The new Kahr CM9 (and a whole mess of other ultra-compact 9mm pistols)on Jan 29 in concealed carry, new guns by Chris
UPDATE: Check out my pseudo-review of the Kahr CM9 here.
The firearms industry’s annual SHOT show has come and gone for this year, and some of the major press in the self-defense arena has been surrounding introduction of a few new “pocket” sized 9mm handguns. The lead contender seems to be the Ruger LC9. Coming on the heels of their massively popular LCP in .380, Ruger stands to make a killing on the mouse gun’s new big brother. From Sig, there is the new P290 (actually announced late last year). It will be priced significantly higher than the Ruger, which may not necessarily be a bad thing. If its quality is closer to the P238 as opposed to the complete flop that is the P250, then Sig may be offering a serious alternative to the Ruger. The big surprise announcement came from Kimber, who introduced their first non-1911 handgun with the Kimber Solo Carry. With an aluminum alloy frame, it’s the only non-polymer introduction into the super compact 9mm field. Unfortunately, all three of these companies have had some serious quality control issues in the past few years, and also have been known to release new products without all the bugs worked out (I’m looking at you, Ruger), so I’m going to wait a few months after these products hit the market before giving them any serious consideration.
A couple of years ago, a terrible plague hit our country that convinced hundreds of thousands of people that a pocket-sized .380 makes the “perfect carry gun”. It appears that many of them are finally recovering, and are asking gun companies, “Why can’t you make this thing a tiny bit larger so that it’s easier to shoot? And while you’re at it, how about if you chamber it for 9mm?” Michael Bane predicted this a few months ago, and I don’t think we’re even close to seeing the end of new super-tiny 9mm pistols.
Case in point: Last week on the SHOT show edition of Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk radio show, a representative from Kahr arms mentioned a new product that seems to have flown under the radar of most of the major gun bloggers. In April, Kahr plans to release the CM9; the budget version of their wildly popular, but premium-priced PM9. MSRP is around $550, so I suspect it will be sold for around $450, which is what Kahr’s other budget 9mm, the CW9, typically goes for. According to the Kahr rep on the radio, Kahr wasn’t even planning to publicize the CM9 at SHOT, but they changed their minds the day of the show. Maybe they saw all the other tiny nines and decided they needed something new at their booth to remind people that they’re still relevant in the carry market.
Lest ye forget with all these new fancy whiz bang teeny tiny 9mm pistols around: Kahr has been at this a long time. The PM9 came out 10 years ago, and it’s steel-framed counterpart, the MK9 (my current carry pistol) even longer than that. Kahr pistols have typically been too expensive for a large portion of the market, but a couple of years ago they released the CW9, a budget version of the P9, minus a few bells and whistles. In my opinion, 99% of shooters wouldn’t really notice any practical difference between the two guns, so I wonder how sharply the sales of their P9 fell after introducing the CW9. After the success of the CW9, Kahr could have chosen to produce the new CM9 at any time and know it would be a success, so why the delay? I can only guess that someone at Kahr is working the numbers to determine the optimal time for them to maximize profit. Sales for the CM9 are sales they are losing on the more expensive PM9, except for the large portion of the market who would never have given the PM9 a second thought with its $700 price tag. Except now, I suspect many of those people who would have bought the reasonably priced CM9 are already planning to pick up a Ruger LC9, which is even cheaper.
Was Kahr too late in introducing the CM9 for their own good? Maybe, but I think it will sell just fine. And if anyone asks me, I’ll recommend the Kahr over the Ruger (or any of the others, for that matter)… at least we can be fairly certain the Kahr won’t get recalled. Kahr is kinda like Glock. They really only have one design, but it works, and it usually works really well. It’s not perfect… I really don’t care for the length of the Kahr trigger pull, or the reset, but Kahr gets a lot of things right. And like I said, they’ve been at this a long time. With the LC9, Sig P250, or this new Kimber thing, we really have no idea what to expect.