Kahr arms may have started off as a small operation and still be dwarfed by the likes of Glock, Smith & Wwesson and Sig but that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore their fine selection of handguns.
About Kahr Arms
Kahr Arms was founded twenty-six years ago in 1995 by Justin Moon in New York.
Justin had obtained a pistol permit in New York, which is a feat in itself, and had searched for the perfect compact 9mm pistol.
Unable to find a compact gun in a caliber that he was satisfied with, he decided to design and make his own.
“With the objective of excellence in workmanship and material, Kahr does not compromise either in the design or manufacture of handguns. The most advanced computer applications and precise manufacturing technologies have been implemented to provide the finest handgun available. Uniquely designed and finely tooled, Kahr pistols’ unrivaled quality makes long-term Kahr owners out of shooters who try them.”Kahr Arms
As an owner of two Kahr pistols, I can personally attest to the precision in design and longevity of ownership.
Outside of a .22 caliber rifle and a shotgun or two, the longest gun I’ve owned has been none other than Kahr.
Kahr takes great pride in the CAD (computer aided design) and CAM (computer aided modeling) that they use to design and model each pistol that they manufacture.
They can look at every aspect of the design in these programs and address any issues that may arise.
Once a design is finalized, Kahr then transmits the files from their design shop directly to their manufacturing shop.
These files are then uploaded into the CNC (computer numerical control) machines that then cut the raw material to the exacting standards that are set forth by Kahr.
This means that firearms from Kahr Arms are some of the most precision machined self-defense pistols that are available on the market today.
Kahr PM9 Features
The Kahr PM9 is a 9mm, sub-compact pistol. Sub-compact means it is much smaller than a full-size or-duty gun.
The Kahr PM9 easily fits in a normal size hand. This is an intentional design by Kahr Arms to fulfill the requirements of its founder, Mr Moon.
Also on Mr. Moon’s requirement list was a caliber that was powerful enough to be used reliably for self-defense.
We won’t get into the caliber wars here, but 9mm has been around for a long time, and many many militaries and police departments around the world today field sidearms chambered in 9mm.
The “P” in PM9 stands for polymer. For those that don’t know, polymer is the material that the frame of most modern handguns are made of.
The use of polymer was made popular by the likes of Gaston Glock in the 1980’s with his Glock 17 design.
At the time polymer was by no means a new material, but using it in place of a traditional steel or alloy metal frame on a firearm was.
While polymer framed guns are all the rage, they still require steel rails or guides set into the polymer to prevent wear of the slide on the polymer itself.
Kahr also makes a steel frame counterpart to the PM9, the MK9. While there are some differences, the overall design and function remain the same.
Concealing the PM9
The PM9 was specifically designed by Justin Moon at Kahr to excel at concealed carry.
The compactness of the PM9 really lends itself to being worn all day in a IWB (in waistband) holster while not giving up any mobility for the wearer or having to alter your garments in order to keep the PM9 concealed.
I can easily carry the Kahr PM9 in a pair of belted shorts or jeans with just an untucked t-shirt over top all day long without any issues.
The diminutive overall size of the PM9 makes it easy to disappear as long as you make safe and sensible choices in clothing.
I would not try to conceal the PM9 (or any other firearm for that matter) in gym shorts or lose in a pocket.
I prefer a Kydex style IWB holster with a metal clip. Several manufacturers make such a holster, so you will just have to look around and make a choice as to which you wish to purchase.
I would caution you to make sure the clip is made with spring steel and the Kydex is of a high quality.
Using a Kydex holster means that the bulk of a traditional leather holster is no longer a problem.
Using Kydex as your holster material also has some other benefits. One of which is Kydex will not absorb liquid whether it be sweat from your body, rain from the environment, or oil from the lubrication of the gun.
A Properly designed Kydex holster will also offer retention of your gun in the holster itself.
This is usually done by the sides of the holster pinching into the trigger guard and forming a ridge that the trigger guard must slide past to be removed.
Leather holsters do not offer this feature and rely solely on retention pressure being applied by a belt against the body or a strap going across the back of the gun. This is obviously a drawback to leather holster design.
The Kahr PM9 is an ideal conceal carry weapon, or CCW. It is easy to conceal in summer and all the other seasons.
As long as the capacity is not an issue for you, you simply can’t go wrong in choosing the PM9 as your daily carry.
The ergonomics of the grip on the Kahr PM9 feels natural in the hand. When aiming the PM9 the grip angle is noticeably different than that of a Glock. If you are used to shooting Glocks, you will more than likely have to concentrate at first when shooting the Kahr. That is not to say the Kahr is less comfortable to shoot, as I feel it keeps the shooter’s wrist at a more normal angle. If given a choice, I would choose the grip angle of the Kahr all day over that of the Glock.
The texturing on the front strap and rear of the grip of the PM9 is surprisingly aggressive.
When you squeeze in the hand for any amount of time, it will leave an imprint of the pattern in your skin. In my book, for a self defensive pistol, anything that helps you retain control of the gun is a plus. The texturing provided in these areas does just that.
The texturing on the side of the grips of the PM9 is smooth, and very much like that of the side of the Glock Gen3 pistols.
I do not feel that this area does much for retention anyway, but it would be nice to see some more aggressive texturing provided here to mirror that on the front and back straps.
Kahr places their stylized “K” in the lower ⅔ of the side panels of the grips. This is subtle and in no way interferes with the gripping of the PM9. This is just one of the small details that Kahr works into the design of the PM9.
Kahr chooses to supply their pistols with one of two options for sights;
The first option is a white bar/dot combat sight. This sight is the more basic of the two. The rear sight is a notch with a simple white bar at the bottom. The front sight is a plain white dot. To use the bar dot sight you simply place the white dot over the white bar and then line up with your intended target. This style sight is good if you only plan on using your pistol for daytime shooting.
The second type of sight that is supplied with Kahr pistols is TruGlo Night Sights. TruGlo Night Sights do exactly what they sound like; they glow. This is achieved by the contents of the sight itself. These sights contain tiny vials of a radioactive material called tritium.
The tritium in the sights is safe as it is well contained and will not leak. When tritium breaks down it produces a faint, visible light. This light is a byproduct of the natural half-life of the tritium. After 5-10 years the light given off by the tritium will be noticeably duller than before. This is when you might want to consider replacing the sights with a fresh set.
The vials are surrounded by white tubes so that you can still see them for daytime use. Almost all police departments use this type of sight. The arrangement of these sights is the traditional three-dot method. To use, you line up the dots horizontally and make sure there is equal spacing between each dot. When your sights are on target, squeeze the trigger to fire a round.
The Kahr PM9 sports a noticeable lack of controls. This in a pistol that was solely designed as a concealed carry pistol is in no way a bad thing. You don’t need a bunch of different controls hanging off the side of your firearm to get snagged or worry about manipulating to successfully use the firearm in its intended purpose. K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) is a real thing and fully applies here in my opinion.
The PM9 has no external safety besides the application of a double-action trigger. Internally, the PM9 has a safe cam action that prevents the gun from being fired unless there is a deliberate trigger pull. This means that the PM9 can not be fired by dropping the gun or hitting it with a hard object…looking at you, SIG.
On the Kahr PM9, one of the only controls you are supplied with is a slide stop/slide release.
Some would argue that the use of the slide stop as a slide release is not proper protocol.
I would normally agree, but in the case of the PM9 this is not the case. The slide stop is also intended, by design, to be the slide release.
It is large enough to be easily actuated and has ridges cut to help with manipulation. The slide stop is not ambidextrous, it is only located on the left side of the frame.
The mag release on the Kahr Pm9 is also not ambidextrous. It is located where it should be for a modern American pistol at the junction of the rear of the trigger guard and the frame.
The mag release is an appropriate size for the frame of the pistol. It also stands out from the surface of the frame far enough to be actuated easily but not so far as to accidentally be pushed.
The trigger on the Kahr PM9 is not typical for a semi-automatic pistol. The trigger is a DAO, or double action only trigger.What this means is the trigger does two actions when pulled.
By using a double-action trigger, the trigger pull fully cocks the striker and then at the rearmost portion of the pull, releases the striker into the firing pin.
By having to perform these two functions, the trigger pull is longer than that of a single action or a normal striker-fired gun.
Once you’ve pulled the trigger on a Kahr pistol you’ll fully understand how smooth and clean of a trigger pull it really has. It’s hard to describe the feel of this trigger besides calling it amazing!
To further describe the trigger, its face is wide and rounded. It feels buttery smooth when you place your finger on the trigger itself. There are no ridges or levers built into the trigger which would make it not as pleasant to pull.
Each Kahr PM features a Lothar Walther 3.1”, polygonal rifled, match-grade barrel. These barrels are extremely high quality and are very accurate especially for their short length.
Under the barrel of the PM9 sits a dual stainless steel captured recoil spring to help mitigate felt recoil and provide a smooth action.
The Kahr Pm9 is a single stack pistol with metal magazines. The mags are of high quality just like the rest of the package.
This design choice keeps the pistol very slim and light. This choice also limits the capacity of the PM9 to 6 plus 1 in the flush fitting magazine.
With the flush mag inserted into the gun you will notice that your pinky will dangle off the frame. This means however that you have the most compact and easily concealable version of this pistol with this mag.
The other option is an extended magazine. The extended magazine offers one more round for a capacity of 7 plus 1. The extra length this affords means that your pinky will now be able to fit on the magazine that has a black polymer base to make it more comfortable to shoot.
In carrying the PM9 daily for some time, I have not noticed the extra length and certainly not the added weight of the extra round plus the extended mag when toting it around.
One drawback to mention is that empty magazines do not fall free from the magwell when the mag release is pressed. This can easily be addressed in training and with reps.
There are not many accessories available for the Kahr PM9. Some accessories that are available are a Viridian Green Laser or one from Crimson Trace. Both of these options are quality lasers if you like that kind of thing. Other options are different brands of night sights that are available at OpticsPlanet or at Brownells.
The Kahr PM9 is one handsome gun. The lines and curves come together to form an expertly crafted piece of art.
The Slide on this PM9 is stainless steel that is finished with a semi-gloss polish. This finish makes the stainless slide not reflect light in a way that would be detrimental to shooting in broad daylight, but keeps it looking sharp.
The roll marks on the slide are deep and crisp. Some manufacturers use laser engraving to mark their slides, and while this is a faster and more economical way to achieve the same goal, it just doesn’t look as nice as old fashioned stampings or roll marks.
All the edges on the PM9 are chamfered and smoothed out. This furthers the look and feel of quality of the Kahr. This also makes concealing the PM9 a dream as there are no sharp edges to poke or cut into you.
The serrations are deep and grab onto your hand to help rack the slide. They are also slightly angled toward the front and top of the PM9 and this makes it look classier than plain vertical serrations. The back plate is also stainless and has ridges cut into it.
The polymer grip is well done and also has no sharp edges. We’ve already discussed the grips of the PM9, we won’t revisit, but we will say they blend well and look professional on the Kahr.
The one oddball about the Kahr’s looks is the baseplate of the magazine, as it does not sit flush, but extends approximately 1mm below the frame of the gun.
Shooting the Kahr PM9
When shooting the Kahr, I’ve noticed that heavier bullets seem to cause some hangups in the magazine. This is caused by the generally longer bullets dragging on the front of the magazine when being fed up and into the gun. To help alleviate this problem I try to stick to lighter weight bullets that aren’t as long as their heavier counterparts.
The recoil of the Kahr is not bad for a polymer pistol of this size. The dual recoil springs help to tame the snap and make the action as smooth as possible. The shape of the frame also helps in making the recoil seem not so bad.
The Kahr PM9 is MUCH more accurate than I am. I have used firearms for most of my life in recreation and in my profession and can say with certainty that I shoot the PM9 with its 3.1” barrel just as accurately as my issued Glock 17.
Kahr PM9 Final Thoughts
The Kahr PM9 is a high-quality, extremely accurate, and easily concealable pistol. When it was developed it really had no equal. In the days of Sig P365’s and Springfield Hellcat’s the PM9 has become a little long in tooth with its limited capacity and non-drop-free magazines.
Even with these modern-day shortcomings, the PM9 is still a solid concealed carry option. I will continue to choose to tuck this quality little 9mm into my waistband and keep it in my rotation for the foreseeable future.
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Is the Kahr PM9 a good option for concealed carry?
The PM9 is a good option for those who want a slim and/or light-quality concealable handgun.
Can you dry fire a Kahr PM9?
Yes, you can. The use of snap caps may help ease your nerves if you worry about such things.
What is the capacity of the PM9?
The standard capacity of the PM9 is 6 plus one and the pistol comes with an extended magazine.
Does the PM9 have a lifetime warranty?
The P and M series do have a lifetime warranty. The value-based C series has a one-year warranty.
Where can I purchase a Kahr Arms PM9?
Any decent size gun shop or online at Guns.com will likely have a Kahr PM9.
Have a look at our full list of reviews or our most recent review of the Walther PPK/s.
I also recently reviewed the Kahr P380 which is another favorite of mine from Kahr Arms.
Hi, thank you for the great review of the Khar pm9. I have one and have had some issue when chambering first round – would you have a recommendation for 9mm ammo? Also what belt clip would you recommend? Thank you.