Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Kahr CT9 9mm

CEO Justin Moon founded Kahr Arms in 1995.  Moon had obtained a concealed carry license since age 18 but at that a time he couldn't find any quality made compact and sub-compact handguns that met his needs.  His first offering was the K9 and K40, two compact stainless steel pistols chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W.  These pistols were met with critical acclaim.  They were originally offered with wrap around wood or rubber grips that provided a superb feel when grasped.  The stainless steel series of pistols eventually included a sub-compact sized handgun, the "MK", and a full-sized pistol dubbed the model "T".  Kahr next introduced the same line-up with polymer frames with the "P" series being the compact handguns; the "PM" series being the sub-compact pistol and the full-sized pistols were dubbed the "TP".

Kahr's pistols were renowned for their long but extremely smooth double action only trigger pulls and their low bore axis.  The pistol's design was innovative and is protected by some seven patents making them truly unique.  I think it's important to remember that Kahr was making compact and sub-compact single stack 9mm and .40 caliber pistols twenty years before Glock introduced the single stack model 43.  

The one thing that may have stymied Kahr's market shard was the price.  Handguns of this quality were costly to produce.  Kahr overcame this hurdle several years ago by introducing a line of value-priced, polymer framed pistols, one of which we are addressing in this review, the model CT9.  The standard, and more expensive version, of the CT9 is the TP 9.  These are Kahr's larger framed polymer pistols that have a capacity of 8 + 1 rounds.  The barrel length is just a shade less than 4 inches; the overall length of the pistol is 6.5 inches.  It is 5 inches in height, 0.90 inches wide and weighs in at 18.5 ounces.  Even as Kahr's full sized entry the TP9 and the CT9 are fairly compact and very slender.

In my estimation the differences between the full priced and value-priced line-up are minimal and outlined in the table below:

Front Sight
Drift Adjustable
Who cares that the front sight is pinned?  Let me count the times I have drifted a front sight.  That would be “0”!  Being pinned in means less of a chance that the front sight will get knocked out of alignment.
Slide Stop
Metal Injected Molded
Metal injection molding is a cost saving measure.  Purists decry it but I have not experienced any problems with them nor have a seen any reports of their failure.
Barrel Rifling
When was the last time you heard of a finely tuned 1911 with polygonal rifling?  If conventional rifling was good enough for John Browning, Les Baer, Bill Wilson and Ed Brown, it is good enough for me and I experienced no issues with accuracy.
Slide Markings
Roll Marked
Again, who cares?  The slide markings have absolutely nothing to do with reliability or accuracy.
Slide Machining

The only machining on the slide are the rear slide serrations. 

As mentioned earlier, the trigger pull is excellent and the pistol has been completely reliable with everything I put through it.

So let's see how the CT performed for me on the range:

All of the targets below were fired from a standing two-handed hold using Magtech 115 grain 9mm ammunition.

The above target shows 10 rounds fired at 21 feet.

This target shows 24 rounds fired at 35 feet.

The final target shows 24 rounds fired at 50 feet.

I only have two minor issues about the pistol.  The first is that the value-priced models only come with one magazine.  I am not a person who needs 8 mags for each handgun they carry but I generally like to have two spare magazines.  That's easily remedied as Kahr mags are easily found.  My second issue is the width of the pistol.  At 0.90 inches thick it feels too slender for my fat hand.  I think this may account for some of my fliers at 35 and 50 feet.  However, I also realize two things; first is that all of the hits on those three targets would have been fatal (the accuracy was not bad).  Secondly is the realization that carry pistols require a compromise between what one would prefer in terms of handgun capacity in a size that is large enough to shoot well versus versus a handgun which is concealable.   Trust me, the CT9 is much easier to conceal than a 15 round pistol.

The good news is that, while I consider the differences in features to be minimal the difference is not.  The MSRP for the CT 9 is 30% less than the MSRP for the TP 9.

8 + 1
Trigger Cocking Double Action Only
3.965 Inches
Overall Length
6.5 Inches
5.08 Inches
18.5 Ounces
0.90 Inches
Matte Stainless Steel


Lauren Ventosa said...

The spread on those targets seems pretty good. How would you compare it to the Glock 43? You mentioned that Khars company has been around longer, but Glock seems to be making one of the most popular conceal carry handguns on the market today. It'd be cool to see a side by side comparison. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Most people say it takes about 200 rounds to break in the pistol. It's only took 100 to break in mine though. No significant issues, the recoil is light if any. The gun shoots well, and the trigger is smooth without a hitch. The gun for the most part is accurate, however you may be off depending on how the gun turns when you pull the trigger. This of course can be remedied with practice and firing the pistol down at the range. Personally I like it, although I would prefer if they had a trigger safety on it. This of course is no deal breaker. All in all, this is the perfect and affordable concealed carry gun. Just my two cents