Kahr P380 (VIDEO)


The Kahr P380 is a semi-automatic pocket pistol chambered in .380 ACP. Kahr is one of the premier manufacturers of pistols, especially pockets, and the caliber .380 continues to grow in popularity, so naturally the two merged thus creating the P380 series, which Kahr designed specifically for concealed carry.

The P380’s features include a locked-breech system where the backwards force is absorbed by the slide rather than the frame. Another feature that aids in resisting wear are the stainless steel inserts lining the inside of the frame. The black polymer frame has a textured grip and is very lightweight putting total weight around 0.63 pounds. The overall width is 0.75″, so it’ll be easier to conceal in a pocket or holster. It has a customized match grade barrel made by Lothar Walther, which is said to fire accurately even up to 25 yards. It has a double-action only trigger that sets off the action with a 5-pound pull. It doesn’t have a safety switch, but it’s less likely something other than a trigger finger will pull a double-action trigger all the way back. It also has a passive striker block, which is an internal safety that prevents the gun from accidentally discharging if it’s dropped. And it comes with adjustable three-dot sights.

Optional features include tritium night sights (add about $100), a loaded chamber indicator that pops up when a round is chambered (California approved and add about $75) and it is available in a stainless steel or blackened stainless steel finish (add about $50 for black).

Its caliber .380 ACP is smaller than 9mm and has a shorter range and less stopping power, but it is an ideal cartridge for a concealed carry gun because its recoil is manageable with a small frame.

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Caliber: .380 ACP
Grip: Textured/black
Capacity: 6
Sights: Adjustable three-dot sights<br />Adjustable tritium night sights
Features: Blackened stainless steel finish is corrosion and scratch resistant<br />California approved with loaded chamber indicator (LCI)<br />Locked-breech; passive striker block; and Lothar Walther match grade barrel
Action: Semi-auto
Size: Pocket
Trigger: Double-action only
Slide Material: Blackened stainless steel/matte<br />Stainless steel/matte
Frame Material: Polymer frame/black
Website: http://www.kahr.com/…
Weight: 0.63 pounds
Trigger Pull: 5.25 pounds
Barrel Length: 2.5"
Length: 4.9"
Height: 3.9"

Editor Review

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMgwMpmwVA8?rel=0]

There are some guns that are just fun to shoot, but did you ever think a pocket pistol would be one? Well, it is now. I’ve got to throw the Kahr P380 into that group. This little thing, and it is little – not quite five-inches long and less than one-inch wide – is really delightful. Ergonomic, accurate, dependable – everything you’d want from a pocket pistol.

Maybe that’s a bit of a paradox. This gun isn’t meant to be delightful. It isn’t a plinker – or a competition gun. There is nothing sporty about its design or purpose. This is a self-defense weapon – a back-up gun. The P380 is meant to be a last resort.

Does that mean it shouldn’t be fun to shoot? I don’t think it has to. I enjoyed shooting this gun much more than I have some pocket pistols. The .380 round isn’t too hard on the hand. I didn’t feel any stiffness in my wrist at all after the shoot (and I usually do, thanks to an ancient broken wrist). And the gun is capable of hitting what you are aiming at. I can’t say that for all of the small guns.

And there are a lot of these guns out there now. Not just the P380s, which come in a variety of different permutations, but others. It seems like everyone makes a gun like this now and the 9mm is in vogue. Kahr has their versions of the 9mm, but the .380 is a bit of a throwback. Retro. The .380 may seem somewhat nostalgic, but there’s a reason why it’s still around.

It is an effective little round, though. It doesn’t produce an astounding muzzle velocity or register impressive terminal velocities, but the .380 does well at close range, so companies keep making guns that shoot them. Look back at the Colt 1903, which was chambered in .32, and the 1908, which was available in .380. These old Colts were amazingly popular. The 1911 has come to symbolize all Colt pistols, but that doesn’t mean everything else is worth forgetting.

How does it feel?

If you’ve shot any of these micro subcompacts, the P380 will have a recognizable feel. The polymer frames have a pretty rough grip surface. You can get two fingers on the grip and one on the trigger, but it points like a champ. The trigger pull is heavy enough to function as a safety of sorts.

Yes your pinky will dangle off in space – there isn’t a little nub on the end of the magazine base plate like there could be, but everyone wants to talk about how small their guns are. I’m willing to conceal an extra half an inch, thank you very much.  But they didn’t ask me.

Not to worry, though. The .380 round doesn’t kick like a mule, so it is easy to regain target acquisition between shots.

Shooting results

So after running a bunch of round nose FMJ through the P380, I took my time with some Hornady Critical Defense – what I normally carry in my old Colt.

That was enough for me. The gun shot perfectly, but if there was one thing that I would highlight negatively, it would be that, out-of-the-box, the P380 may be a bit picky about feeding the first round off of a magazine unless it is seated firmly and the slide is locked back. When the slide was locked back and the magazine was inserted until the magazine release button clicked, the first round fed flawlessly. Every time.

If the magazine was not inserted correctly, it wouldn’t feed. Nothing odd about that, but if the magazine was inserted correctly and the slide was slingshot it was hit or miss.

It defies logic because that’s what a semi-auto does naturally, but that’s the way it is for most brand new Kahrs. The tolerances are extremely tight and Kahr specifically says their guns require a 200-round break-in and they’re not kidding.


I like the P380. I’d even go so far as to say I like it as much or more as many of the other guns with which the P380 competes. Yet, there is a sticking point – or maybe two. 

The first would be the other reviews. The Internet is full of them. This is not to say that these bashings represent the majority’s experience. Happy folks don’t write about how happy they are nearly as often as the pissed off people write about their troubles. But some of the bashings bring up some very real issues.

Yet, I had none of these issues with the P380. Not one. But if I were to buy a P380 I would have to deal with my second concern: The price. While it isn’t going to break the bank, the P380 isn’t cheap and I’m having a hard time reconciling that. Rumor has it you can pick up a P380 for five bills. In fact, it costs almost as much as a Walther PPK. Comparing a Walther PPK and Kahr P380 should be illegal. So let’s look at some real competition. The Ruger LCP in .380 comes in at just about half the price of the Kahr. And that’s a serious consideration.       

I would have to run both guns, side by side, all out and go through hundreds of rounds to even begin to guess at the real value of the P380. My gut says that the extra money is worth it. While I wasn’t all that pleased with the CM9, I am smitten with this little gun. It is tiny, manageable, intuitive, and accurate. Most importantly, the P380 I had for evaluation was reliable – right out of the box. As for the extra money – when we’re talking about guns of last resort – the extra money just may be insurance.