Several decades ago, a new company emerged offering first class handguns designed for concealed carry. While makers come and go Kahr has survived and succeeded based on a superior product.
The advantages of the original K9 include a butter-smooth trigger action, good sights and a compact frame. The Kahr is not a cut-down service pistol; it is a purpose-designed compact handgun.
- The Kahr is a single-column-magazine handgun designed for concealed carry.
- The grip frame is small enough for concealed carry and large enough to fit most hands well.
- Details of the design included an offset feed ramp that gave room for the trigger action while ensuring feed reliability.
- The pistol earned a reputation for reliability and accuracy.
As I stated at the time, the Kahr showed the Europeans, Gun Valley could make a quality firearm. Those who recognize performance appreciate the Kahr. There are no true drawbacks to the Kahr with its steel frame and slide design. Quality machine work and skilled labor is not inexpensive. The price rose to the point that sales were inhibited in today’s market. Kahr addressed these concerns in several ways.
- Polymer frame technology was adapted to the Kahr design. (Kahr still manufactures the original along with many other models). A lightweight durable polymer frame is a good choice for a compact concealed carry handgun.
- Kahr eliminated some of the machine steps in finishing the slide. While the result may be more angular, the CW9 remains an attractive handgun.
- The sights are similar to the original; however, the front sight is staked in rather than fitted into a dovetail groove. The goal was to retain the appearance, performance and reliability of the original handgun in a less expensive package. The result is a credible handgun with much to recommend.
When examining the pistol, we see the cocking serrations are adequate and the slight bevel at the front of the slide adds ease in holstering. The rear sight’s design gives the shooter a quick reference in firing and it works well. The front post is easy to pick up in rapid combat drills.
The grip frame allows good adhesion while maintaining the firing grip and is not uncomfortably abrasive. The combination of pebble grain and checkering on the grip makes for a pleasant hold.
The front strap and rear strap are comfortable and make for good retention even with sweaty or cold hands. The cross section of the grip is narrow; designed for concealed carry. The magazine release is well designed, unobtrusive and allows for rapid magazine changes.
I examined, field stripped and lubricated the Kahr CW9 prior to firing. There were no excess tool marks and overall the level of fit and finish is high.
- The trigger action is smooth, breaking at 6.5 pounds of compression.
- The action is clean with little take-up or excess motion.
I fired the pistol with an eclectic supply of ammunition. In my experience, short slide pistols may malfunction with some loads and may be less reliable overall. This was not the case with the CW9.
In firing a number of loads, the pistol always gave reliable function. The primary resource used in this evaluation was the Federal American Eagle 115-grain 9mm. The pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject in firing 100 rounds of this loading.
In firing at man size targets at five, seven and 10 yards, the pistol proved lively in the hand, quickly coming to bear and providing a trained shooter with fast hits. The trigger reset is so fast, you do not have to think about it.
- Allow reset.
- Realign the sights and you are ready for another shot.
Kahr recommends a 200-round break in period. The CW9 or any other Kahr may fail to feed, the slide may short cycle or there may be a light firing pin strike during this break-in period.
We experienced none of these break in malfunctions although this warning must be respected. Also, and this one is important, do not lock the magazine in place and then rack the slide. In order to be certain the trigger resets for the next shot, or the first shot…
- Lock the slide to the rear.
- Insert a loaded magazine.
- Drop the slide allowing the first cartridge to feed into the chamber.
This is a desirable program for a number of striker-fired handguns.
I also fired full magazines of several 9mm personal defense loads, including:
Function was never an issue. The CW9 fed, chambered, fired and ejected every load.
Among the many compact 9mm handguns I have fired, the CW9 has high hit probability. This is an easy handgun to like and a compact pistol accurate to 25 yards or more. A combination of good sights, a comfortable grip and a smooth trigger action add up to good performance. The pistol’s muzzle flip and recoil are what you would expect from an 18 ounce 9mm—certainly nothing painful.
The Kahr CW9 is comparable to any 9mm compact and superior to many.
Have you fired the Kahr CW9? Share your results and experiences in the comment section.