Some shooters dislike handguns so small that they dangle their pinkie fingers. The Kahr Arms PM9 is a pinkie dangler to be true. But for those so inclined, Kahr’s spare magazine is one with an extension that allows for a full grip. Keep the short one in for concealment, and then when you need to reload you can do so with the longer one. Simple, really.
The sights are not the typical small handgun sights that you get on tiny pistols, but a bit larger. The one I shot comes with a “Dot the I” configuration mostly seen on SIG pistols. The rear sight as a white rectangle in the center while the front has the standard dot. Lining them up is fast and easy. this isn’t my favorit type of site, but it works. I actually prefer the common “Three Dot” set up. the negative for me is that the site is not integrated into the slide in machining. It is glued on plastic, which can easily get snagged by a thread in your pocket.
The PM9 has a good trigger. Not a great trigger, but a good one. Not a real heavy pull either. Smooth enough to allow good control through the whole pull. Many shooters would be tickled to have a trigger this good on their bigger handgun offerings. The trigger feels like a traditional double action only type pull, like what you would have in most revolvers. But it doesn’t allow for a second strike. Meaning you can only pull the trigger once without having to cock the action again. If the pistol was loaded and you fired the gun, the action would cycle and cock the action per design. If the round was a dud, or you were dry firing (firing on an empty chamber) then you would have to pull the slide back by hand. Some of the guns that compete with the PM9 allow for a second strike which is nice in an emergency.
There is one thorn in the PM9’s side, that I found to be distracting. The slide release lever. Most of the gun sports decent contours around the edges after the muzzle. One of the things I appreciate about a good firearm, is the craftsmanship of it’s creation and the quality of the work. Kahrs generally sport a very high level of both. This is why the slide release is such a disappointment. It sticks out like a sore thumb. (More on that in a minute) The slide release lever remains as sharp as a bitter teenager’s tongue. The edges are not sharp enough to cause damage, but they are squared enough to be painful if they scrape along your side going to and from a holster or if your thumb encounters it during recoil when firing. Some guys wouldn’t even think of it, but to me? I find it irritating. It would leave a nice indention in your leg if you carried it in your pocket. The argument is that the sharper edges allow the shooter a sure grip on the lever for a positive release. Unfortunately I don’t think that holds any water because other gun makers are putting out guns with levers that can be easily operated without feeling potentially dangerous. This is really my only complaint about the gun’s form factor, but as a carry-gun this could be bothersome. I’m sure higher end examples would sport a bevel or two on this part. If not, this would only take but a few seconds of time at a belt sander or a couple minutes work with a file to sort out properly. I’m not sure if this would void any warranty or not but if it did, I don’t see it being any trouble buying a second lever to do the contouring work on.
This gun shoots to near point of aim and groups well (about 3 inches) with little effort. When I fired it, I didn’t exactly dub it my favorite, but I do like it. The recoil was tame and controllable. The .40 caliber version would be a handful but the 9mm certainly wasn’t.
The only downside was that which I have already pointed out. The slide release. During recoil the sharp corner would intercept the thumb of my firing hand causing some, I’ll call it “discomfort”. I could have adjusted my grip, but that is the way I shoot. I didn’t have a single malfunction during testing. The gun performed flawlessly.
Overall, I’m impressed with the Kahr and to be honest I didn’t expect to be so. I had heard from some shooters that these things can jam up a lot when new. This wasn’t the case in the example that I was sent. Maybe it wasn’t so new and had already been worn in. If this is the case with all Kahrs, then it’s a simple matter of buying a couple bulk packs of ammo when you buy the gun, and spend some time getting familiar with the gun. A 200 round break in period is short, and you can do that in an hour. Before you carry any handgun for personal defense, you should shoot at least that many just to get to know the gun and to train your hands in its feel and function. While I wouldn’t make it my primary carry piece, it makes for an outstanding back up gun (or “Bug Gun”) or for deep concealment. Once again, as you can read on this website, it wouldn’t be my first choice.
Most will be impressed with size, weight, sights, and trigger. For LE it would make a great back-up gun. This is one gun that every serious shooter or professional gunslinger consider. It’s small, light, reliable, and it shoots like a bigger gun. But remember, it isn’t the most comfortable gun I have ever shot, and I certainly would not carry it in my pocket or in a side holster. It would not be comfortable. Overall good gun, but you can find a better carry gun!