bad PM9 experience

This is a discussion on bad PM9 experience within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Well, I've had a Kahr PM9 for a few months. Put 4-500 rounds through. Had bought it used, but with only about 50 rounds through. ...

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Thread: bad PM9 experience

  1. #1
    Member Array wormtown's Avatar
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    bad PM9 experience

    Well, I've had a Kahr PM9 for a few months. Put 4-500 rounds through. Had bought it used, but with only about 50 rounds through. The trigger had cleaned up very nicely. Never a problem shooting at the range, though not with hard tactical practice.
    My usual IDPA CZ is at the smith, so I shot the PM9 today.
    Horrible.
    I had thought I had mastered the "slingshot" for the Kahr, as even a mag in the recommended technique of dropping the slide lock is difficult. Well in a competition concentrating on many things, it just wouldn't work. Many failure to feeds. Also had the situation of a dud primer, and therefore had to rack, generating a failure to get into battery. Going from slide-lock was almost as bad, as it would sometimes take over a second of hard thumb pushing to get it to go. As the day went on, I lost more and more confidence in the pistol. I had been thinking about carrying it more than my KT380 (which is unbeatable for size) due to the step up to 9mm. I am rethinking this now.

    Should I give it more time, send it back to Kahr, or get rid of it. And if I get rid of it, what else is a candidate: mostly IWB, but has to be able to be stuck in a pocket on occasion.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    WT: Welcome to DefensiveCarry, by the way.

    I had a PM9, as well. Like you, mine experienced many failures to cycle properly. I sent it back to the shop after having had exchanges with them via email for awhile, regarding the experience I was having with it, after trying a few changes to isolate the problems. In the end, it was the pistol's "tight" nature that caused it to be fussy. After it came back from Kahr, after a barrel replacement, polishing up of the feed ramp and throat, things were vastly improved. Though, by that time (~700+ rds), my confidence had been shaken. The last several hundred rounds were nearly flawless, when I sold it.

    There seem to be many reports of this sort of experience. Though there seem to be many more reports of excellent operation well into the thousands of rounds. My guess is that my problem is indicative of a general reality with the PM9: they're made a bit tighter, with less tolerance, which can make them finicky with choices of ammo until they're really broken-in.

    And I'm not talking about the Kahr "standard" minimum period of 200rds. I'm talking about a given tight gun being broken-in to the point it gets highly reliable. My only other experience with a fairly tight gun was a Browning BDM I once had. (Never should have sold it, but that's another story.) It was a less than reliable until it approached 10K rds, at which point it got nearly perfect. It would swallow all ammo, of almost any length, ball or JHP, SP or wadcutter. When I sold it, it was approaching 40K rds, and it had experienced several years' worth of perfect shooting: no failures to feed, cycle or eject, of any sort.

    On that BDM, a gunsmith's minor attentions, early on, helped convince me the steel was somewhat tougher and harder to work on than the average material in most modern pistols. He had a devil of a time doing basic polishing and improvements in the slide-to-frame smoothness, the barrel's feeding area (ramp, throat). After the work, though, after having been opened up to be a bit more tolerant of slightly "off" ammo, it was flawless.

    Suggestion ...

    Now, none of this is to suggest that your Kahr will do the same thing. And my experience with just the one PM9 is hardly sufficient to suggest that it'll do the same thing. But, a lot of folks find that 200rds simply isn't a sufficiently-long break-in period on guns that are known (or suspected) to have harder material in the steel of the areas to be "polished" or smoothed. My BDM had that, as did my PM9. The Norinco 1911-style pistols are known for it, among gunsmiths. You hear of others, from time to time.

    The point is: why not give it to Kahr with a solid explanation of what you suspect to be true, having them work on the gun from the point of reliability, indicating that you're willing to sacrifice some of the "match" tightness in order to gain reliability to handle cycling of most any ammo. You're wanting "street" reliability, not match reliability, I'm guessing. See what they can do. Couldn't hurt. Another gunsmithing shop that's known for tuning Kahrs (ie, Cylinder & Slide) might do you very well, too, but it'll cost ya. Your experiences also seem to entail a few things going on, some of which are unrelated to the general ability of the gun to cycle cleanly. Be sure to know what's what, when going after a certain gunsmithing step or two.

    My $0.03.

    Good luck, with whatever you decide.
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  4. #3
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormtown View Post
    Well, I've had a Kahr PM9 for a few months. Put 4-500 rounds through. Had bought it used, but with only about 50 rounds through. The trigger had cleaned up very nicely. Never a problem shooting at the range, though not with hard tactical practice.
    My usual IDPA CZ is at the smith, so I shot the PM9 today.
    Horrible.
    I had thought I had mastered the "slingshot" for the Kahr, as even a mag in the recommended technique of dropping the slide lock is difficult. Well in a competition concentrating on many things, it just wouldn't work. Many failure to feeds. Also had the situation of a dud primer, and therefore had to rack, generating a failure to get into battery. Going from slide-lock was almost as bad, as it would sometimes take over a second of hard thumb pushing to get it to go. As the day went on, I lost more and more confidence in the pistol. I had been thinking about carrying it more than my KT380 (which is unbeatable for size) due to the step up to 9mm. I am rethinking this now.

    Should I give it more time, send it back to Kahr, or get rid of it. And if I get rid of it, what else is a candidate: mostly IWB, but has to be able to be stuck in a pocket on occasion.
    Owned 3 Kahr polymer pistols - all had issues. Returned/sold them and have gone to Glock. Do a search.

    I suspect most folks who report "no problems" with a PM9 have never done anything with them other than punch holes in paper at a range. The issue with their finicky reload procedure, and the inability to manually rack the slide to clear a dud, is a real one - as you discovered the hard way.

    Only other suggestion is to use PowRBall ammo. Other than FMJ, that was the only ammo that would let me manually rack the slide on my PM9 without a jam.

    Good luck with that thing...
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  5. #4
    Member Array wormtown's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies.
    I agree that I suspect many of the "flawless" reports have not vigorously tested the gun. Mine runs fine in range practice.

    I will now have to decide whether to send it back or just dump it for a G26 or PF9 (I know- I'd be setting myself up for the same thing again, but the size....). I don't have the patience to wait to thousands of rounds for break-in.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array SCfromNY's Avatar
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    It seems to be about 50/50. Mine has been flawless even during a BUG stage at a match. It has shot every round both FMJ and HP that I have given it. The range owner reccommended 400 rounds as a break in and I did even though from round 1 it worked great. I use powerball but more for the quality in a short barrel gun than for feeding.
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  7. #6
    Member Array SC Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormtown View Post
    Going from slide-lock was almost as bad, as it would sometimes take over a second of hard thumb pushing to get it to go.

    Do you mean pushing on the slide stop (getting it to release) or the back of the slide itself (a FTF)?

    Assuming you mean pushing down the slide stop, this part makes me think there is something wrong with your slide stop, the spring, or the way it was installed. I've never had an issue getting the slide to drop on mine - I've never even thought about it. Was your thumb slipping off of it?

    Did the weapon get dirt in it? I can understand failures while shooting during the stages but I don't see how pressing the slide stop to chamber the first round is any different. How much oil did you have in it? Some think a Kahr has to be dripping with oil, but my experience shows otherwise. I shot mine last time with only the oil in it from the previous weekend's cleaning (a drop on each slide rail, one in the striker group and one in the trigger group) and had no problems. ALl the extra oil some put in them can attract dust, dirt and lint and cause problems.

    Also, was your ammo different?

    One more question - how old is this gun?

  8. #7
    Senior Member Array 2ndsupporter's Avatar
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    To the OP, I'm glad you posted this. In seeing the replies, I will for sure take that one off the list of CC pistols.
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    Distinguished Member Array pirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormtown View Post
    Thank you for the replies.
    I agree that I suspect many of the "flawless" reports have not vigorously tested the gun. Mine runs fine in range practice.
    I disagree, I personally run all my handuns hard and I have over well over 1000 rounds of mixed ammo run through in both of my Kahr's (PM9 and CW40) and have had zero issues with either. I think most people with issues with Kahr hanguns did not either follow the breakin procedure or don't keep the gun clean. I also own a G26 and G19 plus around 25 other handguns and the Kahrs are every bit as reliable as the Glocks or any other gun in my stable.
    When I leave the home port:
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  10. #9
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pirate View Post
    I also own a G26 and G19 plus around 25 other handguns and the Kahrs are every bit as reliable as the Glocks or any other gun in my stable.
    The operative words: "my stable."

    When hundreds of people are involved, experiences will vary quite a bit, particularly since we only hear of a few reports. When sales of a given gun exceed tens of thousands over years, then some trends can become apparent. Still, it's nearly impossible to know how every user ever treated a given gun, and the "feeding" used for each given gun, since most folks don't post details in these areas.

    I, too, wring out a carry gun fairly hard, before I'll carry it on a daily basis. I find that to be other than the norm. I tend to have periods of extended failures with some guns, at least until the wrinkles work themselves out. And I've had very few where the gun didn't start to "shine" at some point.

    The thing about a few posts pro or con, it's awfully hard to assume most folks will have similar experiences. There is enough variation in a Kahr, Glock or other modern pistol to allow for some "mood swings" in the behavior of particular units. No controlling that, except via improving quality over time. I have a friend having issues with two Glocks. I've had early issues with one Kahr. I've had another Kahr that's been nearly flawless. It's all a roll of the dice, IMO.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
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  11. #10
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    I'd send it to Kahr and let um check it out before I'd write it off. My CW9 run's like a champ. I have no problem breakin in a tight pistol. I call it, "my get to know the weapon and smoothin out the rough edges" session Besides, I had to break in my Silverado too. No big deal.
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  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array pirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    The operative words: "my stable."

    The thing about a few posts pro or con, it's awfully hard to assume most folks will have similar experiences. There is enough variation in a Kahr, Glock or other modern pistol to allow for some "mood swings" in the behavior of particular units. No controlling that, except via improving quality over time. I have a friend having issues with two Glocks. I've had early issues with one Kahr. I've had another Kahr that's been nearly flawless. It's all a roll of the dice, IMO.
    I agree, and I personally never offer my opinions and/or advice unless I can validate my points from my own first hand personal experiences. I have no control over the actions of others and usually do not put much salt in opinions based on what someones friends or gunsmith or guys at the LGS have to says because of the very example you stated about similar or dis-similar experinces. My Kahr's have been very reliable for me I do know that. But thats just my experiences with them. Mine needed no breakin period to perform well. Some may, some may not. I only know how I maintain, carry, shoot and store my guns. Kahr handguns IMO are well designed, engineered and built and have been very good guns for me and I am a tough sell and always somewhat skeptical and have no problem stating when a gun is a POS, even if its in stable. In the 35+ years I have been owning and shooting handguns I have owned guns by almost every major maker, many examples in most cases and I have only had maybe two that I could not get to run relaibly, but thats just my experiences I guess.
    When I leave the home port:
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  13. #12
    Member Array wormtown's Avatar
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    Do you mean pushing on the slide stop (getting it to release) or the back of the slide itself (a FTF)?
    Actually both. I could get it to release pushing on the slide stop, but it took both hands. I had one episode where it would not go into battery after a "slingshot" despite multiple "tap-rack" attempts. The nose of the round (blazer brass) had a visible dent in it when I finally got it out.

    As noted before, I had about 500 rounds through it, so it wasn't exactly new, many of them Blazer Brass.

    I broke down the mags under the "maybe there's dirt" theory, as they were dropped on slide-lock reloads, and there was minimal dirt in the mags.

    As to the lube theory, I suppose it's possible. I have just switched to Gunzilla cleaning with a damp patch and a quick spray into the action. A couple of drops of prolix extra-T on the rails.

    I had done practice drills to master getting it to sling shot into battery, as that is how I do it on my other guns, and don't like to change procedure from gun to gun, but I think I must not have been releasing fast enough, and I wonder if after the first few FTF's something just got out of whack. I am entirely prepared to admit to shooter error, but I don't like a gun that is that unforgiving. No matter how much I practice, I know I will make mistakes.

    I think I'll send it back to Kahr.

  14. #13
    Member Array Im Protected's Avatar
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    ??? check recoil spring ???

    Just make sure the barell spring wasnt put on backwards the last time you took it apart. The flat part of the recoil spring has to face the rear of the weapon. It will make a failure to feed, and ejection problems.
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    Member Array redstgunnut's Avatar
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    I guess I'm one lucky gun nut. I've got all the major platforms and a bunch of the name brands out there now and I just have never had a gun that didn't run right, including my PM9. My PM9 has never once hiccuped, not even during the "break in."

  16. #15
    Senior Member Array mr surveyor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Im Protected View Post
    Just make sure the barell spring wasnt put on backwards the last time you took it apart. The flat part of the recoil spring has to face the rear of the weapon. It will make a failure to feed, and ejection problems.



    huh?

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