Yesterday I would have said the Kahr PM9. I have had mine two days and it shoots great, accurate, nominal recoil, and small and easily concealable. It is a little bit hard to breakdown. However, I have discovered an issue with mine which seems to be a common problem with this and other similar Kahr models: Hollow points Failure to Feed when the mag is loaded with the slide closed. It then jams the first round into the ramp and won't load. After the first round, it seems to work fine. So far all the HP's I have tried have the same problem.
The Ruger LC9 with the crimson trace is probably the same price as the Kahr without the laser. My advice is to check out the forums to find out how the LC9's are working out. I have heard many here love the Kahr PM9's and perhaps my gun will get repaired or I will find good HP ammo that will always load.
I consider the LC9 in a different class due to the size. The PM9 is 5.4in long, and the LC9 is 6in long. It is just enough to make a difference for pocket carry. They are all under 5.7in and 20oz or under. Note the PF11 and SCCY both have a 10 round capacity...a 3-4 shot advantage over the others but makes them about an inch taller. If my Kahr doesn't work out, I am thinking about the Sig P290.
Here is a list of pocket sized 9mm's to consider as well:
Kahr PM9 Striker-Half Cock
SigSauer P290 DAO Hammer
Kel-Tec PF-11 DOA Hammer
SCCY Gen-2 9mm DAO Hammer
Kimber Solo Striker Half-Cock
And weapons I could not shoot well in the beginning ended up being ones I could shoot very well after practice.
I'm not certain that "feeling good in the hand" or "rented and shot it well" are necessarily good predictors of whether you will end up shooting the weapon expertly or not.
But in the absence of any other predictive information I would probably stay with that same advice. But I would add this: Expect to buy and sell many weapons until you find the ones that work best for you.
Even the FBI could not do well on specifying weapons. They originally specified the 10mm for all their agents only to find out that many of them could not deal with the amount of recoil. If the FBI can't get it right on the 4th try (.38, .357, 9mm, 10mm to finally the .40 caliber) then you can't expect to do any better. (I don't think the FBI ever issued .45s, but I might be wrong on that.)
Correction: I just Googled "FBI, weapons" and found that their advanced SWAT teams use .45 caliber 1911s.
I agree with recoilguy
"feeling good in the hand" or "rented and shot it well" - Are about all you can go with.
But I have also learned that I still make mistakes and have to change guns in order to get exactly right for me.
I also agree that most opinions on any forum are very biased opinion 9 times out of 10 times .
Posters post their opinion w/o even owning the gun that they are talking about.
There are lots of folks that flat give bad advice on gun forums.
If you do it other than the manufacturer suggests, and induce a malfunction, is it really an issue and a problem with the gun or ammo? I think not.
I have the PM9 and it has been 100% out of the box. I think the PM9 has been around long enough to establish a track record of sorts.
The LC9 hasn't exactly established a record yet. Ruger might yet end up juggling, for example, recoil spring strength ,etc if problems end up developing.
If it proves to be as reliable as the LCP has become it should be a winner. I want one, but am going to wait a few months to see how they hold up.
have a little expeience with ruger lcp, lc9 none with kahr except i too was interested in pm9 because of size and weight. all of these little guns have heavy triggers pulls and are not for me. suggestion would be a glock 26 or 27 not much bigger or heavier and not too costly. good luck! whatever you decide
Once you get used to loading this way, it becomes second nature. It is not a problem at all.
What I do is manually load a round without the magazine in the Kahr using the slide release. Then, I load a full 7-round mag...now I have 8 shots ready to go. If I am doing fast reloading, the slide will already be open from the last round of the previous mag, so I just eject the empty and load the second one, releasing with the slide release and ready to go again for seven more rounds. Sometimes I use the six round mag plus one in the chamber, with two 7 round mags loaded. That is 20 rounds available.
To me the Kahr is a clear winner...if you can afford it. You may want to consider the CM-9 instead to save a little money, but the PM definitely has better clustering.
I think most folks have good luck with Kahrs. I didn't. Even after a trip back to Kahr, at my expense, the PM9 still wouldn't empty a mag without a malfunction. A fluke? Maybe. But I decided to stay away from them. My LC9 has been 100% out of the box. Mostly my reloads but it also ate some CCI aluminum perfectly. WWB and Critical Defense, 0 problems. It's the only "pocket" pistol that I sometimes carry instead of my 442.