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Kahr Arms P45 Pistol

Kahr's newest model offers .45 ACP power in a lightweight, compact package.

June 01, 2006  |  by Mike Detty - Also by this author

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Another detail that makes the P45 comfortable to shoot despite its chambering is its grip. Grip width is just .99 inches and its circumference is 4.6 inches. Compared to a Colt .45 with wood grips that is 1.26 inches wide and 5.4 inches in circumference, the P45 grip is 15 percent smaller in circumference and the grip is more than 21-percent thinner. This means that even shooters with smaller hands and short fingers will be able to manipulate the P45 with ease.

I found that its front strap is long enough that I was able to fit all three fingers on it comfortably and without having to hang my pinky under the magazine floorplate. The front and back straps feature raised grenade-style checkering that's sharp enough to provide a good shooting grip but does not seem like it would hang up on clothing if it were being worn concealed. Side panels are textured with a small pebble pattern. The back strap is gently arched and provides the shooter with a comfortable grip angle that makes the P45 a natural pointer.

Kahr molds a stainless steel insert into the P45's polymer frame. Its purpose is to ensure that there is no steel-to-polymer contact anywhere along the slide's travel that would affect its service life.

If you look at the pictures that accompany this article, you can see that there is a groove in the slide's dust cover. These bilateral grooves engage the stainless steel rails that are molded into the frame's dust cover, in essence giving it a track to ride on. At the back of the frame's rails are two more blocks of stainless steel that the slide rides on.

One concession that Kahr's engineers had to make for the heavier recoiling .45 ACP chambering is that the magazine release on the P45 is made from steel. I was glad to see them make this move. It wouldn't surprise me if Kahr were to start using this steel magazine release in its .40 S&W guns also.

For corrosion resistance Kahr uses a stainless steel slide on the P45. Its width is just a hair over an inch, making the slide just a tiny bit wider than the grip. It has an eye-pleasing contour and has been relieved of any sharp edges, so it's ready for concealed carry straight out of the box.

The P45 uses an external extractor that also serves as a tactile loaded chamber indicator. When the gun has a loaded chamber, the extractor projects out slightly from the slide and can easily be felt with the trigger finger.

Like Glock and SIG firearms, the Kahr P45 uses a Browning-inspired dropping breechblock to achieve lock-up of the barrel and slide. A single recoil spring of stout tension is used on the P45, and it also uses a full-length recoil spring guide rod.

Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed into the slide. The rear sight can be drifted in its dovetail for windage adjustment. There is no provision for elevation adjustment, but I didn't find this to be an issue, as the sights were well regulated from the factory. The sights feature the popular bar-dot arrangement for quick alignment but Meprolight night sights are available for the P45 for an extra $110.

Shooting Impressions

By now I'm sure you're wondering how a .45 ACP that weighs just 18.5 ounces (unloaded and without the magazine) shoots. That was a huge concern of mine also, as the weight of the P45 is almost exactly half of what a steel-framed, full-size 1911 weighs.

Unfortunately, Kahr's engineers have not figured out a way to change the laws of physics. A gun that weighs just a pound and a quarter that's chambered for the potent .45 ACP cartridge is bound to get your attention when you touch it off. But one thing that helps quite a bit is that the bore is relatively low to the hand. Shooting the P45 is not painful, but it is harder to control than heavier guns.

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