CW45. It felt like someone duct taped a porcupine/cactus hybrid to the grip. It hurt to dry fire. I ended up with a G30 instead.

    • Same here. I carry a CW-45, and my first reaction to the grip was that it was very aggressively textured and not much fun. I would have marks on my hands after even a brief shoot. But I picked up an “Agrip” wrap for it, which has a suede-like feel to it, rendering it very comfortable to shoot with no slipping. I’ve had it on it for a couple of years, and it’s been awesome.

  15. ‘I will say that this makes practicing malfunction drills difficult.’

    If you want malfunction practice buy a Sig Mosquito and load it with anything that doesn’t say ‘Mini-Mag’ on the box. You’ll get three random malfunctions in every 10 round magazine.

  16. I purchased this gun after much research, specifically for carrying in my suit or summer clothes where my XDm .45 would show too much or not carry well. Overall, I’ve found it to be a very solid reliable sidearm thus far. A few observations that I’ve found…

    First, there’s several forums over on that go over some helpful mods and additions to the break-in procedure. A lot of good info to be found over there from dedicated Kahr shooters. I applied some of the suggestions, and have yet to have a hiccup shooting this gun.

    I’ve also read on multiple forums and articles that this gun is rather finicky with the seven-round mags. I’ve no plans of using the seven-round mags for that reason. I’ve been feeding mine from a rotation of six-round mags with no problems.

    Also, regarding the grip, or lack thereof, I applied the old indian trick of cutting up a bicycle tire tube and stretching it over the grip. Works wonders, especially with my big paws. I’m a big fan of cheap, effective solutions like this.

  17. The CM9 has been, by far, my favorite “pocket pistol,” except that until recently I wasn’t in a position where I could carry a pocket pistol which would still occasionally print–so I was relegated to the LCP. Now that Idaho universities can no longer expel you for exercising your right to defend yourself, I’ll be selling my LCP and picking up a CM9 for those summer months when I don’t want to carry a Glock.

  18. I have had a CW-45 for a little over two years, and I really like it. I experienced a little bit of buyer’s remorse right after I picked it up. I had a problem with the slide stop initially. I was also a little nervous about the number of failures during the “burn-in” period. And thirdly, I thought the grip was too aggressively textured – it was uncomfortable to wield, yet the plastic grip clearly needed it in order to not slip when shooting such a powerful, tiny pistol.

    Well, customer service promptly helped me out with and sent me a replacement part and a clear explanation of how to replace it (although they did offer to have me send it to them for repairs if I preferred). So … one point for customer service. That problem was unusual and resolved and hasn’t been a problem ever since.

    After the “burn-in”, it’s been quite reliable. The last time I took it out I even experimented with factory reloads, which I thought would give me some problems, but didn’t have a single malfunction in over 100 rounds. YMMV on that one though, as I’ve heard from some Kahr owners who say their CW-45s are a little more finicky on ammo.

    Finally – I picked up a relatively inexpensive grip “wrap” – the “AGrip” by Brooks Tactical Systems – and it’s been excellent. While a .45 in such a tiny package is bound to be a little snappy, otherwise it’s an extremely comfortable gun to shoot. I’d be tempted to put this on my Glock as well – it’s just that cool.

    Anyway – I’m sure for some people, reports of some of the early teething pains might make them want to steer clear. I know initially I was expecting / hoping for something that would be perfect right out of the box. But now, more than two years later, that’s more of a distant memory, and it’s been a near-perfect carry gun for me. It’s reliable, easy to conceal, and packs 6+1 rounds of .45, and it shoots well for me. Tough to beat that.

    (Interestingly enough, my brother and sister-in-law independently also chose Kahrs for their own carry – which gave us some amusement when we compared notes. Different models, but same tiny design.)

  19. I have one, and it operated flawlessly put of the box with a mixed bag o’ammo. It didn’t need the “Kahr break-in”.

    And here is the kicker: IT’S A NINE THAT IS SMALLER THAN A GLOCK 42 .380.

  20. How is this trigger compared to an LC9 hammer fired first version?

    I read similar, long and smooth. With long reset.

    Anybody handle both, please chime in.

    • I have two Kahrs, a CM9 and a P380. The trigger is much better than the double action semi-autos such as an LCP, P3AT/PF9, BG, but I have not fired an LC9. the Kahr triggers are striker fired and closer to Glock triggers but in smaller frames.

    • Also, for what it’s worth, I have a 1911, Colt Officer’s model, and a Colt Mustang Pocketlite. I used to carry the Pocketlite, but the Kahr P380 is smaller, lighter, and shoots very well, so it has become by normal carry gun.

  21. I picked up a used CM-9 last Spring. It functions perfectly, both with the 6 round mag and the 7 rounder. I’ve been a Glock fan for 25 years, and owned many, The mini Glocks just don’t conceal IWB very comfortably for me in business casual attire. Had an LCP for a short while, but didn’t care for the trigger, the lack of a lock back slide, nor the .380 chambering. Have some J frames, too, but like the thin slide of the CM. I really like the gun, and 2 weeks ago bought a CM-45. I have to break it in, but it is just slightly larger than the 9, and will take standard 1911 mags as back ups. I have a Glock 30s, but the CM-45 will be my go-to ccw when it’s broken in. I’m getting really tired of all the a-holes on the various gunsites who sit in their mom’s basements nit-picking every gun that is not in their collection, and the 1911 purists on the other end that have to have a 2k Les Baer full sized 1911. I carried as a private security / govt contractor for a few years, and I’m very confident in Kahrs as a ccw pistol.

  22. For the record, Kahr says if you slingshot the slide home on a magazine it will often result in a failure to feed. They suggest using the slide stop as a slide release, and just shooting it home with that.

  23. You are right, many folks will disagree with you on the looks of the gun. I find it a exceptionally fine looker. Really nice lines, smooth, elegant. And the Stainless Steel slide is the only way to go for durability in a gun in my opinion. Especially the Micro Pistols that take a lot of abuse. Personally do no understand how you could not like the looks of it. Regardless, thanks for the review. Sounds like a great gun. Do wish Kahr would go with a modular frame. That would be great.

  24. As someone who lives in Florida, wearing light t-shirts, or nylon pants/shorts to keep body humidity down, THIS GUN, with its smooth trigger is small enough for pocket conceal, the only real competition is the Sig P290RS….All others (Bereta Nano, S&W Shield, LC9, Glock, etc) are slightly larger and therefore more undesirable….I mean, try to conceal in your jogging shirt/shorts and the old adage “size does make a difference” works beautifully on the reverse.

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