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Thread: Kahr CW45 review, first time Kahr owner

  1. #1
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    Default Kahr CW45 review, first time Kahr owner

    Review of Kahr CW45. CW45 vs XDs vs Shield vs G36 vs 1911.

    Maybe this will pop up in search engines for others like me who are first-time owners of a Kahr.

    So far I'm quite pleased with my CW45 pistol.

    I am a first-time Kahr shooter/owner. I am also an avid 1911 and 45ACP fan-boy, as well as a .22 target pistols. I am concerned primarily with functionality and dependability, not with brand name.

    I was initially interested in a light-weight CC option under $500, and the Springfield XDs caught my interest.

    Researching the XDs I found a number of web-site and Youtube comparisons with M&P Shield. I also found comparisons with Kahr, but I never gave Kahr a second thought.

    I was focusing on M&P Shield and looking through the local shops, when I stumbled upon a used Kahr CW45 along side a new Shield in a pawn shop. The lower price grabbed my attention.

    I could not find an XDs. I found 2 brand new Shields, and 1 brand new (off brand) Compact 1911 . And I liked all of them. However, the much lower prices of the used Kahr required I take a more serious look. I then paid more attention to the online Kahr comparisons I had previously overlooked.

    Considering the price I was able to negotiate for the used Kahr, with no negotiation options for the new pistols. I chose the Kahr and I am suitable impressed with the Kahr and pleased with having a few hundred dollars remaining in my wallet.

    It also came with extra magazines, which save me more money in the long run. And discovered after the fact I can use my 1911 magazines in the Kahr. But there might be some small filing required on the magazines (lots of web info on this.)

    The Kahr is accurate for me, and the trigger pull doesn't bother me, I prefer the DAO trigger design for my specific need. Others may have different experiences, so first-hand shooting experiences with other brands/models is always useful as the trigger design/pull turns some people away. Each of my pistols shoot/function differently, so I'm comfortable switching one to the other.

    Minimal options for customization is an issue for some, as it doesn't have an equipment rail. I don't recall which pistol my Kydex was made for, it took awhile trying out various options at the store, but I found one that works fine for the Kahr.

    Carrying IWB is relatively comfortable, considering my attempts to IWB a 1911 which just never worked out.

    This doesn't replace my 1911 interests, but it does supplement a niche. If I was to buy only one pistol and money wasn't a factor I would have opted for the M&P Shield (or more likely a compact 1911). In my case I have several pistols in various calibers, including a .22 (Ruger MKI) which is my primary plnking/practice pistol.

    I think the M&P Shield is better, but definitely subject to personal taste. I think the XDs and CW45 are comparable depending on taste/feel and experience. CW45 is stainless steel, with a good quality barrel which is comparable if not better than any given compact .45 on the market.

    Compact 1911s are in a separate class and too many considerations to compare here, other than they are heavy, and generally more than $500.

    The Glock 36 is and Kahr CW45 are very similar in design, size, size, and overall function. However, a Glock 36 was not available to evaluate.

    If you like Glocks/Rugers/Sig/Beretta/etc. then you probably wouldn't get a Kahr over a comparable option of your preferred brand. Depending of course on availability and cost.

    If you want to spend over $500 there are obviously more/better options.

    For me, the CW45 is the best value at the $360 I paid, (including extra magazines).

    My Kahr is simple to operate, and simple to take-down for cleaning. I like the DOA trigger for CC safety considerations, and it just works. It feeds a variety ammo, and for a short barrel pistol I hit what I aim at even at longer distances. I'm confident carrying this pistol, confident that it will work when/if I need it.

    I haven't had the problems which others have had, as noted in various threads. Maybe because the previous owner worked them all out, or because I got lucky, I dunno.

    So far I'm quite pleased with the dependable performance, as well as value.

    Regards,
    L.

    PS: My alternate CC is a Beretta 3032. Multiple carry options with a small pistol like this, and .32 ammo is easier to find right now than .380 ammo. It is also a fine shooting dependable small pistol with multiple safety considerations in the design. I can hold it comfortably and shoot it accurately, unlike most small .380s I've tried. Plus I like the double action so I don't have to carry the hammer cocked. (Using hot ammo may cause frame cracking, so be wise and use the ammo it's designed for). I can easily CC both the 3032 and the CW45 if my mood so chooses... Is .380 better for defense? Yes. But then .45 is also better, etc., etc.

    PSS: Firstly, remember, shot placement is by far the most important issue here. Secondly, a .32 in the pocket is still better than a .45 back in the drawer. The best CC pistol is the one you're willing to carry; can shoot effectively; and can find ammo for.
    Last edited by Lawrence; 11-24-2020 at 11:07 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2012
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    Denver, Colorado
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    Nice review. Thanks for posting, and welcome from Colorado.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2016
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    Very informative and well-written review. I owned a CW45 for a while, and it just wasn't a good fit for me. I think the problem(for me) was the thinness of the grip. I own a bunch of Kahrs, and they are my go-to CCW. I carry a CM9 and a CW380 every day(yes, both). I have thousands of rounds of 9mm Kahr range time under my belt.

    The CW45 was the most uncomfortable autopistol I've ever fired. I traded a Springfield XD-S for it, mainly to have a .45 Kahr. I put maybe 200 rounds through the Kahr before trading it for a Smith and Wesson 4516. Naturally, that's much more comfortable for me to shoot, being a metal .45 with rubber grips.

    The CW45 just didn't fit my hand and absolutely beat me up. The XD-S was more comfortable, but Springfield actually put some anatomical features into the grip. It seemed like Kahr just said "let's make the thinnest grip possible".

    It's the only Kahr I haven't liked. Weird.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2020
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    Kansas
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    First Problem. Slide not returning fully into battery after about every 50 rounds. (I have about 200 rounds through it so far in the last 3 weeks, with at least 3 feed issues at about the 50 round mark). Had to smack it hard with my palm this last time to get it to close. Could not cycle the slide back by hand at all. In each instance I just lubed it up and it was working again.

    So, either a cheap ammo issue, which I'm looking into if I can find some quality ammo. Or, recoil spring issue. Cannot find spring upgrades for this pistol like are available for other brands. Other than directly from Kahr, or the Wolff springs options. Someone suggested a Glock 22 spring and cut off 2 coils. I'll probably start a separate thread on this particular issue.

    I will most likely move up to 22lb spring from Wolff. Also Looks like I can also get a 22lb Glock-22 spring... hmm... how much do I want to 'tinker' with this?.

    Any experienced replacement suggestions in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2016
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    wisconsin
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    I believe that most happy Kahr owners run their guns liberally lubed. You may not need springs if you run it that way.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2010
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    Near the Gila Mountains in SW AZ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
    First Problem. Slide not returning fully into battery after about every 50 rounds. (I have about 200 rounds through it so far in the last 3 weeks, with at least 3 feed issues at about the 50 round mark). Had to smack it hard with my palm this last time to get it to close. Could not cycle the slide back by hand at all. In each instance I just lubed it up and it was working again.

    So, either a cheap ammo issue, which I'm looking into if I can find some quality ammo. Or, recoil spring issue. Cannot find spring upgrades for this pistol like are available for other brands. Other than directly from Kahr, or the Wolff springs options. Someone suggested a Glock 22 spring and cut off 2 coils. I'll probably start a separate thread on this particular issue.

    I will most likely move up to 22lb spring from Wolff. Also Looks like I can also get a 22lb Glock-22 spring... hmm... how much do I want to 'tinker' with this?.

    Any experienced replacement suggestions in this regard would be greatly appreciated.
    There's been some recent discussion on this:
    http://www.kahrtalk.com/showthread.p...grade-CW45-P45
    Regards,
    Greg
    [<a href=http://i43.tinypic.com/2n7fnux.gif target=_blank>http://i43.tinypic.com/2n7fnux.gif</a>

  7. #7
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    May 2019
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    I have 3 Kahr 45's. Although most 45 ammo I tried works fine, some do not, and cause the same issue you described. For me, the brand that often doesn't work, is Corbon. I have not had issue with any of my Kahr 45's with WWB JHP, WWB FMJ, Rem GS 185gr +P, Fed HST 230gr, Speer 230gr GD Short Barrel, and some random range ammo my local range sold.

  8. #8
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    Update:

    Replaced Spring. Went with the 22lb spring from Wolff rather than the original 20lb. New striker spring came as a set and replaced that as well.

    After a quick clean and lube the pistol seems to work fine. As noted previously Kahrs seem to like a little extra lube.

    After swapping the springs it functions well with the same cheap ammo, and seems a bit lighter on the recoil. I am/was having issues handling the recoil of this light frame, given this is my first light-weight polymer framed pistol.

    I must really 'ham-fist' this thing to manage control in a manner different from shooting heavier pistols. I like the larger/longer grip on the Kahr for managing control and accuracy of the lighter frame, and the grip has a familiar feel compared to 1911s. The grip is a bit harder to Conceal than other compact pistols, but I'm more confident than with a smaller gripped pistol.

    IF I wasn't so deeply involved with .45ACP pistols this would be a different discussion involving 9mm options. However I probably would stay with the slimmer single stack options. I'm then looking at 8-11 rds of 9mm vs 6-8 rnds .45 for the Kahr. (I found some 8 rnd CM Shooting Star mags at Midway as recommended by others on this forum.) The extra length of 1911 mag sticking out the bottom of the Kahr is not much different from the plastic ends of the Kahr mags ticking out if I want those extra 2 rounds. If I want to deep-conceal with a small-pistol I have a very dependable Tomcat 3032 which I shoot with a high level of confidence.

  9. #9
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    May 2019
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    Are you gripping the firearm too low? I find that WWB FMJ shoots very light, and WWB JHP almost as light with the CW45. Similarly, if I shoot my K9, it seems flippy unless I have a high hold.

    In all fairness, I had to sand the top of the grip's corners to get the high hold I was reaching for. I did not have to do that with the K9. The aforementioned loads in the CW45, IMO, has less of a kick than my full size FNX9 firing standard 9mm.

  10. #10
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    Good question. I am practicing a high grip. I haven't yet sanded the grip corners, but I'm about to that point... as I can't get my right thumb up where I want it without that corner digging in... I can get a good grip with the right hand but my left hand ends up lower that I'd like while keeping my right thumb lower. I have no qualms sanding it down once I'm sure I am making proper adjustments.

    As far as recoil, I'm not really struggling except for the thumb thing.

    My real issue has more to do with the inherent muzzle flip of the .45. First shot goes where I want it, but getting it back on target quickly and accurately for that second tap requires a much stronger and refined two handed grip.

    Keep in mind I was trained in small-bore target-style before defense style, so I'm learning this old dog some new tricks with this light weight hand-cannon. I can fire the Kahr as accurately with one hand as I can with two, but then we're talking slow measured aiming in this case. I didn't get this pistol for that type of target shooting.

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