Rolled the dice and ordered a Kahr CW380. Hope I don't find coal in my stocking

Discussion in 'Non-XD Handguns' started by sergeant, Dec 19, 2016.

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  1. Dec 19, 2016 #1
    sergeant

    sergeant XDTalk Member

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    Well, after research, stalling, more researching, and test firing every .380 I could lay my hands on, I ordered the Kahr CW380 today. Reviews aren't as strong as I want for either the pistol or Kahr's customer service in recent years (2014+), but I'm crossing my fingers for a good clean pistol that needs nothing more than a solid disassembly, cleaning, lube followed by more disassembly, cleaning, and lube.

    My goal is a pocket carry option for when my XDS clashes with wardrobe or destination. I want something I can carry all the time. My BIL (brother-in-law) joined me for some range fun/research, and firing every .380 available for rental. While my primary goal is a pocket carry for myself, a second goal for both of us is a pistol that our wives would be comfortable and confident with to learn how to shoot. A lesser felt recoil is key for their confidence and comfort, but jury is still out for whether we can do this in a full sized 9mm vs a .380.

    We test fired every .380 my range had available. This included those I knew were too big to pocket carry, as I wanted a comparison of felt recoil. I also included a few I expected I wasn't going to like, and forced myself to fire a few magazines through them.

    Range toys fired.... err.... research conducted:

    We warmed up with our 9mm's for recoil comparison to the .380s: my XDS and his Glock 19. Annoyingly to me, I shot tighter groups with his G19 than my XDS. Felt recoil of his G19 was minor in comparison to the XDS.

    .380s:
    Glock 42
    Bersa Thunder .380 (brother-in-law's)
    Sig P238
    S&W Bodyguard
    Ruger LCP

    followed by:
    Kahr PM9 (didn't have a Kahr in .380)

    Of the .380s, the Glock 42 surprised me. If my B.I.L. hadn't joined me, I might not have fired it as it's too large to pocket carry, but of the .380s, it was the most shootable to me. Negligble recoil, and I shot as well with it as with his G19. The Sig P238 was a close second, with slightly more felt recoil and a hint of snap. Recoil seemed identical to the Bersa Thunder, but still seemed as shootable even while it was a smaller package.

    The Ruger LCP was annoying as I expected it to be, both with snappiness and the loooong trigger with long reset. I tried to mentally set aside my expectations and just shoot it, but it was...annoying. Of the 3 magazines I fired through it, only one locked back when magazine was empty. This surprised me, as I thought the LCP wasn't designed to have the slide lock when empty. There may have been an update I'm not aware of, but whichever it is, it wasn't consistent.

    Bodyguard was like the LCP as far as snappiness and a trigger I don't like: seemed to hit the trigger guard before it broke and had a gritty feel. The two "clicks" during the reset surprised me; it was also far forward. Both my B.I.L. and I each had a malfunction during firing: mine locked back with rounds still in magazine, while his failed to eject.

    The Walther PPK/S wasn't available that day, so I couldn't compare. It wasn't an option for pocket carry anyway.

    I finished with the Kahr PM9 they had to compare to my XDS. Muzzle was a bit snappier, probably due to lighter weight and my lack of familiarity with it. Trigger is longer than Springfield and Glock, but shorter than the LCP and Bodyguard, as well as smoother.

    If I hadn't wanted my pocket carry to be mechanically similar to my primary weapon, the Sig would have sold me... but I don't want to have to change mind-sets on the 1911-style safety. The Glock42 would have been perfect if it was a pocket carry size, but it isn't.

    Which brought me back to the Kahr. I might have stalled a while longer and tried to find a range with it or a P380 available for rental, but after another trip yesterday where I could not carry my XDS without being obvious (slacks, dress shirt, and tie... but without blazer or suitcoat), I ordered it this morning.

    On the plus side for stalling and additional research, prices dropped another $25 since I checked last week. Not sure if it's the holidays, or the 2017 Tungsten models coming out.

    For those who provided feedback to the "Which .380?" thread, both originally and recently, thank you. The OP didn't respond with what their decision was, but the feedback by others in the thread was invaluable.

    Thanks,

    Sergeant.
     
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  2. Dec 19, 2016 #2
    Snaphook

    Snaphook XDTalk 10K Member

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    Good luck with your Kahr. Mine has been solid.
     
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  3. Dec 19, 2016 #3
    JMag

    JMag XDTalk 3K Member

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    My Kahr experience (both CM-9, & CW-380) is the same as Snaphook's.

    It's a nice little .380.


    Sent from my virtual ball & chain.
     
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  4. Dec 20, 2016 #4
    DevJames

    DevJames XDTalk 15K Member

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    Don't right it off at first. My PM9 haddock a few stumbles before 150 rounds. It's since been trouble free.
     
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  5. Dec 20, 2016 #5
    ZanderMan

    ZanderMan XDTalk 10K Member

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    So is that the marine version?
     
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  6. Dec 20, 2016 #6
    DevJames

    DevJames XDTalk 15K Member

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    It's similar to the COD edition Jeeps...
     
  7. Dec 22, 2016 #7
    sergeant

    sergeant XDTalk Member

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    First thoughts:

    1. Wow, this is is small.
    2. The slide is tight! (and that's not 90's slang). It's difficult to rack the slide not because it feels "stiff", but because it feels like it's too tight to the point of binding. It doesn't actually bind, but when I pull back on the slide and it starts to tighten up, my instinct is "It's jammed, dummy. Stop yanking on it before you break something."
    3. It does just disappear into a front jeans pocket. (Levi 550s. Average fit. Neither baggy nor printing my family issued barrel and ammo).
    4. Wow, this trigger is smooooth! Longer pull and not as good as my XDS, but far smoother than the PM9 I rented. (P9? Whatever the 9mm version is).

    I've done the first field strip, clean, and lube, followed by racking a few hundred times and locking the slide overnight. I plan to repeat that and add a full slide disassembly, clean, and lube before some range time this weekend.

    The bolt face was dirtier than I expected for Kahr's test firing, with a full carbon ring. It's not a blowback, so I didn't expect it to be any dirtier than my XDS would be. I fired ~200 rounds in my XDS last weekend with less carbon on the face than this had. Still, I had no doubts that it is "new." There were no mechanical shavings or other manufacturing leftovers in the slide or lower, as others have reported. Will check out the slide when I disassemble and clean it tonight.

    I cleaned and stripped it with alcohol, then cleaned it again with Ballistol and let the barrel soak in it a few hours while out last night. After wiping off excess, lubing properly, and reassembling, the slide was noticeably smoother when racking it 250 times. Stiff and tight, yes, but it didn't feel like it was about to bind.

    Other accessories and upgrades are en route: talon grips (my first order), a magguts kit, and a few pocket holsters.

    Merry Christmas to all! (and to me!)

    Sergeant
     
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  8. Dec 22, 2016 #8
    windsearcher

    windsearcher XDTalk 4K Member

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    Glad you made the choice on the CW380.

    I picked up a Glock 42, and THAT is a great little shooter.... if it was a bit smaller, it would become my go-to pocket gun, but it's just too large for me for deep concealment.

    Anyway..... the Talon grips will be a great upgrade IMO... did it for both my Kahrs. I still have a glitch now and then, mostly ammo related, and my wife limp-wrists it, so she isn't comfortable carrying it edc.....

    I love the trigger, and running quality "defense" ammo, there hasn't been any glitch. When it comes to cheap range ammo, the problems start there.... but usually only in a couple of types. Freedom Munitions reman and GECO both cause my CW380 to choke with either fail to go to battery, or jams, or fte.

    Unfortunately, there are some out there that have had just a miserable experience with Kahr, I am NOT one of them. Both my CW40 and CW380 are trust-worthy enough to carry EDC, and they really do shoot well. At Kahrtalk there are some good pre-use lub recommendations, and if you've already done the strip and clean, you've probably got a head start on it. Shoot it A LOT, and I think you'll find you really like it!!

    Merry Christmas!!
     
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  9. Dec 23, 2016 #9
    Brownie65

    Brownie65 XDTalk 100 Member

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    Racking the slide was challenging on my CM40, too. I did the same as you with the multiple rackings. After a couple of hundred rounds through it, it noticeably loosened. Unfortunately, I shortly after damaged my recoil spring and had to start the process all over again. BTW, Kahr was great in replacing the spring, and a broken magazine follower.
     
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  10. Dec 26, 2016 #10
    CPTKILLER

    CPTKILLER XDTalk 2K Member

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    Kahr's are nice, not Sig P238s at all.
     

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