New PM9...range report and impressions (long post)
I got a new Kahr PM9 recently for CC use. I've owned many other pistols and revolvers over the past thirty years, but I had never owned a Kahr. I had admired the elegant looks, the solid craftsmanship and the compact size of these little pistols since the PM9 was first introduced a few years ago. I always thought this would be an ideal CC pistol...very small and light, yet in a significant caliber...but I was skeptical about the shootability of such a small gun.
The smallest 9mm Iíd owned was an alloy frame, single stack S&W 3914, but it was too large and heavy for pocket carry or easy CC in certain situations. I had also owned a Glock 19; a very nice pistol, but, like the 3914, also a bit large and heavy. The smaller pistols I've owned in lesser calibers...a Beretta Tomcat in .32 auto, a Beretta, Walther and Sig in .380 auto, and a S&W Airweight and Taurus snubbie in .38 spl...were all very nice handguns, but the smaller calibers didnít inspire confidence, and some of these guns are also pretty large and heavy.
The Tomcat was very concealable, but I didn't want to depend on a .32 auto in a pinch. The PPK was an elegant little pistol, nice to carry though a little heavy, but it didnít always function reliably. The .380 13-round Beretta and the all Stainless Sig 230 were great pistols, but larger and heavier than a lot of 9mmís. The two .38 snubbies were OK, but Iíve never enjoyed shooting or carrying these tiny revolvers.
So, when I saw the PM9 a few years back it seemed like the perfect size and weight for a concealed carry gun in a decent caliber, so long as it functioned reliably. I finally got a PM9 last week, the two-tone version with the regular sights. It was on sale at Shooters, in Jacksonville, Fl, for $559. I also got an extra 6-round magazine and some Pearce mag extenders.
The PM9 seemed very tight right out of the box, the slide was a bit hard to retract fully and the mags were a little stiff getting in and out of the grip. A good clean-and-lube loosened things up a bit, but I was still worried about stoppages during the initial 200 rounds. I was also concerned how well Iíd be able to control the PM9; Iíd never used such a small and light 9mm, so I was prepared for the worst. The next day I headed for the range with four different 50-round boxes of 9mm FMJ for the recommended break-in.
No need to worry....the PM9 went through the first 200 rounds flawlessly, not one FTF or FTE. The first round of every magazine went easily and surely into the chamber by simply depresing the slide release lever. The slide never failed to lock back at the end of every magazine. The slide release lever is well-shaped and large enough to release the slide quickly with the shooting hand (I'm right handed), but small enough to maintain the pistolís narrow profile.
The smaller 6-round mags were a bit difficult to fully load at first, the lips were a bit sharp and the spring tension made the last round tough to insert; the 7-round mag was easier to fully load. Inserting mags easily into the tiny grip went smoothly, the edges at the bottom of the well are slightly flared, or beveled, and the magazines lock into place precisely. The rather small mag release button also functions well, though the magazines only drop a fraction of an inch when released and they have to be manually removed from the gun.
The PM9ís steel slide and polymer frame are mostly free of sharp edges, though the front sight is very sharp. The triggerís edges, along the rear and the exposed top section when retracted, are also rather sharp, as are the mag funnelís beveled edges. These areas could benefit from some minor smoothing.
Even though I was primarily trying to find the most comfortable and efficient hand position on the pistol, and not really aiming very carefully during the break-in session, I still managed to easily group most of my shots into a pretty small area at 15 yds. The dovetailed front and rear sights are very nice for such a small gun. After experimenting and finding the most efficient grip, and becoming fully comfortable with the PM9, I started aiming with care to see how well it would shoot. I am very impressed by how tightly this little gun groups, and how easily I was able to make accurate follow-up shots .
Felt recoil and muzzle flip were negligible, I never even noticed them...not at all what I had anticipated with such a small and light 9mm pistol. Honestly, my Sig 230 and Walther PPK, both with fixed barrels and blowback design, felt snappier; the locking breech design of the small PM9 makes it a much more enjoyable and shootable pistol than these .380ís. (The new pocket-sized Kahr .380 and Colt Mustang copy Sig .380 are both locking breech designs, so they should also be easier to shoot well.)
The trigger on the PM9 is quite good. As described by others, it has a very smooth, light and predictable pull throughout its entire travel. Good resistance is felt from the very beginning of the pull, and it remains consistent till the pistol fires at the end of the travel. I noticed no grittiness or staging, it just let off smoothly at the same point with the same effort every time. The PM9ís trigger really does feel like a good DA revolver, but, with no cylinder to rotate and hammer to cock, it has a lot less going on inside.
Unlike some Glocks and 1911ís Iíve had, I think the PM9 will be a very safe pistol to carry; youíd have to be very careless to experience an AD with this gun. The S&W 3914, Sig 230 and PPK (as well as other DA/SA pistols/revolvers Iíve had) have very heavy initial DA trigger pulls. The PM9ís first shot, and every shot after that, is equally smooth and light enough for good accuracy, yet with sufficient resistance and predictability to make it a safe carry gun.
Control is also surprisingly good with the PM9. Though felt recoil is light for a gun this weight, it's a bit tricky to maintain a consistent grip for accurate follow-up shots due to the pistolís small grip, though the Pearce extenders on the 6-round mags make it much easier. The molded-in serrations on the front and rear of the handgrip are rather sharp for a polymer frame. They help maintain a firm grip, but they also abrade your hands somewhat during a long shooting session.
I tried shooting the little PM9 with a firm two-handed grip as well as one-handed...it still shot very well. Muzzle rise was practically non-existent, it was very easy to get back on target for several quick follow-up shots. The little PM9 functioned perfectly and remained completely controllable and easy to shoot accurately, exactly what you need from a small CC pistol. It really is the most pleasant small and light 9mm pistol Iíve ever fired.
I don't know if the PM9 will be as pocketable as I would like, and as some of you describe. For a true pocket pistol, the new Kahr .380 I handled in the shop, and actually slipped into my front pocket, would be absolutely perfect. When placed side by side on the shop counter next to the PM9 and CW9, the new Kahr .380 is to the PM9 what the PM9 is to the CW9...a significantly smaller and lighter pistol. If it shoots as well as the PM9, I expect the new Kahr .380 will be extremely popular as a true pocket pistol. For my large hands, the Kahr .380 is just too small, but I can definitely see the appeal.
The couple of times Iíve slipped the loaded PM9 into my front pantís pocket itís felt larger and heavier than I had hoped. Itís doable, but really not all that handy. It does fit well into the pocket of some heavy-weight cargo pants, but the pocket still sags too much from the weight. The PM9 does fit very well into a medium weight jacket or coat pocket, but I think a lightweight windbreaker or jacket would be overpowered by the weight of this pistol.
I intend to carry the PM9 in a slim IWB clip-on holster. Iím looking at the Don Hume and the Milt Sparks shown on the Kahr Shop web site. And Iíll likely get something like a DeSantis Nemesis or Galco horsehide for true pocket carry when appropriate.
All in all, the PM9 is a great little pistol for CC and SD. Itís extremely well-made and very handsome. My example functioned perfectly during break-in, leading me to conclude I can depend on it if necessary. Anyone considering the PM9 will not be disappointed.
Well written experience. I like mine as well.
Nice write up Sergio! I really like my PM9 as well. I have had about the same experience with mine as you described. Great gun, no malfunctions and fun to shoot. I also found it too large for a good pocket gun. I like to carry mine in a Crossbreed Supertuck holster IWB. For pocket carry, when needed, I will use my wifes little Ruger LCP .380.
I put a grip extension on the 6 round mag and left the 7 round mag alone. When I carry it I carry one in the pipe (obviously) and 6 in the mag with the spare mag in my left front pocket for 7 more. I only have the 2 mags that came with the gun but the 14 rounds feels about right for carry IMO.
I would like to get another mag or two as I have been shooting in a competition locally. It is at an NRA sanctioned range but is only for bragging rights. They call it a 'tactical' shoot. One course is shotgun and pistol and the other course is carbine and pistol. I have taken my PM9 on the course as a second pistol but couldn't use it alone as the course generally takes 20 - 30 rounds of pistol. Running it on a course like that has really given me a great deal of confidence in the gun and my ability to handle it, as well as just plain being fun! I haven't really gotten deep into it yet but can see the possibility. Right now I run the shotgun/pistol course with my turkey shotgun (Mossberg 835) and generally my XD-40. The Carbine/pistol course is my AR and again generally my XD-40. I plan on running it with the PM9 alone when I can carry enough rounds in the mags but I figure it too much time to try to reload those little buggars on the clock so for now it is just my second gun.
Same here. It's a great little gun. I was a little apprehensive about buying a Kahr, but mine has been flawless. I'm glad that I bought it.
Originally Posted by buck32
Have the PM9 and the MK9. Luv them both. PM carries well in cargo shorts. Enjoy!
Like all of you, I absolutely love my PM9. I too find it a little large for pocket carry, however in a Galco StowNgo, I have had nary a problem. I love the trigger on it and how accurate it shoots. I couldn't be happier with mine, glad yours is as enjoyable as mine.
Thanks for the great information on a fine gun.
Thanks for providing such a detailed report. I've never considered a Kahr until recently, but the more I read, the more interested I get!!
Buy one and don't look back!!!!!
yeah with all the good reports you see on-line about the reliability of the PM9 I think My purchase well over a year ago to use it as My CCw was a good 1 ! Good write up .......WVleo
Follow up....additional 120 rds fired
Yesterday I went to the range to fire an additional 120 rounds through my new PM 9. As with the previous 200 rounds during break-in, all 120 rounds (two 50 round boxes of 9mm Lawman 115g FMJ plus 20 rounds of Powerball SD ammunition) went through the pistol with no problems whatsoever. That makes 320 rounds total...200 rounds of 115gr FMJ during the initial break-in session, another 100 rounds of FMJ plus 20 rounds, three magazines, of Powerball SD ammunition...with no malfunctions of any kind. I'm satisfied that this particular PM9 will function well in the future with the ammunition I've chosen to use for CC.
I decided to use Powerball Ammunition for CC and SD since it most closely approximates the profile of the 9mm FMJ I've used during break-in; it does not have the truncated profile or the gaping hollow point of other SD 9mm ammunition I've used in the past, so it should not present any feeding problems with this gun. I'm still a little leery of the design of the bullet ramp on the barrel, placed all the way over to the left side instead of in the normal position. However, the Kahr design seems to function well.
From all I've read about the Powerball ammunition, it should be an effective SD round. I realize it would have been preferable to use the same ammunition during break-in as I intended to use for CC/SD but, given the cost of a 20 rd box of good SD JHP 9mm ammunition these days, it would have been prohibitively expensive.
I had also been dry-firing the PM9 (with a dummy round) since I got it, trying to improve the feel and function of the trigger and to get used to the trigger pull. All the dry-firing seemed to work, the trigger felt smoother and lighter this time at the range. I also concentrated on learning the proper sight picture for this pistol and accurate bullet placement, rather than just putting a fast 200 rounds through the gun to break it in.
The basic white-dot sights on the PM9 when lined up as with other pistols I own...with the front white dot precisely between the rear sights, and on the same horizontal plane...placed the hits a bit low at 15 yards. Sighting with the front dot just above the rear dot, not in exact horizontal alignment with the sights, brought the bullet placement up to point-of-aim, and my accuracy improved significantly. All rounds were well-centered on the target laterally, so no sight-drifting (front or rear) was necessary, just a slightly altered white dot sight picture.
I also noticed that rapid target acquisition...bringing the gun up quickly and pointing it naturally at the target without relying on a precise sight picture...was very natural for my grip on the PM9. Most of those shots went where I intended. It's an accurate little pistol, and it shoots very instinctively. As before, the felt recoil was insignificant and the gun exhibited very little muzzle flip, even with the more powerful Powerball stuff.
Cleaning the PM9 after this most recent range session revealed very little wear to the slide or frame, just the normal bright areas along the top of the barrel and the barrel hood. The Kahr is a bit tricky to put back together...the slide doesn't want to come back fully on the frame so the slide stop pin can be easily inserted. It takes several attempts to insert the slide stop pin into the barrel link, all the time pulling the trigger. It's getting a little easier the more I do it, but it still causes aggravation.
Bottom line....it's a fun little gun to shoot, but I don't intend to make it a range pistol. I have other 9mm, 45ACP and 22LR pistols that are more satisfying to use for target shooting.
Good post and I am glad to hear it worked out!
So, do you feel confident in the PM9 for carry/SD now?
Nice write up. I have been wanting to buy a PM9, the damn things are just so expensive for their size/materials that I haven't yet pulled the trigger in buying one. I guess I find it hard to dump almost a grand on a pistol that I will never hardly shoot (at least I hope I will never have to really use it as this will become my primary CCW).
I'm pretty confident the PM9 will work if needed...
It's a very well-made, compact, light and thin 9mm pistol. So far, it's worked every time I've used it. But, I really hope I never have to find out. However, its size and weight will increase the probablility I'll have it on my person those times I feel the need to carry a gun, which is not all that often these days.
As for cost....I got it at a good price. There are less expensive small 9mm's available. The little Taurus looked like a nice one. I even considered the much less expensive Kel-Tec 9mm, but it reminded me of some water pistols I had when I was six (OK, OK...I apologize to Kel-Tec owners...I'm sure it's a great little gun!). But, despite its tiny size and 14 oz weight, the PM9 just felt like a real gun in my hands.
I got mine for $600.00 plus tax and I've seen other post where some have gotten them even less than that.
Originally Posted by archull
Most places Glocks are going for around $500.00 so by shopping around you may be able to find one for not much more than a Glock. Still a lot of money though.
My experiences with the PM-9 and two other Kahrs are very similar to yours. I bought the PM-9, hoping it would be a good pocket pistol, but as you say, it doesn't work well for pocket carry, in all type pants, so I ended up swapping it for a P-45, since I was carrying it IWB anyway.
I finally even swapped the P-45, too, because I can conceal a Commander-sized 1911 clone almost as easily as the P-45, and I enjoy practicing with it much more. I still have a Kahr K-9 that I carry some, because it works well with a tuckable IWB holster.
Great write up on a great little pistol!
I have the P9 and could not be happier.
Good review. Can't wait for my MK9 to be paid off.
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