Kahr CM40 CCW Pistol


The Kahr CM40

The Kahr CM40

Shooting the CM40

Shooting the CM40

The guts of the CM40

The guts of the CM40

By Scott Mayer

Kahr Arms

When I first reviewed a gun from Kahr Arms in 1995, I was impressed enough with the design, workmanship, and function that I surprised my mother with a Kahr K9 as a carry gun. Ordinarily, getting my mother the right gun is like trying to get her the right pair of shoes, but in this case the K9 went over with great success. At the time, it was one of the smallest 9mm handguns on the market. Its “slick” slide is ideal for concealed carry, and the silky smooth factory trigger pull has to be tried to be appreciated. If there are any qualms, it’s that the K9 is a bit heavy (compact polymer-framed guns were not readily on the market then) and its $600+ price tag (in 1995 dollars) was as much as one month’s mortgage payment. Since then, more states have passed “shall issue” laws. The results are increased demand for carry guns, more carry gun options, and more competitive pricing.

Last year, Kahr Arms introduced a value-priced polymer-frame 9mm to the CCW market called the CM9. The 3-inch barreled gun retails for $221 less than the comparable Kahr PM9 thanks to cost saving measures including conventional rifling instead of polygonal, fewer machining operations on the slide, and CM9’s are shipped with only one magazine instead of two. When you look at the complete list of cost-saving measures though, you’d be hard pressed to find anything that rises to the level of cutting corners. There are many people who carry concealed who won’t consider a gun as powerful enough unless its chambering begins with a “4,” so this year Kahr expanded the CM line to include a .40 S&W-chambered number–the CM40.

The CM40 incorporates the same cost-cutting measures as its 9mm stablemate while retaining all of the design features and workmanship that make Kahr synonymous with quality. As with full-size Kahr pistols, the 3.1-inch barreled CM40 has all of the patented design features that make it a Kahr, including the clever off-center recoil lug and trigger bar. With that arrangement, the barrel axis is lower in the frame, which is helpful in controlling recoil–particularly muzzle flip. Those of you who, like me, regularly carry and shoot a .40, know that recoil and flip are pretty darn snappy on a full-size gun, so I was anxious to see how the little poly-framed .40 handled. I got that chance the day before SHOT Show at the annual Media Day.

I was really expecting the PM40 to feel like a bomb going off in my hand—it is, afterall, an itty bitty lightweight .40-cal. pistol. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a snappy little rascal indeed, but it’s not the pain-inducing gun I thought it would be. Sure, there was plenty of recoil, but both George Wehby and I remarked that recoil dynamics were more like the gun was trying to jump straight up out of your hand, instead of hammering back into the palm.

This is a two-finger gun, so if you’re the least bit recoil shy go with the CM9 and not the .40. On the other hand, if you can hang on to it when it goes off, Kahr’s new CM40 boasts a pretty darn good chambering in a package too small to pass up.


{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Randy January 31, 2014, 11:23 am

    I just ordered my 11th Kahr. After having 10 that have have never had a single malfunction of any kind and accepted any ammo I fed them, I long ago decided that they were my favorite all around handgun. I also own Springfields, Glocks, Rugers, Smiths, Browning, FNH, an Extar, a Cricket, a NAA and a PMR30. While they suggest a 200 round break in before expecting proper performance, all I have ever done is rack each new gun a couple hundred time before the first trip to the range and not even cleaned and lubed them prior to the first outing. I always take a mixture of the cheapest ammo from all the stuff on the shelf at Walmart and a small sampling of Critical Defense, Corbon and Winchester JHP. Honestly, I have NEVER had a single failure from any of the pistols and they have all been extremely accurate. My wife and I carry Kahrs and decide which one depending on what clothing we are wearing to allow us to carry the most gun and keep it well concealed or if we are going open carry for that day. I don’t still have all of them, because I sold some of the higher priced P series guns when Kahr started offering the value priced C series. The ones I own or have owned include two P380’s, one CW380, two PM9’s, CM9, CM40, two CW9’s, CW40 and a CW45. If anyone wishes to ask me anything about my experiences with Kahr products, send me a message. Since I also own striker fired, other DAO, DA/SA and SA guns, I am not narrow minded about any one type of gun and I am not a “one brand” or made in USA only guy. I appreciate quality and will never own a HiPoint, Cobra, RG, Bersa, Llama, Jennings, Raven or a lot of other brands and I may offend a lot of people by posting this, but I believe there “is” a difference and I own about 40 guns that I am proud of and I would rather have them than 200 that I didn’t trust my life with if the need came up. My two cents, and then some.

  • Larry J April 8, 2013, 10:55 pm

    PS. to my last comment, it could use a shorter trigger pull.

  • Larry J April 8, 2013, 10:54 pm

    Just bought a Kahr CM9 and have fired 100 + rounds through it with no hang ups at all , including putting a loaded mag in with the slide closed and then manually racking the slide to put a round in the chamber and have only had a problem one time using this method. Maybe they have modified it since the other reviews , as mine works fine doing that.

  • Andrew April 20, 2012, 12:37 pm

    My Kahr CM9 is a piece of junk. Slide doesn’t lock back (horrible since the gun will only chamber a fresh round from a locked-back slide), also when adding +1, the second round occasionally fails to feed after firing. From what I have read, the positive reviews are marketing. The look and size of the gun are great, but that’s about it.

    • Administrator April 20, 2012, 6:23 pm

      You have to break the gun in as it instructs. They are great guns once you break them in.

  • John Degroff February 3, 2012, 10:25 am

    Wanted to mention that I have owned a Sig 239 in .40 and a 226 in 9MM and both were wonderful. In NYS I could find preban (required) mags for the Glock. The 226 had a trigger job and was the best trigger of ANY handgun I have shot.

  • John Degroff February 3, 2012, 10:21 am

    My brother is a jewelry store owner and CCW holder and I got him a Kahr PM9 a few years ago. Great gun and very accurate and reliable. Yes “Bob” quality is very high. However, if you think my Glock 23 with over 4,500 trouble free rounds through it and accuracy better than 95% of shooters can uitlize is not a great gun; you are very mistaken. With a Glock 3.5 lb. trigger and TruGlo TFO sights, as well as a Lightning Strike guide rod added about
    1,000 rounds ago (original bbl still in), preban 13 and 15 round mags, she is one self protection gem.
    I do plan on getting a CM40 as well only because summer time carry will be easier.

  • Larry February 1, 2012, 5:37 pm

    I’m a retired Chicago PD detective. I own two Kahr PM9’s, have put approx. 300 rds through one and 500 through the other. No problems. They are accurate and they work just fine. I always carry with a round in the chamber. The trigger is such that only a darn fool would suffer an accidental discharge.

    • Jack February 3, 2012, 10:13 am

      To Larry,
      Agreed on the only a darn fool could suffer an accidentally discharge.
      My CM9 has a little to long of a trigger pull for my liking. I am going to check if the NEW PM9 trigger system can be used in the CM9 since it is a shorter stroke; however, the new PM9’s also have a external manual safety so I don’t know if the trigger mechanisms are interchangeable.
      If the trigger mechanisms are not interchangeable them maybe more practice will get me used to the trigger long stroke.
      To GKJ,
      Thanks for the heads-up on Midway USA mags. for the Kahrs. Since Midway USA just received theirs then maybe I will be receiving mine. There evidently has been a backlog of orders on the magazines.

  • Tim February 1, 2012, 1:26 pm

    I currently carry a 1911 in .45acp as my daily CCW pistol but will be buying a CW9 as soon as finances allow.

  • Jay February 1, 2012, 8:23 am

    Kahr has done a great job with their pistols! As a CHL instructor I have had students purchase these safe and reliable arms. Only negative I have had is because of double action some ladies have difficulty with the slide when teaching them to manually unload the gun.
    Personally have a 45 which shoots very well and easy for such a small gun.

    • Jack February 3, 2012, 10:24 am

      The slide on my almost new CM9 is stiff(strong spring). I have been manually working the slide and it seems to be loosening up some. I occasionally leave the slide sitting locked open for a few hours. I think that with at least 200 round fired through the gun, the slide will be working more fluid with less spring tension.

  • GKJ January 31, 2012, 8:17 pm

    PS…Jack the magazines are avilable at Midway USA for 31.99, they just came in today and I just bought one. I will be purchasing a Sig P938 as soon as I can get my hands on one. I have tried everything else from the major players and they are either too thick, too heavy, or I have ran into problems I described above. I just want something that works everytime, has night sights, is safe to carry, small and thin and comes in a 9mm or greater. Since I have a Sig P238 and I am very satisfied with all the above and the specs (weight and dimensions) are identical to the P938 in 9mm, I should be happy. The only downside is they are single action only and you have to carry it cocked and locked and work the safety. I hear you Glock and Sprinfield fans – I have them too. I am sending an S&W M&P back tomorrow – a new gun that jams every other round no matter what kind of ammo you have in it in 357 Sig. Don’t be too hard on me everyone has their own requirements.

  • GKJ January 31, 2012, 8:10 pm

    PS…Jack the magazines are avilable at Midway USA for 31.99, they just came in today and I just bought one.

  • GKJ January 31, 2012, 8:06 pm

    I just purchased a PM9 and every time I try to rack the slide the pistol jams. I checked with customer service today and I was told that the pistol was designed to only chamber a round when the slide is locked in place by the magazine. The first round in the magzine is positioned at an angle and will catch in the throat if you rack the slide manually. Sure enough, taking an empty magazine and opening the slide, then loading rounds in my magazine and then inserting it into the magazine well and releasing the slide release works every time. I have actually worn a spot in the chamber cover from trying to get the gun to chamber a round with a full magazine and racking the slide. To me this is absolutely ridiculous as I do not always want a round chambered in the magazine and if I choose to do that, I then have to unload the magzine, lock the slide, and reload the magazine just to get a round in. When I carry the firearm in my pocket without a holster I do not want a round chambered. Obviously, the gun can not be carried that way. The other complaint I have is the lip on the magazine actually cuts into your fingers when you load it – it is so sharp. In any case, the CM9 and CM40 are both designed the same way. I bought the PM9 because of the nights sights as I feel a CCW without them is useless. From personal experienmce, I would be better off with pepper spray at least I kmow I can hit something. Just my humble opinion. That round chambering only when the slide is locked back “feature” is enough to not purchase the firearm. Subsequent rack attempts on the second or third round will yield the same results. In short, you can not manually rack the slide – this according to KAHR customer support. I am sure many of you may have done this successfully, but it fails consistantly with my PM9. The only other option is to have the spare magazine supplied with the CM9 on hand to lock the slide – oh wait a second you only get one with the CM9. Oh well, that option is out unless you buy another magazine. I just ordered another magazine to see if the lip is any less sharp as I actually have a cut on my finger from loading the thing. In short, I was happy with the firearm before I started using it. The night sights are very nice with rather large dots ;)~~~

    • Jack February 5, 2012, 9:03 am

      GKJ, I read some comments on YouTube yesterday about modifications to the Kahr Magazine Follower.
      I have not experienced the slingshot loading/feeding problem with my CM9 and the FMJ bullets that I have been using. It appears that an aggressive and quick slingshot action needs to be used otherwise if you try to guide the slide forward slowly then the failure to feed may happen.

  • Larry Chesney January 31, 2012, 1:32 pm

    I have a 40 cal. CW and it shoots like a dream. Remember that Kahr recommends to run at least 200 rounds through the gun before you consider it broken in. If you have a gun that is not feeding properly try different types of ammunition and if that doesn’t work call the factory and have the gun serviced. Kahr is a good outfit and they stand behind their products.

  • Jack January 31, 2012, 11:36 am

    I purchased a CM9 on Nov. 26,2011. Kahr had a free extended mag offer with any new CW9093, CW4043, CW4543 or CM9093 handgun purchase. This offer lasted until Nov. 30,2011. I mailed in the coupon on Dec. 08, 2011 and should receive the extended magazine by Feb. 03,2012.(8 weeks) There have been several delays in shipping, I would assume due to large sales of these handguns. My emails to Kahr have been answered thus keeping me up to date on the process.
    I only shot 60 rounds through my CM9 but it is very accurate for a pistol this size(3″ barrel); however, there were 2 or 3 hiccups with the first 20 or so rounds. I cleaned the heavy oil that Kahr coats the guns with and that seems to have illuminated the FTF and FTE issues. Kahr does state that there is a 200 round break-in period before the pistol should be considered fully reliable.
    I would recommend the 7 round extended magazine for large volume shooting, this allows for a 3 finger grip. The 6 round flush butt, 2 finger, magazine is nice for concealed carry. This handgun is so light and small you can hardly tell it is on your hip or wherever you carry it.
    This is a very nice, smoothly machined, accurate and comfortably sized handgun and it is my concealed carry gun.
    I like it!

  • DarrellM5 January 31, 2012, 11:09 am

    I’ve had the CW9 for 4 years and haven’t had a single problem since the 200 round break-in. Even during the break-in I think I only had one failure to feed. This pistol is my “every day carry” firearm in the warm months and my backup, in a Galco ankle rig, in the cooler months.
    My brother just got the CM9 this weekend. We put about 150 rounds through it yesterday with one failure to feed and one self induced malfunction. Once the break-in is finished I’m sure it won’t experience any problems.

    One thing that amazes me about both pistols is the amazing accuracy and the great sight picture.

  • Scott Z January 31, 2012, 10:22 am

    Bought my PM9 this year because of all the problems with the 380’s out there after shooting over 250 rounds and carry this gun I would have to say you cant beat it, compares to the Rohrbaugh at half the price!!

  • robert croke January 31, 2012, 6:13 am

    Bought the original K9 when first came out, designed at that time for the Corbon +P HP. As author says trigger is buttery and shooting S&B h’ball feels like a .22! Since then bought CW45 and CM9. Well over 500 rounds HB and all variety of h’points through each without a single hiccup, as they say. Would trust them and my CZ PCR over any gun you could mention.

  • Terry January 25, 2012, 2:58 pm

    I own a PM9 & a PM45 both are completely reliable and extremely accurate. The 9mm is a LOT easier to shoot
    as is true with all small pistols. I practice much more with it. I have 1000 rnds. through the PM9 with no malfuctions. Very easy to conceal. I wear one of them daily.

  • jor January 24, 2012, 9:11 pm

    own a Kahr 9 {k9}put many round down rang never a problem
    trust my life to this one

  • bob January 24, 2012, 8:37 pm

    i have a cm9 and would`nt trade it for two glocks!the quality of kahr is that or more than sigs and blows glock away!the new .40 seems nice,but may be a bit snappy for some.

  • Tom January 24, 2012, 9:11 am

    Owned and carried my PM9 for 4 years. Practice monthly and have never had a failure to
    Feed or stovepipe with multiple ammos. I carry it because I know it is ready to protect my life !

  • ronnie January 24, 2012, 6:20 am

    I have had 2 early model p40’s and had some issues with the extractors and mags,but sent them in Kahr fixed them got them back no problems since,last year i got a new CW9, man what a difference,super reliable from the start and i have over 500 rounds through it now and it is smooth as butter and as accurate as some full size 9mm guns i owned including a Beretta 92fs and a early Sig P226,this gun just plain shoots and shoots anything and is very accurate,This one is my daily carry and it is not going anywhere,,I highly recommend the Newer Kahr’s they have finally grew up and worked all the kinks out,these are very good and the Quality is there..I recommend them.The only gun i would choose over them would be a full size Glock {17or22} if i could only buy one that is..

  • Steve January 19, 2012, 10:56 pm

    I’ve never seen a CM9 priced as low as $221. Tell me where and I’ll buy one!

    • Scott Mayer January 20, 2012, 3:00 pm

      Re-read the sentence, Steve.

    • Charlie June 4, 2012, 1:07 pm

      You could get a Hi-Point at that price.

  • Dan January 19, 2012, 12:52 pm

    I have a PM45 & CM9 and wouldn’t trade them for anything. They are both completely dependable and the bonus is they are accurate as well. No hiccups of any kind and shoot any thing I run. Both carry very well and break down fast for easy cleaning. The best part of the Kahr line is the smooth trigger and fit and finish. Just a great gun all the way around. I’m a happy camper.

  • kenneth January 19, 2012, 12:39 pm

    i ve owened three kahrs 2 pm40 and a p380 i had to sell one of the kahr pm40 a couple years ago and bought another last year ive never had a failure to feed or eject on any of the guns i bought the two 40s used and the p 380 new so far there as dependable as my glocks

  • Dennis B January 19, 2012, 12:28 pm

    I am thinking about getting a compact Kahr to carry but can’t decide if I want the 9 or .40
    Which one do you like the most Brian?

    • Brian Jacobs January 19, 2012, 4:37 pm

      I would choose the 40 if I had to make a choice. 40’s will penetrate glass without deflection where a 9 mm might not. Same physical size and weight except for the difference in ammo and that is negligible.

  • Brian Jacobs January 19, 2012, 11:00 am

    I own two Kahr cw’s, a 9 and a 40. If anyone out there thinks that these are not quality and/or dependable you are sadly mistaken. I fired dozens of boxes of ammo through mine. They are a smooth as butter. Never even the slightest hickup. I like the smaller frame on this line of pistols, too!!

  • JIM January 19, 2012, 10:47 am

    I assume this pistol is double action from appearance of trigger position. If not it’s DOA. Perhaps I missed the comment. If I did I also missed trigger pull #’s. What is the weight and exact demensions? Thanks.

  • Ralph De La Huerta January 19, 2012, 10:40 am

    Kahr is too pricey and not reliable from past experience. I have owned three so far and no more. I now buy Ruger and S&W except for my Para 1911 .45ACP.

    • Ralph De La Huerta January 19, 2012, 10:42 am

      Post it so Kahr knows how some of us feel. How else are there to be any advancements or improvements?

    • Mike January 19, 2012, 5:51 pm

      I agree with Ralph. Kahr’s are not very reliable from my experience. I’ve got over 500 rounds through my PM40 and it still mis-feeds. Same experience as a lot of other people. So different from my Sigs in reliability but the Kahr’s size is very appealing from a CC standpoint.

      • Dave January 24, 2012, 4:16 pm

        Folks, don’t assume Mike speaks for everyone.
        My K9 is flawless. Mike, if your Kahr missfeeds, contact the factory at the very least. Who needs a weapon with obvious reliability issues?

    • Cowart January 31, 2012, 11:32 am


      The Kahr CM9 is about $100 less than a Glock 19

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