Well, my special-ordered Kahr P9 Covert came in (Thank you, again, srfl, for your detailed recommendations :wave: ), and I went and picked it up. Hopefully these clickable thumbnail photos will download to the thread. Here's the 7-round mag.
It's small, and pretty well made. Here's the 6-round, flush-fitting mag.
It came absolutely covered
in thick oil. I mopped off the slide and frame, and then tore it down to look inside. I was sort of appalled at how roughly the polymer frame was finished. Lots of injection stubs and slivers of plastic leakage from the mold. I cleaned them all up and then looked at the barrel.
The barrel was weird. The polygonal "rifling" appeared corroded in the quasi-grooves. I ran Kroil through it, and it was still very rough afterward. Is this what Lothar Walther is turning out nowadays? (More on that below.)
Anyway, the metal work was nice, if a little sharp at places. Prettier than a Glock (not a hard mark to achieve) and felt svelte in my hand like a PPK/S (which, incidentally, it's the same size as).
Here's the P9 Covert next to a J-frame for comparison:
And, again (don't know why these "on edge" shots always come out blurry - might be the lighting):
Did I mention that my wife gave me this? I'd better come through on Valentine's Day!
The trigger pull is . . . odd. But good. It's not really like a Glock's at all, even though the upper half is pretty much exactly a Glock. The trigger linkage is different, and it gives a pull that feels almost exactly like a double-action revolver's pull . . . although somehow a bit more, I don't know, mudgy?
First off, the well-finished smooth metal trigger is infinitely nicer to touch than the ridged triggers on the micro-Glocks. This certainly adds to the "feel" of the pull. The feel of the silky wide trigger itself on the pad of my finger is, well, almost luxurious. Better even than the feel of a S&W revo trigger against my finger, reminds me of the old Colt target triggers on their DA target revos (although I don't have one around for a comparison).
The trigger reach is almost precisely the same as that on a J-frame with open-backed stocks installed. The pull is long, and the reset is long when compared to a Glock's short click
of a reset - reminds me of the reset required on my DAO 37-2. It feels like a DA revolver's trigger, though maybe just a tad
longer than a DA revo's.
The pull is odd in that there doesn't seem to be any
stacking. The break is always a surprise (I just dry-fired it slowly half a dozen times), unlike the situation with almost any other small handgun I've fired. This would be conducive to the "long, smooth" trigger stroke they're always encouraging you to use at gun schools (at least with DA revos).
Also, unlike the Glock's odd-feeling "sproing," the Kahr's striker releases with an authoritative "click" that's almost a "clunk." Possibly just the difference between the round pin and Glock's rectangular striker.
I don't have a trigger gauge here (got to run to a friend’s), but I'd guesstimate it at around 8-9 pounds. Lightish, but longish.
Kahr’s literature is very clear that their guns should not be considered reliable until 200 rounds have been fired through them. Well, I went to the range yesterday and my Kahr P9 Covert is now officially “broken in” with just over 300 rounds having been fired through it. The sloppy molding of the plastic frame is gone, and it’s running like a champ, even when I limp-wrist it.
I know Ruger makes frames for other companies, and I wonder whether they make the frame for this polymer Kahr. The P9 has only rudimentary metal inserts in the plastic, yet the plastic does not appear at all worn down after a 300-round range session involving about 15% +P+ and NATO rounds. In fact, the edges of the plastic “rails” look as sharp as the all-plastic rails of a Ruger P95 or P97 . . . it just made me wonder whether Ruger’s magic plastic is responsible for the Kahr’s durability. (Incidentally, the P9 Covert’s frame looks less worn inside after this range session than did my Glock 26’s – I can’t discern any wear at all on the metal or plastic parts.)
I’ve noted people on the ‘net discussing “peening” with respect to these Kahrs, but have never bothered to follow-up to figure out what they were talking about. The outside of the barrel of my Kahr now has small shiny spots on the left and right sides of a ring that protrudes just in front of the chamber. Looking at the barrel in the slide, I feel that these were caused when the front of the slide retracted and whacked against the barrel. The peening does not seem to be excessive, and the gun’s on warranty if it gets worse.
Before I went to the range, I took off the factory oil slop and greased the gun up with TW-25B. After the session, the barrel had some definite areas of shininess (mostly on the rounds, but a bit on the left, top and right of the barrel hood), but appeared a lot less worn than I would have expected.
I’m not especially enamored of this barrel anyway. I noted above about the hideous condition of the quasi-grooves in the polygonally “rifled” Lothar Walther barrel. Polygonal rifling gives Glocks and H&Ks additional velocity when compared to a conventionally rifled barrel of the same length, albeit at the expense of greatly increased difficulty in using lead bullets. (For example, Winchester Ranger 127-gr +P+ will leave the 3.5” polygonally rifled bore of my Glock 26 at an average of around 1240 fps.) Kahr and its devotees mention this expensive polygonally “rifled” barrel as one of the premium features of their pistols (conventionally rifled barrels are used on the budget-line CW9 and CW40) – presumably putting the Kahr main line on footing with Glock and H&K, who’ve long used such technology. Well, at least in my Kahr (but also in other chrono reports I’ve read online), the polygonally rifled barrel offers no
increase in velocity over what I would expect from a 3.5” barrel with standard rifling. For instance, Winchester Silvertip and Federal 9BP 115-grainers averaged a bit slower
than they did from a conventionally rifled 3.5” S&W 6946 that I used to own – I understand the potential for lot-to-lot and gun-to-gun variances in velocities, but my Kahr P9 Covert’s barrel seemed to under-deliver velocity across the board (compare the Winchester Ranger velocities below to those I got with my G26).
On the shooting, I did
experience three failures in the first 200 rounds (and none after that. These were minor, and I believe one can be attributed to the ammunition. I first fired 68 rounds of Winchester white box USA 115-gr FMJs. On round #65, a primer did not detonate. Foolishly disregarding the possibility of hangfires, I taprackbanged the pistol, shot the other rounds out of the gun, and then examined the round that had not detonated. It had a deep
, perfect firing-pin imprint in the primer, that looked exactly like every other primer strike on the rounds I’d been firing (and looked like a completely reasonable primer strike). I reloaded the round, bang. I feel that I want to attribute this round’s failure to the ammo, and note Stephen A. Camp’s observation that there seems to be a qualitative difference between the Win USA in the 100-round bulk packs and the Win USA in the 50-round Styrofoam packs. I next shot 45 rounds of Federal American Eagle 124-grain FMJs with no problems. I then fired 45 rounds of American Eagle 147-gr FMJs, and had one failure to feed from the 7-round magazine (at round #132, total). The round nose-dived in the mag – it’s possible that I misloaded it by not pushing it fully to the rear, or that I limp-wristed the gun, but this was a failure. I then shot another 35 rounds of AE 124-grainers and had an identical failure to feed at round #193.
Then, over the 200-round factory-required break-in, I got out the chrono. Please forgive me if I only type in the average velocities for these rounds and not the extreme spreads and standard deviations. (As I’m coming to expect from 9mm ammo when fired from a semiauto, the ESs and SDs were very low – except with the STHPs.)
Winchester USA 115-gr FMJ ---1071 fps
Remington UMC 115-gr FMJ --- 1070 fps
Federal American Eagle 124-gr FMJ --- 1069 fps
Federal American Eagle 147-gr FMJ --- 957 fps
Federal Hydra-Shok 147-gr JHP --- 955 fps
Winchester Silvertip 115-gr JHP --- 1080 fps
Winchester NATO 123-gr FMJ --- 1130 fps
Federal 9BP 115-gr JHP --- 1099 fps
Speer +P+ 115-gr JHP --- 1244 fps
Winchester Ranger +P+ 127-gr JHP --- 1190 fps
Although disappointed with the Ranger’s performance in my Kahr (it does 1240 fps average out of my G26’s identical-length, also polygonally rifled barrel), I’ve decided to carry it over the Speer 115-grainers, since I like a heavier bullet’s penetrative capabilities. (As I mentioned, the velocity I got with this round is substantially the same as the velocities for other P9s with it as I've read reported on the 'net, so apparently it's not just my gun.)
Other shooting impressions. The frame size is very comfortable, but just on the small side. Where I find that I’d rather the Glocks’ frames were a bit less in circumference and a bit easier for me to grasp with my medium-sized hand, I found the P9 Covert’s to be smallish. I only noticed this when I kept finding that my strong-side thumb wanted to wrap further around the Kahr than it should. It was never really an issue in shooting (unless perhaps it hindered my accuracy), though, and this is
supposed to be a concealment gun, so I don’t think the small frame is anything to complain about. I’m just noting it.
People routinely complain about the complexity of the take-down of the Rohrbaugh. Well, to me
anyway, the Rohrbaugh was a piece of cake compared to the Kahr. Perhaps this is because I’m left-handed, but I found that holding the slide “just so” and then straining to push the sticky (rubbed on the inside by a spring) slide release through was a blue-eyed bear. I can get a Rohrbaugh apart inside 15 seconds, using a toothbrush to hold the slide back just the right amount and a Glock armorer’s tool to punch out the pin. I’ve not yet been able to disassemble the Kahr in less than 2 minutes, after sweat has appeared on my brow and swearing has started to make an appearance in my language. Perhaps I have an unusually tight gun. I, again, don’t really feel this is a very big negative, but it’s worth a mention.
Like my Rohrbaugh, the Kahr P9 Covert seems to almost prefer being shot from a realistic “combat” position to being shot off the bench. If I did anything other than rapid fire (and I found I could rapid-fire the Kahr very well despite the long trigger reset that I noted above), the Kahr would turn in the same sized groups as it did off the bench. And these were weird groups. Two rounds in the same hole, and the rest in an arc about an inch to an inch-and-a-half away from them – with the total group running around 3” at ten yards. Is it me, or is it that horrible barrel? To me, that arc shouts poor trigger control
(not especially surprising – I noted above how odd the Kahr’s trigger is), so I may have to re-examine this at a later date. This happened with all ammo, though I noted that the 147-grainers and the +P+ rounds shot closer to POA (the 147-grainers shot precisely at
POA) and seemed to give smaller groupings.
Overall, I was very
pleased with the Kahr’s performance. The velocities were on the low side of what I expected, but the reliability was 100% after the modest (and forewarned!) break-in glitches, and that’s pretty impressive in a +P+ 9mm that is the same size and weight as a J-frame S&W snub. I carried it last night in my SmartCarry, and was very happy with it – it is probably the least-noticeable gun I’ve so carried, better even than the J-frames. The thin frame means pocket-carry and draws are much easier than with the G26 (with the same Nemesis holster).
This is definitely my new Kahr-ry gun (sorry!). :embarassed: