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On Target 2008 Editor’s Choice Awards: Kahr PM45

On Target, June/July 2008, p. 36
By Massad Ayoob

I’ve liked Kahr’s slim, sweet, little double-action-only defensive pistols since I laid hands on the first one—the all-steel K9 9mm—at a SHOT Show in the mid 1990s. I started really liking them once I began shooting them seriously and experienced their accuracy and reliability. Kahr Arms has advanced the design in the years since, making newer models that are continually lighter yet more powerful. The latest evolution of the Kahr pistol is their smallest .45ACP, the PM45.

Weighing less than some all-steel .38 snubbies, the PM45’s slide is thinner than the cylinder of even a 5-shot .38 revolver, yet the little pistol packs five rounds of .45 ACP in its magazine and a sixth in the chamber. The PM45’s recoil is remarkably controllable. We got well under three inches with it shooting 5-shot groups at 25 yards with 185-grain WInchester BEB training loads, as well as with 230-grain JHPs from Black Hills and Speer’s Gold Dot line. I passed the PM45 around among friends of various sizes and experience levels, and all found it eminently shootable, liking the smooth, light, double-action-only trigger pull and the recoil, which is particularly soft for .45 caliber in so light a pistol.

As with most other Kahrs, I was irritated by the sharp edge of the takedown lever, which tends to catch the support hand thumb when firing right handed from a two-hand hold and straight-thumbs position. One of our shooters experienced an accidental magazine drop during testing, but that was not repeated. We put a “bunch of bullets” through this little guy—everybody wanted to shoot it!—and we had no failures to feed, extract, or eject.

Polymer-framed semi-automatics like this have changed the profile of the concealed-carry handgun in America. I know a lot of folks, including a lot of professionals, who trust their lives to Kahr pistols. When you factor in the confidence inspired by the .45 ACP cartridge, it’s easy to see why Kahr has garnered so much interest with this new “little gun.”

Our specimen came with Tru-Dot night sights, a great feature. Sights are tough to swap out on Kahrs. so if you want the night sights, it’s best to order them factory installed. The MSRP so outfitted came close to a grand…but for the performance you get it’s worth it. An accurate, soft-shooting .45 that’s reliable, light, and super-concealable. Yes, we think the Kahr PM45 is definitely worth an Editor’s Choice Award. See it at your gun shop, or contact Kahr Arms.


The pint-size PM45 is readily concealable, and could be easy mistaken for a sub-compact 9mm.

Magazine capacity is five rounds—six total, with one in the chamber.

Speer’s 230-gr. Gold Dot gave this impressive 2.35-inch, five-shot group at 25-yards. The PM45 was also very consistent, with virtually all ammunition printing sub-three inch groups.