Walther PPS v. Kahr P9 - Range Report

This is a discussion on Walther PPS v. Kahr P9 - Range Report within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm looking for my first concealed carry gun (not my first gun) and I'm really interested in the single-stack 9mm pistols I've seen. I went ...

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Thread: Walther PPS v. Kahr P9 - Range Report

  1. #1
    Member Array gruntingfrog's Avatar
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    Walther PPS v. Kahr P9 - Range Report

    I'm looking for my first concealed carry gun (not my first gun) and I'm really interested in the single-stack 9mm pistols I've seen. I went to the range and rented the Walther PPS and Kahr P9. Granted, I only shot 50 rounds through each, but I think I got enough of a run with them to make some comments and ask some questions.

    Kahr P9:
    The trigger pull is really long with a reset point about 95% back to fully extended, but it's really smooth and light. It almost felt mushy to me. I have a snubbie that I shoot very well double-action, so the long trigger pull isn't really an issue. It just seemed like there was no tactile feedback. I've read a lot of people saying they love the Kahr P9/PM9 trigger pull. Anybody that does, did you get used to it or did you like it right away?

    The "dot the i" sight is very quick to acquire, but I think a combination of it and the trigger pull was throwing off my shots. Even slow-fire, I could not get a group within 8 inches at 7 yards. I'm used to iron and three-dot sights. Is there a trick to the Kahr sights or is it just a matter of getting used to them?

    Maybe it was just the rental mags at the range, but there were a number of times that I couldn't chamber the first round from the mag. The slide simply wouldn't go into battery. I couldn't even tap, rack, bang. It was more like tap, rack, . I would drop the mag and the first round would be seated slightly nose down. This happened three or four times. I wish I had grabbed a picture of it. I had to reseat the first round in the mag, and go about my business. Once past that first round in the magazine, I had no FTF's or FTE's. Is this a common issue with these pistols?

    Walther PPS:
    This review will be a lot simpler. I LOVE SHOOTING THIS GUN. It is the single-stack 9mm that Glock refuses to build. It has a Glock-style trigger with about the same reset and smoothness. It handles beautifully. The sights are quick to acquire. I can keep a tight group (< 4 inches) in rapid succession at 7 - 10 yards.

    All that being said, I would never carry the Walther PPS and therefore won't buy it. It has the stupidest magazine release I've ever seen. In order to release the mag, you have to pull down on the trigger guard.

    Not only is this awkward to manipulate one-handed, it puts your trigger finger very close to the trigger. I'd love to have heard the conversation where that design got approved.

    "OK. To unload it, just put your trigger finger 2mm from the trigger and pull."

    WaltherPPS_MagRelease.jpg

    Way to ruin a perfectly good gun, Walther. Nice going.
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    Some may not like the mag release, however I find it much smarter for pocket carry. Once I got used to it, it wasn't a big deal. Pushing down as opposed to pulling back are two different movements. How many times did you accidentally pull the trigger while dropping the mag?
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    VIP Member Array tokerblue's Avatar
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    Kahr recommends using the slide release to chamber the first round.

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    Member Array gruntingfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky View Post
    How many times did you accidentally pull the trigger while dropping the mag?
    None, but I was being careful and slow, two things that I won't have the luxury of being in a self-defense situation. I don't think the danger factor of having it that close is really my main concern, though. That is just one piece of it that adds to the silliness of the design.

    It is extremely awkward to operate the control and it requires fine motor skills which is one of the first things to go in a stressful situation. It's the same reason I don't use the slide release lever (I hate to even call it that) to send the slide home. In a self-defense situation, we need to rely on gross motor skills. Instead they designed something that requires fumbling with a small lever that you have to catch with just the edge of your finger and hope it doesn't slip off before engaging (as it did to me several times). That is not something most people will be able to do when their lives are on the line.

    Slap a mag release button under the thumb where you simply have to mash it to engage, and the PPS would be a near-perfect carry weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by tokerblue View Post
    Kahr recommends using the slide release to chamber the first round.
    That may explain it. I never use the slide release. See above.
    Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
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    Member Array SirLingPing's Avatar
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    Gruntingfrog, it really doesn't require great fine motor skills to operate the mag release. It only takes some getting used to as you probably spent most of your shooting years with thumb style releases. I carried a Sig 229 for 13 years before switching to the PPS this year. It took only about 2 weeks of handling for me to retrain my hand to drop the PPS mag using the index finger instead of the thumb. Now I do it without thinking. I think that it is a case of "teaching old dogs new tricks". If you don't think you can retrain your hand or you don't wish to then it's best you stick to what you know. Both Walther and H&K seem to believe that this is a superior system to the thumb button. At least you will never find you mag disengaged because the button was accidentally depressed - something that happened to me and my Sig several times.

    As Rocky says, I see no safety hazard. The index finger rides beside the trigger and pushes not pulls the lever at right angles to the trigger motion. All that aside, the PPS has proven to be my ideal CCW - compact and slim which means it conceals like a dream, very accurate, grip and mag options and German fit and finish. It is truly the pistol that Glock should have made years ago. i guess when you are big and making a lot of money like Glock you tend not to be as responsive to new consumer needs.

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    Member Array gruntingfrog's Avatar
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    SirLingPing,

    You're right. I am, of course, most familiar with thumb releases and I have never encountered a mag release like the one on the PPS (Only Walther experience is the PPK, and no H&K experience).

    It really threw me off, but I love the gun otherwise.

    Maybe I'll go rent it again and run a few hundred rounds through it to see if I get more used to the mechanism.
    Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
    - Mike Tyson

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    Member Array jfrey's Avatar
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    The Kahr trigger is long and a little different. It does take some getting used to but is very safe and the controls are right where most of us expect them to be. I can get 3" or better groups from my CW9 at 10 yards but I did replace the sights with better ones from Dawson Precision.

    In handling the PPS, I found it easier to release the mag with my thumb rather than the index finger. With the Glocklike trigger unless you push that little gizmo in the middle, it won't go off and seems safe enough to me. The release takes some getting used to, just like the Kahr trigger, but both are good guns and worth the money for CC use.

    A lot of common 1911 holsters will fit the larger Kahr models but I don't know about the PPS. The only thing I have seen so far on the PPS have been pretty generic.

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    Distinguished Member Array LanceORYGUN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gruntingfrog View Post
    SirLingPing,

    You're right. I am, of course, most familiar with thumb releases and I have never encountered a mag release like the one on the PPS (Only Walther experience is the PPK, and no H&K experience).

    It really threw me off, but I love the gun otherwise.
    You are the only loser here. The PPS is indeed a great handgun.

    The mag release design on the PPS is superior to the ones on the Walther P99, or any of the HK guns in my opinion. It is certainly easier to operate than the one on my HK USP.



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    Member Array carguy2244's Avatar
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    I've shot Kahr 9mms for 10 years. Your accuracy problem is probably trigger related, because it is such a long trigger. But once you get accustomed to it, 3 inch groups at 10 yards rapid fire will be a breeze. Using the slide release will eliminate the problem of going into battery. You should master the tactical reload, which will not only also eliminate the problem, but enhance your defensive skills.

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    The PPS mag release is one of my biggest gripes, however I own one and often carry it. You are right it has a great trigger pull and IMHO I think the trigger travel is less than a Glock. Try shooting a Glock for about 50 rounds, then pick up a PPS and start shooting it and I think you'll sense what I'm saying.

    FWIW, another great single stack is Sig 239 DAK or DA/SA.
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    Member Array torgo1968's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gruntingfrog View Post
    That is just one piece of it that adds to the silliness of the design.
    The point was to make the gun as thin as possible, so it was integral to the design.

    It is extremely awkward to operate the control and it requires fine motor skills which is one of the first things to go in a stressful situation.
    Do you have extremely large/small/odd hands? I've found it the most intuitive and easy mag release I've used. My middle finger just lifts and sweeps down, it couldn't be more natural or quick. I've also never come close to accidentally hitting it while firing, nor have my wife (not a gun person), father-in-law and two brothers-in-law. I think you're over thinking this.

    It's the same reason I don't use the slide release lever (I hate to even call it that) to send the slide home.
    You're not supposed to. It's a slide stop, not a slide release. You should rack the slide to send the slide home. Aside from that, again, there's nothing delicate or complicated about it; the right thumb slips up and drags down. Also, the frequency of having to reload during a self-defense encounter is really really really low. Slapping in a new magazine is a far more complicated action than hitting the slide (stop) release on the PPS.

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    Distinguished Member Array LanceORYGUN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppkheat View Post
    FWIW, another great single stack is Sig 239 DAK or DA/SA.
    Very true, although the Sig P239 is a much larger handgun than a Walther PPS. Put them next to one another, and there is no comparison when it comes to their size and weight. The PPS is significantly shorter and thinner, as well as being much lighter.


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    Member Array SirLingPing's Avatar
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    Sig 239 is weighty for a sub-compact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by torgo1968 View Post
    You're not supposed to. It's a slide stop, not a slide release. You should rack the slide to send the slide home.
    That's what I meant.
    I never use the slide stop/release on ANY weapon, I wasn't saying the PPS was special in this regard.

    I think you've all convinced me to give the PPS another chance. It is an exceptional pistol in all other regards.
    Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.
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    I truly believe the PPS is the best single stack out right now (besides the 1911)
    I love mine and I agree that the mag release is the greatest thing. It took maybe two range trips and I don't even think about it now. You also do t have to worry about bumping into something and having your mag go spilling out on floor.

    I would really give it another look, it's really a terrific pistol that you won't regret buying.

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