*Kahr…When Size DOES Matter!*
Photos by Warlord
(The Kahr40 in Bead Blasted Matte Stainless)
For the past seventy-five years, the term “pocket pistol” was exemplified by 3
handguns. These were the Walther PP/PPKs, Smith and Wesson M36/Chief’s Special, And
the Colt Detective Special. These 3 handguns provided the most power per ounce of any
handgun then available.
During the late 1960s and early ‘70s, a trend among custom gunsmiths began to emerge.
As the incidents of violent crime increased against individuals, a market for small,
easily concealed, yet powerful handguns developed. The lack of effective .380ACP and
.38Spl ammunition fueled the development of ‘mini-9MMs and chopped .45’s, such as
Devel's ‘ASP’, a miniaturized S&W M39, and Detonic’s “Combat Master”, a radically
In the late 1980s, S&W threw their hat into the ring, with their own “in house”
mini-9MM auto, the M469. This was a heavily modified and downsized M459, holding 12+1
9MM rounds, all in a package about the same size as a Colt Detective Special snubbie.
It proved immensely popular with both law enforcement agencies and civilians. It also spelled the death of many gunsmiths specializing in mini-autos.
Not much attempt was made by the gun industry to cater to the growing number of CCWs
in America for the next 10 years. The most popular “mini” autopistol during this time
was Glock's extremely popular G19. It was basically the same size as the S&W M469,
but had the ability to hold 17+1 rounds of 9MM, and was much lighter. Its
reliability, coupled with its compact size made it very popular. It was THE premier
“carry” piece for those “in the know”.
However, there is always room for improvement. Fast forward to 1995. Enter a brand
new firearms company with a product that was about to set the carry gun industry on
its collective ear. Instead of trying to take an existing design and shrink it down,
this company started with a clean sheet of paper. This company was Kahr Arms and its
pistol was the K9.
Ads for their new pistol compared it to the then new Glock G26, a cut down G19. While
the K9 was heavier than the Glock offering, it was quite a bit slimmer and easier to
handle, doing away with the chunkiness of the Glock. Capacity was 7+1 rounds of
full-powered 9MM in a package the same size and weight as a Walther PP.
(While VERY compact, the Kahr is comfortable even for people with large hands)
(Double handed grips are comparable to the feel of pistols with MUCH larger frames)
The Kahr K9 was classified as a striker fired, double-action-only auto, similar to the
Glock in operation. However, it used a completely different type of trigger, which
made for a vastly improved “feel”. It operates from a locked breech, its barrel
locking up the same way as a SIG P226. It was also much slimmer, due in part to its
off-set barrel lug and single stack magazine. Its sights were straight SIG in
appearance, offering very rapid target acquisition.
(Kahr's firing pin design)
(Sights look Familiar?)
Disassembly is easily accomplished by first making certain that the pistol is
unloaded. Remove the magazine and retract the slide, lining up the “take down”
notches and pushing out the slide stop.
(Take down notch lined up)
(Tap out the slide stop)
(Kahr with the slide stop removed)
Apply forward pressure on the slide and then pull the trigger, the slide will move forward off of the frame
Removal of the recoil spring guide assembly allows the barrel to drop out. Assembly is in reverse order.
(CAREFULLY pull upwards on recoil spring, the spring is quite stiff)
The Kahr quickly developed a reputation for accuracy and reliability. An almost
“cult-like” following developed and Kahr was encouraged to increase its product line.
Today, Kahr still offers the original “full-sized” K9 in 9MM, but also offers a .40S&W
version dubbed the K40. A miniaturized version of these pistols exists as the MK9 and
MK40. These are truly tiny pistols, rivaling many small .380 autos, yet offering a
full-powered chambering. All models are available in a variety of finishes.
(The Kahr .40 cal compared to a Ruger P89DC)
(Notice that the Kahr .40 on the left is MUCH thinner than the Ruger)
(The S&W .40 cal Corbon ammo compared to Corbon 9mm)
Kahr’s latest and possibly best offering is its polymer P9. This pistol has a
synthetic frame, holds 7+1 rounds of 9MM and weighs a feathery 15 ounces empty. It is
an absolute joy to carry and continues Kahr’s reputation for accuracy and
reliability. For anyone wanting or needing a truly compact, accurate and reliable
pistol for daily carry, Kahr’s line of premier autos offers something for everyone.
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All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.