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Thread: At wits' end with my P380 (light strikes)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    270

    Default At wits' end with my P380 (light strikes)

    As many of you know I have literally been troubleshooting my P380 for the past four years, trying to resolve the issue of light primer strikes. It's always the same, regardless of the brand of ammo. I can get through one 50-round box of ammo just fine, but by the second box I start getting misfires at least once a magazine. I have done the following:

    1. Thorough cleaning of the striker channel, including deburring
    2. Lakeline striker
    3. New extractor
    4. New recoil springs
    5. Polished feed ramp and chamber
    6. Reduced extractor tension (recent fix attempt)

    I was under the belief that maybe the slide wouldn't go fully into battery, but today I went into full diagnostic mode and after each shot I made sure the slide was all the way in battery. Even after making sure it was I still had misfires. However, what I found out was that even during the first 50 rounds when the pistol was working, some empty cases showed solid hits while others showed weak hits. One empty case would have a deep indent, and the next one that was fired right afterwards would have a light indent. Then the next one would be deep again. It's as if the striker isn't always allowed to jump forward without something slowing it down, and then it gets worse as the pistol warms up or gets dirty. I have been checking the strikers (both OEM and Lakeline) for signs of peening or other wear, but they look perfect still. What in blue blazes is going on with this damn thing??? What haven't I tried yet? Is there a stronger striker spring out there? Maybe a problem with the cam? What makes this even more annoying is the fact that in all the thousands of rounds of trial and error this pistol has virtually never had a failure to feed, extract or eject. In other words, except for this ONE damn problem it's completely flawless. If it jammed besides misfiring I'd have the excuse I needed to just throw it into the nearest lake, but I keep feeling like I'm close to solving this. Going on 3000 rounds of testing so far...
    Last edited by dsk; 02-18-2017 at 11:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Wow that sucks! Have you taken a good look at the striker spring guide to make sure it looks okay? You may want to replace the striker spring also. Have you ever sent it back to Kahr for repair?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    257

    Default

    dsk, I feel your pain. If you haven't already, search this forum for 'p380 light primer strikes' and check out some of the threads. I had read in one of them a while back where there was an issue with the striker block not being depressed enough at the correct instant. I've had multiple issues with mine..striker 5-7 times (I have Lakeline now), broken trigger bar, bent front rail (resulted in new frame). They've replaced the slide twice and barrel once when I've sent it in for the striker...like you, I have not come up with a definate reason for the occasional light strikes I get so I'll be watching this thread!!!
    Kahr P380
    Kahr K9
    Kahr CM45
    Sig P938
    XDS-9mm 3.3
    1911 Stainless Range Officer 9mm
    M&P 9mm

    Topgun1953 not because I shoot well but because I fly for fun, too.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    270

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zredwire View Post
    Wow that sucks! Have you taken a good look at the striker spring guide to make sure it looks okay? You may want to replace the striker spring also. Have you ever sent it back to Kahr for repair?
    The striker spring and guide look fine, but I have no way of knowing if the spring is weak without getting a replacement first. Since the pistol has been like this since Day One I don't think so. I should have sent it back to Kahr then, but I was reading so many threads on here of folks sending their guns in, Kahr swapping out a bunch of parts willy-nilly, and the guns coming back running the same or even worse. I decided instead to solve the issue myself. Even though it's out of warranty I could probably still send it in, but do you honestly think Kahr is going to be bothered to put 100+ rounds through it to diagnose the problem? And if they do will it come back with a different problem? My issue is that I know it's gotta be something simple, because it works perfectly otherwise. And because I know it's gotta be something simple I've been at it for a couple of years! I'm thinking maybe the next thing to do is replace the cocking cam. Fortunately the parts for these little guns are dirt cheap so I can afford to keep swapping them out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    High Plains Drifter, stuck in a Lowland swamp called California
    Posts
    755

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    Have you tried the old pencil test? Stick the pencil (eraser) end into the barrel, aim it up and pull the trigger (this is done with the gun unloaded, of course). See how high and how evenly it jumps up from the gun each pull of the trigger. Very easy way to determine if you are having light strikes.
    27 years in a Federal Penitentiary
    6x8 double bunked rooms with toilets

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Near the Gila Mountains in SW AZ.
    Posts
    4,156

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by topgun1953 View Post
    dsk, I feel your pain. If you haven't already, search this forum for 'p380 light primer strikes' and check out some of the threads. I had read in one of them a while back where there was an issue with the striker block not being depressed enough at the correct instant. I've had multiple issues with mine..striker 5-7 times (I have Lakeline now), broken trigger bar, bent front rail (resulted in new frame). They've replaced the slide twice and barrel once when I've sent it in for the striker...like you, I have not come up with a definate reason for the occasional light strikes I get so I'll be watching this thread!!!
    I purchased a used P380 that had random light strikes and replacing the cocking cam finally fixed the issue. It's my belief that the lobe on the original cam that depresses the striker block was not "tall" enough. It was close, so the striker could sometimes power past the block, other times it would not. Here's the whole story:http://www.kahrtalk.com/showthread.php?25541-A-used-P380-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-and-a-happy-ending
    Regards,
    Greg
    [<a href=http://i43.tinypic.com/2n7fnux.gif target=_blank>http://i43.tinypic.com/2n7fnux.gif</a>

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    270

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    Thanks for the link to that thread, that was great info. Unfortunately my pistol is #RC6xxx and appears to have the newer, thinner cocking cam already. I can't say with 100% certainty as I was just eyeballing it compared to your pics, but it looks like the newer one. My ejector also looks different than yours, although that by itself isn't relevant to my problem.

    Of course I could still have a bad cocking cam regardless, as there may have been more than one revision. Right now I'm looking at the wear areas with a magnifying glass and trying to see how everything mates up. It's easier right now with fresh carbon deposits on everything.

  8. #8

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    A useful product to identify tight mating spots is "Dykem Brite-Mark". This is recommended by Apex Tactical for use in installing their Smith & Wesson M&P9 pistol replacement barrels. This is a dye applied to parts to see how they interact when moving in contact with each other. I bought mine from Amazon in the form of a paint marker, like a Magic Marker. (It also comes in cans, which is probably overkill for this project and messier to use.) You can probably do the same thing with a Magic Marker type pen, but Dykem is made for this purpose and may work better. If you do this, I recommend using it on the striker, especially the tip, and other parts that might even remotely be involved with striker movement.

    If you find any issue with the striker, you might try partially assembling the slide with metal polish covering all surfaces which contact others, omitting the extractor and striker safety block, them moving the striker back and forth, by hand, against the striker spring tension. A few minutes of working it will cause the polish to smooth any tight rubbing surfaces which might interfere with adequately strong striker movement. Of course, the polish must be removed before returning the pistol to service. I have done this and it does no harm to the parts. There is no need to replace the slide onto the frame when doing this. Good luck.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    270

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    I took the slide apart again today (I'm getting really good at it... pretty soon I'll be able to detail-strip a Kahr slide blindfolded) and spent time with just various individual parts installed, seeing how everything moves in relation to one another. With just the striker, FP block and spring in it, and the slide installed on the frame I could see that the cocking cam was lifting the FP block more than enough for the striker to clear it. That really left me with just one other possibility- that something was causing the striker to snag or drag and be slowed down. I did see a lot of wear along the side of the FP block where the striker was rubbing against it, so I polished that part of the FP block really well and also made sure there were no sharp edges anywhere (and no I did not touch the little bump that actually serves as the striker block, so I didn't just disable my own safety). With the pistol reassembled and a chopstick in the barrel I was able to launch it a couple feet in the air over and over, but all that really did is prove that I haven't broken anything yet. I'll have to try shooting it yet again to see if it functions correctly, but I'm not confident that a little more polishing of the internals was all that it needed. Unfortunately with everything appearing to work like it should when screwing with it on the bench I have no clue what to try next if it still doesn't work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    North Central Washington
    Posts
    2,371

    Default

    It sure sounds like it should work. Please let us know.
    Aftermarket accessories for Kahr Pistols at https://lakelinellc.com/
    There are always more in the pipeline...

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