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Review overview

Reliability 8.7
Style 8.1
Ergonomics 7.8
Customization 6.7
Features 8.7

Summary

8 tech score Kahr announced the P380 at the 2007 SHOT Show, & the P380 went into production in 2009. The P380 looks precisely like a scaled-down PM9, & is a mere 11 ounces in weight & .75 inches thick. & while the Kahr P380 is superior in design, build, & function to the Kel-Tec P3AT, the Kahr offering significantly out-cashed both the Ruger & Kel-Tec: Street price on the Kahr P380 is about $525, while the first Ruger LCP can be had for about $200-300. Even if the Kahr may be the superior of these three models, the Ruger & Kel-Tec .380s are still well-made & reliable, & it is difficult to justify paying double for the Kahr P380.

he CW380 pistol has a 2.58-inch barrel, an overall length of 4.96 inches & a height of just 3.9 inches. It weighs only 10.2 ounces without a magazine. The pistol has a black polymer frame & features 4140 steel inserts molded into the front & back of the frame for rigidity. It has a properly a machined, solid 416 matte stainless whetstone slide & a textured polymer grip.

Specifications:

CW380
CW3833 (2.58″ Barrel)
MSRP: $419.00
Black polymer frame, matte stainless slide

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Height: 3.9″
Weight: 10.2 ounces (w/o magazine)
Slide Width: .75″
Value Series
Capacity: 6+1
Caliber: .380 ACP
Barrel: 2.58″, 1 – 16 right-hand twist ,Conventional Rifling,
Length O/A: 4.96.”
Operation: Trigger cocking DAO; lock breech; “Browning-type” recoil lug; passive striker block; no magazine disconnect
Sights: Drift adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight which pinned in polymer front sight

Textured Polymer Grips
Black polymer frame, matte stainless steel slide
Magazine: 1 – 6 rd, Stainless

The Kahr CW380 highlights a locked breech, modified Browning type recoil lug, & utilizes Kahr’s seven patents including the “safe cam” action located in all Kahr pistols. The result is a micro-compact pistol with minimal recoil & quick follow-up shots. The pistol features drift flexible white bar-dot combat rear sight & pinned-in polymer front sight.

Differences between the Kahr CW380 & Kahr P380 models add: the CW line has a conventionally rifled barrel rather of the match grade polygonal barrel located on P models; the CW slide stop lever is MIM (metal-injection-molded) rather of machined; the CW series slide has fewer machining operations, & uses simple roll marking rather of engraved markings; the P380 comes with two magazines, but the CW series begins with one 6 rd steel magazine with flush baseplate. Lastly, the slide locks back after firing the last round – another feature missing on some other value-priced compact semi-auto pistols. The durability & reliability of the CW380 model makes it a strong consideration as a backup gun for law enforcement.

There’s a size below which a 9mm handgun becomes a jumpy little bastard. Where range practice is about as many fun as hitting your hand with a hammer. Repeatedly. If you’re discounting the Kahr CW380 as a pocket pistol because you have more faith in a 9mm bullet’s ability to stop a deadly threat, I recommend a compact rather than a subcompact 9mm. The CW380 — or a more substantial 9mm pistol — offers you the best chance of initial accuracy & on-target follow-up shots.

Reliability

Reliability is always priority sign one for me & this gun had some serious issues out of the box. In the first 100 rounds with various manufacturers, I don’t think it ever got it through a full  kahr arms cw380 magazine without a failure. So, it was time to test Kahr’s client service & it turns out that it was excellent. I emailed them describing the problem & had a shipping label within 48 hours. Nine days later the pistol was returned to me & hasn’t had a particular malfunction since.

Ergonomics

Compared to a “standard” capacity gun a gun intended for pocket carry will never have what most would describe as good ergonomics. But, related to other pistols in its’ class it’s pretty good. There’s stippling on the front & back strap which help control the gun under recoil & the grip angle supports it point naturally.

Trigger

The trigger is on par with each other Kahr gun I’ve used. It has a long, smooth double action only pull & breaks right at 6 pounds. The rest is a little long for my personal preference, but I know some folks prefer a long pull & a long reset for a backup, pocket-type gun. So, I suppose it depends on whom you ask as to whether it’s a right trigger or not. One thing I’ll tell in its’ defense is that it doesn’t impede you from hitting targets at checking distances as the triggers on some guns in the class do.

Holsters

As some of the most powerful compact pistols out there, the P380 & CW380 are great to carry options. That being said, it’s vital to invest in a good kahr arms cw380 holster that is comfortable, durable, & offers a smooth pull. There are tons of choices to pick from, including material, size, & where on your body to carry. Since these guns are so small, I always use a pocket holster; it’s a necessity to keep the trigger protected until you plan to shoot, & pocket holster guarantees that greater than most other types of holsters.

If you’re looking for super concealability, think the Active Pro Gear Pocket Holster (very affordable) or their comfortable ankle holster. Another excellent choice is the ambidextrous Desantis Superfly Pocket Holster; Desantis is tremendous & reputable br& & it won’t cost you an arm & a leg.

If pocket holsters aren’t for you, view an inside the waistb& holster from AlienGear. I’ve become a massive fan of theirs in the past year, & they a have an enormous selection to choose from. You can’t go wrong with their best-selling Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB holster; this solid choice also has a matching spare mag carrier which is a smart buy.

Problems

The first question is that you need to know about many of Kahr guns is that they require being broken in. In general, your first couple of boxes of ammo won’t be so promising, but after around 200 rounds, you should start to see peak performance. Once you’ve reached the point, give the gun a thorough cleaning & lube.

Although I’ve never myself had any malfunctions with either the P380 or CW380, I’ve tried a few complaints about occasional stovepiping & slide returns. In total, Kahr’s CCWs are better when compared to competitive br&s. In fact, let’s take a look at similar firearms & see how they match up.

MAGS

The single-stacked Value Series Kahrs ship with one durable six-round mag made from high-grade corrosive resistant 400 Series stainless steel. These American-made mags are plasma welded & treated to remove excess residue & nicks. On the other hand, the Premium Series P380 comes with three of these fantastic magazines. To keep these mags comfortable & efficient, Kahr incorporated Wolff Gunsprings & gave them a flush baseplate.

One of the features which leaned me toward the P380 is that the slide stays open after firing the last shot. This nice upgrade provides for faster reloads & avoids the “click & no bang” at the end of the mag.

Observations

I point out in advance that I bought this Kahr for me; TFB did not request or receive a Kahr .380 for evaluation.My first observation before hitting the range was, of course, a connection of the new Kahr to my Kel-Tec P-3AT. When you disassemble & set the P-3AT components alongside the Kahr’s counterparts, nearly all the parts –slide stop, recoil assembly, barrel, slide, trigger, & the sights, to name a few – are noticeably more robust on the Kahr.

Indeed make the Kahr feels like a service pistol that has been magically shrunken to fit in a pocket, while the Ruger & Kahr feel like more of a bargain – almost like a Matchbox type more than an actual pistol (the Ruger less so than the Kel-Tec). Another remarkable difference characteristic of the attention to make with the Kahr; The feed grade on the Kahr is finished to a literal mirror-finish, while the Ruger & Kel-Tec are not. I was very impressed with the near-flawless fit & finish of the Kahr, as well as the build quality.Moreover, the assembly/disassembly process is much more comfortable & less finicky on the Kahr than the P-3AT.

The Kahr only requires you to align two notches on the slide & frame & then start out the slide lock lever, while the P-3AT needs outwards force on the rim of the very tiny takedown pin while actuating the slide rearward, which can be a trying process. Kel-Tecs can be finicky to re-assemble, & I have had at least one concealed evidence student call me to suggest me how to re-assemble his P-3AT. The Kahr effortlessly glides back into place after performing the takedown moves in the reverse order.

The manual signs (as it always has since the 90s) that a Kahr should be run through a break in period – lubrication, cleaning, firing two hundred rounds, & then cleaning & lubricating again – before the piece can be considered “reliable.”

Having owned several Kahrs in the previous decade, I was fully aware of the break-in procedure, & decided to overlook it in part this time. Probably, this break-in period is both a search of the gun’s ability to shoot through 200 rounds of your favorite while also smoothing out the action & the moving parts. To accelerate this entire process, I just shot the gun bone dry on its opening day at the range – no lube whatsoever. I shot about 250 rounds of Fiocchi 95gr .380 in this initial range session. After the first range visit, I cleaned & lubed the Kahr then shot 100 series a few weeks later.Uring the first range session, the slide release was unintentionally engaged, locking the slide back after the 7th, 31st, & 37th, 63rd, & 64th rounds. It is unclear if this was driver error or if this was a malfunction. No similar issues occurred after this, & I tried to remain cognizant of the possibility that I might have engaged the lever, & so adjusted my kahr arms cw380 gripsslightly to prevent this from happening again. That said, I think this issue favors the LCP/P-3AT, which do not have extended slide lock levers & do not hold open after the last round. One could see the virtue in that as it is easier to engage the slide lock arms on these smaller pistols versus the full-size models. On the other hand, many of my female concealed evidence students have a difficult time racking the slide on the first .380s, so the slide lock lever wants the Kahr in the case where a reload is needed, should it ever come to that.

Surprisingly, this br& new pocket .380, bone dry, had no failures to feed or eject until the 121st course. From that point on, shot became slow, as the Kahr would need a reassuring slap on the back of the slide before choking out another shot or two. The lack of lubrication, in combination with the rapid accumulation of fouling, would prevent the Kahr from returning entirely to the battery. I nonetheless fired approximately 250 rounds & recorded the entire process. Note that even after chopping it up a bit to remove pauses for reloading, the video is still nine minutes long & pretty dull. The first twenty magazines do go fast before things foul up. Also, if you do watch portions where the target is correctly exposed, you can see that the gun has excellent combat accuracy. Even firing quickly, almost all rounds went into fist-size groups in the chest & head of the B-27 silhouette target used.

The normal price of the Kahr CW380 is about $275 (prices have hit ~$250 for the CW380). Are the upgraded barrel, slide stop, & front kahr arms cw380 sights worth double the price for a pocket .380?

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