Adrian, I live in Northern Florida myself and chose the LC9 for "big pockets" carry. I have a P32 and a micro desert eagle 380 (picked this one because it is about the shortest little sucker out there slide length wise) for small pocket days.
Not sure if you would have the same issues I did with the LC9. Mine was a rust magnet as far as the slide, especially where they stamped the lettering, which seemed to have been done after bluing it. This was easily remedied by sending it and the magazine to Bill DeShivs. He did a stellar nickel job for just $55. I cannot speak highly enough of his work. That was the only detractor to the pistol besides the mag disconnect (YouTube helped me take care of that myself).
Since then I have ordered spare springs and other parts for it and some fire sights (fiber optics) off the ruger site. Once installed, I think it will be perfect. I chose the LC9 for the manual safety (S&W Shield didn't exist when I got it) and the longish DAO trigger believe it or not, for when I am traveling with my family, it is just a tad more safe (in my mind) if the pistol is out of my control for a brief period (it never is, I am just being anal), plus it has the key lock.
I almost bought a CM9 when I got it and when you look at the price after I have put everything into it:
Gun itself - $329
Nickel Job - $55
Fire Sights - $49
Total - $433+
So I know what you are thinking, why not go that way and just get a CM9. There are things I really don't like about the CM9:
- The recoil spring has to be turned just so, so it won't slip out when reassembling (not fully captive and it is open on the end? kinda weird). This is a nitpicky thing, but honestly was a factor for me.
- I prefer 3 dot sights + the LC9's are easily drifted and or changed, even the front.
- LC9's have been out longer and seem to have the bugs worked out (this is subjective based on what I read on forums).
- Again I wanted a manual safety ( I usually don't but in this application) and it being on a DAO trigger means I don't have to use it (which I won't most of the time).
- 7+1, having the extra round in the handgun plus one extra round in my backup mag is nice.
That about sums it up. The Kahr is nice, especially for the price but if I were doing it today, I might go for the shield (if I could find one) since it is already rust-proofed (that is important in FL) and seem to be pretty reliable straight off. Although for pocket carry, the LC9 seems a smidge smaller and lighter.
For the record, my LC9 has 140 flawless rounds through it of the following (yeah I know, I need to get to the range more):
50 rounds of Remington FMJ
50 rounds of Winchester FMJ
20 Rounds of Speer Gold Dot JHP
20 Rounds of Hornady Critical Defense JHP ( I intend to test the Crit Duty I carry in my G19 in it next range trip)
So only 140 flawless rounds through it across three different shooters (one of which is a 4'11", 93lbs. woman) but I find that to be pretty acceptable. I will be keeping the round count fairly low on this one as it will be mostly for carry.
So there ya go, that was my choice and my experience. I am very happy with my LC9 and it has ran very well. Yes the trigger isn't a dream, but I own and shoot 5x as much revolvers (in double action mostly) than I do 1911's so bear that in mind when I say the trigger is not bad at all.
Good luck with your search. At least there are finally some sub $1,000.00 options out there now.
P.S. For the record I have a S&W 638 and other J/K/L frames and the airweights are great for pocket carry if they are long enough. My current carpenter jeans have short pockets and when you stand to the side of me you can look down in my flared out pocket and see the ivory grips separated by the aluminum grip frame and if you are at all a gun person you totally know what that is.
Here is my LC9:
Just a crappy cell phone pic, believe me it looks better in person.