Range Report -- Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact (ongoing)

This is a discussion on Range Report -- Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact (ongoing) within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact: Range Report #1 This is intended to be an ongoing history of working my new Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact pistol at ...

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Thread: Range Report -- Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact (ongoing)

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Range Report -- Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact (ongoing)

    Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact: Range Report #1

    This is intended to be an ongoing history of working my new Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact pistol at the range. I will track the number of shots, jams/failures, goal while at the range, general comments on ergonomics and performance, and cleanings ... over the life of the pistol, from new. Each range session, I will come back and post further comments as to performance, what I'm trying to achieve at the range sessions, how the gun's parts are holding up, how recent gunsmithing changes are working, and so on.

    Hopefully, someone will find this useful, either when considering purchase of a PM9 or as a reference for reliability.

    Gun -- Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact polymer pistol, with 7rd "extended" magazines and factory tritium night sights.
    Purpose -- Evaluating for possible daily concealed carry, at this time.
    July 20, 2006 -- First range session, after purchase.
    Rounds -- 150 shots, varying between FMJ range rounds, 100 JHP and 100 JHP +P.

    • Goal -- Begin the break-in process on this gun, to evaluate for possible use as a go-everywhere concealed carry weapon.
    • Initial Field Strip and Cleaning -- Disassembled prior to range session and fully cleaned the gun. With an oiled patch, cleaned the barrel, rails, guide rod, magazine well, all magazines and followers. Wiped down all surfaces with a dry cloth. Re-oiled all friction surfaces with a lightly-oiled patch. Cycled slide 10x.
    • Problem During Field Strip -- Interestingly, the slide failed to come off, after I took, out the slide stop, flicked the trigger and attempted to remove it. For about a full minute, nothing I could do would make the slide either come off the frame's rails or cycle back along the rails. It was jammed within about a half-inch range of movement. Finally got it to move. Looking at the rails on the frame, small areas of chewed plastic appeared both at the fore/aft edges of "holes" along the rails, as well as on the "corners" of the rails. The problem isn't in the "well" of the rails, where the slide's rail runs. It's more of the extraneous areas on the plastic, perhaps flashing and not the exact rail surface. Unknown if this is normal, as this is my first polymer pistol. Unknown if this is actually causing any problems. Just noting the symptoms I am finding, both visually and functionally. Tried reinstalling and removing the slide a handful of times, each with the same result: stuck slide for a brief period. Strange. Disheartening, as this is the first pistol in 15yrs of shooting that has ever done this, across dozens of guns I've disassembled.
    • Feel -- This is a small gun. A bit wide, similar to a small Glock, but shorter and with a very slim/short grip and frame. Feels far smaller than a Colt Officer's 1911. It's amazingly light in the hand, about the weight of a S&W 442 Airweight revolver. Points very well, though point of aim appears to be a bit high and to the left of where it should be (by a small degree).
    • Grip -- Slim and short. Definitely shorter (less height) than a Colt Officer's 1911 frame. I have reasonably wide hands, such that smaller frames are generally a problem. With the right pistol, I'm prepared to give up this, so long as control is still maintained and concealability is served. The slim nature is wonderful, for concealment. It reminds me of the ultra-slim Browning BDM, which is amazingly flat for a double-stack setup. This PM9 is ultra-slim in a single-stack format. Very flat. Very concealable. Short such that only two fingers can get a good purchase with the stock 6rd magazine, though the 7rd "extension" magazine affords plenty of grip area. Checkering/lines on the frame afford good purchase, yet don't bite hard into the hand even across 250 rds.
    • Magazine Eject Button -- Very much out of the way, even though I'm shooting left-handed. Easy to manipulate. No sharp edges on this button.
    • Ergonomics – Fairly nice. A bit too thin to make it feel natural. A bit too short to be a good plinking gun. But it points naturally and otherwise feels good in the hand. The slide is a good half of the overall weight of the gun, so it definitely feels top heavy. Strange feeling, but easily overcome. To me, Kahrs are typically extremely sharp-edged. This PM9 isn't bad. They've done about a "half-melt" process on the gun, to eliminate the worst of this. Will be fine for concealed carry. The sharpest edges are on the tritium night sights. The slide stop pin/lever seems to have been skipped during any "melt" procedure, though perhaps that's by design, as it is not a problem.
    • Shots -- 50rds Remington/UMC FMJ, 100rds Remington JHP, 100rds Federal/Tactical JHP +P. Mostly, I shot 7+1 using the 7rd magazine. That is, cycled one round into the chamber and then topped off the magazine, then I let 'er rip.
    • Usage –- 22 magazines of 7+1. A couple of mags done in ~5% low-light conditions.
    • Aim -- (Left-handed shooter, BTW.) Did not focus on considering the point-of-aim, as this range session was about the break-in process. The POA appears to be a bit off, sighting a bit high and to the left. Further testing will consider this.
    • Ejection – Fairly consistent, sharp ejects. Brass ejected hard and behind me, slightly to the right.
    • Slide Action -- Stiff slide, when racking the slide manually. Should loosen up as several hundred rounds are put through it.
    • Jams/failures -- Three failures to feed (FTF). No failures to eject (FTE). In each case of FTF, racking the slide resolved the problem and the slide went into battery with a round in the chamber. Likely, these failures are a combination of (a) the stiff springs, (b) a barrel ramp that needs polishing and possibly (c) the slide/rame rail failure to rack/disassemble (though this last element is a guess).
    • Holstering -- No holster, at this point. In anticipation of keeping this as my primary backup gun, I have a pocket holster being made by K&D. Will review this at a future time.
    • Cleaning at Range -- Given the slide racking/disassembly problems noted above, I did stop a couple of times to do a simple field strip and lube during the range session. Same slide problem. Gouges in the plastic on the frame's rails continued to grow in side and degree of "chewing" that was evident.


    Overall, so far this is a mixed bag. It feels reasonably good in the hand, though the ultra-slim nature takes a hundred rounds to get used to. It's a compromise, but one that can be easily handled. It shoots very, very well, with natural pointing and good accuracy. Reliable performance. Three FTF's are normal, given a brand new pistol and being early on in the break-in process. Will monitor this element, though I anticipate this will go away over time. All controls are easily manipulated.

    Enjoy.

    - Michael
    Last edited by ccw9mm; August 27th, 2006 at 03:54 PM.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact: Range Report #2

    Today, I sent another 150 rds of FMJ through the PM9. This is the second range session for this PM9. For thoughts on the results of that session and the related problems I had with the slide, see above.

    Gun -- Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact polymer pistol, with 7rd "extended" magazines.
    Purpose -- Evaluating for possible daily concealed carry.
    July 26, 2006 -- Second range session, after purchase.
    Rounds -- 150 Federal/AmericanEagle FMJ 9mm.

    • Goal -- Continue to flog the pistol, to evaluate whether the bad sticking of the slide during field-strip and reassembly goes away, and whether the failures to feed go away.
    • Field Strip and Cleaning -- Disassembled prior to range session and fully cleaned the gun. With an oiled patch, cleaned the barrel, rails, guide rod, magazine well, all magazines and followers. Wiped down all surfaces with a dry cloth. Re-oiled all friction surfaces with a lightly-oiled patch. Cycled slide 10x.
    • Feel -- Shot well, all things considered. Had several failures to feed (FTF). Moderate recoil with the range rounds I was using.
    • Shots -- 150 rounds of Federal / American Eagle FMJ 9mm range ammo. Mostly, I shot 7+1 using the 7rd magazine. That is, cycled one round into the chamber and then topped off the magazine.
    • Usage - 8 mags of 7+1; 4 mags of 7rds; 7 mags of 6rds. Sent a couple of mags through in ~5% low-light conditions. Nicely, nobody else was at the range at the time.
    • Aim -- (Left-handed shooter, BTW.) Factory sights at 7-10yds are obviously a bit off. When setting my point-of-aim to ~1.5" high and to the left, most rounds impacted in the center of the target. Happened this way whether I shot primary-hand modified Weaver or weak-hand modified Weaver, so I'm reasonably sure that it's not due to my trigger/push problem. Otherwise, reasonable groupings. Refer to photos in the link below for a representative example of today's shots.
    • Ejection Variable ejects. Mostly, brass kicked out hard behind me, slightly to the right. Some popped up high, but none hit me.
    • Slide Action -- The slide's stiffness is beginning to loosen up a little. My guess is that another 1000 rounds might be needed until it's loose enough for reliable shooting, slide-wise.
    • Jams/failures -- Six FTF, no FTE. In each case of FTF except one, simply racking the slide cycled the round properly. In one instance, the slide failed to go into battery completely, requiring a hard tap on the back of the slide. Not confidence inspiring, but then I have not had any gunsmithing done on this bad boy. Nothing done to the feed ramp or chamber. Very possibly, that would clean up the feed problems.
    • Holstering -- It's larger than the KelTec P3AT by quite a margin, though it will fit in a pocket holster with only moderate printing (due to obvious width of the gun). I've got a pocket holster being made by K&D, so I'll evaluate when I receive it.
    • Cleaning at Range -- None at all.
    • Cleaning -- I'm not very happy with this little pistol, right now, so I'll simply do a light lube in advance of tomorrow morning's range session. A friend and I are going to flog it with mass quantities of ammo ... including hot Federal/Tactical JHP's, Remington/UMC FMJ range rounds, and Federal/AmerEagle FMJ range rounds. When he gets tired, I'll send him onto the Browning BDM for relaxation, while I continue to pound this thing. Am going to kill it or finish its break-in, so help me. Before tomorrow's range session, I will definitely lightly oil all mating surfaces and send a bore snake through once or twice.


    Overall, I love the feel of the shots. The tritium night sights are very nice. They definitely help in aiming during extreme low-light conditions. However, I can do without the jamming, as well as the disconcerting problem with the slide not liking to be field stripped or reassembled, though once together it slides very well.

    Photos, showing some example strings @ 7yds, including one in the dark (well, practically).

    Next report will be as of the third range session, Sunday morning. Goal will be to flog this pistol to within an inch of its life, to determine whether the minor problems are going away, or whether the slide racking/disassembly problem is continuing.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Nice review and I hope everything works out. But I myself can not see buying a pistol that needs that type of break in to hopefully run right someday. Chewing/gouging of the frame rails, 1000 plus rounds break in, mulitpule FTF! the plus side is you are not have any FTE that you are reporting and that is a plus. I would like to see the next reports and final report, maybe this will work itself out?


    Ti
    Train and train hard, you might not get a second chance to make a first impression!

    I vote for Monica Lewinsky's Ex-Boyfriend's Wife for President.....Not!

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    Senior Member Array Hivoltage's Avatar
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    On the other hand, my PM9 has never had a failure of any kind...EVER. Just like any other gun, some are good and some have problems. Except Glocks!!!
    Nothing Wrong With Shooting as Long as the Right People Get Shot.
    Clint Eastwood, Magnum Force, 1973

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    Distinguished Member Array lowflyer's Avatar
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    I dunno about the "ecept Glocks" thing. I have a buddy with a G30 he bought new that has multiple malfs everytime we shoot together. He bought the G30 because he has had great luck with a G21.
    Whatever doesn't kill you postpones the inevitable.

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    Very nice and complete report...thanks!
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    Member Array dbracin's Avatar
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    Nice reporting. I love my PM-9 and have never had any problems with it. Does your PM-9 fall into the serial number range of the recalled barrels?
    I simply polished my barrels feed ramp and hit inside the chamber alittle. No troubles, 1,500+ rounds.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ti Carry View Post
    Chewing/gouging of the frame rails, 1000 plus rounds break in, mulitpule FTF!
    Nearly every FTF I've had on prior guns has ultimately died down to nothing after the break-in period. I've had a small number of FTF's with the PM9, but nothing like some other pistols.

    I should clarify the nature of the "chewing" on the plastic areas. My apologies that the photos don't do justice to the issue, as I cannot seem to zoom in close enough and get the lighting right. The gouging and "chewing" seems to be on areas of the frame's rail section where the slide's rails don't actually touch. Now, the gouging isn't happening for no reason. Obviously, something is bumping into those sections, removing some plactic as it goes. According to my contact person at Kahr, it's normal for a small amount of this extra/flashing on the plastic to be removed during the break-in period.

    As for the failures of the slide to remove or install during field stripping, I can't explain that. To me, that's the real bad thing that's occurring. I can live with break-in that smooths out over time. What I can't live with is concern over a function or failure that has no known explanation and that might conceivably cause slide lockup during operation (as it does during field strip).

    Yes, I'm probably more tolerant of the issues than most folks would be. It's due to every firearm I've ever owned having required a moderate break-in period. This one appears to be no exception, despite some folks having had PM9's that didn't require so much. So long as it smooths out, it will be fine. If not, then Kahr will be replacing the slide and/or frame to resolve the inability to reliably assemble/disassemble the pistol.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbracin View Post
    Does your PM-9 fall into the serial number range of the recalled barrels?
    Nope. Brand new and out of the affected S/N range.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; August 28th, 2006 at 12:53 AM.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array '75scout's Avatar
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    My PM40 has the rough edges on the polymer frame rails also. It bothers me alot as my Glock 26 never had any wear what so ever. I also had some reliability issues. It sounds like you like your KT alot more.

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    Member Array taurus's Avatar
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    CCW9MM, Appreciate your report about the Kahr 9mm, why do you feel the need to disassemble and clean the gun before shooting that day? Not picking on you, just trying to learn. Thanks.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taurus View Post
    CCW9MM, Appreciate your report about the Kahr 9mm, why do you feel the need to disassemble and clean the gun before shooting that day? Not picking on you, just trying to learn. Thanks.
    The need is described in the alternate thread, link shown above. The need is due to what I feel to be strange and inappropriate gouging on the plastic rails. According to Kahr, these rails are not what actually keeps the slide in line. I disagree, but then I'm new to polymer in general and the PM9 specifically. I might well be mistaken, and it may be that the minor gouges I'm seeing are merely the excess "flashing" material being removed as the slide/frame friction areas break in. The actual bearing surfaces of the rails on this gun ... where are those? To me, it looks as though the standard-looking square channel (aka, the "rails") on the frame looks like it's providing full contact. Though, I might well be mistaken about that as well. Uncertain, at this point. Still learning about this gun.

    That's the only reason. Otherwise, I'd clean the gun after each day's shoot (or every other shooting day), through force of habit more than anything.

    Am fully willing to continue to shoot it, given that it's got promise as a possible carry weapon and I need to learn about polymer guns at what their pros/cons are. Might as well have fun shooting one while I'm at it.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Member Array Barry in IN's Avatar
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    Good review(s).

    No, Kahrs aren't perfect. My first one had a problem I couldn't live with and traded it.
    I tried another, it's been fine, and it's my #2 gun now.

    Ordinarily, I might not have given Kahr another chance in light of my trouble and the reports I've read/heard from others.

    However...
    I don't see anything else in the category.
    It's a flat 9mm (or 40) that carries as easily, if not easier, than a Walther .380. The "baby Glocks" are much thicker, and don't work any better than a compact Glock for me. Rohrbaughs are nice, but expensive. I pay for quality if it was worth it, but I have yet to even see one.

    So, yes, Kahrs apparently have some problems. So does everyone else. I've had every major brand fail at one time or another. Until there are others to compete with Kahr, it's worth it to me to go through a couple to get a good one.

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    Senior Member Array '75scout's Avatar
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    ccw9mm I have decided to sell my Kahr PM40. I already have abuyer that will pay $400. I like its size and trigger. But, I also find the gouges on the frame and rough spots on the rails concerning. I am also finding it hard to trust after initial feeding problems and 1 trip back to the factory. I don't think this gun can handle alot of rounds. I like to shoot all my guns so this is bad. I'm planning on buying a S&W 360PD

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    Distinguished Member Array dimmak's Avatar
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    very nice range report, thanks...
    "Ray Nagin is a colossal disappointment" - NRA/ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.


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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Range Report #3 -- Kahr PM9 9mm subcompact -- Sept 6, 2006

    Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact: Range Report #3

    Today, I sent another 100 rds of FMJ through the PM9. Short session. This is the third range session for this PM9.

    Gun -- Kahr PM9 9mm sub-compact polymer pistol, with 7rd "extended" magazines.
    Purpose -- Evaluating for possible daily concealed carry.
    Date -- September 6, 2006
    Rounds -- 100 rounds of Remington FMJ 115gr 9mm.

    • Goal -- Brief session today, to focus on simple feeding and reliability. Lots of one-shot cycling; lots of magazine changes; lots of cycling of the slide.
    • Field Strip and Cleaning -- Disassembled prior to range session and fully cleaned the gun. With an oiled patch, cleaned the barrel, rails, guide rod, magazine well, all magazines and followers. Wiped down all surfaces with a dry cloth. Re-oiled all friction surfaces with a lightly-oiled patch. Cycled slide 10x.
    • Feel -- Still feels stiff and new, but there haven't been many rounds through this pistol, yet.
    • Shots -- 100 rounds of Remington (green box) FMJ 115gr 9mm range ammo.
    • Usage –- 15 mags of 7+1. Mmostly done one-shot, then cycled, then another shot, then cycled, etc.
    • Aim -- (Left-handed shooter, BTW.) All shots at 50ft, using 8" paper plates on a cardboard backing. My eyes don't focus well in the dim light of my indoor range at 50ft, so my accuracy was pretty bad. Most shots tended to strike a couple/three inches low and to the right. This corresponds with ~1.5" POA differences @ 10yds, during prior range sessions (also impacing low and to the right of POA).
    • Ejection –- Mostly, brass kicked out hard behind me, slightly to the right.
    • Slide Action -- The slide is still quite stiff, being a new gun. It is continuing to loosen up, some. But it's still not buttery smooth like other guns I have (CZ P01, Browning BDM). Part of the reason is that it's so short; partly, because it's plastic-on-metal and still new. Partly, because I am focusing very hard on minute differences, problems, in order to gauge its reliability and character.
    • Jams/failures -- Six FTF, total. Two during normal cycling after a shot, and four during manual racking of the slide following a magazine change. In each instance, the nose of the bullet dipped low into the chamber and jammed up below the feed ramp. I'm pretty sure that each jammed up in very nearly the same place. Four were in the 7rd magazine, while two were in the 6rd magazine. That's six FTF today, same as last session. Six in 100 rounds fired. 6% failure. That's pretty damned bad, by any standard. Uncertain of the cause(s), yet.
    • Cleaning -- Simple wipe-down and left it uncleaned, as I'll be shooting again on the weekend.


    The jamming continues. I don't know whether it's due to the slide's apparent stiffness, or due to sticking of the slide's motion, or due to the magazine lips, followers or springs, or that the feed ramp and cmaber area needs polishing. The slide is still failing to reliably remove during field stripping, though I have had a few quick/easy times with it. That's still disconcerting, to be sure.

    No pics, today, since this was such a brief session.

    Will probably takes pics this weekend, to continue logging the issues for Kahr's gunsmithing shop. Hopefully they'll be able to offer some advice for the gouges on the plastic slide, and correction for the feeding issues.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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