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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Kahr PM45 Evaluation - Short and Sweet

A dear friend and longtime SWAT team pal picked up a used Kahr PM45as a possible LEOSA carry piece. He asked me to check it out and let him know what I think. (I already have). In any case I was delighted to do this for him, because when I next need a long range (500 yards+) precision rifle, he will be the first in the country, yup, the entire country, to pick it, and wring it out for me. Yes, he is that good!
In any case, years ago I had a Kahr PM9, which I carried occasionally but dumped for the looooong trigger pull. Below is the piece as I received it sans the Pachmayr sleeve which I removed. I am here to evaluate the pistol, not Pachmayr grips.
 Below, the pistol with the sleeve on it. I am soon to understand why the previous owner  put one on!
 A 19 oz. gun in 45 ACP? Hold on (and I MEAN hold on)

The 45 comes with two magazines, a five rounder and a six rounder. Not enough capacity for me. Below the six rounder fully seated. While this extended mag gives room for a pinky, it was a warning sign...
 First order of business to a new to me pistol is to dismantle, clean, inspect and lubricate. You can see the slide, barrel and dual spring recoil guide rod here. One needs dual springs in a major caliber this short in stature. In any case, nothing especially proprietary here. All stainless, decent machining, and well fitted. I am not sure how many rounds have been through this pistol. The barrel hood was burnished, but not worn. If you do buy one of these follow the direction for disassembly. Then, reverse the process without reading the directions. If you do, you'll be terrified to have taken it apart in the first place!
 I do note that the only steel contact points for the slide are at the far rear of the frame. Nothing but plastic from these two contacts forward. I would question the longevity of a polymer rail system, but perhaps engineering wise I am missing something.
 Here they are from a side view. The entire rail is non steel excepting these small guys at the rear.
So, off to the range. My plan was to fire 200 rounds, a mixture of Federal 230 grain ball, LAX 230 grain ball, Wolf dirty 230 grain ball, and a few 185 grain+P duty rounds. The first magazine I fired had some of each load in it. Flawlessly fed, and a very decent group at ten yards. Nice I thought. I really DID feel that +P go off, and after the first seven rounds, my hands ached. Now I wish I had that sleeve on the grip! I did immediately realize that this is way too small a gun for 45 ACP. You could never decently train with it. And if you don't train, don't carry. Period.
So on to the next magazine. Failure to feed, and failure to fire. Every other round. Double strike works. Next magazine. I fire this as a single shot weapon, because it won't feed. More failure to fire. (light strike) Dump the Wolf, which I am blaming, and use the Federal. Failures to feed, and, to my amazement, two light strikes. Fourth or fifth magazine I used LAX. Same issues.
I take apart the pistol, and inspect it. Nothing out of the ordinary. Take apart the magazines and stretch the springs. About twenty rounds later, I am done. My hands are damn near raw from the punishing recoil, and I have become weary of trying to get one more trouble free 6 shot string from this little Kahr. It definitely needs to go back to the factory.
Conclusion: Don't buy.
Physics just won't allow an extremely lightweight gun in heavy caliber. I fired some thirty rounds, and began to flinch like a snake hater in the zoo. Even if this pistol had operated flawlessly (and it WAS accurate enough) I would not have put more than fifty rounds through it without donning a stout pair of gloves. But this did teach me something I had not considered, and that is a minimum weight for pistols in 45 ACP. 28/29 oz. minimum. With my lightweight commander, with 35% more heft than this Kahr, I have to pay attention. With this pistol you pay attention, but not in a way that is conducive to good shooting. Too bad, because this is an utterly concealable gun. In 9mm and operating as it should, this would be a good little piece. Except for the trigger. Wow. You start your press with this thing and you can say the alphabet backward before it will let off. There is no discernable reset, go all the way forward, and do it again. After the first magazine, my plan was to try rapid fire with this weird trigger, but unfortunately I never got to that. With the recoil I was feeling, it is probably a good thing. Sorry for no range pictures, but I did forget a camera. It little matters though. Accuracy C+
           Operation F
Sorry, Ed!


  1. Good Job Jack, Very interesting and informative. I was especially interested, ad I have the KAHR K9. Should bring it down and shoot it with you sometime.

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