Monday, February 15, 2010

Review: Kahr Arms PM9

Saturday I went to a local gun store to buy some overpriced .45 ACP ammo and the parking lot was packed! Normally, there are a few cars there and on CCW class days there are about 10 cars, but yesterday there were easily 20. It was hard to find a place to park!

Whether they’re carrying on a daily basis or not, there’s no doubt that carry classes are overflowing. Gone are the days when a card carrying, permit holder was in a small fraternity. Now days everyone has one. Since so many people are getting licensed to carry, it stands to reason that small, easy to conceal pistols and revolvers are going to be more popular than ever. Well, they are and Kahr knows it.

Kahr Arms is an American pistol manufacturer that was founded by Kook Jin "Justin" Moon, son of Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon. For all of you familiar with “Moonies” this church will sound familiar to you.

I chuckled when I heard that but it’s true. The good news is that “Justin” loves guns, got a carry permit at 18 years of age and didn’t like the quality and selection of many of the small guns on the market. So in 1995, he started a company who’s goal was to build high quality, compact, semi-automatic pistols.

When my buddy Bruce told me over lunch that he was going to buy a PM9, I had to bite my lip to keep from yelling, “Hallelujah!” I shot a PM40 a few months ago and was impresses but didn’t get a lot of time with the gun.

You see, Bruce was looking for a Ruger LCP so he called our local Sportsman’s Warehouse and found out that it was going to be a while on an LCP but that a Kahr PM9 was on the truck coming in on Wednesday. I don’t know how things are in your part of the US, but out here guns are strangely scarce. So if you find something you want, buy it right then and there.

In my opinion, Bruce did a very smart thing. He burned a vacation day, showed up at Sportsman’s Warehouse at 10 am sharp (as they opened) and bought the beautiful, all black PM9, with Tritium night sites on the spot. He wasn’t taking any chances.

He took the gun out on Purchase Day and ran 100 rounds through it to make sure it was ready for testing. I spoke to him on the phone and anxiously asked how it shot. He replied very calmly, “Well personally, I think it shoots pretty nicely.”

The gun is a Kahr PM9094N, in black stainless (very cool) with night sites. It comes with two magazines, a standard 6-rounder and an extended 7-rounder with pinky extension.

Saturday at the range, we shot a variety of guns before getting to the Kahr. But once I picked it up, I knew it was something special. It was very well balanced, very light - but not too light, and very small- but not too small. It was pretty close to perfect. BUT it does have one very interesting flaw. For that, you’ll need to keep reading.

We took some pictures and video then loaded the magazine with 6 rounds. I knew this first mag was going to be a bit wild as I got used to the trigger so I asked Bruce to shoot some video.

The guns shoots well. Very well. Even though the gun had only 100 rounds through it, the DA only trigger was light and easy. Because it’s DA only, the trigger must be completely released before you feel the reset “click”. It’s like shooting a revolver with a super light, 5 pound trigger.

After two mags, I shook my head and wrote these words in my review journal, “Sweet. Light DA trigger, easy to shoot, recoil is very manageable. Very Sweet,”. For a small gun, the recoil is surprisingly light. The gun kicks way less than the Kel-Tec P-3AT we reviewed. I was yet again impressed. The DA only trigger is so easy to pull, it's hard to believe. It makes one wonder why all DA triggers can't be this smooth and easy and why it took so long for a company to figure it out.

As for accuracy? At 10/75 yards, my standard pistol test ranges, the gun was surprising. As you can see in the accompanying photo, there are four magazines that were shot into the target. They are clearly labeled. The first two were loaded with 6 rounds each, the last two were loaded with 5 rounds since I only had 10 left.

Target at 30 feet, standing, shooting two-handed.
Set 1: I still hadn’t figured out if the gun was a dot-on-the-10-ring or dot-below-the-10-ring pistol. I put the dot below the 10 ring and shot six holes in the neck. (The 5 shots in the black circle below were shot with my Taurus Model 85 .38 Special)

Set 2: With the front dot on the bull, I was all over the head but not too bad as this was my first outing with the gun (one lucky bull and five real shots).

Sets 3 and 4: Two mags of five, eight on target, two that were low and to the left. Likely my trigger finger, not the gun.

For an ultra-compact, short-barreled, DA only pistol, I was more than happy with the results. Ok, light DA trigger, accurate, small, easy to handle, shoots well, etc. What’s the flaw?

Notice in the photo that there’s a small gap between the pinky rest and the bottom of the pistol grip. Every time you pull the trigger with the extended magazine in place, that gap pinches the dog out of your pinky. Every time.

If that mag was the only option, I’d be pissed! Yes, it’s more comfortable, but dang it! All I can say is that Kahr really needs to find a solution to that problem. I’ve shot lots of extended mags and have never had this problem. They all fit snug without a finger-pinching gap.

Personally, I’d rarely shoot the extended mag anyway. I’d never carry it that way as the extra length kills the concealability (my spell check doesn’t recognize that word, hmm) and why practice with a mag you won’t use in real life?

Overall, that’s a small, but real problem. If you want a small, light weight conceal carry gun and don’t mind shelling out some extra money (Kahr’s are sold at a premium price) the Kahr PM9 is a real winner. You get a great shooting, sexy little pistol that you’ll be glad you bought.

Photo: Kimber Ultra Carry II, PM9 and XD9 size comparison.

Kahr PM9 Review


  1. I've had my finger pinched by the extended mag on a Kahr PM9 also. It's not pleasant.I agree that it's something that can, and should, be fixed. Other than that, it's a nice sidearm.

  2. I purchased a Kahr PM9 and have never had a hand pinch. I have shot at least 1000 rounds and again never had a pinch. It is a nice carry piece and constructed very well. Easy to disassemble and reassemble. I recommend the Kahr PM9 for anyone male or female.

  3. I agree. The Kahr PM9 is a superb handgun. The pinch only occurs with the extended magazine. No pinch for you with the extended mag?

  4. Shot over 500 rounds with my PM9 and never had a pinch. Never.

  5. Have shot over 500 rounds with my PM( and never had a pinch. Never.

  6. I test fired a Glock 26 a few weeks ago with extended mag and got "that pinch". Strange, you would think one of these companies would have figured out a solution to that.

    Maybe hand size is the issue and if you and I switched, me with the kahr and you on the G26, it might not happen.

    Nice review, thanks.

  7. The Kahr PM9 is a great carry gun, loveit. To over come the pinching of the extended mag,or to get a more grip on the gun use the flush 5 round mag and buy the pinky extenion made by Pearce #PG-MK9. Comes 2 in a pack for under $15.and installs in 5 min.It replaces the factory base plate on the 5 round mag.

  8. I have a PM9.Flawless!And smaller than some 380s.I load mine with 124 +P Gold dots, or Fed. 115 +P+.

  9. I own one, well broke in, just did a defensive shooting class, put about 250 rounds through, flawless not one problem. My solution to finger pinch is a strip of duct tape a couple of times around that last pinky joint.

  10. my pm9 all black at around 500 rounds the top of the recoil spring loosen and the nut came off while shooting.....was un able to find khar while i was at the range and the customer service is sending me a new one in the ground shiping...gun was a great shooter but not better than my p2000sk...still enjoy the weight of the khar pm9 and will still use as my edc ....gun thats a while to get use to...and practice to get accurate with

  11. Love my PM( - I also have the MK9 which has an even better trigger - Imagine That!) but at 22 .ozs approx. is too heavy for an pocket carry. I like to tinker with my guns (ha ha that doesn't always help them) and have noticed that the Kahrs have a lot harder metal than most other pistols. If you are just a person who wants to carry a pistol for protection and don't have a lot of Rambo in you to learn all sorts of combat mindset stuff - this is your carry!

  12. I've got mine, with around 300 rounds through it. no pinching, or failures of any kind. shot it limp-wrist and at various angles. It's flawless. A keeper and really love this gun.

  13. No failures of any kind after around 500 rounds.. a keeper, reliable, excellent ergonomics, the pinch, "nay", negligible recoil, yet beautifully designed as CCW. : )

  14. great carry gun highly recommend it, well worth the price, great going to work in the french quarter gun lol

  15. Highly recommend this firearm. As to the "pinch", after several hundred rounds of six different brands and types of cartridges I have yet to have a failure of any kind or a finger pinch..

  16. Bought PM9 second hand at a local dealer. The firearm had many issues I was unaware of until after purchase and was out of warranty. I sent it into Kahr and they replace the slide, barrel and recoil assembly free of charge for parts and labor. Their customer service is second to none. My Pm9 operates flawlessly. Great gun

  17. I've been looking all over for a PM9 in black stainless with night sights!!!