The Kahr CM9 is a pocket pistol chambered in 9mm. The CM series is an economical version of Kahr’s PM line, which Kahr designed and recommends for concealed carry.Kahr is able to reduce the price by equipping CM pistols with a conventional rifled barrel instead of the match grade polygonal barrel and many components were constructed by metal injection molding (MIM), a process that involves powdered metal to be pushed into a mold and then it’s heated so the ground metal fuses together. This process is cheaper than machining parts. Also, there are less engravings on the gun. Lastly, Kahr is able to reduce price by shipping pistols with one magazine instead of two.
CM pistols feature a stainless steel slide, which was milled from a solid block, and a black polymer frame. It has a double-action only trigger, adjustable sights, a short three-inch barrel, and uses a five-round magazine.
|Sights:||Adjustable white bar-dot combat sights|
|Features:||Lock breech; "Browning - type" recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect|
|Material/Finish:||Stainless steel slide/matte/black polymer frame|
|Twist:||1 in 10"|
Kahr’s Version of the Compact Nine
Once the gun is broken in, I can’t find anything wrong with the CM9. The two-tone stainless, polymer compact from Kahr weighs in at just over a pound loaded. It is thin – under an inch. The short barrel cuts down the length of the gun and the two finger grip completes the easily concealable package. It is a single stack, 6+1, DAO, striker-fired dynamo.
The test gun I received was really stiff. The springs feel like they belong on a much bigger gun. The slide locks back on an empty magazine. It will cycle fine with the magazine in, but gets hung up if cycled when it’s out.
The purpose of this class of handgun is for targets at close range. The gun should point well, as you may not have the opportunity to actually use of the sights when needed.
The first thing I do is try to get comfortable with it is dry fire it, so I unload it and conceal it. First I look at a reasonably sized target. Pull fast and aim reflexively. Then stop and check where the barrel is actually aimed.
I find that the CM9 points just a bit high for me. At ten feet, I’m hitting center of a silhouette, but well above center mass. This is why I practice. It isn’t the CM9’s fault that I’m aiming high. The angle of the grip isn’t any different from most of the other guns, but a two-fingered hold is hard to control.
And once you pull the trigger on the CM9, you’ll see what I mean. While the recoil is exactly the same as with every other short barreled 9mm, the muzzle flip is pretty intense. This is par for the course, though. You won’t find a pocket 9mm that isn’t jumpy. A pinky nub, like on the little Ruger, helps hold it down. The checkering on the polymer frame of the CM9 helps, too. But it is still going to jump.
This makes target acquisition between shots a lot more challenging. I’m going to say it again – as a defensive handgun, this will do exceptionally well. Again, I’m assuming that the problems I have with mine are unique.
The CM9 has no external safety. It does have an internal safety that keeps the gun from firing unless the trigger is pulled. The trigger pull is reasonable something over five pounds. And like most DAO striker fired pocket rockets, this trigger has a mile to go before it hits home. The first few times I pulled, I kept waiting for the trigger to catch. And pulling back, and waiting, and pulling.
Don’t get me wrong it is designed this way. These pistols are intentional weapons. The long pull is a form of safety. It would be difficult to envision a situation that would allow for this trigger to be pulled accidentally. That it seemed like an unreasonably long trigger pull to me just means I haven’t put enough rounds through it to get used to it.
The gun carries well. It shoots straight. While the single stack six round magazine limits the firepower, it beats that of most small framed .38s.
How does it shoot?
This isn’t a range gun, obviously. So take what I’m saying about accuracy in context. But it will hit what you’re pointing at. I shot my first six rounds at an 8” target from more than thirty feet and I hit the last two shots. While I would never want to rely on the gun from that distance, it hit the mark, which is saying something.
Let me tell you what I really think
Diamondback. SIG. Beretta – they all make one of these now. And my reviews of them sound too repetitive for my taste. But they work. They are easily concealable, powerful, and don’t cost that much. The CM9 comes in just north of the $400.00 mark, which isn’t bad. But Kel-Tec is going to smoke them on the low end. Kimber’s Solo is going to make the CM9 look like the ugly stepsister, but she’s a cheaper date. I don’t know how they’ll contend with Ruger.
In the end, for me, it comes down to the aesthetics. This gun is purely functional. I still prefer at least a nod toward the aesthetic design of the pistol. This feels so hypocritical. I’ve preached function over form for so long that I know someone is going to call me on this.
But let’s look at some of the design elements that are strange. Start with the way the barrel sits in the slide. There is a functional half moon space above the barrel and below the slide. I’m not an engineer, but I think this is there to allow the barrel to tip up as the slide rides back. I guess I have to live with that one.
But there are others. The magazine doesn’t seat all the way into the handle. It is secure. But not as tight as I’d like. And maybe this is why I had such trouble getting the thing to go.
Here’s my dilemma. Very few folks in this industry are willing to write a negative review of a gun. I think the guiding philosophy behind this is that no press is damning enough. If you don’t like a gun, don’t review it. Seems simple enough.
I’d skip the Kahr CM9 if the damned thing didn’t shoot like a much bigger gun. I’d skip it if I didn’t feel like so much effort and thought had been poured into the production of this little pistol. But there’s one thing about Kahrs that I have to shake my head at.
They shoot great, but they can be fickle guns if not loaded correctly. Here’s what I experienced:
- After the first round fires, the slide locks back.
- The slide cycles back but doesn’t load the next round. Click.
- Pulling back the slide to load a round might not load a round.
- Seating the magazine drops the slide. Or it doesn’t. If it does, it loads a round. Or not.
When this gun worked, it was fantastic. Deadly accurate. But I have mixed feelings about recommending a gun that won’t feed by a common loading procedure.
I want this gun to work. I really like what I have seen on Kahr’s website. Their innovations are really interesting. I think the company’s story is fascinating.
But caveat emptor.