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Reviews : Arsenal

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

On a good day, with a steel-framed 1911, I can place two quick hits on a steel target at 12 yards with a split-time between shots-of about 25⁄100 of a second. With the Kahr, my splits averaged 43⁄100 of a second. That's a significant amount of time, and this should be factored into your decision if you want to carry a lightweight .45. Nothing comes without a price and a certain amount of controllability is sacrificed for the weight savings.

Still, the accuracy of the P45 surpassed what I had expected from this lightweight auto, and it possesses more than enough precision for its intended mission. I was able to print two groups, with two different ammunitions, under 1.5 inches at 15 yards. My selection of loads consisted of defense ammunition that is on the hot side and, despite this, there were no failures of any type during the course of my 700-round evaluation.

Disassembly of the P45 for routine cleaning and lubrication is simple and requires no tools. On the left side of the frame and slide are dimples. By lining up these two witness marks, you can push out the slide stop. Pulling the trigger allows the slide to be pulled forward off of the frame. The recoil spring assembly can be removed from the slide by pushing the guide rod forward and lifting it out of the slide. The barrel can then be withdrawn from the slide. That's as far as you'll ever need to disassemble your P45 for normal cleaning and reassembly is accomplished in reverse order.

The Kahr P45 comes with two six-round stainless magazines. It's interesting to note that the plastic follower has a steel pin molded into it where it contacts the slide stop to prevent any undue wear that might be caused by plastic to steel contact. The magazines also possess a very strong spring that forces each new round up with gusto and prevents a whole host of feed maladies associated with a sluggish magazine spring.

Is the Kahr P45 the right gun for you? That depends. If your needs require the maximum amount of horsepower in the lightest weight platform possible, the P45 is worth taking a very hard look at.

Some will doubtlessly feel that the P45's 6 + 1 capacity is inadequate, but let me remind those folks that it still has two more rounds than a Chiefs Special, and we're talking .45 ACP here, not .38 Special. Others will find the P45 too difficult to control because of its light weight and potent caliber.

Fans of the .45 ACP cartridge tend to be the types that won't mind indulging in a little extra range time needed to learn to control the P45. As I said earlier, life is full of compromises, but it turns out that the Kahr P45 isn't really that big of a compromise after all.

The Tactical Static Target System

The key to maintaining proficient shooting skills is to get plenty of practice. One thing that I have found to help is using steel targets.

The ring that the steel makes when you hit gives you immediate feedback that your shots found their mark. Absence of the ring is a reminder to slow down and concentrate on the front sight and trigger press.

Unfortunately, my old steel targets are bulky and require lots of room in my SUV to transport. They're also heavy and that makes it a chore to use them.

Recently Action Target sent me a sample of their Tactical Static Target and this system seems to solve the problems associated with steel targets without sacrificing any of their benefits.

The Tactical Static Target possesses an innovative folding design that lets the target collapse into a portable package less than three feet long. There's even an integral carry handle that makes it easy to carry the target with one hand.

It takes just seconds to deploy the three legs and fold the target head up into its locked position. Once set up, it is rock solid and will not move when shot. Thanks to the patented locking system, shooters don't have to worry about the target collapsing while being used. The target folds up for travel in just seconds.

Made from tough AR500 armor plate, the target face is angled to harmlessly deflect projectiles at the target's base. The Tactical Static Target will handle all service calibers and showed no signs of dimpling during my practice with the Kahr P45 in .45 ACP caliber. I chose the reduced silhouette-style target, but there are a number of other styles available and they are interchangeable by simply removing two bolts.

I had a lot of fun using the Tactical Static Target to evaluate the Kahr P45. The reduced size of the target humbled me and forced me to slow down slightly to make my hits. Between strings, I spray painted the target face with flat black BBQ paint so that I'd be able to identify my new hits.

It's such a great range tool that I'm thinking of ordering a couple more and leaving my old steel targets at home from now on. The compact size and portability of Action Target's Tactical Static Target make it an obvious asset for any range but its relatively low price also makes it appealing to the officer who likes to practice on his own.

Mike Detty is an NRA-certified rifle, pistol, and shotgun instructor. A certified rangemaster and competition shooter, Detty served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and holds a degree in criminal justice from the University of Arizona.

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