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Kahr Arms' T9 and PM9 Pistols

Kahr Arms' T9 and PM9 Pistols

April 01, 2003  |  by Roy Huntington

A testament to Kahr's detail engineering is the fact the magazine for the pistol is hardened to Rockwell 50 and tumbled in a polishing media. That means not only is it very hard, but all the "bad" edges are smoothed out and it doesn't bite when you load it. The follower also has a steel, hardened pin in it to meet with the slide stop to lock the slide back. No "plastic meets steel" here. But that is typical of what makes a Kahr run. Well thought out ideas abound.

Oh yeah, did I tell you it's a Walther barrel? Walther only happens to be one of the best barrel makers in the world.

There were no small numbers of 10,000-round endurance tests at the factory during the design phases of each pistol. They held up due to the top-quality construction and materials. A new Kahr exhibits a "tightness" that might surprise. Indeed, they will often fumble a bit during those first hundred or so rounds as they break in. But that translates into a degree of fit that is simply unknown in a pocket-sized gun. It also contributes to the fact these guns can shoot.

With the introduction of the polymer-framed guns, many people were surprised there were never any alloy frames prior to the big day. Kahr simply decided to bypass that one step and go right for the lightest weight possible. So far, there have been no appreciable problems with either the steel-framed pistols or the newer polymer ones.

Duty Pistol

See the difference? “Full-sized” T9 with cut-down PM9 sitting on top.

Two of the newest Kahrs may be the best ones yet. The T9 is a "full-sized" duty-type pistol. You'll find it to be slim, trim, about medium weight at 28 ounces, with genuine wood grips and Novak sights.

This is a fall-in-love-with-it pistol if there ever was one. If you're smaller in stature or simply have small hands, this is the duty pistol for you. At nine rounds it's no worse in the capacity department than a plethora of other nine- to ten-round pistols in cops' holsters, and the superior ergonomics and workmanship make it a real fighting tool.

With the introduction of the T9, Kahr has entered into the world of police uniformed duty pistols and if you can put your "I need 16 rounds" thinking aside for a second, you might really like this gun.

I carried a SiG P-225 on duty for 10 years. At "only" nine shots, many of my peers wondered about my sanity. But it fit my hand well and I could shoot it like a laser beam. And that, my friends, beats hosing the block down with 16 ill-aimed shots any day, especially if you have a smallish hand and have been wrestling with a fat-gripped high-cap auto.

Off-Duty Pistol

A big little gun, the PM9 may be one of the world’s best off-duty, pocket pistols.

The PM9 is called a "Micro Polymer Pistol" by Kahr and at only about 14 ounces, it's an almost feathery 9mm. Yet the P40-in .40 S&W-weighs in at only 16.8 ounces so you can have your cake and eat it too, if you want. Our test pistols showed their stuff on the range and, in a surprise for pistols as small as these, averaged around 3 to 4 inches at 25 yards. They seemed to favor lighter bullets in 9mm and standard velocity, medium weight bullets in the .40.

Most of the big makers have holsters for the Kahrs and can turn this tidy pistol into a real friend in the field. No less than the NYPD have approved the Kahr for off-duty carry, and they don't ever approve anything, so that should tell you something.

Take-down is quick and easy for both of these beauties, and, when you're done cleaning, make sure you keep them lubed. Those little slides need some help to run well. Also, when you buy one (not "if" you buy one) make sure you put at least 200 rounds through it to break it in.

I think you'll be impressed with these little performers. They feel like "big" guns but carry like little ones.

Kahr Arms

Caliber: 9mm
Length: 6.5 inches
Weight: 26 ounces
Capacity: 8+1 rounds
Finish: Stainless Steel
Price: $778 full-retail

Kahr Arms

Caliber: 9mm
Length: 5.3 inches
Weight: 14 ounces
Capacity: 6+1 rounds (mag extension adds 1 more for seven total).
Finish: Stainless slide, polymer frame
Price: $660 full-retail

Roy Huntington is a retired officer, a long-time member of the Police Advisory Board, and the editor of American Handgunner magazine.

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