When you buy one of the regular Kahr pistols in the K or P series, you get high quality and total reliability in a compact package that has superb hold ergonomics and outstanding performance. For all of this, the price is quite reasonable. But what if you could get these features at a lower price and with the same guarantee?
A few years ago, Kahr introduced the CW9, and now we have the gun featured here, the CW40. Now, I know what you might be thinking, with the price reduction, they must have cut some corners, right? And the answer is, no, nor where it matters. Let's look at each of the small differences.
First, the rifling in the barrel. The K9, P9 and others in the regular line-up have expensive match-grade polygonal rifling. The CW series guns have traditional land-and-groove cut rifling. In muzzle velocity, this will translate to about 10% less. In accuracy, no change. This was, perhaps, the biggest cost-savings for Kahr.
The CW9 and CW40 are most closely related to the P series Kahr Pistols, as they have the polymer frame. On the P series guns, the slide latch lever is am machined part. The CW pistols have a slide latch that's made by Metal Injected Moulding (MIM). For strength, this is not inferior, it's just not quite as pretty as a fully machined part. Plus, it costs a lot less. Instead of the elegant roll-markings on the slides of the regular P series guns, the "CW40" and "Kahr" on my pistol is simply stamped. The CW9 and CW40 are shipped with only one magazine.
Finally, there are fewer machining cuts on the slide and one of the omissions is a dovetail-cut for the front sight. On the CW pistols, the front sight is internally riveted in place. The rear sight is still in a dovetail, laterally adjustable be drifting. All of the other well-known Kahr features are present, including the automatic internal firing pin block.
The CW40 also has the silky-smooth DAO trigger pull and the excellent Kahr balance-in-the-hand. With any .40 pistol of this size, I usually expect unpleasant felt recoil. In the CW40 I found that superior ergonomics worked out. It felt about like a 9mm with a +P load. At 25 yards from a casual rest, the Remington 180-grain JHP grouped into 2.25 inches, all in the black, with three in the 10-ring. The Hansen 180-grain JHP score was 3.25 inches, all in the black, well-centered. The group with the CorBon 135-grain Pow'RBall load was 3.50 inches, two in the 10-ring. I think we can assume that the cut rifling delivers accuracy.
There were, of course, no malfunctions. In the past 10 years, I have fired numerous Kahr pistols and have yet to have one hang up in any way. Overall, in the CW40, did I find anything to criticize? Well, okay, one little thing, the back edge of the slide latch is rather sharp and I plan to use a file to round it out a bit. I think the whole idea of the CW series if a good one. For some of us, the economy price makes a difference. When selecting a carry-gun, the savings might have made us settle for something less than a Kahr. Now, thanks to the CW9 and CW40, we don't have to make that decision.
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