Kahr Arms has earned an excellent reputation for building high-quality semi-automatic pistols that are relatively compact, very reliable, and easy to operate. Kahr makes pistols that fit very easily into a pocket, a compact holster, or to lie at hand on a nightstand. Most shooters are familiar with Kahr’s compact line of pistols, but less familiar with their full-sized weapons. “Full-sized” is a relative term, as Kahr’s largest pistols are still slim and handy, compared to most full-sized pistols on the market.
Kahr pistols have always been high quality arms, but some find the price of a Kahr pistol to be above the competition, so a couple of years ago, Kahr introduced their C-series pistols. Compared to Kahr’s original line of semi-auto pistols, the C-series cost less; a lot less. Kahr found ways to build the pistols at a much lower cost, without sacrificing quality or function. These Kahr C-series pistols are built primarily of stainless steel, with a black polymer frame. (Ed. Note: see Jeff’s reviews of the CW380 380 ACP pistol, CM9 9mm pistol, CM40 40 S&W pistol, and CW45 45 ACP pistol).
To save production costs, the C-series pistols have fewer machining operations on the exterior of the slide, reducing machine time, and therefore reducing the cost of production. The front sight is staked onto the slide, instead of being set into a dovetail, also reducing cost of production. The barrel has conventional rifling, which works perfectly, but is not as expensive to manufacture as is the polygonal rifling used in Kahr’s premium line of pistols. The slide stop on the C-series pistols is a MIM part, instead of a machined part, further reducing costs. Also, Kahr uses roll-markings on the slide instead of engraving, which is faster and less-expensive. Finally, the C-series pistols ship with one magazine, instead of three. All of these cost savings result in a fine pistol, but one that costs around $250 US less than a comparable pistol from Kahr’s premium line of pistols.
By going to the lower-priced C-series pistol, the shooter is giving up………nothing. Functionally, the C-series pistols are every bit as good as the premium pistols. The trigger pulls are still butter-smooth, and internally, the C-series pistols are fitted and finished as perfectly as other Kahr pistols. The sizes and weights are the same, the polymer frames are the same, and they are still made one-hundred percent in the USA.
For the cost savings, one can buy another magazine or two, and still have a wad of cash left over for ammunition and accessories. On the topic of accessories, the C-series pistols use the same Crimson Trace lasers as fit the comparable premium pistols, and tritium night sights are available for the C-series as well from Trijicon and XS Sights.
Featured here are Kahr’s C-series full-sized 9x19mm and 45 ACP pistols; the CT9 and CT45. These pistols, while “full-sized” for Kahr, and still slim and light, compared to similar pistols. For instance, the CT45 has a seven-round magazine, but is still a full quarter-pound lighter than a lightweight Commander-sized 1911 45. The CT9 is even lighter.
Critical specifications for the CT9 and CT45 pistols are listed in the chart below. Weights are listed in ounces. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pulls are listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine floor plate. Maximum width is measured across the top of the frame, and includes the slide lock.
I fired a variety of ammunition through the CT9 and CT45 pistols over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX, Buffalo Bore Lead Free, and Double Tap Tac-XP are hollow-nose homogenous copper bullets that are made by Barnes Bullets. Guard Dog is a FMJ with a soft plastic core to promote rapid expansion. FP is a frangible, pre-fragmented flatnose bullet. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. Pow’RBall is a specialty bullet from Cor-Bon. Glaser is a pre-fragmented bullet. Velocities were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of seventy-four percent. Velocities were recorded at ten feet from the muzzle.
The Kahr CT9 and CT45 pistols performed flawlessly with each type of ammo listed above. There were no failures of any kind during the extensive testing of these two pistols. While Kahr cut the production costs on these pistols, compared to their premium line of pistols, they did nothing that might hinder the performance of these C-series pistols. The guide rod is still made of steel, as it should be. The sights are made of steel, as they should be. The Kahr trademark offset feed ramp is still polished to a mirror finish to promote effortless feeding from the magazine into the chamber. The slide still locks open perfectly on an empty magazine, and the trigger pull is still like we have come to expect on a Kahr pistol; smooth and easy. The frame is well-textured for a positive hold, and both of these pistols are very comfortable to shoot.
These two Kahr pistols are a couple of very good values on today’s market, and at least for a limited time, Kahr is making these pistols an even better value, by offering a free extra magazine with the purchase of any C-series pistol. This free-magazine offer is in effect through the end of October 2014, but after that time, these pistols are still an excellent value, even without the free magazine. Also, for now anyway, the MSRP on the CT9 has been dropped by eighty bucks from $449 US to $369 US, and a bit of shopping will get that price down even lower.
The CT9 and CT45 pistols represent two of the best bargains in the polymer pistol market right now, giving the buyer Kahr quality at an import price.
Check out these and other Kahr firearms and accessories online at www.kahr.com.
For the location of a Kahr dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order the Kahr CT9 or CT45 online, click on the GUN GENIE at www.galleryofguns.com.
To order a Crimson Trace laser online, go to www.crimsontrace.com.