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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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Discussion Starter #7
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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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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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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I really like my CW380. They are picky on ammo, though, and need to be shot a lot to loosen them up. I carry mine in a Robert Mika pocket holster, which is perfect! I also got a G42, just hecause. Both are good shooters - the CW380 surprised me with its accuracy. Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Range report today!

I patiently waited until day 4 of my four day weekend to take some personal time and range fire my new pocket carry option.

Summary:

1) Wow. Second only to the G42 in comfort and shootability. I expected to be a lot snappier / jumpier, and more fatiguing to my hand.
2) Near flawless with 154 rounds of hardball.
3) Still looking for good HP carry

My second magazine, magguts kit, and talon grips still haven't arrived, so everything was stock. To test a variety of ammo, I picked up a box here and there while running Christmas errands.

I went to range with two boxes of Federal Champion (95g WMAE380ACP), and a box of PMC Bronze (90g 380A), The range was out of their usual ammo for rentals, so I rounded it out with their substitute: PPU (94g). For HP, I tried a box of their cheapo's (Winchester Train & Defend) and Federal HSTs.

The Federal and PMC were flawless; the PPU nearly so. The CW380 was far more comfortable and enjoyable to shoot than I expected. There was less felt recoil than my 9mm XDS (currently stock grips). It was second only to the Glock 42. I fired 54 rounds of the Federal, switched to the PMC, and finished with the PPU. I didn't have an issue until the last two full mags of the PPU, where the slide locked back instead of chambering the last round. This wasn't a jam on feeding like I saw later with the Winchesters; releasing the slide lock chambered it. I'm not sure what would cause this. I noticed while firing the PPU that the chamber and magazine were dirtier than I expected. I don't see that much carbon in my XDS after comparable round count of Freedom. I wiped off the carbon on the magazine before the last magazine of two rounds of PPU and it didn't happen a third time.

I mixed it up with some one hand shooting, both strong and weak end. I probably fired 4 magazines strong hand, and 3 weak hand. No issues.

JHPs... still looking for a good carry ammo. I hoped (naively) to pick up two boxes at the range, have a flawless session of 43, and keep the last 7 to carry. The range didn't have the Gold Dots I wanted to try, so I opted for a box of their cheapest JHPs (Winchester Train & Defend)... I expected the profile similarity to WWB to be a problem), and the Federal HSTs.

Winchester's were a problem. First round failed to chamber a few times, and jammed up on the feed ramp. On two of these, I could drop the magazine, replace the round, replace the magazine, and try it again and it worked. On one of them, it just wouldn't chamber. I tried 4+ times before replacing that round with a regular hardball.

Federal HST's were better, other than getting the @#[email protected] box open. They fired well, but after each magazine, the slide didn't lock back. It did this for all four magazines... which gave me good practice for dry firing and I squeezed the trigger anyway.

JHPs were noticeably hotter; Kahr felt snappier, and more like the Springfield or LC380 I rented last week, but with a much better trigger.

Oh yes. Trigger was smoooooth. Longer than XDS or Glock of course, but smooth, steady, and... soft. Not light, not heavy. Way better the the PM9 I rented.

All in all, I'm pleased with it. Still have more range time to do, and need to determine what the carry ammo will be. It's far more comfortable and enjoyable to shoot with at the range than I expected. I knew, and acknowledged the fact that a pocket pistol is a compromise of everything you really want in a pistol, starting with the .380 cartridge for a smaller package. I expected it to be uncomfortable to shoot and annoying to train with... and the fact that it's just as comfortable (maybe more so) than my XDS was a pleasant surprise.

Sergeant
 

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Love my Kahrs. Just a note on plastic HST boxes...squeeze the shorter ends of the box as you lift it off. I figured it out before noticing the instructions in small font on the box. My Kahrs feed them without a hitch.


Sent from my virtual ball & chain.
 

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Range report today!

I patiently waited until day 4 of my four day weekend to take some personal time and range fire my new pocket carry option.

Summary:

1) Wow. Second only to the G42 in comfort and shootability. I expected to be a lot snappier / jumpier, and more fatiguing to my hand.
2) Near flawless with 154 rounds of hardball.
3) Still looking for good HP carry

My second magazine, magguts kit, and talon grips still haven't arrived, so everything was stock. To test a variety of ammo, I picked up a box here and there while running Christmas errands.

I went to range with two boxes of Federal Champion (95g WMAE380ACP), and a box of PMC Bronze (90g 380A), The range was out of their usual ammo for rentals, so I rounded it out with their substitute: PPU (94g). For HP, I tried a box of their cheapo's (Winchester Train & Defend) and Federal HSTs.

The Federal and PMC were flawless; the PPU nearly so. The CW380 was far more comfortable and enjoyable to shoot than I expected. There was less felt recoil than my 9mm XDS (currently stock grips). It was second only to the Glock 42. I fired 54 rounds of the Federal, switched to the PMC, and finished with the PPU. I didn't have an issue until the last two full mags of the PPU, where the slide locked back instead of chambering the last round. This wasn't a jam on feeding like I saw later with the Winchesters; releasing the slide lock chambered it. I'm not sure what would cause this. I noticed while firing the PPU that the chamber and magazine were dirtier than I expected. I don't see that much carbon in my XDS after comparable round count of Freedom. I wiped off the carbon on the magazine before the last magazine of two rounds of PPU and it didn't happen a third time.

I mixed it up with some one hand shooting, both strong and weak end. I probably fired 4 magazines strong hand, and 3 weak hand. No issues.

JHPs... still looking for a good carry ammo. I hoped (naively) to pick up two boxes at the range, have a flawless session of 43, and keep the last 7 to carry. The range didn't have the Gold Dots I wanted to try, so I opted for a box of their cheapest JHPs (Winchester Train & Defend)... I expected the profile similarity to WWB to be a problem), and the Federal HSTs.

Winchester's were a problem. First round failed to chamber a few times, and jammed up on the feed ramp. On two of these, I could drop the magazine, replace the round, replace the magazine, and try it again and it worked. On one of them, it just wouldn't chamber. I tried 4+ times before replacing that round with a regular hardball.

Federal HST's were better, other than getting the @#[email protected] box open. They fired well, but after each magazine, the slide didn't lock back. It did this for all four magazines... which gave me good practice for dry firing and I squeezed the trigger anyway.

JHPs were noticeably hotter; Kahr felt snappier, and more like the Springfield or LC380 I rented last week, but with a much better trigger.

Oh yes. Trigger was smoooooth. Longer than XDS or Glock of course, but smooth, steady, and... soft. Not light, not heavy. Way better the the PM9 I rented.

All in all, I'm pleased with it. Still have more range time to do, and need to determine what the carry ammo will be. It's far more comfortable and enjoyable to shoot with at the range than I expected. I knew, and acknowledged the fact that a pocket pistol is a compromise of everything you really want in a pistol, starting with the .380 cartridge for a smaller package. I expected it to be uncomfortable to shoot and annoying to train with... and the fact that it's just as comfortable (maybe more so) than my XDS was a pleasant surprise.

Sergeant
Really excellent write ups, bravo.

Mine likes the HST's just fine and they scored the highest in the Lucky Gunner tests. I've also carried Sig JHP's in it and Winchester PDX1.

Good luck with your Kahr.
 
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Thanks for the report Sergeant. I've been trying to decide between picking up this Kahr or the LCPII.
I'm going to snag an LCP2 when the prices come down and it may just replace my Kahr
 
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Love my Kahrs. Just a note on plastic HST boxes...squeeze the shorter ends of the box as you lift it off. I figured it out before noticing the instructions in small font on the box. My Kahrs feed them without a hitch.
.
Heh, I found the small print on the bottom while typing up the range report. The HSTs fed and fired fine; the only malfunction was not locking the slide after final round. It did this on all three full magazines, but now I'm not certain on the fourth (with 2 round leftovers).

Maybe I'll try another box with it clean. The HSTs were the last rounds I fired, and something in the middle was really dirty (the PPU, I think). It also smelled funny, with no pun to the P.U. name. I can't really describe it, but it didn't smell like what I'm used to: Ballistol and whatever powder Freedom munitions uses, which is mostly what I fire. I didn't notice a different smell with WWB or the generic Federal white box, either.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm going to snag an LCP2 when the prices come down and it may just replace my Kahr
If/when you find one to test fire, I'd like to hear how they compare in recoil, handling, and "shootability" as Hickok45 calls it. I thought that most of the changes with LCP II were in the trigger, not with felt recoil and grip, but I haven't personally fired the LCP II to compare.

I wouldn't plan to replace my Kahr regardless (unless it's THAT amazing...) but I'd still like to hear how they compare.
 

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I'm going to snag an LCP2 when the prices come down and it may just replace my Kahr
They had one at Cabelas for 279.00 but when I went to check one out they said they were sold out. I then found another at a gun show NIB for 289.00, but they couldnt find the mag for it. I took it as a sign that I didnt need one.
But I did notice that the trigger on the LCPII is very good, and obviously the overall design is a great improvement.
 

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They had one at Cabelas for 279.00 but when I went to check one out they said they were sold out. I then found another at a gun show NIB for 289.00, but they couldnt find the mag for it. I took it as a sign that I didnt need one.
But I did notice that the trigger on the LCPII is very good, and obviously the overall design is a great improvement.
I dry fired one at a show, it was quite nice.
 
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