Kahr CW9

| March 7, 2009 | 13 Comments


Firearm tested
Kahr CW9

Ammo used
80 rounds – American Eagle 9mm 115gr FMJ
20 round – Winchester JHP 9mm 115gr JHP

I recently purchased a Kahr CW9 to replace my Walther PPS as the gun I carry in my fanny pack while at the gym. I wanted to be able to feel confident with putting my new Kahr CW9 into my fanny pack tonight when I went to the gym so I ran out to the range with it today. I took 80 rounds of FMJ and 20 rounds of hollow point (Winchester) with me to run through it.


This is a very streamline polymer framed gun designed for ease of carry. The polymer frame is very simple and sleek. It lacks a lot of the accessories rail, dramatic cuts, and sharp angles of many other polymer guns…but I think that works in it’s favor. It gives it a very simple and clean look. You would almost describe it as “classy” looking…as far as polymer pistols go.

The slide is fashioned from stainless steel and has a very nice feel to it.

It is a simple lock-breech style pistol with a very smooth and consistent DAO trigger. The trigger itself is steel, and not polymer. I find that an attractive quality.


This is Kahr’s “bare bones” model so it is not loaded down with features.

The combat style sights are very basic but quite easy to use. The front sight is fixed instead of adjustable, but that does not bother me at all. The rear sight is dovetailed.

The slide itself is a little less “shaped” than other Kahrs, but I actually like the simple lines and beveled edge of this gun. Instead of the traditional Kahr milling, it has a simple “jewel cut” look to it. It has that simple but elegant look to it.

The barrel rifling is also a more standard rifling and not the “polygonal” rifling used in the more expensive Kahr models.

The only other difference is that the slide release on this model is MIM and not machined. It is a thick and substantial slide release so I do not see that ever being an issue.

The Kahr pistols do lack the cocked/chamber indicators of some semi-autos, but with the type of trigger this gun has I do not feel they are necessary. I treat this gun as I would a revolver.

There is also no manual safety. Once again, it is unneeded on this type of firearm.


Like most Kahrs, the gun is very well put together. The tolerances are tight, all the parts fit together very well, and all seams and connections are uniformed and straight.

As I said before, the slide is a little less finished. It does not have as much milling done on it and the finish has a plainer “bead blasted” look to it with no brushing done. I can always brush it out to a nicer finish if I choose to do so. All the mechanics of the slide seem every bit as nice as the higher end Kahrs.

Another small difference is the engraving on the slide. it is simple single line engraving and not the usual Kahr blocked roll marks. I actually kind of like the simple clean looks of it.



I was a little worried right off the bat. The first round gave me a hard time while chambering it. It was a hollow point and did not want to chamber smoothly. I was quite surprised when that issue seemed to fade after only a couple of magazine run through it. Right out of the box the gun managed to shoot all 100 rounds without a single failure.

I did all my shooting at a range of 15 yards.

After the first magazine, I was thinking the gun was a little off as far as accuracy. It was shooting a little low and left. Then on the next mag it seemed to be shooting at the perfect height but a little to the right. I decided to rest on the bench and try some shots. Then the gun seemed to be hitting within an inch of the mark, so I can pretty much conclude that the gun is pretty well sighted right out of the box and any slop is on my part. I was managing 4″-5″ inch groups at 15 yards, which is more than acceptable to me for this type of gun.

The recoil is very manageable but still a bit intense for a 9mm pistol, but what do you expect from a gun that only weighs a little over 17 ounces.

The trigger is a bit long but very smooth. Much smoother than the trigger on the Walther. It makes extreme accuracy a bit more difficult but this is not meant as a long range weapon. Being used to DA revolvers I find that I am quite comfortable with the trigger pull.


The only real issue I have with the gun is the aggressive checkering on the grip. It is like holding onto a cheese grater. I had to put on a shooters glove after the first few mags.

Another issue that could be considered a flaw is that the mag is not flush. The mag that comes with it is also a bit cheap looking with its lack luster extension. I will have to replace it with a nicer extension from Kahr.

It also only comes with one mag, which is not really a flaw. It is just a condition of the low price tag. I only paid $419 for this gun new.


I walked away very happy with this gun. I am much more pleased with it than I was with it predecessor. It is super small, very reliable, acceptably accurate, easy to use, and looks pretty good too.

This gun was bought to ride inconspicuously inside my fanny pack at the gym and it did it’s first night of duty this evening and I felt very comfortable and secure with it being there.

As I have said, I am not the biggest fan of polymer guns…but I actually find this gun to be an attractive gun. The simple black polymer frame and stainless slide compliment each other very well.

The gun is very small. It disappears in the fanny pack easily as well as the Walther if not better.

I also find that it fits my hand very well. It fits much better than the Walther PPS it is replacing. It is just as thin, maybe even thinner, but the grip does not feel like holding onto a 1×2 like the PPS did.

I am very fond of the DAO trigger pull and lack of a manual safety. It is a very similar gun to a revolver as far as general operation goes.

I am very pleased with my decision to say good-bye to the Walther and pick up my second, but first polymer, Kahr pistol.

Author: Playboypeguin over at the firingline wrote and authorized the posting of this content.

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13 Comments on "Kahr CW9"

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  1. StargazerInSavannah says:

    Only recently I began seriously looking for a carry weapon. More than fifty years ago I decided that I didn’t enjoy shooting my hardball gun in competition. More recently I recognized that with my advanced age and delicate condition the 9mm Luger was an exceptional fit for me. I even call my shots much better with light recoil.
    It took me less than thirty minutes to decide that the CW9 would be a almost perfect fit for my carry need. None of my six other 9mm’s really fit as the role of concealled carry in the muggy Savannah summer where anyone wearing a jacket would have to be considered a bit strange.
    Now in my mid seventys with very small hands the CW9 is a near perfect fit.
    Bough the gun this morning, dumped thirty rapid fire rounds into a silhoutte at thirty feet with no malfunctions. Ran the target back to forty feet and fired a five shot group measuring 1.75″ using a two hand hold.
    While the the trigger pull is quite long it is every bit as smooth and breaks as cleanly as did my K model centefire gun in 1960.
    I picked up a Uncle Mike’s 8744-3 inside the pocket holster before leaving the range with my CW9 comfortably concealed in my right pocket.
    Shoots better for me than my Glock 34 by a bunch..

  2. RiskPro says:

    Great review on the CW9 which I own as well. I was reviewing a blog at Kahr Talk and they recommend a 200 round FMJ break-in with chambering the first round by hand opposed to feeding from the clip. This is the Kahr recommended break in. I also learned something that may be of interest. If you have the new CW frame (dimple on inside of slide) you can now add night sites for $80 which you can install yourself. These are avaialble now from Kahr with tools and instructions. While likely not necessary, I also picked up a SS guide rod.

    Thanks for the review and remember that the best tango is a tango-down!

  3. TexasScott says:

    I have been shopping for a ccw 9mm for about a year. Not until I held the CW 9 did I find a small 9 that would fit my large hand. The fit and finish of this pistol is unmatched by all the other small 9mm sI have looked at for the price. The trigger pull while being a little long is even and smooth. Concealability is off the scale, and talk about fun to shoot. This is a great little pistol.

  4. Greg Conn says:

    I’m a bit confused by PlayBoyPenguin’s review and rating of this pistol.
    He gives the pistol a very good review, but then only rates it one star above an average/mediocre rating of “5.” Quite inconsistent with the review.

    I also own a CW9, and I would give it an overall rating of at least “8.”
    For its function as a concealed carry 9mm I would rate it a “10,” simply because, in my opinion, there’s nothing that need be added to the CW9 or changed that would improve its function and facility as a concealed carry 9mm. It is ideally suited for that purpose.


  5. admin says:


    I think you are confusing the rating system. The star rating are given by the users on the review and strictly pertains to the review.

  6. HARTMAN says:

    I have ran 200 rounds through my cw9 with out a problem. But I can clean the gun and then rack the slide back by hand a few times. If I take the gun back apart I can find plastic shavings from the rail. Great gun but that is a major mess up on kahr part. I will be selling this pistol and buying the steel framed 9mm that kahr makes.

  7. jim young says:

    I just ordered this gun to replace a 709 slim that seemed to jam every mag. I ordered it from Buds Guns and had to end the order because of them not having in stock what they said was in stock and bumping shipping shipping a few weeks past the dead line. I reordered it from a company that said they have in stock what they show. I hope to have it end of week all in with an extra mag for 410 with transfer and next day air shipping. I went to the local gun shop where they were 200 over the price of the one I ordered on line, and noticed two things, the return spring was stiff, very stiff, and the checkering on the grip was very shap. I purchased on eBay a Houge jr grip sleeve. This should take care of that problem. Many people have posted this works well to take care of the sharp grip ridges. I hope this gun preforms half as good as the posts of owners on line.

  8. jim young says:

    Hartmans post on Kahr having plastic rails is wrong. Yes the gun has plastic rails in front but this does not take any presure, its only a guid to get it lined up, the dust rail set deeper in the front of the gun locks in and has more steel contacting the slide than a glock. Kahr says you can cut the plastic rails out and it will not make any difference.

  9. Frank Sienko says:

    I have had a Kahr CW9 now for about 2 yrs. or longer. I have not found a better 9mm pistol to conceal yet. I am 6′ with good size hands and it fits perfectly. It has a 7 rnd. clip. In the beggining, it always jammed with the 7 rnds. in the clip when 1st pulling back. It worked perfect with just 6 rnds. I had the dealer I bought it from try to duplicate my issue and it did not happen to him. I guess I was not pulling it back hard enough. But it also worked better after a 200 rnds. Now I have absolutely no issues with a full clip. Really the best out there for concealment in my opinion.

  10. Hil Palmer says:

    I just purchased a Kahr CW9 for concealment use and general plunking. My first 200 rounds for break in was perfect. My brother did have 2 initial load locks when he tried it, but I am not sure if he was using the release or sliding the slide back to load it. From what I understand the gun loads better with the slide locked open, and you use the release to load.

    I am very happy with my purchase. Now just waiting for my Whitehat Maxtuck holster to come in.

  11. Leo says:

    I will say this gun is great!!! no malfunction at all, like to say its not famous as others but its good and its american!!!

  12. Freddy Phifer says:

    Love this Kahr CW9. Outshoots my Glock 19 every single time. I am an avid hand loader and know this voids my warranty, but with the 115gr Rainier JHP and 5.1 gr of HP38 this little jewel will put them all in the X ring at 15 yds all day long. It carries very well in a pancake style holster and sometimes you forget you have it on. Highly recommend the CW9.

  13. Denny says:

    Anyone know of a 10 round mag for the kahr cw9 9mm.Also a grip extension to accommodate the bigger mag/?

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