View Full Version : Kahr K9...or "I am a lemon magnet"

December 18, 2000, 05:17 AM
For no particular reason, the 4 handguns I bought this year have all been second-hand. They've also all had problems from the get-go, some minor, some not so minor.

Glock 19- feed failures from a bad mag spring (easily replaced)

SA1911- bent trigger bars keeping the trigger from re-setting (easily unbent), weirdo slide stop that wouldn't engage the follower (easily replaced, but requiring fitting, which was a pain), still might need a reliability job (extensive function testing got put on hold for various reasons)

Glock 30- Just Plain Sucks (going back to Glock Inc)

Anyway, last week I got my CCW :D:D:D, so I bought a Kahr K9 to celebrate. It beat out the Kahr P9, Kel-Tec P32, and G26...largely because of feel. The grip sold me.

I took the K9 into the range with some ball (commercial reloads) and CorBon. When I tried to chamber the first round of ball from slide lock, the gun went to 1/4 inch out of battery and locked up. I could jiggle the slide back and forth a bit, but it wouldn't budge any more in either direction. My dealer finally whacked it open, and I tried again; same thing, except I cut my hand whacking the action open myself (pinched between the rails, ouch). The CorBon would chamber, but mis-fed twice. Here we go again...:rolleyes:

But here comes my dealer/smith to the rescue! Apparently the older Kahrs had really tight chambers, something the company fixed in later production runs(?)
He kept it overnight to ream out the chamber, polish this and that, and generally do his thing. I came back the next day and spent the afternoon putting lead downrange. Hey, he fixed it!

The little gun ran as smooth as could be. It's quite accurate, and easy to shoot, even with the CorBon. The rubber Hogue grips fit well and soak up the recoil. The trigger takes some getting used to as compared to the short Glock trigger, but the Kahr's is much smoother.

I have two issues with the K9. First, using my normal grip, my trigger finger bumps into the thumb of my support hand. I either have to point my thumb downrange (which is a very un-natural feeling), or pull the trigger with just the tip of my finger. Still an un-natural feeling, but not nearly as much, so that's what I'm practicing.

Second, there are some sharp corners in bad places. The rear of the frame digs into my thumb knuckle after awhile, and the slide stop lever is no joy to press. I'm going to have both those areas taken down by my dealer soon.

Oh, and the trigger itself seems a little wide, but that's not really a big deal.

So right now I stand at 2 pistols made reliable (G19 and K9), one as yet undetermined (Springfield), and one POS (G30). I don't go out and search for used gun deals, they just happen to be there when I am. I start to wonder if the previous owners dumped the guns because they had problems with them. I dunno. What I do know is that if I buy a gun from my dealer and it doesn't work as it should, he will make it right, free of charge. And after all the horror stories I've heard about ignorant, unethical FFls, that kind of service has earned him 100% of my business.

Bud Helms
December 18, 2000, 06:58 AM
Excellent post.

December 18, 2000, 12:38 PM

First thing I would have done was to ditch the commercial reloads. Start with factory ball ammo and put a couple hundred rounds through it. You may well get a couple feed failures during this time. When it comes to JHP, some guns can be picky, and Corbon has had its share of quality problems. I strongly suggest you test out a couple different kinds of ammo before you start polishing chambers. And I would have let Kahr do the polishing/reaming for you, rather than your dealer.

My three Kahrs, K9 elite, MK9 elite, and K40 have all been quite reliable. YMMV.


George Hill
December 18, 2000, 09:09 PM
Avoid reloads unless you trust the guy doing the reloading.
Sounds like those reloads skipped the resizing portion of the operation.

Kahrs are good guns - but it sounds like the pistol is too small for your hands, hence the finger hitting thumb. Take a look that the Springfield V-10 ultra compact. You can get it in 9mm, and you can get it in "high capacity 10 round" form. This has a longer reach to the trigger that will reduce that finger to thumb crash.

Your second issue - if your gun is Stainless... you can break those sharp edges with a bit of sandpaper. Take some 220 and cut it into 1/2 thick strips. Brace the gun is a padded vice and work those strips like your polishing a shoe. If you dont have a vice - you can use some emory boards. (those disposable nail files) Work the edges slowly and evenly. It doesnt take a whole lot to break the sharp edges. Dont go crazy and try to do a MELT JOB or something... your just taking those problem sharp edges and breaking the edge... After you break it with 220, move to 400 and polish it a bit.

December 19, 2000, 02:12 AM
The reloads are from Atlanta Arms, ever heard of 'em? I don't know anything about them except that they've always worked in my other guns. It's substantially cheaper to buy Win USA up the road at WalMart, but I'd rather fund the only range in town. If I run into problems with the AA stuff, I'll switch. The problems with my other pistols weren't ammo related, I've used a variety for testing. Incidentally, I used the same boxes of ammo on the second day that had locked up the gun the first day, with no problems. Was that unwise?

I trust my dealer/smith-guy with total confidence. I've seen some of his custom work. It's absolutely gorgeous. He's getting a write-up in one of the gun rags in January for a few 1911s he's done. I can't remember which magazine it's going to be in, though. I may yet break the edges my self, only in those two spots. Thanks for the advice.

It's funny you should mention the V-10, George, cuz he's got one for sale (.45). I may be fated to own it...it's used...:) But I wouldn't sink so low as to buy a 1911 in 9mm. I have some scruples, y'know...;)

As far as size, the Kahr is small, which is what I was looking for, but is it too small? I don't know yet. I wouldn't expect to be able to shoot a substantially smaller gun with the same grip that I use for my larger guns, though that may be a misconception on my part. I figure it just comes with the "small" territory. I shot well with it, at any rate. At least on a par with my G19.

Now the P32...that was small, definitely Too Small.

December 19, 2000, 12:48 PM

Even commercial reloads can be some pretty nasty stuff. You (and the commercial company themselves) have no idea how many times that brass has been resized. I use my own reloads and keep my brass separated. As George mentioned, it sounds as though those reloads had a problem during resizing. Perhaps the resizing step was skipped, or the resizing die was out of adjustment. Few of the commercial reloaders have the QA that you'll get out of good factory ammo.

Nevertheless, many (most?) semi-autos suffer from feed failures during initial break-in. So, to reduce the number of variables, use factory ammo during break-in. Many are also sensitive to JHP, so pick a JHP that you like, then run 100-200 rounds of that ammo through your gun. If your gun operates without failure for that JHP, then use that ammo for defensive purposes. If not, then pick a different JHP and start the evaluation process over.


PS. If you want small, get an MK9. Now THAT's small.

December 19, 2000, 03:49 PM
I've used the Atlanta Arms reloads in the blue box at the range for the past year or so in 9mm and .45 and have not had any problems with it at all, even in the reportedly fickle-feeding Kimber Gold Match. The range closest to home sells it (you can't bring your own) and most folks seem to like it okay. If I shoot elsewhere I usually buy new factory ammo.

From what I've read, AA knows how to make very good 9mm. They, along with Black Hills, do the custom 9mm loads for the Army team. I'd like to try some of their better loads, but haven't seen any around.


George Hill
December 19, 2000, 05:46 PM
There is a V-10 .45 for sale... Priced right...
You know what you need to do...

December 20, 2000, 02:29 AM
It is priced right. You are Pure Evil.

And I got some sand paper today, getting ready to take a (gentle) whack at this puppy.