Outstanding triggers: the standard by which others are judged
Does it have the quick lock time of an S&W revolver? Is it as smooth as a Ruger LCR? Does it have the breaking glass rod feel of a Springfield 1911? What sets the Kahr trigger apart from other striker fired pistols?
The cocking cam system releases the striker to fire the pistol and also prevents it from firing until the trigger is pulled.When Kahr developed their original T9, their objective was to produce a quality gun at an affordable price point. They wanted it narrower, with a high grip relative to the bore and an instinctive and reliable trigger. As a machining company, Kahr knew how to design and produce to their specs. The result was a narrow gun with the trigger nestled alongside the barrel link to achieve a high grip, close to the bore axis and a double action only (DAO) trigger unlike anything else in the market.
Key to achieving these features in its designs was Kahr’s innovative approach to developing its pistols. In fact, the company acquired four patents on specific features of their pistol designs. First and foremost of these is the offset barrel design, which works in concert with another patented feature—a trigger bar attached on only one side of the trigger. By running this in the channel beside the offset barrel, you get a very low bore axis and a very compact design. Also unique to Kahrs is the self-cleaning extractor system that features relief cuts and channels that allows fouling to be pushed out as the extractor pivots. And finally, the pistols feature a unique cocking cam system that simultaneously that retracts and releases the partially cocked striker as well as pushes up the striker block safety. An additional advantage is that the cam blocks the striker from falling until the trigger is pulled, just like the striker block safety.
It’s not so much the parts, It’s the System
Glock is the striker fired pistol brand by which all others are judged. While similar to the Glock trigger, the innovative Kahr trigger has a very different feel. The mechanism includes a pivoting trigger and trigger bar like the Glock system, but instead of interfacing directly with the striker, Kahr added a cam and the result is a buttery smooth and light pull. Compared to a Glock pistol the Kahr has a longer, smoother trigger pull similar to a true double-action handgun.
Not a true double action
The striker is pre-set, partially-cocked by the action of the slide. The trigger completes cocking the striker before releasing it at the end of the trigger stroke. This makes for a lighter trigger weight than a true double action where the trigger alone compresses the striker spring. This also eliminates second strike capability on a round that doesn’t ignite on the first pull of the trigger. With today’s centerfire ammunition, misfires are extremely rare and I’ve never heard anyone bring that up as a criticism of other pistols including Glock pistols.
The benefit of this setup is a much lighter trigger. Instead of the 9- to 12-pound weight of most other double-action handguns, the Kahr trigger breaks at 5 to 7 pounds depending on the model and generation–Kahr recently released a series of “race-ready” premium pistol for competition with both shorter and even lighter trigger pulls, but this article is focused on their carry models. Besides being light, it’s a very smooth system thanks to the cammed trigger bar.
Eliminating stacking improves accuracy
An important quality of the Kahr is that the trigger pull is constant. A typical double action trigger stacks as the trigger compresses the hammer or striker spring, becoming increasingly resistant as the trigger travels rearward. In some cases, like in target shooting, stacking can allow the shooter to stage the trigger before each shot. In a rapidly evolving scenario, there isn’t time for that. A trigger mechanism that stacks makes it more difficult to shoot accurately while shooting quickly as the increasingly-heavy trigger pull can cause shooters to jerk off target.
The cam that Kahr incorporates into their guns eliminates stacking by changing the mechanical advantage of the trigger to counteract the increased resistance of compressing the spring. This constant trigger weight helps you shoot more accurately under pressure.
Short stroke versus long stroke
Choosing a gun for self defense is about as personal a decision as it gets. There are a ton of people who just love short, light triggers with passive trigger safeties, but there have been a number of unintentional discharges when a holster retention strap, piece of clothing, or something else is accidentally caught on the trigger.
Alternative safeties include substantially increased trigger pulls or increasing the length of the stroke. As heavy trigger pulls negatively affect accuracy, Kahr developed a trigger with a longer stroke.
Better than a revolver trigger
Revolvers are known as being simple to use and dependable. Part of the simplicity is that there’s no safety to mess with since the long, heavy double-action trigger makes it unlikely to fire unintentionally.
The Kahr trigger provides the long stroke that makes revolvers less prone to an unintentional discharge. However, it’s lighter and smoother than the triggers on the best production revolvers. In fact, it’s smooth to the point of difficulty in anticipating the shot which also contributes to accuracy. To top it off, it’s also a much simpler mechanism with fewer parts than a revolver trigger group; simple equals dependable.
In a nutshell
The popularity of the Kahr trigger is due to the fact that it has a smooth, light double-action-style stroke. The long trigger pull acts as a passive safety just like in carrying a double-action revolver. Like a revolver it has a simple manual of arms: draw, aim, press the trigger. It also keeps the trigger mechanism simple, which helps prevent mechanical failures.
Personally, I love a crisp single action trigger but I often carry a snub nose revolver with a double-action trigger because it’s the best choice for the season, what I’m wearing, where I’ll be carrying, etc. When I reviewed the Ruger LCRx I found out that I shot it more accurately in double action than in single action mode–anticipating the trigger break can cause the shooter to flinch or change their grip at the last second–long smooth triggers “surprise” the shooter, which lets them focus on their sight picture and stay on target.
The disadvantage is it’s a long stroke and has a long reset. You have to release the trigger almost to its rest position before it resets, much like a revolver. For some individuals, that’s a deal breaker. Like I said earlier, choosing a self-defense gun is a very personal decision. Not everything works for everybody. But for others, including me, the trigger sets the bar, offering an extra degree of safety without sacrificing accuracy.
The Future, Today
Kahr has recently announced a new series of Gen2 Premium pistols for its lineup. Building on the strengths of the core design, the new Gen2 Premium pistols sport numerous upgrades and enhancements.
These include an enhanced trigger with integral trigger safety (described as featuring a 30 percent-shorter pull than Gen1 triggers), double recoil spring for reduced felt recoil, an integral accessory rail on the polymer frame and long slide models with barrel lengths up to 6 inches. Models will range from 3.5- and 4-inch barrel version with TFX fiber optic sights to 5- and 6-inch models with a reflex sight mounting plate system designed to accept compact reflex optics from a range of manufacturers.
Find more about Kahr pistols at: http://www.kahr.com/
Shop for Kahr pistols today at: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=kahr